Why Birth Story Photography?

May I first start with a confession?

I had no idea birth story photography even existed until my friend Megan pointed me to a birth photography giveaway by my {now} friend Erin Tegeler. Just so happened, entering my name in the comment section of her giveaway landed me a new passion and career focus.

After delivering my first two daughters, I wished I had photos of their stories of entry to the world. On a very personal level, their births were some of the greatest days of my life and each a story of struggle, love, and triumph. I felt treasured and cared for in the arms of my husband as we worked together to bring our baby daughters in the world, and I wanted to see it.

Enter pregnancy #3, a giveaway, and the meeting of my new friend Erin.

Because I’d never so much as peeked at birth photography before, I gave Erin strict instructions to stay at my head because the last image I ever wanted to see was a crowning baby (actually, because of my role as doula/photographer now – I wish I’d lifted that regulation, but ah well). Also, because JD and I worked as a team in the past and those first hours of early active labor are important to establishing a rhythm, I was nervous about having another person in the room. As it were, she gave up an entire day for a false alarm and then made her way to the hospital from Hood River (105 miles away) just as we got into the hospital. Erin was more than happy to accommodate my wishes about not photographing from where the midwife stands and her presence was incredibly encouraging and calming.

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Erin Tegeler Photography

I tell you about that portion of my experience to tell you this:

Birth photography can be what you make it. Even with my own preferences for privacy, Erin told our birth story beautifully with her camera. It wasn’t weird, the pictures aren’t gross, and I’m incredibly grateful for the documentation of our daughter’s birth.

In fact, they are the images I look at most (for more of my daughter’s birth story in photos, click here).

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Erin Tegeler Photography
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Erin Tegeler Photography

The birth of your baby, no matter how that baby enters the world, is one of the most unforgettable experiences a person can have. I’ve seen birth photos of adoptions, Cesarean sections, surrogate mothers, hospital births and home births. Birth is a miracle worth documenting.

Annie Groves Photography
Annie Groves Photography
Annie Groves Photography

A word about the photography and photographers:

A good birth photographer will give you plenty of space and privacy throughout your labor and delivery. I hardly knew Erin was there while I worked through contractions. Because I often work the doula/photographer combo, my roles have been slightly more hands on, but when I am hired to be the photographer only, I maintain “fly on the wall” status.

Birth photographers document births because they love it. They are extremely comfortable in the delivery room, usually know a ton about birth and are excited to share your story through their lens. Dollar per hour, birth photographers rarely earn what they’re worth. When I book a birth, I know I am on-call 24/7 for two weeks prior to their due date and usually up to two weeks after. That’s nearly a month of creating “if this, then that” scenarios with childcare, other shoots, and normal life. Births are rarely speedy and they are always unpredictable. I’ve attended a 30 hour birth because I was scared to leave for fear of missing the delivery. I currently charge $500 for a birth (including images), because 1) my time becomes your time, 2) I need to make a profit in order to justify putting my family on hold for a birth and 3) I believe birth photography is a worthwhile investment.

From the mouths of moms:

I asked a few of the women I’ve photographed to share their experiences in a short testimonial…

Having birth pictures taken turned out to be such a blessing. I’m able to relive the precious moments of meeting my son every day. And since it all happens too quickly, I know without those pictures it would only be little memories here and there that I would have with me. – Claudia Tribby

Annie Groves Photography

I loved having a birth photographer because giving birth was the most memorable and powerful experience in our lives. With a professional photographer, every moment, kiss, breath, and emotion is preserved in each and every photo. She captured moments I wouldn’t ever be able to remember. It makes the whole experience of labor and birth that much more magical. – Ashley Peterson

Annie Groves Photography

It’s about the moments!  Birth is such an honest experience & everything that I said & did as a laboring woman was instinctual & unplanned.  These moments cannot be staged.  Seeing pictures of my husband holding my hand, massaging my back & then smiling at our new little girl makes me fall in love over & over again.  Annie caught the moments & I will forever have the memories of how are family grew that day. – Renee Faville.

Annie Groves Photography

Worth every penny! – Natalie Janney

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Annie Groves Photography

Birth photography really is about the story. The story of the day your baby is born.

Annie Groves Photography
Annie Groves Photography