It's time to do your homework.
Anyone can buy a camera, take an online class and call themselves a "photographer". And truthfully we all must start somewhere. But this isn't a moment in your life I would take that gamble. There are no do-overs in birth photography. No "getting back in the dress, and cutting the cake again" if you catch my drift. Birth photographers are notorious for having to work in difficult conditions: challenging/low light situations, a moving, fluid environment of nurses and medical professionals, the unpredictability of birth itself is a challenge. At any given moment in the day we have to be prepared for plan B, 3 steps ahead of what is actually happening.
Here are some things to consider/ask/look for when hiring a professional birth photographer:
- Do they have a business license?
- Are they insured, or do they have proof of liability insurance?
- REVIEWS! Check reviews on Google, Facebook, search their full name and see if they're in good standing with the BBB should they have an account.
- Check their personal page and social media accounts. As a birth photographer we have to live a responsible lifestyle. We are on-call just like doctors, and drinking/partying can be worrisome. You need to know this person will be fresh on the job when you call them at any given time.
- Word of mouth is a big one, ask around if anyone has heard of positive or negative experiences with that person.
- Find out how knowledgeable they are about childbirth and labor. Having someone medically informed can make a huge difference in your overall experience.
- Once you think you've found someone, ask how many births they have been present for.
- Ask how long they have been in business.
- Ask your doctor or care provider if they have any experience with that photographer, if they come recommended.
- Look at their work, is it consistent? Do they have several editing styles, jumping all over the place, or is it a coherent portfolio of work.
- Again looking at their work, have they grown as a photographer? Are their photos now, better than when they started? Are they taking steps to hone their craft?
- You should always be entitled to an in person consult before paying a deposit. I can't stress enough how important it is for you to feel comfortable with your photographer, and vice vera, a photographer needs to feel that you are also a good fit for them.