Today, I am interviewing six certified birth photographers to find out how they got their first few birth clients, how they got the confidence to charge their worth, plus how to balance being a birth photographer with life, especially when you’re a mom and if you also have a full-time job. So, this episode is a really juicy one if you are a birth photographer or if you are considering specializing in birth, I can’t wait for you to listen!
We have learned a lot this week about How To Become A Confident Photographer with our live training on Monday and Tuesday, as well as all the bonus trainings that we’ve been doing.
In this training, I am going to be introducing you to some certified birth photographers and we’re going to do a little Q & A with some questions that were already submitted. And if you have questions while we’re here live, and you want to ask them, feel free to do that.
The Beauty in Birth Certified Birth Photographers
Jelina: My name is Jelina Sonnenberg and I am a birth photographer in the San Diego area.
Carey: Hi, I’m Carey. I am a birth photographer in Phoenix, Arizona.
Sara: Hi, I’m Sara and I am a birth photographer in Northwest, Arkansas.
Tavia: And Sara is also not terribly far from me and has a little bit of a storm happening in her area. So what we are going to do, I actually have two other lovely ladies that are waiting, so I’m going to bring them on so they can introduce themselves. And then we’re going to get into the questions. Leslie, do you mind introducing yourself?
Leslie: Leslie. I’m a birth photographer in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Tavia: You’re also familiar with tornadoes.
Leslie: Yeah, it’s really yucky out right now.
Tavia: Yeah, I think it’s supposed to head north, but I don’t know if it will head out far north. Brooke, do you mind introducing yourself?
Brooke: Hey, Im Brooke with Mama Bear Photography and I’m in Birmingham, Alabama.
Tavia: Awesome. Okay. So I want to get right into the questions because we have a lot of questions. And like I said, those of you that are here live, you can ask questions and we’re happy to answer them while you’re here live.
What was it like deciding to specialize in Birth Photography?
Tavia: So, Jelina, I want to ask you, what was it like to make the decision to specialize in birth photography? Like, did it feel natural? Did it feel scary? What did that decision feel like?
Jelina: It was actually pretty easy. I started out as a birth and bereavement doula and so photography just kind of organically started to form in my business. And then once I made the decision, it was let’s take everything and just run with it.
Tavia: Awesome. What about you girls? Anybody else?
Brooke: For me it was a pretty easy decision too, you know. I started out doing the marketing and then when I found out about the certification course, I was like, “Oh my gosh, this could be the next thing that gives me my big break.” And it was, I never looked back and I’m so excited that I jumped in when I did.
Tavia: I love it.
Leslie: Yeah. For me, it is pretty easy too. I started as a, just like a generalist photographer in 2014. And then I’ve been obsessed with births since as long as I can remember. So as soon as I knew that birth photography was a thing, I was like, “Oh my God. That’s like my life. That’s what I need to do.” And then it was like two years after that until I actually got my first birth.
Tavia: So there was no hesitation in being on-hold, being on-call and like, what about vacations? But what about my life?
Leslie: Yeah. So the hesitation was there.
Tavia: Yeah. I want to talk about that for sure. Cause I think that’s a really cool thing when you’re able to do birth photography, not only with a full-time job, but as a single mom as well. So we’re for sure going to talk about that.
Any hesitation in specializing Birth Photography?
Tavia: What about you girls, Sara and Carey, when it came to specializing birth photography, did anything stick out to you as like, “Maybe I can’t do this because XYZ…” or was it just like, “No, this is definitely what I want to do.”
Carey: I was afraid of being on-call. So that was like a little bit of a hesitation. I don’t know. When I jumped into it, I was like, “Okay, this is actually not too hard.” I have three kids. So I was just thinking that childcare was like way more extensive than I find it to be because a lot of it’s in the middle of the night. So, that part was a lot less scary once I jumped in.
Sara: I think for me, my personality, I’m an Enneagram One. So I either want to do things all the way or not at all. So that part, I think was scary. Just I knew that if I was going to do it, I wanted to do it really well. Which is one of the reasons that I ended up taking the course, but there also has been nobody in my area that’s really stepping into this space and doing it. And so I saw a huge opportunity there and just decided to go for it. And I knew that I would figure it out along the way. And then I was, “If I was going to do it, I was going to do it,” you know.
