When to Book Birth Photography
So CONGRATULATIONS! You're pregnant! Thus, begins the very long list of daydreams and to-dos . At first it seems like a lifetime away. Then, something special happens. I've noticed that this adjusts with each baby that I have grown, but nevertheless it always happens. What happens exactly? Well, it's over before it ever really felt like it had properly began. Just when you get used to a billion trips to the bathroom and the constant baby hiccups, your little one is here. Suddenly, everything and yet nothing is finished. The clothes might be washed but the diaper bag isn't packed. Or the baby swing is in pieces on the living room floor but the crib mattress still hasn't been delivered.
You know what? YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
This happens to almost every woman that I know. Even the women that somehow manage to have all the big things done usually have something that needs to be finished. It's normal. It happens to everyone. It's nesting. You will never have all your to-dos done because it's just in our nature. We have to complete and start and stop and finish and do all the things before our babies come.
So that leads me to the very question I hear in every consultation. When should you book a birth photographer? Honestly, as soon as you have found the one you'd like to work with, you should get on her schedule.
Our schedules fill quickly. Some mamas have birth photography high on their list that they want to have crossed off and checked. Even now, it's not even October and I'm 98% booked through February.
Why do we book out so quickly?
It's simple. We only have so many bookings a month. For some photographers, that is one client per month. For others, like myself, that is four clients per month. Those are pretty small numbers and YOU WANT THAT. You want it for one big reason. You want your photographer to have the time and energy to spend photographing your birth. We can't go on-call for 20 births a month because it isn't fair to you and it's downright impossible to be on-call for so many. We are small businesses. More often than not, this is a one person show that we are running. If that one person is stretched so thin, then the client will indeed suffer.
Well, I'd rather wait until I am in the second trimester. Is that going to be okay?
Oh, mama. I totally understand. I really do understand wanting to be in the "safe zone" to book. I really think when you feel at peace about booking, that is the best time. A lot of photographers still have openings for your birth even when you reach the 20 week mark. We just can't guarantee that there will be space when you do decide to book.
Probably my biggest piece of advice in booking earlier rather than later is a financial reason.
Birth Photography is most definitely a luxury. It is a worthy investment, but it is a considerable investment nonetheless. The earlier you book, the longer you have to save, budget or make installments on something that you truly want. I can not tell you the times I have had someone reach out at 34-36 weeks only for that sweet mama to learn that 1) I'm booked or 2) they aren't financially able to invest so much so quickly. While I'm always happy to make payment arrangements, the birth fee/retainer is something that I can't take after 36 weeks. You can find more on my blog HERE about it, but living an on-call life is an expensive risk. Childcare, missing important events with my children, paying my backup, the overall time I'm at your birth, drive time to the Louisiana hospitals and areas that I service, editing, and everything else I didn't mention are costly personally and financially as a small business owner. So while I'm happy to help make things as comfortable and easy for you as I can with payment plans, that birth fee/retainer is one that does need to be paid by 36 weeks to ensure I can provide for you the service that I give to every one of my sweet clients.
So down to the nitty gritty, when should I book?
So here is the bottom line. I can't tell you when to book exactly. There really isn't a "Book your birth photographer by 12 weeks" rule out there. I can tell you, you are very much justified in wanting to wait until you feel safe to book someone. You most certainly can book when you feel like financially it is a better time. You can absolutely book the moment you have two pink lines and before you tell you partner your pregnant (I might have had this happen a few times ha ha ha ha). The final thought is that YOU decide when the time is right. I can't guarantee that I will have availability for you when you're 30 weeks pregnant, but I can tell you that as soon as you feel good about booking, that is the time.