Misconceptions about Birth Photography

A mother holds her newborn for the first time after just giving birth at Overlake Childbirth Center in Bellevue, WA, captured by Seattle birth photographer, Becky Langseth.

Even though birth photography is becoming more common, there are still some misconceptions about birth photography. “You mean, you ACTUALLY take photos of the birth?” This is something I hear often when I say that I’m a birth photographer. I get it. I even thought some of the same things myself at one point. But let me explain why these misconceptions about birth photography are just that—misconceptions.

A mother holds her newborn for the first time after just giving birth at Overlake Childbirth Center in Bellevue, WA, captured by Seattle birth photographer, Becky Langseth.

Misconception #1

1. I’ll look ugly in labor.

Myth busted:

I can understand that you might think you’ll have sweat all over your face, your hair might be disheveled, and you might be making some unflattering facial expressions. But a woman who has just birthed her baby and is meeting her newborn for the first time is SO beautiful! The look on her face is absolutely gorgeous! Maybe it’s a look of disbelief that she just did that. Or maybe it’s look of relief to finally see her baby after waiting for nine months. It could be a look of pure love. Maybe she’s overcome with emotion and is crying tears of joy. It’s all so beautiful. It truly shows the power and capability of woman. And it’s just gorgeous!

a mother is holding her new baby for the first time after a c-section birth at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland, WA. The image shows the beauty in birth, by seattle birth photographer, Becky Langseth.

Misconception #2

2. Birth photography is too expensive/overpriced, and I could never afford it.

Myth Busted: 

In reality, birth photography is probably the most underpriced photography genre right now. Imagine this: you asked a wedding photographer to shoot a birth and they ask, “when is the birth?” And you say an estimated due date—give or take a few weeks. Then the photographer would ask, “well, how many hours of coverage do you need?” And you might say, “well, 5 hours at the least, but maybe up to 36.” And the bewildered wedding photographer would finally say, “okay, so where are we shooting and what does the lighting situation look like?” And you would say, “well, probably in a dark room, but maybe there will be some fluorescent lighting that changes as the birth progresses.” That wedding photographer would probably quote you at $50,000!

And a wedding photographer doesn’t even specialize in birth or know birth ettiequte! So even if a birth photographer seems expensive, remember, in addition to being a professional photographer, a birth photographer is on-call, experienced in various low-lighting situations, and understands the process of birth.

As far never being able to afford it, most birth photographers (including me) offer payment plans. Another way to pay for birth photography is to put it on your baby registry! Friends and family understand the value of capturing those special images, and would be happy to contribute to it!

I offer a baby registry landing page custom made for you, so friends and family can directly contribute to your birth photography fund. Just ask me about it!

tiny feet of a newborn baby laying in a hospital warming bed at Overlake Childbirth Center in Bellevue, WA is about to be measured for it's newborn exam. This image is an example debunking misconceptions about birth photography and how birth photos are beautiful.

Misconception #3

3. Birth photography is gross and gory.

Myth Busted:

Some people might think that their birth photos will show blood and gory details and seem gross rather than focus on the joy of new life and birth. However, when people look back at their birth images, they see a whole story unfolding and tears come to their eyes as the photos help them to remember.

Professional photographers are discreet and only take images that you want. They take photos of details around them, like the time on the clock when the baby was born, the outside of the building as they come in, the iv that mom is hooked up to, or the room number that mom is laboring in. Professional birth photographers are storytellers, and focus on the emotions around them. They capture the moment mom first holds her baby, dad as he kisses mom’s forehead, dad holding his baby for the first time, the newborn exam and other important details.

Also, many birth photographers convert their photos into black and white, to deter from the redness of blood. And if you don’t want any images with anything bloody or gory, just tell your birth photographer!

Misconception #4

4. My partner can take birth photos. (Or maybe a friend with a good camera or my doula.)

Myth Busted:

First of all, don’t you want your partner to be present and supporting you rather than fumbling with a camera? Your partner may miss a moment, trying to take a photo. Or an important moment might not be captured, because your partner was focusing on you rather than the camera. Also, your partner should be IN the photos, since they were a part of this birth too! For a good laugh, see the photos below and compare the one which my partner took to the one that my professional birth photographer took! 🙂

Additionally, a friend with a good camera might not be experienced with difficult lighting conditions, the birth process, or even know where to stand to get a flattering angle. And a birth doula is often preoccupied by supporting you! 

Misconception #5

5. A birth photographer would interfere with my birthing space. (ie. I don’t want a stranger in the room.)

Myth Busted:

I can relate to this one. My husband was worried about it when I wanted to hire a birth photographer for my own birth. But professional birth photographers are similar to nurses. They are trained professional birth workers, and they know the birthing process and understand birth ettiequte.

Birth photographers do take up space, but they are a quiet presence, understanding where and when to be. Also, you will have a few consultations to get to know your birth photographer beforehand. And honestly, when they arrive during active labor, between the nurses, doctors, midwives, family members…you’ll barely even notice them!

A new dad holds his new baby at at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland, WA. The dad's finger is being held by the tiny newborns little hand. This image shows the value of birth photography taken by seattle birth photographer, Becky Langseth.

These misconceptions about birth photography are just that–misconceptions.

I hope you can truly understand why hiring a birth photographer is so valuable! You will look beautiful in your birth photos. You can afford birth photography. Birth Photography is not gross; it’s amazing, and you can talk with your birth photographer about your preferences. Your partner has freedom be fully present and experience your birth when you hire a birth photographer. And your birth photographer will be a quiet & respectful presence at your birth, just like all other birth workers involved.

Ready to Book?

Fill out my form to start the process/check availability in my calendar for your estimated due date! (I take a limited number of births each month.) We will meet for a no-pressure consultation either in-person or via zoom to see if we are a good fit! And if not, I’m connected to several other local Seattle professional birth photographers that I can recommend. If you are located somewhere other than Seattle and the greater Puget Sound area, check out the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers (IAPBP) to find a birth photographer near you!

Birth Photography Misconceptions (Part 2)

  1. Meliza says:

    I like your point about your partner being present instead of being the one taking the photos. You will literally never get these moments back – documenting them together is so valuable! Great post.

  2. Stephanie says:

    This is a really helpful article, thank you. And your pictures are gorgeous!

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