Tavia: Jump out of the airplane and build your parachute on the way down. So, but that’s interesting because I know a lot of people are like, “Oh, well, birth photography is not really a thing…like, can I do this in my area?” You know what I mean? So I think that that’s really cool.
What made you decide to join The Beauty in Birth Photography?
Brooke: Well, I started out and like I said before I started out in the Marketing Course. I already knew that you were amazing and guided me through so much already. And then when you came out with the Certification Course, I was like, “There’s no way I can not do this.” So I jumped in and told my husband, I was like, “I need to do this.” It was like, “I don’t just want to, but I need to do it.” And I told him, “This is what’s going to set me apart in the city,” because I live in a big city with lots of people. And I was like, I need this to like set myself apart. And, you know, I made my money back in tenfold that I invested in it. And so the investment wasn’t even like a drop in the bucket compared to where I am now. So it’s been really awesome for me.
Sara: So for me, it was the behind the scenes offer that you gave to us, you know, where we could see you working. And I just saw the value in that and knew that job shadowing is huge in any job. But with photography, we miss out on that so many times just because nobody in our area wants to let us job shadow them because it’s competition. And so whenever you offered that, I was like, “Heck yes,” and just jumped on it. And like, that was my favorite part was being able to see you. Because I was honestly just kind of guessing at it and like, I don’t know if I’m standing in the right spots. I know I’m getting great images, but like, am I doing something that’s making people uncomfortable, specifically in the hospital setting, you know, like how do I navigate this and that sort of thing. So that was just immensely helpful to be able to see you navigate it and know what to say, what not to say, when to speak, and when not to speak that sort of thing.
Carey: I’m going to second that because I’m such a visual person, but just being able to see what’s acceptable, you know, like that was really helpful for me too. But also just like the legitimacy, I felt like I needed something to tell myself that I’m a certified birth photographer. And then just being able to have like that community that, you know, ask questions and stuff and all be kind of starting from similar places was really nice.
What changed in you and in your business after completing the course?
Jelina: I was fairly established before I took the Certification Course. I kind of did what Brooke did. I started in the Marketing Course. And then when you offered the Certification Course, it was like, boom, no brainer let’s do this. But it was nice because I had just upgraded my camera. So I felt like I was starting from the bottom of like, “Oh my gosh, it’s a new camera. I have no clue what I’m doing,” even though I kind of did. So going through it again to make sure that I had all of the foundations correct in knowing my camera inside and out was totally worth it.
Leslie: Yeah. Same here kind of. I’m sort of like jump out of the airplane and, you know, do the parachute on the way down because that’s just my personality. And so I feel like the structure of the course was the best thing for me because it was kind of like, “Oh, I’m just jumping into births and yeah, I know how to use my cameras, finally figured it out on the way. So I think having that structure with that course and being able to go back to the beginning and make sure that the exposure is right and using your flash the proper way and making sure that you’re actually telling a full story. I feel like naturally, like some of that stuff comes to me naturally, but it’s nice to have these structures to make sure that I’m doing what I need to do, but also following kind of the industry standard.
How do you not cry everytime a baby is born?
Sara: The very first birth that I attended, I was bawling, but after that at other births, I have been so focused. I still cry sometimes, but I’ve been so focused on like getting the right shots and everything is happening so quickly that I don’t allow myself to be in my feelings at that moment. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, like cry if you want to cry, but keep taking pictures. But typically when I am back home and I’m editing or putting together videos or something like that, that’s when I’m like, “Oh my gosh, it’s so beautiful.”
If it’s like an intense birth or something traumatic is happening, that’s whenever I have to remind myself to stay composed. You know, this is not about you. But in the moment I also don’t think that there’s anything wrong with just having tears, because it’s a beautiful thing. As long as you’re doing your job and not like distracting anybody sobbing in a corner somewhere.
Tavia: I love that. Okay. We’re playing Ring Around the Rosie again…Jelina, what about you about crying at birth? Like how do you not cry at birth?
