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 Birth Photography

Many parents want photographs of the birth of their sons and daughters.

Who's the Photographer?

You have to decide who the photographer will be.

  Pros Cons

• Has access

• May faint

• May forget to take photographs

• May be less able to support his or her partner

Relative or family friend

• Partner free to support the mother

• May not have access if C-section is needed

Professional birth photographer

• Partner free to support the mother

• May not have access if C-section is needed

If the non-pregnant partner is the photographer, be sure to ask a nurse to photograph the family when the nurse is done with his or her duties.


Check with the facility, doctors, nurses, midwife, and doula.

Rolling Consent

The mother and photographer must discuss what will be photographed.

They should search for photographs by using search terms such as birth photography.

Deciding whether to photograph the crowning must be discussed.

The photographer must also be sensitive to when the mother, during labor, may decide that she doesn't want to be photographed at that particular moment.


Many facilities and doctors won't allow the use of flash.

The camera settings below assume the photographer will be using the ambient light.

Camera Settings

1 - ISO

ISO is how sensitive the sensor is to light.

Use Auto ISO.

The camera will set the ISO.

By using Auto ISO, the photographer won't have to remember to change the ISO if the brightness of the room light changes.

The lighting may be dim, and then change to bright, if the doctor has to do a procedure.

2 - Exposure Mode Dial

The exposure mode dial is on top of your camera.


The photographer shouldn't use the Auto setting on the exposure mode dial.

This setting is often designated with a green rectangle.

If the photographer uses this setting, the flash may pop up automatically.

S or Tv

If the photographer knows his or her way around a camera, use S or Tv, on the exposure mode dial.

Because camera shake is possible, set the shutter speed to 1/60th.

The camera will set the aperture (f/stop, lens opening).

Indoor Scene Mode

If the photographer is less experienced with the camera, look for a scene mode for indoor scenes.

3 - Lens

If the photographer has a digital SLR, consider getting a 50mm lens.

These lenses let in up to eight times more light than the typical zoom lens.

A Nikon or Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens is under $150.

Go to 50mm Lens: Good for Low Light & Smooth Backgrounds.

The 50mm lens can be used later or low-light photography and portraits.

4 - B&W or Color?

Some parents may prefer black-and-white photographs.

They may like the photojournalistic look.

Black-and-white photographs also make any blood be less jarring to some viewers of the photographs.

Experienced photographers should shoot in color, and convert the photographs later to black-and-white.

Inexperienced photographers can set their cameras to monochrome.

5 - White Balance

Lights that appear normally colored to us may look orange or green in photographs.

The white balance feature tries to correct the color of these lights.

Experienced photographers should set the white balance to match the color of the lights.

He or she may be able to take a photograph before labor starts, and look to see what color the lighting is in the room.

Inexperienced photographers should use Auto White Balance.


The photographer should read up on what will be happening.

He or she will be better able to tell the story of what happens.

Look for some title photographs, such as a sign on the wall at the hospital.

Photograph the date on a newspaper or cell phone.

Periodic photographs of a clock may be used later to show the time flow.

Baby Photography

Go to Baby Photography Tricks.