Things New Birth Photographer Needs to Know

Capturing the miracle of childbirth through photography is a unique and rewarding endeavor. As a new birth photographer, you capture memories for parents and their babies that will last them a lifetime. However, as rewarding as the experience sounds, it has certain afflictions.

When entering the birthing room, you want to capture raw emotions, fleeting moments, and the incredible beauty of bringing new life to earth. Navigating the intricacies of birth photography can be challenging for a beginner photographer.

This guide will give you a brief rundown of all the pointers you need to remember when it comes to being a new birth photographer.

Essentials You Will Need to Become a Birth Photographer

Before we walk you through a list of all the tips you’d need as a new birth photographer, let us give you a rundown of all the gear you’d need to make the most out of your career.

Quality camera equipment – You want to invest in a good-quality DSLR or mirrorless camera that performs well in low-light conditions.

Fast lenses – When it comes to lenses, get lenses with wide apertures (low f-stop numbers) to allow more light into the camera. Options like 50mm or 35mm with f/1.8 or wider make a great choice.

Backup equipment – Births are unpredictable, and technical malfunctions can happen. Always have backup camera bodies, lenses, memory cards, and batteries ready to ensure that you can continue capturing moments.

Editing gear – Snapping the pictures isn’t the end of the road. Once you have captured the moments, the next step is to edit them. You’d need access to high-quality editing gear like a PC with high-performance specifications, good graphics, relevant editing apps, etc.

Tips for New Birth Photographers

Once you have sorted out the essentials and equipment needed for your birth photography career, next comes the list of tips you need to implement.

Following are the essential aspects that new birth photographers need to know to excel in this specialized field:

1. Understand the birthing process

Birth is a highly intimate and emotional experience for the intended parents and also the family involved. If you want to capture the most impactful moments during childbirth, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of the birthing process and read the emotions in the room.

As a new birth photographer, you also need to educate yourself about the different stages of labor, from early contractions to the delivery of the placenta. This is because knowing about the birthing process allows you to anticipate critical moments and position yourself in the right place so none of the vital moments are hazy or missed.

2. Master the art of low-light photography

Unlike standard photographing experiences, birth photography is a one-of-a-kind experience when you won’t have “natural” lighting seeping inside the room from the outdoors. This is one of the reasons why you need to master the art of low-light photography.

Using flash while taking birth photographs can be disruptive, so you must become proficient in low-light photography techniques. Besides upskilling, consider investing in the right equipment and gear, like high-quality lenses with wide apertures, to allow more light into your camera.

3. Be prepared for the unpredictable

Birth is highly unpredictable. Your client might have had a birth plan of home birth, but last-minute emergencies can make the entire birthing team rush to the hospital. There are a lot of variables at play, which you must be prepared for as a birth photographer.

Also, labor durations vary. Some pregnant women might have an easy labor experience, and some might have a prolonged labor experience. You need to be prepared for every situation that comes your way. This includes having backup equipment, extra memory cards, and a well thought out contingency plan.

4. Understanding the implications of being on call

Being a birth photographer means you are on-call with your client, which should be specified in the contract you draw with them. Since birth is unpredictable, you might be on call from the 37–38-week mark.

Your client might enter labor at the crack of dawn, or their water might break at 3 AM; things are unpredictable. This is why you must be ready to take over the situation as it presents itself. Unless your client is getting induced and has a set birthing plan, you’d have to be on your toes and stay on call until the actual birth.

5. Respect privacy and modesty

While the goal is to capture the essence of childbirth, respecting the privacy and modesty of the birthing mother is paramount. Avoid capturing explicit or compromising shots unless explicitly permitted by the parents.

This is one of the reasons why you must have open communication with the intended parents before the big day. This allows you to set relevant boundaries with your client and get an idea of their expectations.

Always communicate and seek permission before capturing close-up images, ensuring the mother feels comfortable and respected.

6. Post-processing skills

As a photographer, you are not only responsible for capturing the images but processing them as well. This means that your editing skills either need to be top-notch or you need to have a good editor in your team to whom you can delegate the task.

Factors like color correction, cropping, and retouching while maintaining the captured moments’ authenticity are something you need to master and polish as a birth photographer. A well-edited collection enhances the overall impact of your work, so pay close attention to this without fail.

7. Building a portfolio and marketing

As a new birth photographer, building a compelling portfolio is essential for attracting clients. It is beneficial to pick up a few pro bono clients you can work closely with to get practical experience while having some images to add to your portfolio.

When marketing your services, be sure to leverage social media platforms and a professional website to showcase your work and even share testimonials from happy clients you have worked with. Effective marketing of your services is an ongoing process that you have to master without any compromise.


Embarking on a journey as a birth photographer is hands down one of the most unique and fulfilling experiences you can get on. As a new birth photographer, one factor you need to remember is to approach each birth with empathy, sensitivity, and a commitment to preserving the profound moments of new life. The rest falls on the technicalities and the skills that you have.

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