Why is Birth Photography so Expensive? (And How You CAN Afford it)

A mother is emotional as she holds her baby after giving birth.

Birth photography is unique and quite different from other photography genres. The birth of a child only happens once, and can happen at any hour of day or night! Birth photography captures so many special things–high emotions and beautiful moments that are unrepeatable. But birth photography is not cheap, and there are many reasons for it being so expensive.

A mother is kissing and smelling her new baby after giving birth in a hospital bed at Swedish First Hill in Seattle.

One of the main reasons why birth photography is so expensive, is because there is no set day, time or length for your birth.

Your due date is just an estimated date. That’s why they call it your EDD (estimated due date.) In fact, most people don’t give birth on their due date–only 5% do! It’s normal to go into labor two-three weeks before the due date or even up to two weeks after!

So when you hire a birth photographer, they are guaranteeing that they will be at your birth no matter when it happens. Your birth photographer will drop everything to come join you to document your birth! And we love to do it too! A birth photographer wouldn’t sign up for the job if they didn’t love it.

Some births are speedy, and some are not. I’ve been at a birth as short as 4 hours, and as long as 30. I’ve been to a birth when the baby was born 30 minutes after I arrived, but also to a birth where the baby was born 24 hours later. Birth is unpredictable, and you just don’t know how long it will be.

Some people compare birth photographers to wedding photographers. Wedding and birth photographer both capture important life events that cannot be recreated. Both birth and wedding photographers capture emotions, “firsts” and one of the most important days of your life! However, wedding photographer know the date, the time and how many hours of coverage they will be offering at the wedding. Birth photographer do not. Both birth photographers and wedding photographers need to be able to shoot in all types of conditions and lighting, and not miss any important moments! There is some pressure involved!

A mother is holding her baby's tiny hand and snuggling for the first time after giving birth at the Birth Center at UW Medical Center - Montlake in Seattle, WA.

Another reason why birth photography is so expensive is because your birth photographer has many additional costs!

Birth photographers use expensive gear. Most birth photographer also have a second camera body, in case something goes wrong with the first camera, because birth only happens once! They have lenses, SD cards, flashes and/or external lighting devices. Birth photographers need to pay for business insurance, gallery delivery programs, editing programs, equiptment insurance, trainings/certifications, in addition to other normal business expenses (phone, internet, computer, etc.)

On top of that, is the time spent editing! After your birth photographer attends a birth, they spend hours going through hundreds of images to select, hand-edit and upload to your gallery. And if you are getting a birth film done, that’s a whole different story concerning time spent editing!

With all this being said, you can see why birth photography can be so expensive! Nevertheless, there are ways to make it more affordable.

a newborn is being examined in the warming bed moments after being born at UW Medical Center at Montlake in Seattle, WA. This image was taken after a full day of labor, and is a great example of why birth photography can be so expensive!

However, you CAN afford birth photography. Here’s how:

1. Put birth photography on your baby registry.

You register for bottles, pacifiers and baby gear…why not add birth photography? Your friends and family want to help support you. Instead of getting too many toys your new baby will never play with, or too many (adorable) outfits that your newborn will grow out of and only wear once, ask your friends and family to contribute to something that you truly want and that will LAST–birth photography.

I offer a gift registry landing page just for birth photography. All you need to do is schedule a consult with me, where I’ll explain the registry process and answer any questions that you have about the registry and birth photography. I will then ask you to fill out a form that will help me create a personalized listing just for you. Next, I’ll create your personal registry page for you to share with friends and family who want to contribute to your registry.

2. Ask for a payment plan.

Most birth photographers offer payments plans, including me! Just ask about it. I do require a retainer to hold your due date on my calendar, and then we can divide the remaining amount of the package you selected into several payments leading up to when I would go on call at 38 weeks.

3. Offer an exchange of services.

Maybe you also have a small business! (Or an AirBNB cabin in the woods?!?) Perhaps we could exchange or trade goods or services. You never know!

Two parents are looking at their newly born baby at UW Medical Center in Seattle, WA. The mother is lying down in the hospital bed, holding the baby, while the father is hovering above.

Regardless, birth photography is worth the investment.

You will never regret hiring a birth photographer, but you may regret NOT hiring one. Birth only happens once, and you don’t want to forget all the special moments as birth can sometimes feel like a blur.

Interested in learning more? Schedule a free consultation with me & learn more about birth photography for your family and your specific situation. No obligation whatsoever at this free consult. This can be done via zoom, phone or in-person. Let’s chat!

Not located in the greater Seattle area? No problem! (#WillTravelForBirth) But in all seriousness, if you are looking for a birth photographer near you, try the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers. They have a great comprehensive list of birth photographers and birth videographers listed by city or zip code.

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  1. Neyssa Lee says:

    Beautiful photos and great points. I am so glad I invested in birth photography.

  2. Claire Mayo says:

    Wow! So helpful! I have such a better understanding in the work that goes into a session and the benefits!

  3. It’s helpful to know that hiring a birth photographer could be expensive due to the high-quality equipment they use. It seems like in a few weeks my wife’s due, so we’re very interested in hiring a photographer to capture this special moment in our lives, so we’ll definitely follow your advice. Thank you for explaining why working with a professional birth photographer is worth it.

  4. Mary Bryant says:

    This blog is so fantastic! Great points on why the investment can feel expensive and amazing work!

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