I have noticed a trend since I started my birth photography business. I don’t know if it has to do with the way the subject is broached with people, lack of knowledge, or what people see when they look up birth photography, but I have discovered that women are really worried that I’m going to post pictures of their body without their permission. I don’t know who would do something like that but let me be the first to say that I would never do something like that to anyone, let alone a woman who allowed me to be in such an intimate environment with her and her family. I rely heavily on word of mouth pushing my reputation forward in this business and that goes against everything that I am working hard to provide to clients.
First off, let me start off by saying I’m not interested in posting anyone’s privates on the internet. While I personally do not mind showing all the aspects of childbirth myself, that is a choice and I would never make that decision for another person. Every woman has their own comfort level. I have been to several births and each and every single one has been different. However, every single mother had the same concern- that I would post photos of them in a way that they were not comfortable with. In fact, one mother didn’t want me to take pictures of the baby being born at all because she was concerned that I would post them before she saw them. Standing in the room with legs up in stirrups I asked her again if she was sure and when she said she didn’t want them posted I realized what the problem was. I assured her that they were her pictures and I would not post anything without her permission. She was able to get some truly incredible pictures of the birth of her daughter and while I was not able to post them on my portfolio, I was happy tor provide those special photos for her. A different mother almost chose not to have birth photos at all because of modesty. After a long conversation with her and letting her know that I would do whatever she wanted, she changed her mind and again, I believe she was very happy with the photos that she had of her special day.
I want every soon-to-be mother and potential client of mine to know that while this is a business and I do want to post photos of their day (especially in blogs), I would never post them without permission. I have had a contract written up by a lawyer specifically for birth photography and model release. I have three different choices 1) I can post any and all photos from the session- full release, 2) I can post photos but only after they have been viewed and approved by the client- Limited release, and 3) Declined Release- No photos can be used ever. I take my job and their privacy very very seriously and I would never do anything that jeopardized my company in that way. When my first was born (I did not have the same opinion about my bits being shown as I do now- for childbirth ONLY) there were photos that were taken that made it online and to facebook before someone noticed. I’ll be honest when you are spread up in stirrups with a doctor’s hand up your vagina up to her wrist because she’s moving the baby around and someone snaps a photo that winds up on the internet without your permission, you pretty much want to die and also kill the person that posted it. That photo was removed but not before a lot of people saw it. It taught me a valuable lesson about privacy and checking all photos before they are uploaded.
If you want to have birth photography done, make sure you tell your birth photographer exactly what you do and do not want. I have an extensive questionnaire for mommies to fill out and I like to meet at least once with a client before delivery to discuss everything so there are no mix-ups. I never ever post pictures without consent and I always keep track of all the photos I’m told I can post. I am happy to offer my services to any and all moms.