Jelina: It’s you just kind of go in like professional mode. You have like, I don’t wanna say blinders on, but you’re so focused on reading the room and what’s going on and what the medical providers are doing. You kinda just like photograph it. And then it’s typically when I, when I leave wherever the birthing person was at and like driving home is when it’ll either hit me or be like–oh, whoa, okay. That’s what happened in the birth, but kind of in the moment, it’s fairly easy to keep everything together.
Tavia: Yeah. I love that. And I think that for me, the more births that you photograph, kind of like what Sara was saying too, you kind of just get into not autopilot, but you’re kind of like, “I’m here for a job.” Like I’m here to do a job, you know what I mean? And you kind of just slip into like what you’re being paid to do and yeah. Then maybe it might hit you later and maybe it doesn’t and that’s okay too, you know, because you don’t see OB-GYNs crying every single birth either. You kind of get to where you appreciate it for what it is, but you just don’t get necessarily get involved like that like you used to. Would you guys agree with that?
How did you get your first client after taking The Beauty in Birth Certification Course?
Carey: I did the Model Call Challenge, which was really successful for me. And then I think just building portfolio on top of that was really just what helped bring my people to me. And I stayed on top of posting on Instagram. I utilize my stories a lot. So being able to engage with everyone back and forth is really helpful in building the community around me and joining it too.
How did you transition out of the Model Call pricing towards full pricing?
Tavia: So Carey, let me ask you about pricing, because that’s always a thing that comes up and that’s actually a question that we have here in just a minute is like how to transition out of the Model Call pricing towards full price. So what did you do with that? Because you’re charging full price now. ‘Cause you’re like super busy.
Carey: Yeah. That was a really hard transition because yeah, of course we go from not feeling like we should be charging a lot. I’m personally anyways, you know, thinking like, “Okay, Model Call price, that’s what I should be charging,” you know. But really we were doing, you know, it’s X amount off from the actual price and then just jumping to that and being confident in that price. And it helps when there’s other, you know, like people that are charging around that around you, but just that confidence that you have to have to send your prices over and you know, talk with them and hope that it books and confidence.
Tavia: Where do you think that confidence came from? Because that’s something that I hear a lot from students is like, “Oh, I don’t know if I’m worth that price. I don’t know if I am able to charge that price. Where do you guys think that that confidence comes from to be able to charge like $2,000-$4,000 for a birth package?
Carey: Well, I’m a Certified Birth Photographer now, so…
Tavia: Did you realize that it’s significant in your potential client’s minds. They’re like, “Oh, she’s legit.” Like she’s taking it seriously?
Carey: I mean, just having that badge on my website, I think helps even if it’s not for a client, it helps like me just, I did the course, went through it. So it’s definitely helped my own confidence. I don’t know about client-wise, but it’s a badge on my website that they see and probably another like ‘ding’, you know, in their mind when they’re looking.
Jelina: It’s also putting kind of value behind yourself of this is what I charge. This is the trainings I’ve taken. This is my knowledge that it kind of gives you a little more ‘oomph’, so to speak, to being like, “Nope, this is my price. That’s what it is. Like take it or leave it…but please take it. Cause I really want to work with you.”
Tavia: Leslie, I felt like you were going to jump in and say something?
Leslie: Yeah, I just feel like it’s just that whole, ‘this is my price, take it or leave it’, and that’s part of setting boundaries, which is so important in this field. It’s easy to take, you know, “Oh, I’m going to give you a discount for this reason or I’m gonna give you a discount for that reason because you want the births and you want to be there and do the work. But, the more birth that you do, the more you’re going to realize that you have to set boundaries and you have to charge what’s going to sustain your business or you’re going to burn out. So if you can keep that in mind, “If I want to do this actually long-term and take it seriously, this is what I charge.”
Tavia: And I also think that there’s value in declaring a high price. It’s like people look at that as almost a way to stand out. You know what I mean? Cause it’s like, “Oh, her packages are $4,000. She must really know what she’s doing. She must be really good.” That price can almost differentiate you from the people in your community. Awesome.
How have you balanced birth work with life?
Leslie: Become very organized.
Tavia: Okay. What does that look like?
Leslie: So for me, and I learned this mostly from the marketing school. You know, I do a lot of time blocking and I plan out a year in advance and then I plan out a month in advance and then, you know, you just kind of have to plan a lot.
