Frequently Asked Questions about Birth Photography
Why hire a birth photographer?
The labor and birth of your child are some of the most precious moments of your life...and worth being preserved.
Birth photography will make the incredible journey through labor and delivery a story that endures. Whether you are planning a home, hospital, or midwifery center birth, vaginal or cesarean delivery, these moments will define your life forever. Birth photography captures your unique labor and delivery story so that you can revisit these first extraordinary moments for the rest of your life. I approach birth in a photojournalistic way, telling the story through images without being intrusive in the process. I am careful to capture tasteful and beautiful images, so there is no worry about your modesty or privacy. I only share images with permission, of course!
How *graphic* will the photos be?
One of the most asked questions is "will you take pictures of EVERYTHING??". And my answer is - I'll take pictures of whatever YOU want me to capture! Each of my clients is different and each comes to me with their own preferences. I tend to be a very modest birth photographer - you'll notice when looking on my blog that you do not see nudity or very many images of crowning babies and graphic imagery. Sometimes I do take those images - when requested - but mostly they are kept private for those families. I often find creative ways to show what is happening without showing the 'full monty', so to speak. If you want everything captured, I will capture everything (as long as your place of birth allows). If you desire to be more modest, we will discuss the particulars at our consult and I will respect your wishes. I even have suggestions for what has worked best for you to wear based on previous clients' experiences! Nothing graphic is ever shared on social media and you have full rights to decide what images are included in your slideshow/film and what is shared publicly.
Can't my husband take photos?
Of course! But the birth of your child can happen very quickly and you and your husband should be focused on yourself and your new baby. Hiring me to photograph your birth experience means your spouse and family will be able to do what they do best -- support you. They will be able to engage completely with you, in the moment, instead of peeking from behind the camera.
I will document every moment of the miracle that is your baby's birth. Your partner or coach will be able to be fully involved with you. Birth Photography preserves the most delicate moments so that you will be able to relive them again and again. Also, if your spouse or support person is taking pictures, he or she won't be able to be represented in the images! Allowing someone else to be responsible takes the pressure off and allows for beautiful imagery not only of YOU meeting your new baby, but also everyone's reactions, too!
Does it matter where I plan to give birth?
I am honored to record the beautiful moments before, during, and after childbirth whether you are at home, at the hospital, or at a birthing center. With 7 years experience, I have been in nearly all of the local hospitals and worked with nearly all of the home birth midwives who serve Hampton Roads families. Just ask them! Most of them will tell you they know me and have worked with me before!
Am I allowed to have a photographer if I deliver in a hospital?
I have photographed births at nearly all of the hospitals in the Hampton Roads area - including Portsmouth Naval Hospital and Langley Air Force Base. You will need to speak with your birth provider, of course, but I have had wonderful experiences with all the providers I have worked with. Some OB's will tell you that photos of delivery are not permitted, but that just means the actual crowning and delivery of the baby, from the foot of the bed. I do not have to leave the room and can still capture your labor and the immediate fresh baby images, so don't worry!
What will my midwife or OB think if I have a photographer?
I encourage you to talk to your care providers about your desire to have your labor & delivery captured. Nearly all the local midwives have attended births with me and I have positive reviews from them all. I know that sometimes obstetricians have worries about a photographer being 'in the way' or not knowing how to act in the delivery room, but I am always willing to speak directly with them personally if they wish. Most of the time, when they hear my name they recognize my business and know that I am a professional and are happy to have me!
Are you really on-call 24/7 - what if I go into labor at 3am?
When you reserve your birth session with me, I am on call to you all day and all night for the two weeks before and the two weeks following your due date. (This on-call time can be adjusted if you have a medical condition, are expecting multiples, or have any other concerns. Please just ask!) I welcome calls from birth clients in the middle of the night!
Do you have doulas or hospitals that you recommend?
I am excited to say that I am partnering with Hampton Roads Doulas who is offering a special package if you choose to hire one of their doulas as well as have your birth documented with Kimberlin Gray Photography! If you have a specific birth plan, I can give you my thoughts on which hospital would best fit your needs based on my perspective and experience as a documentarian over the past 7 years. Ultimately, the choice of birth place, home or hospital, is a personal one and no matter where you deliver, I am happy to chronicle the journey.
What if I'm shy or not sure I want another person in the room with me during birth? What if I scream or look awful?
My approach to birth photography is extremely non-intrusive. I have attended more than 65 births as a photographer and know my role and the birth process very well. I take great care to be respectful of your laboring environment and not to interfere in any way with the doctors and nurses who are caring for you or your laboring process. Birth is a raw and intimate event and you will probably not even know I'm there. I am skilled in photographing these moments tastefully and beautifully and use all the tools in my photo editing toolkit to ensure that your birth is documented in a respectful way. In addition, I only post images of your birth journey online with your permission. Please visit the "testimonials" section for reviews from previous clients, many of whom had the same concerns.
Have you ever photographed a C-Section?
Yes! All births are precious and I have experience photographing all types of birthing situations. In the event of a cesarean section, either scheduled or unscheduled, if the care providers only allow one support person into the OR, I will hand my backup camera to them to take into the operating room so that every moment is captured. Then I will join your baby in the nursery or you in recovery as soon as possible. In certain cases, the OB or anesthesiologist will allow me to join you in the operating room so that I can capture those moments myself. No matter how you give birth, you will cherish the first moments you see your child forever - sometimes even more so if the journey takes an unexpected turn and you are unable to see some of those first moments yourself.
What if I'm in labor a really long time?
All births are different and there is no way you can control the length of time you are in labor. Therefore, I do not charge extra for long labors (and there is no discount for short ones!) - there is one flat rate for all birth stories. I do reserve the right to call in a backup photographer after 12 hours if needed, but have never needed to do so in 7 years. Making sure that I'm updated often as your labor progresses will ensure that I come at exactly the right time - when you are in active labor - so that you don't feel like a 'watched pot'.
Why are some of your birth photography images shown in black & white and others in color?
One of the biggest reasons to hire a professional birth photographer is that the lighting in birth situations can be VERY tricky and having the right equipment and knowledge can make a HUGE difference! Often, the lighting at a birth is very low or hospital florescent lighting is harsh. In less-than-optimal lighting, photographing in black and white creates a better quality image. It can even out skin tones, giving a softer color and smoothes blemishes so that the quality of the image reflects the beauty of the moment. In some cases, the lighting during the day is perfect or I use a pop of flash which allows for color images. You will see some examples of both b&w and color birth images on the website and in slideshows. If you prefer one or the other, simply tell us and we can accommodate your requests!
We are ready to hire you! How do we get started?
The first step is to contact us so that we can set up a consultation. You can book online in our Booking Center first or we can meet and you can reserve your spot at that time. Birth Stories are booked on a first come, first serve basis and only a few due dates each month can be accommodated so it's best to get in touch early if you can! But there are often last minute spots available, so don't fret if you've found me late in your pregnancy! I always meet with expectant parents so that you can get to know me better and ensure you and your partner are comfortable inviting me to be a part of such an intimate experience. We will discuss all of the details at that meeting, and I can answer any questions you might have. This is a no-pressure consultation and you are not required to book with me if we meet!