Hi friends and welcome to another episode of From Better Half to Boss. I am your host, Tavia Redburn, and I am bringing on one of my students inside of The Beauty in Birth® Photography Course and Certification. Her story is absolutely incredible in what she was able to accomplish, with 2 small children at home, in her birth photography business since October, and at the recording of this, it is May, so it has been about seven months and I’m going to let her tell you for herself, but she was able to find birth photography clients in an area where people didn’t really know what birth photography was and in a low-income area, and in an area where she was able to raise her prices going from $0 to $1,800 per birth in seven months.
She is booked through the rest of the year. She went from kind of unsure how to shoot in manual to becoming a certified birth photographer in six months, and she’s also sharing one simple way that she was able to get five birth photography clients. So listen in for that.
Kc Ortega is an award-winning New Mexico birth photographer, a championship a KC Labrador breeder, mom of two toddlers and a wife. This is kind of a longer episode, but I know you’re going love it. Let’s hear from my guest, Kc!
Tavia: Kc, welcome to the podcast. I am so excited to get to chat with you and have you share your incredible story with everyone!
KC: Hi! Thank you for having me. I’m super excited and this is literally a dream come true to be on a podcast with my own business.
Tavia: Before we get into your story, can you tell me a little bit about yourself, where you’re located, who you serve, all that good stuff?
KC: I’m Kc. I live in Bosque Farms, New Mexico. Originally born and raised in Gallup, New Mexico, about two hours away. People know New Mexico as like the Balloon Fiesta October era – very beautiful. I am a stay-at-home mom of two kiddos: I have a three-year-old son, and a one-year-old daughter, who is extremely feisty. Send all the good vibes my way!
I’m also an owner of my own photography business, New Mexico Birth Photography. I started in October of 2022. Purchased the course. I kind of did things backwards a little bit and kind of just dove deep into it.
Before that, I was a third grade teacher for three years in Gallup. Pandemic hit. I got pregnant and decided I need to stay home with my babies. So I’ve been doing that for a good three years and decided that photography was the way that I wanted to go. And then quickly realized I wanted to specialize in birth photography. It has been an amazing adventure!
Me and my husband also own a KC dog breeding business for Labradors. So we have two black labs, Zora and Ella, a white lab, Aspen, and a red fox lab, Opie. So it’s been just a crazy adventure the last couple years – it’s been insane!
I’m also an affiliated photographer with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. It is a huge reason. It’s my why. I don’t know if you know much about it, but those listening, it is a non-profit organization that gives free photography portraiture of babies who have gone to heaven. And so my job in the organization is to get called to these births and photograph these special moments for families and give them black and white portraiture to remember their sweet little babies forever.
Tavia: That’s incredible! Thank you so much for doing that, because I know that what a massive gift that is. I know people and friends, personally, who have experienced infant loss and use Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, and so that’s such an awesome gift that you’re giving those families. I didn’t know you did that, so thanks for doing that.
Getting into Birth Photography
Tavia: That’s awesome! So you’re a teacher, you decide to leave the classroom, you start to pursue photography, and then you niched down to birth. What was that like?
Because I think a lot of people listening to this can identify with, “I think I want to get into photography.” And they hear people always talking about choosing a niche. And you know, it’s hard to narrow it down. What made you want to get into birth specifically? Did something happen?
KC: So I think birth, in general, has always been my calling. Since I was itty bitty, I had always dreamed of being a mama. I have, since I could remember, just imagine being pregnant with a belly and starting a family. Maybe the typical little girl having that big family.
And so when I got pregnant, it was everything I dreamed of. I started getting that big belly bump, feeling baby move, and it was just so dreamy. Did all of the research – everything pregnancy, everything postpartum, birth, different positions. And so I felt going into this, I was extremely prepared.
I was not.
And I realized I took my trusty Canon T1 at the time to my birth and had a nurse photograph my birth. And so we got those crowning shots. We got baby latching, my son latching. And quickly I realized that after birth, me and my husband were talking, and we were not on the same page about events.