Brooke: And I set boundaries. So for myself, which at first was super hard, it was really hard. Cause I was like just living and breathing what I was doing. And now it’s like, okay, well this weekend is just going to be family day. And then Monday through Friday is my time to go and do social media and do all these things. And that was actually the funniest thing. Cause I was telling Adrianne, one of our classmates, I was doing all this stuff on social media and then I just was like, “Okay, I’m going to take a break. And I’m going to spend a couple of weeks just focusing on my family.” And then all of a sudden, I got inquiry after inquiry after inquiry and my whole July booked up and I was like, “Wait, what happened?” I was taking a break. And then all of a sudden the door slams open and I was like, “What happened?” And so, I don’t know if it was just because I set that boundary and I wasn’t stressing about that anymore. You know, it was just, God was like, “Okay, stop stressing and just do what you need to do and I’ll take care of the rest.” So I think that’s been really big as like dedicating time to my job just like anybody would with any other job and dedicating family time.
Sara: I think for me having a workflow–to know when somebody inquires they’re getting a response and I don’t have to freak out and try to get HoneyBook open as fast as I can and type out an email, you know, during dinner. But I have that set up so that I know they’ve been responded to, they know what’s coming next, and I can chill a little bit and wait to respond to them and set up a phone call. That’s helped me a lot because I know how important it is to respond quickly to inquiries and very frequently have people thank me for responding so fast. And I don’t want to do that during dinner. You know, I want my family time to be valued too. So I think that that has been huge for me.
Tavia: And if you guys need help with setting up workflows like that, we just did a podcast episode about it a week or two ago, it’s called 4 E-mail Workflows You Need In Your Business. So if that’s where you need help with go listen to that. Also, the one I did with Laura Lee Creative is really good. So go back to the podcast. If you’re like, how do I do all this? Go back and listen to those about systems and it’ll help with boundaries and all of that stuff.
How do you shoot births while working on a full-time job?
Tavia: Leslie, I would love to chat with you a little bit, cause I know that out of everyone here, you’re the only one who has a full-time job, you’re a single mom, and you’re making birth photography work. So can you talk about what that looks like? What if somebody goes into labor while you’re at your job?
Leslie: Yeah. So when I knew that I wanted to be a birth photographer, I actually didn’t tell them right away, my employer. So I went and photographed, my first birth and she was actually a friend of mine. And after I had photographed her birth, I went to work and I was talking to my co-workers and my boss and everything. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, I got to do this. And this was so cool.” And so I kind of like planted the seed a little bit like, “Hey, I did this thing…” And they knew I was a photographer and that I had a side photography business, but obviously, you know, birth photography’s very different because you can’t schedule it.
And so once I decided, it was after I signed up for the marketing school and once I decided, “Okay, I want to do this, like screw the limiting belief that I can’t do this because I have a full-time job,” I just went and talked to my employer. I have a few different bosses and I talked to my most immediate supervisor first and I was like, “Hey, I want to do this thing. Are you okay with it? It would mean that I would have to leave, you know, randomly in the middle of the day sometimes.” And I set boundaries with them right away too, as far as like, I will only take one birth a month so that I’m not gone, you know, like all the time. And I’m just really lucky that they are so supportive.So, if you are in a full-time job right now, I would say it doesn’t hurt to ask, you know, just say, “Hey, this is what I want to do.” And problem solve with them.
So another thing that I talked about with them when I was discussing all of this, because they were concerned because I have backup at work, but then I also have to backup for other people if they call in sick or something. So something that we talked about was that I have backup photographers. So if something happens at work that is like, you know, a fire that I absolutely can’t leave, it helped my employer feel better to know that I have a backup photographer so that I could send somebody as a backup if I had to, I’ve never had to do that. Thankfully.
Tavia: How many times have you actually had to leave work to go to a birth?
Leslie: Probably like four or five times.
