May 11, 2021
I am super excited to talk to you about this today, because I know that sometimes motivation comes and goes, right? So today we’re talking about 5 Reasons Why Now Is The Best Time to Specialize in Birth. So sometimes we just need a pep talk, right? Sometimes we just need some motivation. We just need someone to tell us that it’s possible and that we’re not crazy wanting to do this. And we just want to see that other people are out there doing it. And it just reminds us of what is possible for us.
So you guys know if you’ve ever joined me live, or if you’ve ever watched an Instagram live or listen to the podcast, I’m really big on action steps. If you’re going to take the time to listen to something and learn something, I want you to have really solid action steps. And we’re going to have some action steps in today’s training, but I don’t know about you.
Tell me if you can relate to this. Sometimes I just want to listen to something that’s going to like inspire me and motivate me. I don’t necessarily always need a list of notes. Sometimes I’m like, I just want like a little hurrah. I just want a little bit of motivation. Sometimes I listen to audio books and after each chapter will be like, “Okay, step one, do this. Step two…” I’m like, “I don’t want all those steps.” Sometimes I just want to hear information. Does anybody else feel that way?
So we’re talking about 5 reasons why now is the best time to specialize in birth.
The first reason that we’re going to talk about here today is COVID-related. And I know you might be like, “What COVID is a good time to specialize in birth?” Yes. Here’s why: more and more hospitals are opening up to 2+ visitors. And that is such good news for those of us who have not been in a hospital in literally a year. But the good piece of that for us, those of us that are sticking with birth photography or maybe starting it for the first time in 2021, is that a lot of birth photographers kind of jumped ship last year.
It was kind of like, “Well, we can’t get into hospitals, so we can’t do this. Can we even do this right now?” I got that so, so often. And so we had a lot of birth photographers that were like, “Okay, I can’t do this.” And they totally jumped ship because it got challenging. And so that is a great opportunity for you and for me that are here watching this, listening to this live or on the replay, or later on the podcast, it’s great news for us because it means that there is less competition. That’s what I heard over and over in 2019, you guys are like, “Oh my gosh, so many photographers are getting into birth photography. There’s so many birth photographers.” And it’s like because of 2020 and how things went, it’s like the strongest survive, right? And so there’s so much more opportunity for those of us here now.
So when it comes to COVID-related things, it’s exciting because more hospitals are opening up. Typically there’s less competition. Home births and birth center births are still happening. And here’s what I want to tell you about, birth photography in hospitals right now as it relates to COVID. Those of you watching this may already know we have started offering Coming Home Sessions as a plan B if we cannot attend a family’s birth. Here’s something that happened to us late last summer. Some hospitals were letting two visitors in, some weren’t. And we weren’t sure what to tell our clients because people were contacting us to book birth photography. And we weren’t sure if their hospital was going to change their policies one way or another. And so instead of just shutting down completely what we did is we have a best case scenario for this client and then we have a Plan B for this client. So they might be having a hospital birth or planning a hospital birth, obviously Plan A is for us to get into the hospital, right? But Plan B is a Coming Home Session. And so we would share that with our clients on the consultation, we just said, “Okay. Plan A is for us to be in the hospital, plan B is a Coming Home Session. And here’s what that looks like. And here’s why that’s great. And here’s why you want that. So it’s just as good. It’s like 99% as good as birth photography, because we’re still capturing you coming home from the hospital.” So basically what we did with Coming Home Sessions is Stephanie or myself would meet the family at the hospital, photograph them leaving the hospital, follow them home, and photograph their other family members or their older kids meeting the baby for the first time.
So it really was baby’s coming home session and that’s such a special thing that’s not usually professionally photographed. And so when we share with them like, “Hey, if we’re allowed in the hospital, chances are your older children will not be allowed in. Chances are your parents aren’t going to be allowed in. And so that means that you’re going to miss out on your parents meeting the baby for the first time and your older kids meeting the baby for the first time. So if we end up doing a Coming Home Session, we won’t be there to photograph the birth. But the cool thing about a Coming Home Session means we will get to photograph all those other things they wouldn’t otherwise get in the hospital. And so it’s so interesting how our clients were like totally on board with it. In fact, we had a lot of clients book us just for Coming Home Sessions because of how we positioned it.
