What’s Better: Birth Photography or Birth Videography?
Dallas/Fort Worth Birth Photographer
May of 2017, I photographed a birth at the Allen Birthing Center for a super sweet family! It was so beautiful and quick! The Mama had her 10.5 pound baby out after being there for only an hour! But this birth was different. Photography alone couldn’t capture how incredible the birth actually was. When their sweet baby girl was born, the Mom softly sang her sweet melodies. How on earth could I capture that with a still image? While my heart was full from witnessing this lovely moment, it was also breaking because I couldn’t capture the moment the way it should have been captured. The worst part of all… the Dad was going to record her singing… and he forgot to!
2 months later, I shot my first birth film. I decided that I wasn’t going to let a moment like that pass by again! I invested a lot of time and money into teaching myself how to take video quick. Which by the way… taking video footage with your photography camera is SO much more complicated than just switching it over to video!! All the settings have to change! And going from the mindset to taking a still image and switching to the mindset of capturing movement and audio, it’s two complete different ways of documentation.
Birth Videography is starting to become more of a thing and I find a lot of families ask the same question… “Which option is better? Photography or Videography?”. Since it’s not an easy question to answer, I thought I would write a blog post about the differences between the two so you can get a better idea of what it’s all about!
1. What is the difference between photography and videography?
While it seems simple to just say: Photography is a photograph, videography is a video… It’s not exactly that simple.
Photography is documentation of an event using still images that represents a particular moment in your life. Depending on the timing and angle of your image, one single snapshot can bring back 1,000 memories and emotions. When you choose photography to document your birth, you still leave some room for your own memories to fill in the gaps.
Videography is documentation of an event using movement and sounds to piece together a moment in your life. Depending on what is being captured, the clip can leave you with various feelings based on the movement happening in the video clip and the sounds you may hear from that day. When you choose videography to document your birth, you pretty much get to see and hear exactly what happened in a shorter amount of time. All of the major moments from your birth get put together into a movie like film.
2. Pros and Cons about Photography
Pros: It’s a still photograph that you can print, hold, and put into a baby book, scrapbook, photo album, or in a frame. It can be printed on items like mugs and calendars, or even your Holiday Cards if that’s your thing! You can move more private images in another folder and only look at them every once in a while, or even delete them if you know you won’t want them. Digital images have much more flexibility than video in terms of storing them or displaying them.
Cons: Photography is a still image that represents 1/200th of a second in your life. To be able to capture the feeling and emotion of a moment, you have to be perfect with your timing and angle. Even though 1 image can show lots of emotions, strength, and support… it is still only a visual representation of that moment. If your spouse was serenading you while you were in labor, a still image won’t let you hear what they were singing. Or… like in the video at the bottom of this page… if you have a surprise gender birth, you won’t ever hear yourself cry when you realize it’s a boy.
3. Pros and Cons about Videography
Pros: You are amazing, you are awesome! And you are featured in your very own movie! What you see and hear in your video is actually what happened! You don’t have to question how loud you were during labor, because you’ll be able to hear it for yourself. You won’t have to try to remember “the funny shit kids say” when your 9 year old daughter was asking the most hilarious questions when your son was born… you can watch it in the video! You can see their facial expressions as they talk and you can hear the way they say it.
Cons: You can’t print it. You can’t touch it. You can’t frame it and hang it on your wall. Looking through it requires your full attention because it’s a video with sound. You can’t just browse through your photos for just a few seconds. Your video may become more private to you and you may not want to share it with many people. Even when I make a shorter/shareable version of your birth film that’s more PG… an actual video of you in one of your most intimate moments can make you feel pretty dang vulnerable.
4. I see you offer both, how are you able to do that? Do you have two cameras you use?
Funny story. While I do have 2 cameras, I have found it much easier to only use 1 camera to switch back and forth between the two quickly if necessary. I do sometimes use both, and will have one on a gimbal to achieve smoother movement, but I most often just use 1 camera. Since there aren’t 2 of me at births I physically can’t do both video and photos at the exact same time, so it doesn’t make sense to use two different cameras the entire time.
5. How do you determine what to take pictures of and what to take video of?
Movement and sounds are what makes a video clip. If I walk into a room and see the laboring Mom swaying back and forth through a contraction, that moment would look very magical in video and would be very straightforward in photo. Since time would allow, I would probably take both video and Photos of that moment. However, when it’s time for baby to be born, the moment is a complete toss-up! If you think you’ll be any bit emotional (or if you are having a surprise gender birth) video would for sure be the better option! Something a still photo will never capture are the sounds of you whaling at the realization that you had your first baby boy… or when your oldest daughter is there to witness the birth and starts asking all the crazy questions! If you had video clips and audio from those moments, you would be able to go back and not only watch what happened but listen to it too. Sometimes right after your baby is born, I switch back over to take a few shots so you still have a printable image.
For other moments like the newborn exam where you measure and weigh the baby, only having still photographs is requested from the family because they want to print them out and put them into a baby book.
6. What’s Better? Birth Photography or Birth Videography?
Unfortunately, I can’t answer this question for you. Every family is completely different. What I can say though is that no matter which one you choose, you will be happy! There is no wrong answer here! Browse my Birth page to learn more about what I offer and see my portfolio!
The family in the photos in this blog post chose both photography and videography for their birth. They received around 175 images (some in color, some in black and white, some in both) as well as a birth film. Their short/shareable PG version of their birth film is shown below!