Tavia: Okay. So that, I feel like it’s one of those things that’s like people who are thinking about childcare, like what Carey was talking about earlier, like it seems like this big daunting thing and that ended up not being as big of deal as she thought, it sounds like kind of similar where it’s like, it feels like this big daunting thing like, “What if I get called to a birth?” But really it’s like, Leslie only had to leave work four or five times and she let her employer know that she had backups. And I love that because even if you only had to send your backup for like a couple of hours, you could still let go because you want to, right? Then that just helps your employer feel better. So really it’s just about communication.
And then she’s telling our clients like, “Hey, I have a full-time job, but I’ve got a really awesome backup that will come in my place if I can’t be there.” So everybody understands–the backup understands, the client understands, the employer understands. It’s just really about over-communicating the ‘what if’ just like anything in birth, right? Would you say that’s true, Leslie?
Leslie: Yeah, absolutely.
Tavia: Cool. Thank you so much for sharing.
Leslie: I’ve never had any clients be like, “What? You work a full-time job? This is so not going to work.” Everybody’s like, “Oh yeah, that’s cool,” you know. Because I always tell them in our consultation, “Give me as much heads up as you can, if you think that things are starting so that I can tie things up at work,” and that they’re like, “Oh yeah, that’s great.” You know? So, I think communication is absolutely key.
Tavia: That’s amazing. You’re amazing. I use you as an example all the time. I don’t know if you hear me talking about you, but I want to just let people are like, “I’m a single mom!” And I’m like, “Leslie’s a single mom!” “I have a full-time job!” “Leslie has a full-time job!”
Leslie: No limiting beliefs here!
When shooting photos in low light, does the preview look dark on your camera and do you have to brighten it in post?
Jelina: Yeah, kind of. But this is kind of a difficult question to answer because it’s one of those like, well, what does the room look like? What are your settings like? What does it look like on the back of your camera? And especially for me, because I bounce flash, the images on the back of my camera look different than what the room looks like. But as long as you’re shooting in raw, you can salvage a lot of things in the image.
Sara: I’m going to jump in here and say, don’t use the back of your camera to decide if an image is correctly exposed. Use the histogram because the back of your camera can lie to you. And you can think that it’s exposed correctly. And then you get into your editing software and you’re like, oh man, I’ve got to raise exposure, which is going to make it more grainy. And so use your histogram and make sure that it’s exposed correctly in camera first. And don’t trust the picture that you see at the back.
Tavia: Yeah. I love that because I’m sure we’ve all been like out shooting outside and you’re looking at the back of your camera and you literally can’t even see it. Sometimes, it’s so bright, you know, and that’s the same if you’re in a dark room, like I’ve been in really dark birth before where I turned the back of my camera and I may as well have like turned on every light in the room. It just feels so bright. So, it greatly depends on like the room that you’re in or where you are when you’re looking at the back too, to know if it’s bright or whatever. I love both of those answers. Thank you so much.
How do you find clients who would like birth photos?
Carey: I think that is…it’s hard because you can’t convince somebody to want birth photos. It is the type of person that wants that. And you have to build your ideal client off of somebody who already probably wants birth photos. For me, that’s a pretty specific type of person and they probably really enjoy birth photos already. So, it’s hard because you just can’t make somebody want a photo. So you’re kind of marketing towards a really specific type and then even more specific once you reach, you know, that birth community around that. That’s my people personally. But, second-time moms, they want birth photos. Cause if they didn’t do it the first time, they probably want it the second time. So yeah. I mean, you just have to find your people and you just can’t make anyone want them, if they don’t.
Jelina: It also helps to show value, kind of piggybacking off what Carey was saying, is even a lot of my clients are first-timers because they see the value. If you tell them the value, especially like on your website, and then it’s kind of like she was saying Instagram kind of just speaking to the people that you feel will want to hire you. And my ideal client kind of evolves every three months. So I’m speaking to a different person every few months. So yeah, pulling people in emotionally.
Tavia: Yeah. And I totally agree that there’s some people who just don’t want birth photography and that’s fine. I’m not in the business of trying to convince people to want something they don’t want, but I am in the business of showing them what it really is. You know what I mean? Like showing them what birth photography actually is because sometimes people don’t really understand it and once they see it, they want it, but they hear birth photos and they’re like, I don’t want vagina photos and they’re like, “I’m out,” you know? And it’s like, once you show them what it actually is, then for some reason they start wanting vagina photos sometimes, I don’t know what the deal is with that.
