Why Is Birth Photography So Expensive?
So you've seen some beautiful birth photos and you're thinking "Wow! I want a birth photographer for my birth!". You head over to Google and search for a birth photographer near you. You click through a beautiful portfolio of images and you’re sold! You want to book right away!
You click on their packages and- WOAH!
It’s called sticker shock.
You had no idea what to expect but it certainly wasn’t this. That’s a small fortune!
Listen, I get it. I once looked at a photographer’s birth package and scoffed at the idea of charging over a thousand dollars. It sounded completely insane to me.
But, if these were the thoughts that crossed your mind as you browsed my packages, please allow me to explain.
First, birth photography is a luxury. While it would be wonderful if everyone could afford it, that simply isn’t the case. It’s likely something you’ll have to plan for shortly after you see those two beautiful pink lines.
Now, the question is why right? Why are you paying your birth photographer so much money?
Birth is extremely unpredictable. To ensure that we can make it to your birth, we are on call for you for weeks. Being on call means that we are never more than an hour away from your location of birth. We don’t go out of town on family vacations or commit to anything during our on call time. We miss birthdays and holidays and any other big event to be there for your big day! We stay next to our phones for weeks and set the ringer as high as it will go. We sleep on edge because we don’t want to miss your call. Our lives quite literally revolve around you for weeks. And that’s ok! Because that’s our job! And that’s what we get paid for.
To add to that, once we get your much anticipated call, we have no clue how long we will be gone for. Again, birth is extremely unpredictable. We could be gone for hours or a matter of days. We stay with you to capture those precious moments and sometimes we just can’t risk leaving, so we stay. And we stay. And we stay.
On average, labour lasts between 10-15 hours. Now obviously this can vary widely from 1 hour to 50+ hours. I really can’t say this enough, birth is unpredictable.
So let me break down some hypothetical numbers for you.
Our initial interview will likely last between one and two hours.
Then, our next prenatal meeting will again likely take between one to two hours.
Don’t forget those 5+ weeks our lives revolve around you! What’s that worth?
Now for the birth. I’ll use my experience and say that I usually spend about 8 hours at a birth. Sometimes more, sometimes a little less. But 8 seems to be my average.
Then comes the part where most of the work comes in. A lot of people forget that it isn’t just about taking the photos, now we must edit them.
So let’s say we take about 600 photos at your birth. First, we must “cull” it down to about 200. These photos will tell your whole story and will be the best of the bunch.
Culling takes about an hour to an hour and a half. Now the fun part! Editing! Editing is actually probably my favourite part. I love turning a photo into art! But, it’s certainly not a fast process.
While I’ve been known to turn over galleries very quickly, I spend about 10 - 12 hours editing a birth gallery. Again, it could be more or less depending on lighting situations and how extensive the editing is.
Once the editing is complete, I spend at least another hour exporting the files and uploading them to your own private digital gallery.
So a bit of quick math and that’s about 26 hours of work.
Let’s use my base package as an example as I didn’t factor in time building an album. It might appear as though you’re paying me almost $36.50 per hour! Not bad!! However, we didn’t factor in my expenses. Gas, childcare, food, equipment, editing software, parking, education. Not to mention the other costs of doing business such as my website, business cards, email address etc.
AND the 5+ weeks of on call time. What’s that worth again..?
I am also proud to say that I am a certified Birth Becomes Her birth photographer and a certified DONA International birth doula. I have been trained specifically on how to deal with the challenging situations that can come with birth photography and have been trained on how to support families throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. While I don't act as a doula if I am hired as a birth photographer, I do know how to carry myself in the delivery room. The value of my training and education are worked into my prices as well.
The numbers next to the dollar signs aren’t just random numbers, they are our costs of doing business. They are what it takes for us to do our job, and to do it well, without feeling the burn out that many birth workers face.
Having said all of this, I truly WANT to capture your birth story. I absolutely love this work and I am so incredibly passionate about it! So if you want your birth photographed, I would love to work out a payment plan that works for your family!
Please don’t hesitate to contact me! I am extremely reasonable!