Monthly Archives: July 2012

Rachel Vanoven Workshop


    I spent last weekend in Indianapolis with one of the country’s best newborn photographers, Rachel Vanoven .  Here’s the deal- Rachel is amazing, and since I began my journey into the photog world, I have followed Rachel.  She offers workshops a few times a year, and for the last year or so, I have been considering going. The thing is, there are only 5 spots available at each one, so, when I initially decided I wanted to go, I thought about it for about a minute too long, because the spots were all filled.  I wasn’t sure at the time if I could put it in my budget, let alone my schedule. However, when the  next dates were announced, without question I booked my spot, the very last spot. And then I waited for what seemed like an eternity, about 6 months.
       Finally, the big weekend arrived, and it was time. Brandon decided to go to Indianapolis with me because even though we are busy every weekend, we very rarely actually get to get “away.” Upon arriving to Indy, we attempted to check into the wrong hotel (seriously, how many Marriot’s can one town have ….alot, let me tell you). We got to the right hotel, and took a walk downy the canal to the Creation Cafe 

I would be meeting Rachel, and the other girls for dinner that night. We had a few drinks and then my nerves started rolling. My excitement turned to nervousness, and I realized that this awesome photographer whom I admired so much was in a way a celebrity, and let me tell you, I have a thing for celebrities, It started in the late 90’s when I used to stalk the ‘N Sync tour bus when they came to town, but enough about that…..I was about to meet Rachel, and it was a big deal to me. I noticed a group of girls slowly forming and I figured that was my group. Brandon and I parted ways and I went and introduced myself. We got a table and started talking. A few minutes later Rachel walked in with her sister/assistant Karis and before anyone could make any awkward greetings Rachel Starts in with.. ..”Oh my gosh…I’m never late my van was on E, I was almost out of gas……”I don’t think she stopped talking for 10 minutes, but not in a bad way, in a ‘We’ve-all-been-friends-for-a-long-time,-how-ya-been’ sort of way. In a matter of time we were indulging in Sangrias, appetizers and “shop talk” and I felt like I had known her forever. She even offered up her mussels that she ordered, and I tried one (this is NOT something I would eat, but it was…..pretty good!) We wrapped up dinner and walked over to her studio.
When we got to the studio, I had to pinch myself. I had seen pictures of this place many times on Facebook and her blog. And now I was standing in it, and I felt like I was living a dream, and I had to remember to be thankful for all my opportunities and the people who made my dreams possible.  The thing I loved most is that her studio was so simple. Adorable as could be, but simple, no bells and whistles. And that, simpleness is what I learned most from the weekend.  (More on that in a minute)

     The next day, Saturday, was workshop day. We had three adorable tiny newborn models, and a few sibs. We worked on composure, poses, calming techniques, and efficiency. When the models were gone we talked briefly about Rachel’s editing techniques, and more shop talk. Talking to Rachel about how she runs her business really changed my perspective on things.  Rachel is Indianapolis’ leading newborn photographer, and she is one of the country’s best, but she is honestly no frills.  As she said, she is selling her photography. She doesn’t bother with over the top marketing, and all the “bells and whistles” and this was so refreshing to hear.  I have been to workshops where it was all about sales, and marketing and APPEARANCE….how things “appear” don’t do this, or this, etc.  But thats not how Rachel is, she gets down to the basics and does the the things that matter to her. She stopped doing the things she didn’t want to do.  I heard her loud and clear. I want to make my photography career, just that, a career. It is so easy to get burned out and overwhelmed. But, she made me realize the things that were stressing me out, I didn’t really need to do. I don’t have to do “X” just because other photographers are, or because someone else wants me to.  I am going to concentrate on the things that I love, and work on improving those aspects of my business, because that is what is important to me. That being said, there will be some changes coming in the way I do things. But I feel very confident that it will be for the better, better for my bushiness and better for me. Some of those changes will be small, and some not so small, but I  know they all will be worth it.  I will leave you with some images from the workshop, and remind everyone, because I get a lot of people who ask me questions, take a workshop, take Rachel’s if you can, go to IL Workshop with me every year, education is important. So important. Newborn safety is important, so don’t attempt a pose if you don’t know how to do it, and for heaven’s sakes don’t risk a baby’s safety for a dang picture. its not worth it.  Anyway, enjoy these adorable squishy newborns.

I left last weekend with five new friends…..fivewonderful, amazing photographers, and a little pep in my step knowing I just did something I only dreamed of doing.

If you want to check out any of these awesome photographers pages, you can do it here:

 Amy Vivo Photography


  And Rachel- If you read this, thank you so much for an awesome experience, and mostly for being you, down to earth and easy to talk to!

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