with Courtney Slazinik
6 Tips to Photograph your Baby’s Birth

birth photography tips

Childbirth is nothing short of miraculous.

The one thing that can be said about labor and delivery – no two experiences are exactly alike. For the mom in labor, time passes quickly yet can stand still. Memories are a blur. Contraction. Pain. Contraction. Active labor (or scheduled C section). More Pain. And then, a beautiful little baby.

What happened in between? The birth story.

Can’t hire a professional photographer to document your baby’s birth? Follow these few tips and it will look like you did!

1. Choose the photographer ahead of time. Entrust this very important job to someone who doesn’t have another very important job during your delivery! Don’t expect your doula be be doing double duty.

2. Remember all stories have a beginning, middle and an end. There are pictures to take other than the birth, notice what is happening all around. Don’t forget to capture the details that tell the entire story.

Look at the scene, take a wide shot, one overall picture to give a sense of place. Then start focusing in on the details within that shot.

3. Make sure to get a sense of time and place.
-Take a photo of the clock when labor started or when you arrived at the hospital.
-Take a photo of the dayʼs newspaper, making sure you include the date.
-Document the drive to the hospital.
-Take a picture of the sign for the hospital/birthing center.
-Photograph mom walking in.
-Photograph mom walking the halls.
-Photograph mom hugging birth partner.
-Don’t forget the details. If it’s a home birth, take photo of the home and things within the home. When the baby is born, take another picture of the clock.

4. Photograph the birth from the mom’s perspective. Afterall – it’s her memories that should be captured. Position yourself behind her shoulder. Take a wide shot of what is going on in the room. From this perspective, you see mom and the delivery team – you will be ready for the actual birth shot. Whether it is a natural birth, C-section or hospital delivery, the perspective remains the same, what mom saw (or couldnʼt see) when she was delivering.

Once the baby is born, the story doesn’t end. So much happens after the birth. Follow the baby. This can include shots like mom holding baby for the first time, baby getting cleaned up, a close up of a tiny little hand, a footprint – emotional and raw.

5. Don’t use flash (if possible)! On camera point and shoot flash is the ugliest light known to mankind, it is both annoying and ugly, no one will thank you for it! Try and use available light. If it is daytime, open a blind, let in some sunlight. If it is night, try and use as much ambient light as possible. Sometimes you don’t have a choice, but given the choice, turn your flash off!

6. Be mindful of the rules and don’t obstruct!

Incoporate these tips and you will capture all the moments that will tell the story of your child’s birth. A documentary which captures the beauty and emotion of child birth unique to your experience – a treasure to be cherished for a life time.

Your baby’s birth story.

Read more about birth photography:
8 tips for beautiful birth photography

  • Katie D.
    February 21, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    These are absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately they don’t allow cameras in the OR (I have had 2 breech babies born via c-section), but there are still awesome tips that I will keep in mind for our next baby, leading up to and after the delivery! Now, if only I could be the photographer, because my poor husband can’t even take a decent shot on fully auto… ;)

    • Courtney
      February 21, 2012 at 9:19 AM

      ha ha oh husbands :O) I wonder if that was just your hospital’s policy. My second daughter was breech and had to have a c-section. My husband was allowed to take pictures during her birth and afterwards but not before in the OR. Mmm…something to ask the hospital I guess :O)

  • Trisha
    February 21, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    So great that the mother would share these w the world!

  • Nicole Schuman
    February 21, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Those where really good shots. By merely looking at the photos, I can also feel the labor pains! Thank you for sharing!

  • June 19, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    I have a question:
    when you do birth photography shoots, about how many photos do you end up giving your clients?

    Thank you for your time!

    • June 19, 2014 at 4:49 PM

      Hey Natalie,

      I think it depends on what you capture. I believe I gave my friend between 75-100 images from her son’s birth. Do you best to narrow down as much as possible not to overwhelm them but when it comes to birth photography it’s hard to leave shots out :)

  • Nikita Stone
    August 18, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    All the images are in black and white. I’ve seen some births in color and others in B & W.. Do you as a photographer base which to do on the light available?


    • August 20, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      Yes, I think it depends on the light and what you are going for. I did a birth in all natural light so kept it in color but sometimes a black and white image looks best.

      • Nikita Stone
        August 21, 2014 at 12:45 AM

        Do you have any tips on explaining that to the parents? If the images look better in black and white? Most want color, but I love the black and white! I’ve never done a birth, but I would love to try and see if I would like to do more in the future!

        • August 22, 2014 at 2:56 PM

          I think the key is making sure that if you only want to do B&W birth photos that is all you show on your website. When you site down with your client prior to the birth explain, your style and what they can expect from the edits. Just take the time to educate them and if that is what they are looking for they will hire you :)

  • Teresa
    January 20, 2017 at 10:10 PM

    My daughtet wants me to take photos if my grandson being born, i have. Nikon d3300 what is the best setting for good pictures in a hospital.

  • Brandon J
    April 20, 2018 at 1:36 AM

    I plan on photographing my wife and my baby during birth. What is the general lighting in the birthing suite like. Will I be able to shoot at ISO 200, f16 at 1/250? also how much retouching do you do. maybe just temp and color?

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