I was like, “No, it happened like this and this and this.” And he’s like, “No, babe, you were in so much pain. That’s not accurate at all.” And so I used my photography and my images that I got from my birth to kind of piece things together.
And still to this day, I don’t remember what happened in my birth.
And so again, a year and a half later, I had my daughter. Same thing. I think just the adrenaline and the atmosphere in your own mind that you don’t realize what’s going on.
So I quickly realized that I want to be the photographer that gives those parents a full story from beginning to end.
And they can remember, through my photography, what their birth was like. And to be able to talk them through and walk them through, so they’re not worried about it, they’re not focusing about it. They can have that conversation with me, they can have those images, and they remember what their birth was like.
Tavia: So it’s kind of like something that you didn’t have, right? You did a little bit, but you didn’t have the birth photographer there, but it’s like whenever you were looking back at those images, you were able to piece things together.
KC: And it’s such a crucial like time. You can’t go back. You can’t relive that. It’s a one and done thing. So after talking to my mom and talking to my sisters and friends who’ve had babies, I felt like it was a very similar experience, where they talked to me about their birthing experience and like the spouse interrupts, but I was like, “Oh yeah, but you remember that.”
And so I want to really be able to just give that to families because it’s a one and done thing. Of course, you’ll have other kids, but that experience, you can’t go back.
So it was just crucial for me, it was such an important part of me wanting to be a mom, wanting to experience birth, and then not remembering it. I just definitely just want to give families that sense of peace of “I remember my birth,” whether it was hard, whether it was easy, whether it was blissful or traumatizing.
I want them to remember the day that their baby was born and to look back on that for many years and be able to show them and their grandkids and what this beautiful life is.
Tavia: So good. So you’re getting into birth photography and you have this passion for it, but was there anything that made you not want to specialize in births?
Tavia: Nothing held you back? The on-call side, the low-light situations, the dark hospital rooms, clients overlapping, interfering with life – none of that?
KC: No, honestly, I have such a great support system. I have my husband, whose schedule is phenomenal. He works Sunday through Wednesday, and then Thursday to Saturday, he’s off. So I have three days of day care. My mom lives five minutes away. My mother-in-law lives two minutes away. So I had everything in my favor to start this.
If I had to say, one thing would probably be flash. Flash is its own topic. I think when I was like five years old, I wanted to become a gynecologist. Birth is so beautiful to me, so it was never a question.
It was definitely a certainty in me and when I started it, it just felt whole. I felt like I was doing something where I felt complete. And like I go back to teaching and I love it. I love the families. I love the kids. I love teaching. It’s wholesome, but birth is my calling.
I love stepping into that birth space and just getting the energy and the vibes and being able to get that camera out and document this journey for the parents. It’s such a beautiful, wholesome feeling.
How would you know if Birth Photography is for you?
Tavia: Yeah, and trying, it’s the best way to really know, right? Do a few for yourself and see because I think that anybody who’s a birth photographer right now, or has been a birth photographer longer than one or two births, there definitely is a passion element to where you photograph your first birth and you’re just like, “Oh my gosh, if I could only do this to make money the rest of my life, this is what I would want to do.”
And I do think that that passion element is important because in any kind of birth work, you could make money doing it, but it’s definitely not why people get into it.
KC: And it’s definitely hard, finding that childcare. It’s easy for me, but I feel like I’m the 2% where I have childcare constantly. If I need it, I have the support and some people don’t. And so just even taking that into consideration:
- Do I have that support?
- Am I able to provide my clients with the best services?
- Am I going to show up to their birth? Am I certain I can show up to their birth?
- And just knowing that this is an on-call life, can you commit to it?
I feel like I’ve had people come to me and I’ve had this conversation with them and they’re like, “I didn’t realize it was all of that. I didn’t realize I had to be on call for four weeks. I thought it was, they call me and they let me know.”
And when I tell them, “Well, you can’t go to that lake vacation or there’s just some things that you’re going to be missing out on your life, kids’ events.” I see some people kind of just pull away and they’re like, “Well, maybe later, but it’s not the right time now.”
There’s just so much that goes into specifically birth photography that a lot of people are unaware of and it’s a lot to take into consideration.
