Thursday, September 4, 2014

Newborn Workshop with Rachel Vanoven!

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to blog about my unforgettable workshop with the amazingly talented Rachel Vanoven.  I really don’t have a good excuse except that life has kept me busy!  But before I dive into what might be my lengthiest blog post EVER, I think it’s important to do a little reflection.  When I first started on this journey I had no idea it would take me this far.  I wanted to only photograph kids and families.  As my confidence and work improved I built up the courage to accept my first newborn session.  Did I know what I was doing? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!  Did I use a heater?  NOPE!  Did I use a sound machine?  NOPE!  Was I aware of the shhhh-ing method?  NO WAY!  I mentally prepared myself for the worst hoping to get at least a handful of descent images.  All I kept saying was, “Dear God, please don’t let me drop this baby!”  I wasn’t completely inexperienced with babies; I had a 4 year old and was pregnant with my second.  However newborn photography is something totally different.  
(My first newborn sessions!)


After my first newborn session I was hooked!  I fell in love with all things innocent about babies and I had to learn more.  My first step was reading countless blogs which led to investing in a few different posing guides.  The more newborn sessions I took on; the more confidence I had for the next.  Everyone knows that saying, “Practice makes perfect”.  Well it’s the truth!  The more I was around newborns the more I started to pick up on the little details I may have overlooked before.  Like how a baby’s breathing syncs up with the sound machine when they are calm.  Or sucking on a pacifier rapidly means they are not quite soothed.  I learned that newborn photography is all about the details.  In 2012 another photographer introduced me to Rachel’s FB page. I'm pretty sure the first thing I said after seeing her page was “Holy Cow, how do I do that?!”  I immediately invested in Rachel’s posing guide.  This was not the full blown eWorkshop, just the posing guide.  I wanted to see where it took me. 


When I saw improvements just by practicing what was in the guide, I saved up for the newborn eWorkshop.  I would have to say that was the pivotal turning point in my career.  At my fingertips I had access to all of Rachel’s hidden secrets.  Not only did I have videos of Rachel working her magic, I was also given access to a private online group with other photographers working at all different levels.  It took me a while to build up the confidence to post a picture for constructive criticism, but I did and instantly learned something new.  Like grounding your baby!  (Something you learn in her eWorkshop)  Or shooting up the nose!  (Another tip from Rachel)  It truly amazes me at how much information Rachel gives without a second thought.  After I saw amazing results by following the eWorkshop, I knew my next step was to save for her in person mentoring workshop. 


Once I bought the workshop in January, May could not get here soon enough!  As the days got closer I was losing sleep because all I could think about was meeting Rachel (in a non-stalker way) and soaking up as much knowledge as I possibly could in 48 hours! 
I have to say from the start Rachel blew my mind.  The way she handled those newborns…it seemed effortless!  She dove in with such confidence; hopeful for a calm baby but equally prepared for a fussy one too.  Her entire workflow was amazing.  You can’t turn your back for a second because you might miss the way she posed an arm, tucked in a chin or transitioned to the next pose.  She even high jacks your camera to make sure your angle is right or adjusts your WB (white balance) for ya!  A little side note, I never touched my WB until Rachel’s workshop….I confess I was an Auto WB girl!  I really can’t say enough awesome things about Rachel.  In the short amount of time I spent with her, I could tell she was humble and truly genuine!  Rachel’s passion and love of photography flows in every shot and through her teachings.  I am so thankful for her willingness to reach out and educate others.  You have to buy her new eWorkshop, it comes out tomorrow!!  I promise you will not regret it! 
Here are a few shots from her mentoring workshop!  All posing and styling was done by Rachel, shooting and editing done by me!

Here are a few shots from sessions I did after Rachel's mentoring!