Well, there’s been a lot going on around here trying to get the new studio up and running so I’m just now getting around to writing about my amazing experience at Rachel Vanoven’s Newborn Workshop in March! Last May I got the workshop bug when I attended Kelley Ryden & Tracy Raver’s Newborn Dreamland workshop when they came to Dallas! You can read about my experience HERE. After attending that workshop, I saw the quality of my work skyrocket and my confidence began to grow. I purchased Rachel’s newborn eworkshop and was added to her eworkshop Facebook group where I was amazed how Rachel was so personally involved in the group and took the time to answer questions and offer her encouragement! I loved watching her share wisdom and seeing the effect it had on other photographers in the group (including me), inspiring them to be better. I knew then that I had to attend one of her workshops. I signed up for the March 10th-11th two day workshop in Indianapolis when a last minute spot opened up! I was so excited!
The night before the workshop, we all gathered at a local restaurant to meet, eat and get to know each other. I thought this was such an awesome idea since I remember how awkward it was showing up for Kelley & Tracy’s workshop not knowing anyone! I was totally not surprised that we all laughed the whole time and Rachel was exactly who she is online: honest, real, and genuine. The first day of the workshop we photographed 3 babies, 29 different setups (which is ridiculous!!), and I loved every second! I apologize in advance for this lengthy post, but it’s so worth it to see ALL the different setups Rachel did!
One of the biggest mistakes I made the first time I attended a workshop was to stop paying attention when there was no “formal” teaching going on. I realized afterwards, that the biggest learning moments happen in those in-between moments. It was amazing watching Rachel interact with siblings and parents. She has the ability to instantly make them feel comfortable and as a result, captures these amazingly sweet and real moments of intimacy between siblings and parents with their brand new baby. It’s beautiful.
As Rachel moved from pose to pose and setup to setup, she did a fantastic job explaining exactly what she was doing in a very practical way. As she photographed each baby, she walked us through where to stand, the correct angle to shoot from and then would show us her resulting image. Since I’m such a visual person, this really helped me get it. When it came time for each person to photograph the setup, Rachel would check the back of each person’s camera to make sure you were getting the right shot.
A big moment for me was watching how Rachel transitions between blankets & poses while keeping the baby calm and asleep. This is something I struggle with sometimes and it was so helpful for me to watch Rachel execute this flawlessly and consistently with each baby we photographed.
One of my very favorite parts of the workshop was how many parent setups we got to shoot! I loved seeing all the variety of poses and the different connections you can capture when you photograph parents and families this way.
Another huge moment for me was watching how many different shots can be achieved from the same setups just by slightly changing up the angle.
We ended the day watching Rachel cull and edit some images from the day. Again, this was another eye-opening moment for me because everyone culls and edits so differently. Rachel spent lots of time bragging on Erin Tole for her amazing presets!
The second day of the workshop, we were lucky to have twin models! We photographed 4 different setups with the babies posed together and watched as Rachel went through an entire session from start to finish with one of the babies. It was so neat to watch how quickly Rachel moved from pose to pose. Another unique aspect of Rachel’s workshop is getting to choose and work on a pose of your choice. I loved having the hands-on posing time where Rachel could physically show you how to perfect your chosen pose. As a visual learner, this was so helpful for me!
Shout out to sweet Brianna! We all loved getting to meet and hang out with you too!!
Well, as you can tell, I really enjoyed my time in Indianapolis! I learned so much during these two days and am so excited to see how my work grows and changes during the next year! It was truly an honor to meet and hang out with Rachel and if you have the opportunity to go to this workshop, DO it! You won’t regret it!
**Note: all posing & styling was by Rachel Vanoven, all images were shot & edit by Erin Beckwith