Before joining The Beauty in Birth® Photography Course and Certification
Tavia: Yeah, for sure. So what would you say your business was like before joining the course and the certification? As I mentioned in the intro, you’re a certified birth photographer, which means that you’ve gone through the entire course, all the material you’ve taken, the assessment you’ve completed, the galleries, all that good stuff. But before any of that, what was it like? What were you trying to figure out? What were your struggles? What were you hoping you could achieve as a birth photographer?
Let’s go back to October 2022, which by the way, was not even a full year ago. So your progress has been incredible in such a short amount of time!
KC: So I feel I did things backwards. I hadn’t even purchased my camera yet and I bought your course before that knowing I wanted to make sure that birth photography was what I wanted to do.
And so, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep kind of had a factor in that where I was going to these calls, I was in the hospital setting. I loved the families. I loved working with these sweet little babies. And so, it was kind of in the back of my mind already, but I needed clarification so I bought the course.
I went into unit one and 30 minutes in I’m like, “I’m going to do this. This is something I love. This is passion.” And it started talking about the business side of things, which scared me a little bit.
But I initially bought the course to make sure that’s what I wanted to do, and then I purchased all my equipment because I wasn’t going to drop five grand on everything and not be sure.
And so going back to October, I was just educating myself and making sure this was the right choice for myself, for my family, for my kids. Having that internal struggle of going back to a steady income and being a teacher or taking a leap of faith and seeing where birth photography lands me, especially here in New Mexico, where I didn’t know what the market looked like. I know that a lot of the Native American culture here frowned upon birth photography. It’s something very sacred and special and you don’t share that type of stuff.
And so I was kind of just stepping into mud. I don’t know where this is going to go. But I feel like with educating my community and the women and families, that this is something that could totally take off, and it has!
So literally, I take a step back and I look at myself in October and I was terrified. I was lost. And taking your course, it just really helped me because it was so black and white. It was easy to understand. It was solidifying my feelings that this is something that I want to do.
And so I took the leap of faith and I bought the camera and I bought the lenses, and here I am a couple months later loving what I’m doing.
Getting Your First Few Births
Tavia: That’s incredible. How many births have you photographed at this point in 6 or 7 months?
KC: I have photographed going on 9!
Tavia: Wow! So what’s your secret? Because the big thing that I always hear from photographers is how to get those first few clients. Can you talk a little bit about that?
KC: So the first three that I did – most would say, don’t do this, but I did – I ended up doing my three births for free.
I just felt, because birth photography isn’t really well known in New Mexico, to get my name out there. We are a very low income area. All the schools here are on a free reduced lunch. People can’t afford it, essentially. And so I gave the opportunity to those mamas, who can’t afford it that wanted a birth photographer, to offer my services for free.
So what I had done to ensure that I can photograph their birth was did a $100 retainer fee.
And so I told them that as long as I photographed their birth, and were allowed to share images for my portfolio, that they would get that $100 back. So in reality, it really was a $100, or it really was a free birth.
And then after that, I started posting images. I started educating and inquiries just started rolling in.
So, I know a lot of people say to get something out of it. And I felt like for my community and my area, that wasn’t the right thing to do. Then I started slowly started to see that people can’t afford it. If you want it, they’re going to pay for it. It is a luxury item.
And I’ve had the bad side where people are like, “You’re ripping people off. You can’t be doing this – $1,800 for photography? This is ridiculous. I could have my mom do it.” And so literally you have the two opposite ends of the spectrum where people are like, “I find it insane” and “I am absolutely loving it.”
Where I had a mama who reached out and was like, “Hey, I would love to hire you.” Didn’t ask questions. She wanted me for a maternity, she wanted me for birth, fresh 48, newborn, and one year old images. And within 48 hours, she sent me this massive check and she trusted me and I had a conversation with her of like, “Why did you book me?” And she’s like, “Oh, I saw your portfolio and I knew that’s exactly what I wanted.”
And so it’s just getting those first few are super crucial to start your business to make sure, because if they’re not great images, people aren’t going to hire you.
