Hiring a professional photographer to capture the moment of giving birth is becoming a trend among expecting parents. Women have been heading to the studios in the late stages of pregnancy ever since the famous Vanity Fair cover of a naked and pregnant Demi Moore, but now the birth itself has be Instagrammable.
Kim Hye-ri who is in her early 30s had professional pictures taken even as she was giving birth to her second child. "Childbirth is a very painful but unique experience. That's why I wanted to capture the special moment vividly," she said. "It will make a great present for the child one day as the pictures will show what mom went through."
What can be captured depends on the type of delivery, place of birth and the inhibition barrier of the mother. In hospitals, where most babies are delivered, photographers can only take pictures before and after the birth as visitors are not allowed into the delivery room or operating theater.
"To prevent infections we prohibit anyone except the spouse," said a staffer at an obstetrics hospital.
But at a home birth or in a midwife unit, more intimate moments can be captured, such as skin-to-skin of the newborn baby and the parents. Such pictures usually come in black and white and cost from W500,000 to over W1 million for the session (US$1=W1,066).
Kwon Jung-hye, a psychology professor at Korea University, believes it is not pure narcissism. "The trend seems to be related to the low birth rate," Kwon said. "Many young parents decide to have just one child because of economic and social constraints, so they want to record every moment of an event they will only experience once in their life."