And so whenever you can take these new things that might be kind of a bummer and frame them in a way that’s like, “Oh my gosh, actually, this is really great.” Your clients feel that energy too. We didn’t position it as like a lesser-than option. We just described it as something different that’s equally as exciting and valuable.
So one thing that actually happened with one of our moms is we had planned on being able to photograph her birth leading up until her birth. It didn’t look like we were going to be allowed in. They were still only allowing one visitor. And I’m not kidding you guys. 3 days before her induction, they changed the rules and Stephanie was allowed to go photograph their birth. Just imagine if she had thought, “Oh, I can’t have a photographer. So I just won’t hire anybody.” She wouldn’t have those photos, but because we shared with her what it would look like if we were allowed in, what it would look like if we weren’t, she did hire us, they ended up changing and we ended up being able to be there and photograph her birth.
So I think that it’s such an important distinction for you to make with your potential clients, as well as existing clients, as well as in your marketing moving forward of like, “Hey, here’s what the current situations are in hospitals in our area that could change literally tomorrow, one way or the other. And so here’s what our backup plan is. And here’s why that backup plan is awesome.”
Hopefully that is impactful and exciting to you guys to realize that just because hospitals might be restricted right now does not mean that you have to shut down and not take birth clients. What it does mean is you get to share with them all of these exciting opportunities in addition to being there. And that’s just for hospital births. Obviously, home births and births in birth centers are still happening.
So that’s just point number one, you guys. Were just getting started. And I just wanted to share with you that we’ve had a lot of students, like my student Destiny comes to mind. She is amazing. She actually started her business in January of 2020 with ZERO clients. And in 2020 y’all, she booked 9 births. 9 births last year in a pandemic, literally started her business from scratch and booked 9 births. That’s exciting to me. To hear that somebody did that is motivating to me. A lot of our students are having success with the Model Call Process and continuing to book births despite everything that’s going on in the world. So it is totally possible for you too.
Birth is the wedding of motherhood photography. And here’s what I mean–basically it’s a big event and it has other sessions surrounding it similar to a wedding. Most people, when they’re getting married, will choose their wedding photographer first. And then the rest of the sessions are kind of a second thought. And 9 times out of 10, they’re choosing their wedding photographer to shoot those other sessions.
Here’s what I mean when it comes to wedding photography: you hire a wedding photographer and then that wedding photographer also photographs your engagement session. A boudoir, perhaps. A bridal session. Those sessions that go with wedding photography come with that photographer, if that makes sense. And so whenever somebody books you for birth photography, you then have the opportunity to add on these additional sessions and include them in other sessions (like maternity and newborn, maybe even a fresh 48, baby milestone sessions). So the point is you don’t see wedding photographers necessarily say like, “Oh, I am a wedding and engagement and boudoir and bridal.” They’re not rattling off all these sessions, but they shoot, right? They’re saying I’m a wedding photographer because they understand that by getting that big event, that’s what people are hiring them for.
And it’s the same for you as a birth photographer. People are hiring you for that big event of birth, and then you have the opportunity to turn around and offer these additional sessions. So how can you set up your business and your packages so that they hire you for birth, and then also maternity, newborn, baby milestone sessions, and later family sessions? That’s a question for you to think about.
If this is resonating with you, what we’ve been talking about here so far, I want to make sure that you join us for our next free live training experience in May that is going much deeper on these topics. And you can sign up at certifiedbirthphotographer.com/training.
Your birth clients are clients for life. And here’s what I mean by that: they are connected to you in a very intimate way because of this shared experience that you have together. And so a lot of times our birth clients go on, we photograph them for years and years and years later. Like I am their photographer now because we share this experience together. So that’s a really cool thing about birth photography that no other genre has is you’re sharing such an intimate thing with this person. They stick with you 9 times out of 10, they are clients for life. And so you’re building these really fruitful and meaningful relationships by choosing to specialize in birth.