Tavia: Okay, there’s like 5,000 things in that conversation that I want to address because it was so good. So I think that when you were talking about doing those first few births for free, one of the things that I always tell students the reason not to do that is because people will bail on you, and when you pay money, you pay attention. So it’s the same reason that it’s why I recommend charging something, which you did, you just gave it back to them.
I think that, to me, that makes a lot of sense, and that’s perfect because it’s like if I’m going to be on call for you, come to your birth, all of this stuff, and then you’re like, “No, I’m not going to sign a model release,” I just wasted my time. Everybody’s time, right? Because the whole point of this was for me to be able to share the images.
And so I think that charging something and then being like, “Hey, once I actually photograph this birth, I’m going to give you your money back,” is super, super smart if you’re somebody who’s like, “I don’t want to charge money.”
I love that in this short amount of time, you’ve come to the realization that no matter what area you live in, when people want something, they’ll figure out a way to pay for it. And so it it started as, “Oh, low-income area. People aren’t going to pay for this,” to now, probably the biggest check that you’ve ever gotten in your photography business because somebody saw your portfolio and liked your work, right? Which is such an incredible feeling, I’m sure!
KC: Yes, I am just shocked! I still talk to my husband about this and I’m like, “It is insane that people are coming to me and saying, ‘Hey, I saw your portfolio and I want to hire you.’” Just like that line alone, people love my work, they’re looking at it and they want to pay money for something that I have dedicated myself to.
It is insane that people are coming to me and saying, ‘Hey, I saw your portfolio and I want to hire you.’” People love my work. They’re looking at it and they want to pay money for something that I have dedicated myself to.
It is such an insane feeling and it is so solidifying to know that people love what I am providing. It’s incredible!
Tavia: Yeah, it’s insane! And you didn’t even have a camera before October.
KC: So I had a Canon T1, which I got when I was I think 14 or 15 years old from my dad. And I gradually updated my lens. But literally, would take pictures of my kids here and there. That’s what I used for my birth in 2020 and 2021. Quality is terrible and literally got a Sony A73 in October, spent the money on it, ended up buying a 35 millimeter 1.4 – best investment ever – and just the quality everything has was such a game changer. It’s crazy.
Tavia: So whenever you said you hadn’t bought a camera yet, you did have a camera. I was imagining you like picking up a camera for the first time in October. And so that’s not true.
KC: Well, I would consider it my first time because I shot an auto. I didn’t know anything about aperture. I didn’t know anything about shutter speed. I didn’t know anything about ISO – nothing at all. And so, literally had my Canon for, I would say, 10 years on auto. I was uploading my images on the Apple software where I just picked a filter. I didn’t even know about Photoshop or Lightroom, nothing.
And so come October, I actually got a good camera and I actually learned how to use manual and I’m learning how to cull my images and I felt like I was literally a starter. I think anyone could pick up a camera and shoot in auto, that that’s easy to do. But when you focus on manual and really editing and making this a career, I started from square one. I had no clue what I was doing, and literally just educated myself in videos and books and just put my nose into it and educated myself endlessly.
On Birth Photography Pricing
Tavia: I love it! Let’s go back to getting your first three clients. So you did those first three for $100 refundable deposit. What did it look like for your next six that you’ve done for people that are listening to this and they’re like, “Okay, I like the idea of maybe the refundable deposit.”
People were reaching out to you, how were you pricing that? What were you thinking as you were building your portfolio that way, or were you not even looking at as building your portfolio? You’re like, “I’ve done that. Now I’m charging $1,800.”
KC: No, I definitely started off very wary and cautious.
So the first three were for free, did that a hundred dollar deposit, gave it back to them. And then I think my next three or four I priced at $899, kind of just testing the waters because I didn’t have anyone in my area. There was one birth photographer that I reached out to, but we never talked about pricing.
And so I went up to $899 and realized it’s still working. People aren’t questioning me. They’re just giving me my money. So in my mind I was like, I am on the lower end because they would prefer to hire me because of my prices. And that’s not, it’s a good thing, in a way, because I’m getting clients, but I’m also realizing I’m busting my butt and I am editing for hours on end and I’m not getting anything out of it, or at least not much out of it.
