We’ve all been there. We know what it’s like to experience photographing your first birth and we know that the community that gives each other their best tips to avoid burnout is the community that thrives.
Let’s go back to that first birth experience. The adrenaline, excitement, and rush are all present along with perhaps a little fear tucked inside. We polled our private member group on Facebook of 700+ individuals and hand-picked the best tips from incredibly experienced and talented birth photographers.
As promised, here are our top tips to avoid burnout for new photographers:
- Create a self-care routine.
Orsolya Elek, Photographie de famille & reportage d’accouchement (orsolyaelek.com)
- Charge for your time. It can be minimal, but people typically don’t value you if you don’t’ value yourself.
- Don’t accept clients you don’t connect with. This is personal, sacred, life-changing work. Your clients have to feel safe with you and you need to feel comfortable being in their birth space. If you don’t jive, it’s just not going to be a positive experience for anyone.
- Connect with local birth workers; go to birth fairs and interact with their socials. This work involves empowering women and I’ve found that to apply to birth work colleagues as well.
Lindsey Erin Ellis, Montana Birth Photographer + Doula – Wild Ember Birth
- Get really familiar with your camera. Practice around your home in different lighting situations and see if you prefer shooting with or without a flash
- Show the pictures to the clients in person so that you can see their facial expressions. This can remind you why you do this hard work. It’s worth seeing them smile and seeing your art being appreciated.
- If possible, buy a DSLR with two memory card slots. Buy extra camera/flash batteries and memory cards.
Kristen Schell, Southwest Michigan Birth Photographer and Doula (kristenschellphotography.com)
- Backups! Community over competition. We need each other and you need backups if you’re going to be serious about this line of work. I find too many people get competitive when starting out and it can backfire. This will prevent burnout.
- Give credit and tag the birth workers who were a part of the time in the image you’re sharing. It’s such a lost opportunity to network with local midwives and doulas when you don’t do this. Allow them to use images with proper credit back to you. It helps build word of mouth.
- Build a good website. Make sure links are working and everything is seamless. Most potential clients scour our websites and social media accounts for updates and new photos so they can imagine what it’s like to hire us as well as the quality of photos they can expect to get.
-Lawren Snapka, Lawren Rose Photography – Dallas Birth Photographer | Dallas Family Photographer – Lawren Rose Photography
- Don’t be afraid to get in different/awkward positions to get the shot!
- Let others know in the birthing space that you are the professional photographer and that you would appreciate it if bystanders allowed you to get the shots that you know your client wants.
-Jessica Rinehart, The Heart of Now Photography
- Make sure to post on your website where you are located and your service areas.
- Learn the process of birth.
- Network with all care providers, not just doulas and midwives. It can sometimes be challenging to get into a tight knit circle, but it never hurts to say “hi!”. It’s always better to meet in person for networking.
-Alaina Nunez, La Mirada Birth Photographer & Doula | Orange County and Los Angeles Birth & Family Photographer (alainanunez.com)
We sincerely hope you found these tips to avoid burnout helpful. One of our favorite things about IAPBP is the global community that we have collectively curated and cultivated. It’s one that is for connection and community over competition and because of this. One of our goals is to alleviate that burnout that birth photographers often feel. On the daily, we witness photographers in our community learning from, encouraging, and leaning into one another. If you’re not yet a member and it’s on your radar, simply click here and join our community. You are wanted and needed. We can’t wait to welcome you into our IAPBP Birth Photography family.
Feature Image: Erin Beth