Which hashtags should I use to get more views?
Jelina: I don’t, I mean, this is kind of a little brazen to say, but I don’t really care about hashtags. There’s a few that I’ll use with my location and like I’ll do #SanDiegoBirthPhotography or #MuriettaBirthPhotography, and then a few little things here and there, but hashtags aren’t super important to me. It’s not like maybe I’m the wrong person to answer this question.
Tavia: No, I think that all answers are welcome here because I think that sometimes people get hung up on things that don’t necessarily like super matter, cause I’m not super big on hashtags, honestly. I think there’s a time and a place, but I also think that like, people just obsess about like which hashtags and all this stuff. And it’s like, there’s other things that you can be, not that this is a bad question, but I just think that there’s other things coming out that you could focus on, like building relationships with the people behind those hashtags, more than just like trying to find random people. If you were like some big influencer and that you need it, you know, but you’re reaching people that are local to you and those one-on-one connections mean more than people finding going a hashtag usually.
Tavia: Do you guys agree, Brooke, Leslie?
Brooke: Yeah. I think the hashtags that I use are really, I don’t have a lot compared to most people I feel like, cause I just use some that are very, very local and where I just know some of my moms might be following that and hanging out. So, I don’t have like a long list and I don’t do anything that’s general like just like #birthphotographer or something like that because I want it to be very restricted to like my people in my city, if that makes sense.
How many births are you on call at once?
Tavia: Totally. Let’s see, this one’s going to get cut off, but how many births are you on call for at once? Like if you’re on call for one, for a certain three weeks, do you not take any other births within a due date in that three-week window?
Jelina: So I just do by month. Typically, 2-3 is my happy spot. Next month I have a 20th, 29th and then a 1st on the following month. So what is that…3 within a two-week span? As long as you have solid backups and good working relationships with them, the more you do it, the more you’ll kind of find your sweet spot of what you’re comfortable with. And most people, it’s typically between like 2 and 4.
Brooke: When I first started, I only did like one a month and then I started doing two and now I kind of stay around three, although July has four, but I’m not taking any more after that. But what I did start doing is I started offering like an off-call type of thing too, which is just, it was more for like moms who really couldn’t afford the higher price, like on-call type of pricing. So it’s a little bit less and that kind of gave me some of my family time back, like to travel, but still booking births and serving moms that want birth photography, but we’re okay with the higher chance that if I’m not available, this is going to be newborn instead, kind of thing. And so I do both, but only for on-call I only take like three and then sprinkle a little off-call in there.
So like around the holidays, I don’t even take on-call anymore because I just want to be able to go and travel and see family and all the things. And that goes back to like that work-life balance. So I’m still taking clients, I’m still, you know, providing these photos and I’m still providing for my family, but I’m not like tied down either. Does that make sense?
What would you want to say to someone aspiring to specialize in Birth Photography?
Tavia: Yeah. I love that. And I totally agree and I don’t take birth in those months and I actually haven’t for a long time. I wanted to ask you if you had something to say to somebody who’s like, “I want to be a birth photographer, but I’m on the fence. I’m concerned about these what ifs, but I can’t stop thinking about it. I always think about birth photography. I want to do it, but I’m scared.” Like what would you say to somebody who’s probably like you when you first started, what would you say to that person?
Jelina: You won’t know until you try. Sometimes it’s difficult to explain until you’re actually like in it and doing it. And typically your first birth, it’s just, “Oh my gosh, I have to do this for the rest of my life!” And then also just focusing on relationships and really just building relationships with other birth workers or their birth photographers, midwives, whomever, those relationships really can take you far.
Leslie: I would say kill the limiting beliefs, challenge every single one of them. And like Tavia says, if you have a passion for something you’re meant to do that thing. You’ll be amazed at how you take a little step forward and like all of the windows and doors open to make it happen for you. So yeah, I would say just step in and jump in and do it.