And so I ended up raising my prices for two more births to $1,500 and inquiry started to slow down a little bit. So I saw this shift but I was still getting people, and people are still giving me money.
Then I raised my prices to $1,899, and that’s when things kind of just plateaued. I still have these people reaching out. They ask me about services, I tell them, and it’s either a yes or a no.
So I felt like I’m in a very comfortable spot where I’m getting inquiries. I am booking people, but it’s worth my time. It’s worth my energy.
And I’m not just filling up my books and stressed and tired from editing and all these births, like it’s, it’s finally paying off and I’m in a good spot.
Tavia: I love that. You said finally, whenever it’s been, since October, all that you’ve accomplished in such a short time. I just want to like keep bringing people back to what’s possible in such a short amount of time to go from, “I have no idea how to shoot in manual mode. What camera do I buy?” to “Now I’m charging $1,800 a birth and at a good, comfortable place where I’m booking one to two a month and happy with that.”
KC: Yeah! And it’s so incredible! So I think, obviously, I’m there – and this is kind of an internal struggle with myself – is like, I want to be charging at least $2,000-$2,500, offering these great packages. But I want to get that experience in, I say I’m on my ninth birth and that it’s a ton in such a short amount of time.
But I know for myself, if I hired a birth photographer, I couldn’t see myself paying $2,500 for someone who’s only been doing this for six months. And so I want to make sure that I’m giving my clients the experience along with the professionalism, just everything put together. So I think my business plan is to look at this again at a year mark, and we’re coming up on that really quick and to see what my prices look like and hopefully raise it to be able to do this full-time to support my family, to support my kids’ college. Just everything. Because with $1,800, it’s not going to do that. But I need, I feel like for myself, to have that experience behind me before I am doing that to people in my community. I’m experienced. I have worked my butt off for this and I’m only like six months in. So I’m still new. I’m still a baby photographer.
Tavia: So what was that like though? What was going on in your head with that jump from $899 to $1,500? Because I very clearly remember charging over $1,000, making that jump. My jump was like $850 to $1,250, and I felt like, “Well, this is the end of my career. No one’s going to book me now because I’m over a thousand dollars.”
But because I was so booked for so many months, I was like, “Well, eh, I’ll give it a shot.” Sounds like you have a much healthier money mindset than I did because I was like, this is over. Forget it. No one’s going to pay this. So you made it sound so simple like what was going on in your head?
KC: I felt like that to a point because of inquiries slowed down. When I tell you, my inbox was full of inquiries, coming from my website, of birth photography, it was insane. And so as soon as I upped that price, it probably cut in half. And so I was like, “Oh, did I make a mistake? What happened?”
And then I realized that, “Hey, people that have the money or it’s that important to them,” because I do offer payment plans for families that they’re going to pay for my services.
And so I wasn’t getting as many, and I would say I’m not even booking as many, because I’m out until, I would say, December of this year. But it slowed down and that was scary. I talked to my husband, “I don’t know if I made the right choice, but I’m going to kick myself in the butt lowering prices now.”
And people are going to be like, “Oh, you’re not confident in yourself.” And so I definitely did not lower my prices again. I just shot more births and got that experience and started posting more and getting the word out about birth photography, so that people realize, especially on-call time in itself is worth a thousand bucks. And not even looking at the editing side.
It was a huge jump and it was scary. And once I saw those inquiries drop, I was like, “I messed up, and people were still paying me.” So it really solidified my mindset of like, “Hey, the people that are here, that want it, that can afford it, or it’s important to them, they’re going to come to me.” And they have been.
Tavia: Did you say that you’re booked out through December-ish?
KC: I have at least one birth per month, except for I think August. But I have a huge wedding that month that I’m going to be, that’s going to be taking income for that. But I have at least one birth booked per month in this year, which is huge.
Tavia: Wow! So good.
With the price increase, so really you’ve booked more like 14, 15 births since October. You haven’t photographed that many, but you’ve booked that many with the price increases on all of that?
