Timing the Sessions
It's important to note that "birth" photography doesn't usually mean documenting the actual birth, but instead providing a series of portraits at the hospital or birthing location shortly after the birth. (Many hospitals do not even allow photographers in the delivery room, so be careful about what you promise clients.) Often, photographers try to time these sessions within a few hours of the birth, or perhaps the next day. This differs from the timing of a newborn session, which typically occurs a week to two weeks postpartum.
Packaging the Sessions for Return Visits
The birth sessions fit well into ongoing packages, with display options including collages and albums that can be added to as the child grows. They also serve as another key bonding element to help a photographer establish a stronger relationship with the clients. You can plug such birth sessions into a program that might also include a maternity session, a standard newborn session, and baby portrait sessions at regular intervals.
That's how PPA member Pete Wright, M.Photog.Cr., of PW Photography in Richmond, VA, uses birth sessions: to deepen his relationship with his clients and to add another element to their growing collection of imagery. Pete created a structure that incentivizes clients to return regularly during the maternity period and baby's first year. The ultimate product is an album, and parts of the process include a maternity session, a hospital visit/birth session, a newborn session seven to 10 days later, another early baby session about six weeks after that, and then follow-on baby sessions at six, nine and 12 months.
"The key is that we try to get two or three sessions in, as well as the preview appointments, before the baby hits eight weeks old. That's the honeymoon phase with a new baby when parents are crazy in love with him/her to the point where they'll spend a lot more," says Wright. "We wanted to offer a different option with some incentives to come back in. It makes our customers more proactive about coming back so they can finish their book."
Wright says that his system (which includes birth photography) "trains clients to keep returning at key points in their family's growth, and that process may continue long after they're finished with the baby book. Some keep returning for years as their children grow!"
Is birth photography for you? Do you approach it differently? Share below!
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