Number four why now is the best time to specialize in birth is it’s still unique. And I know a lot of you might feel like there’s a lot of birth photographers or everybody already knows what birth photography is. But the truth is, it’s kind of like when you buy a new car and all of a sudden you see that car everywhere, do you think that car really is everywhere now? No, you’re just more aware of it because now it’s your car, right? It’s the same with birth photography. It is still unique in the world, even though it might not feel like it. It doesn’t feel like it because you’re so immersed in it. You’re seeking it out, you’re photographing it, you’re reading things about it. So it seems like there’s more and more birth photographers, but the truth is it’s in the grand scheme of all genres of photography, it’s still really new.
And what’s cool about birth photography, I don’t know if you guys have noticed this with your own work, when we share a birth photo or something related to birth on either of our social media accounts, those photos always get the most free engagement 9 times out of 10. If I share a newborn photo or a birth photo, I would be willing to put money on the fact that the birth photo is going to get more engagement because it’s still new and exciting and something that people don’t see very often. So that is a great reason to choose to specialize in birth because those images are going to get the best organic reach for free, which means you’re reaching more people online on social media, on your blog for free. It’s not something you hear about often. So when you mention it, people pay attention like, “Hey, I’m a birth photographer.” And it’s like, “A what? You’re a what photographer?” “A birth photographer.” And it sticks out. And people start to know you as that.
And the fifth reason why now is the best time to specialize in birth, and this is one of my favorite reasons: if you live in an area where people don’t know about birth photography yet, if you live in an area where a lot of people don’t know about birth photography yet, that is a great place to be. And here’s why this is my favorite, because this is exactly where I started. When I started birth photography in 2012, nobody knew what birth photography was in my area. Nobody was really doing it. Nobody was specializing in it and nobody had really even heard of it. And so whenever I put myself out there as somebody who was specializing in birth photography, I’m not going to lie, it was a little bit more challenging because I had to explain to people why they needed it.
I had to say to them, “Hey, I’m a birth photographer. And here’s why birth photography is so powerful and important and why you need it.” Like I had to sell them on it a little bit, which I wouldn’t have had to do if they had already known about birth photography. But the key to that is I was then the go-to in their mind. I was the go-to person because I’m the one who explained to them why it was so powerful and beneficial, right? So if you live in an area where birth photography is not super popular yet, there is a great opportunity ahead of you to share what birth photography is, what birth photography isn’t, and get your name out there for it because whenever people start looking for birth photographers, you’re going to be the person that they go to.
In fact, the UK pops up in my head. I don’t know what time it is in the UK or if anybody’s watching from the UK. But I have noticed a significant increase in students and just people that interact with our social media accounts in the UK, because it’s just more and more people over there are starting to take notice. And what I’m hearing from a lot of them is it’s not really a thing here yet, so I want to like get in early. And I’m like, “Yes, that is such a good mindset to have instead of thinking, Oh, this can’t be a thing here.” Thinking like I could be on the front end. I can be the one that’s educating people on why they need this. And then I’m going to be the go-to for birth photography.
I just want to recap everything that we talked about here today and whatever I’m stating these points, it would be really valuable to you–I know I said in the beginning that like, this was just going to be like motivation and inspiration, not quite so much action steps, but I just can’t help myself. I’m all about the action steps. So as I’m listing these things, consider…
(1) Which one stands out to you the most, and
(2) Can you create some sort of reminder or affirmation for yourself around this particular topic?
Because I keep post-it notes and things like all over my house, you guys got our post-it notes and like index cards of reminders of things that I want to be like thinking and praying all over my house. And so I encourage you to do the same thing for yourself.
Write down an affirmation from one of these to motivate you whenever you feel like, “Ugh, COVID,” or “Ugh, nobody knows what birth photography is,” or “Ugh, nobody wants birth photography…” Write down an affirmation for yourself from one of these:
Thank you so much for joining me here live you guys. I am going live here on Facebook with a training every single week and I’m going live on Instagram every single week to do a super casual Q & A Tuesday and Wednesday. I would love to catch you on Instagram. If not there, I will see you here next week for another training. Thanks for being here. Talk soon. Bye guys.