KC: Yes. It’s insane. It’s a dream come true. It’s amazing.
The Beauty in Birth® Experience
Tavia: That’s amazing! So what would you say, for people who are listening to this and they’re not in the course, what has the experience been like for you? What do you think that you have learned that has been really helpful takeaways for you that you would want to share for somebody who’s thinking about it, but not in it yet?
KC: Everything. But really, starting from the beginning, business. I come from a family, my dad works at a college. My mom works in the school system. There has never been a self-employed model in my life. And so taking that huge leap was terrifying. I didn’t know where to go. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what an LLC was, none of that. And so getting into that first module already had educated me on doing things right, making sure that I’m taxing and just not digging myself in a hole with the government or with a state, that alone was worth the money.
So I know that I am doing things right for my business, for my family, getting insured – that was all in the course.
Technical Aspect of Photography
KC: And then more so if you’re a beginner and you don’t know what to do with your camera, the course offers you everything. I mean, you’re going to have to educate yourself, but everything from what a DSLR is to a mirrorless camera, to having different cards or SD cards, flash, manual mode – everything.
So like if you think you want to do photography in general, I would even recommend this to a person who doesn’t want to do birth photography, but who wants to open up their own photography business because it literally starts from business to “this is what you need in your backpack” to culling images after and editing, and you have a business plan.
It’s not just, “Hey, this is birth photography. This is how to start your business and how to be successful at it.”
Hard Work Pays Off
Tavia: Awesome. So I think we’ve already kind of talked about your results and experience and all of that, which has been super incredible. And so I would love to know, how you’re feeling about your business now? Thinking about Kc from October, was this within her realm of possibility that this could be May 2023 and what does that make possible for the rest of your year?
KC: I didn’t think that I’d be booked out. That is insane to me. It is crazy. Especially in such a short period of time. My biggest concern was just the area that I live in, New Mexico. The way birth is looked at in our area, and it’s been a generational thing for so many years, and having that internal struggle of, “Can I overcome this? Can I get people to see the beauty in birth?”
But literally just that it’s not taboo. That it’s not hard. That it might be painful, but it’s so much more than that. And I think the conversations that I’ve had with people in my community, even men, some people are like, “Oh, what do you do?” “Well, I’m a birth photographer.” And just starting that conversation and seeing their eyes light up of like, “Oh, I didn’t even know this was a thing. How beautiful.”
I think, just in New Mexico, it’s not well known. And so finally being able to get that word out has been phenomenal. Just the conversations that I’ve had with clients and people in my community, elders, it’s like you can slowly see with each conversation, this little gear turning of like ‘I didn’t even know that was a thing’ and getting the word out.
And I think that’s what’s helped just book so far out is just, because it’s such taboo here where it’s gross, it’s hard, it’s bloody, you want to see the after, you want to see that baby and all those cuddles, but what about in the moment of birth?
And so really coming back to October, I know that I’ve come a long way, but I’ve also busted my butt. I don’t think this would be possible if I was kind of just slacking and going just very casual. I can’t even tell you if I looked at my YouTube history of birth videos and photography and manual mode, I put in the work, but I knew what my passion was and I’ve made it happen.
Tavia: That’s such a good point. There’s sometimes people who are just like course collectors, who just buy courses and do nothing with them. And I always say you can buy this course, but if you don’t do anything with it, it’s not going to serve you.
It’s the same thing. You could have bought the course and done nothing with it, never logged in and been like, “Why isn’t my birth photography business growing? I can’t seem to learn birth photography.”
Well, you have to get in there and do the work every single day and practice and show up to the calls, which you do, right? Get your images critiqued and learn from that and keep going and fall and get back up.
It just seems like you condensed that shorter than a lot of people do. But it’s the same process.
Whether it takes you six months or six years, you have to put in the work. You can’t just buy a camera and a course and expect magical things to happen.
KC: And I think it’s important that you mentioned that too, because myself, I’m a mom, and so I could have moved through this course heck of a lot quicker, but my kids are important to me, and so I had to take a step back for a week or go on a family vacation or go visit my parent. Family’s my everything. And so of course I could have probably finished this course, I would say probably in a month, realistically, but life happens.