Carey: Just agreeing with everyone. You just have to jump in. It’s not as scary as it really seems from the outside, but you really just figure out your groove really, really quickly. As far as for me, it was childcare. Getting past that, I was just amazed at how much I thought I really needed a babysitter. And then when it comes down to it, like I really never call her. I felt bad that like, I mean she’s reliable and stuff, but I just don’t use her as much as I really thought I would need to. And, just getting to a birth and stuff, it was just a lot more daunting before. It’s really exciting and fun now.
Sara: I would add that I was super nervous before my first birth, just because I’ve dealt with infertility. And so I’ve never had a biological child. We adopted our daughter and I was really nervous because I didn’t know how it was going to affect me. I had gone through a period of time where I was mourning and grieving that. And so I thought this is something I really want to do. Like I want to do it, but am I going to get in there? And then all of these emotions are going to hit me, you know, am I going to feel jealousy? Am I going to feel like, I didn’t know, I didn’t know what to expect.
And so literally on the way to my first birth, I called my friend and I was like, I need you to pray with me because I don’t know how this is going to affect me. And I went in and photographed it and it was so amazing. It was almost healing for me just to be able, cause this mama had experienced a loss beforehand. And so I knew that deep grief and that fear that she was feeling and you know, all of the things and like was able to sit with her in that and then realize, and I’ve written about this on my blog, but like just realized how my history with infertility has really, I think, made me a better birth photographer just because I can sit with women who are telling me the hardest parts of their stories when they’re getting ready for these births. And I can relate to them on a level that other people can’t, you know, because I haven’t had perfect births and I know what that loss feels like, you know?
And I totally understand the nerves, especially when there’s like, you’re worried about emotionally, how it might impact you or something like that, but you won’t know until you try it, right? And I knew I wanted to try it and I knew I wanted to do it well. And so I just pushed everything else aside and was like, I’m going to focus on this mom and I’m going to be there for her. And then once that first birth happened, I was done. I just, I had to do it. I had to do more.
Tavia: And what’s so cool about that is like, you know, everybody’s talking about, “How do I stand out? And dah, dah, dah, dah, and how am I different than other photographers that like might have more experience than me and all this stuff,” and it’s like, that is how. You know, when you can share your stories and you can share, like, :I was unable to have a biological child of my own and I ended up adopting,” and you know, like you’re sharing the things. You’re naturally attracting people who connect with that. And like that connection in birth photography specifically, it’s so important because you’re inviting this person into a very intimate time. And so whenever us, we, as photographers can share those pieces of our story, that’s what starts to draw people in and attracts them to us. So I love that you said that.
Leslie, did you give parting words? I don’t want to skip you.
Leslie: Yeah, I did, but I have one other thing. So I feel like with this, it’s just like any new job. Like you go to start a new job and like you’re nervous. And the first day is like the most daunting and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, this is so scary.” But you get through the first day and then you got through the first week and it becomes easier and easier and easier. So if you can just look at it, like this is just a new job.
Tavia: I love that. Thank you guys so much. I’m so sorry, Brooke, that I bumped you off. I don’t know if I did that or she did that. I think I might’ve accidentally. I’m so sorry. In the chat, will you please tell these ladies thank you for their time because I super appreciate them sharing their wisdom and their knowledge with you. Please go follow them on the social. Their handles are right here. I’m going to bring in Jelina as well. Thank you so much, Jelina. You guys are the best. Super appreciate you guys. And I’m going to answer Valeria. I see your question. I’m going to get into the giveaways. Thanks ladies. Appreciate you guys. See you later.
How far out should I book births when beginning and planning to increase pricing?
One of the things that we recommend in the Model Call Challenge inside The Beauty in Birth Photography is setting your prices where you want them to be someday and discounting them while you’re building your portfolio to eventually work towards charging full price. Now the whole point of the Model Call is to get experience quickly and to get those clients quickly. And so I always tell my students like it’s May 27th right now, do not book a Model Call Birth for December or January. You want to get experience quickly so that you can get these first and get to full price faster. So I would recommend like if you’re going to do something like the Model Call Challenge to get your first few births, I would do ASAP like June or July. That and then put them all on that timeframe so that you can get that experience. So hopefully that helps.
Alright! I know that was a lot in that episode and I am just so thankful to those birth photographers for sharing so freely about their experiences. Please make sure that you write down 1-2 thoughts or inspirations, or action steps after listening to this episode.
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