And so that’s what’s great about the course is it’s self-paced. And if it means I look at it like my clients, if they want to book me, they’ll find the money to do so, whether it’s through a payment plan or paying in full or putting that on a credit card. If it’s important to you, you’re going to get it.
And so I look at that as, the course and even my business, is if this is important to me, I’m going to find the money.
It took me a little longer than I would’ve liked, but it was probably for a good reason because I get to watch my kids grow up. I get to be there for their events, during the course at least. And so, if you are a mama who’s struggling to find that time, it’s self-paced. you can log in at night, you can log in early in the mornings, you can take a couple months to do it. You could take a couple years. But put in the work, put in the effort, and put in the time and you’re going to see results. You’re not going to see results sitting on your bike, not logging in or doing anything.
How being a Certified Birth Photographer Impacted Your Business
Tavia: So since you’ve become certified, has this had any kind of effect on your business, on your bookings, on your confidence?
KC: Yeah! I’ve actually had two people reach out to me this week and were very honest, very open with me. “I’m considering hiring you as a birth photographer, but I want to be transparent and let you know that I’ve reached out to other birth photographers. However, I see that you are certified.”
So even that in itself, they’re seeing that certification and they’re asking about it and they want to know what the difference between me being certified is versus someone who isn’t certified. And so that in itself, people are seeing it. One of the two, one hasn’t gone back to me, but one of the two has booked me because I am certified.
Tavia: That’s incredible. So how are you putting out the word that you’re certified? Are they seeing it on your website? Are you talking about it on social?
KC: Yeah, so I’ve posted a couple things on Facebook, on Instagram. I have put the birth certification logo on my website. And so when people go in there, especially likely about me, I am a certified birth photographer. That’s the first thing you read when you go to my website.
When I talk to people in my community, “Hey, I’m a certified birth photographer.” “Oh, well what is that?” I don’t leave that out of a sentence. When I’m talking about my career, I make sure to include, “I am certified,” and usually with conversations, people ask about it. Well, what does it mean?
Do I have to be certified to be a birth photographer? No, but it’s going to help you tremendously in your business. It’s going to help your confidence. You are going to know to expect the unexpected. You’re going to know everything about your camera, your gear you’re taking, how to edit – it is everything to be a successful birth photographer and to have that confidence to provide those services for my clients.
Tavia: I love that you don’t just say, “I’m a birth photographer.” You say, “I’m a certified birth photographer,” because that gets people asking you about it. That is super, super smart.
I think that if we have students listening to this who aren’t certified yet, I think even saying, “I’m training to become a certified birth photographer” is valuable because then they know you’re taking this seriously and that shows them that you’re taking their family and the experience seriously too.
And you know what’s so interesting to me? Because you would never hire a doula that wasn’t certified, right? Like being a certified doula, you don’t even say certified because it’s just like normal. And I think that we’re starting to see that more with birth photographers.
It’s starting to almost become like a pre-requisite. And so at this point, those that are certified like you, Kc, is cutting edge. It’s like, “Oh wow, you’re certified.” You know, it’s like a unique thing, but it’s normal for anybody else that’s in the birth space. It’s just kind of interesting.
KC: Well, like want to mention too that just even being, like you said, training, “I’m training to be a certified birth photographer,” helped me book two births.
And so if you are listening to this and you’re not certified yet, post on that Facebook post or talk to people and say, “Hey, I am in this education course and I am aiming to be a certified birth photographer, and I need this under my belt.” I think that alone helps you book births because people want, at least in my experience, people want to help. People want you to succeed. People want to see good things coming.
And so if you’re in an education course, people want to see the outcome of that. And so telling and posting about this certification in progress, I think people are like, “Oh, it’s probably going to be discounted. They’re learning how to be a photographer,” and people want to be a part of the change. And so I felt, at least for myself, that did help me book a couple births letting people know that I was in training.
A Message to Birth Photography Beginners
Tavia: Awesome! So if somebody’s listening to this and they’re kind of like new in birth photography, they want to get into birth photography, but they’re struggling with confidence, they don’t know how to get their first few clients, what would you suggest?
KC: So I probably don’t have a typical response for this, but I’m going to be honest, and I’m going to be completely transparent. You have to educate yourself before stepping foot into a birth space. And more so, you could go into a birth on full auto, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the safety of mom, the safety of yourself, of the baby, the medical staff. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about right now, you’re probably not ready to step into that birth space.
There’s just so much that goes into birth photography and the course literally was just eye-opening to me instead of just walking into that space of literally, you know, mom’s IVs on this side. So this is her. This is her lifeline to medication. So I’m going to be over here like just those tiny, small things of like reading the room and, “Okay, I see an emergency happening, you know, baby heartbeats dropping a little bit.” Am I going to be photographing that? No, probably not, because mom’s now concerned, dad’s worried about mom, and baby doctors are trying to speed things up. You have to be educated.
And so, I’m not trying to discourage you saying, “Hey, no, don’t go do that birth. Don’t go do your first birth.”
Your client deserves professionalism and they deserve you knowing what you’re doing to keep everybody safe.
And so buy the course, whatever you need to do to step into birth photography and in a birth setting safely, do it, but do it safely.
Tavia: Yeah, that’s really good advice for sure. Because it is a serious thing and you know, it’s not to say that you should overthink it and paralyze yourself in fear and “I don’t know enough yet,” because you can swing too far the other direction where you’re overthinking it and trying to be a perfectionist, but it is a serious thing.
And it’s different than getting started as a family photographer, right? Because there’s a lot of things going on and there’s things that could go wrong. And so I love that. I think that’s really unique advice.
KC: I would say go for it, do it, but make sure that you’re educated for yourself, for your family’s liability is huge. Just make sure that you can go in there comfortably and confident.
Message to Past Self
Tavia: Okay, so my last question for you is, if you could go back to Kc in October and tell her something, what would it be?
KC: Yeah, so I would truthfully say nothing. I am a firm believer that everything I put into my life has gradually got me to this moment. Whether it was me dreaming of being a gynecologist at five years old, or being a teacher and working with these families and working towards a goal to having my own children, I feel like everything has stacked on itself to finally be this birth photographer that I am.
And so looking back, telling myself one special thing is like, “Hey, it’s going to be okay. You are going to succeed. It’s going to be hard, but keep pushing forward because everything falls in place if it’s meant to be.” And so far this journey has just been nothing short of amazing.
Tavia: So good. Well, yeah, I mean, I think if I was you looking back at October, I’d be like, yeah, there’s, there’s not much out change.
KC: It’s been great. It’s been such a good journey.
Connect with Kc
Tavia: Where can people connect with you? If somebody’s listening to this and they’re in New Mexico and they want to follow you, where can they find you?
KC: Yeah, so I have a website, it is newmexicobirthphotography.com. I have an extensive portfolio. I do other photography on the side for friends and family. I am mainly a birth photographer who offers services to my clients such as maternity fresh 48 and newborn. But I mainly keep that within my clients who book birth, because birth is my main focus.
I also have a Facebook and an Instagram, New Mexico Birth Photography LLC. That has been probably my biggest struggle in this entire setup is social media algorithms. It has just been a wild ride of the followers and the engagement, and that’s a huge learning curve for me. So that’s what I am focusing these next few months on is just trying to get those engagement up. And so if you are listening to this, go follow me and let’s engage and talk about birth and the beauty of it, and let’s become a community who’s educating people around the world about birth.
Tavia: So good. And yeah, definitely give Kc a follow. Let her know you found her on the podcast.
Kc, thank you so much. This was so valuable for me, and I know for everyone who is listening.
KC: Thank you for having me. It’s been such a pleasure and just taking the course and getting started and everything since October to today that has just been a huge part of my success has been dedicated to you because I could not have done this without you.
And it sounds cliche, but truthfully and wholeheartedly, thank you. I appreciate you and your time, and your dedication to your students and the course and everything that you have provided for us.
Tavia: Thank you so much!