Image above Kate Hailey/creativeLIVE
This past few weeks were a whirlwind getting ready for my creativeLIVE program, and as I sit on a plane heading home my thoughts race to critique every minute of my day. When I was asked if I would provide a three day program on pregnancy and newborn photography I leaped at the idea. In fact I was on my bed, and literally jumped off it to run and race and tell my husband. Once the excitement settled, then it was time to buckle down and get to work. This is not a walk in the park people – the preparation or delivery that is. This is one of those opportunities that comes from time to time, in which the universe says “you asked, now are you ready”?
I thought I was ready and in hindsight I was ready. But little did I know my ideas aren’t always what the universe wants or has in store for me. Over the days I told the audience more then once to prepare themselves for opportunities they didn’t know existed. I was telling them this because I was in an opportunity of a lifetime that had not existed three months before. Had I not been ready, it would not have happened.
My original intention was to be just amazing with babies and pregnant Mamas. I had this vision of just sitting down next to a beanbag and posing baby after baby in beautiful soft light with each pose better then the last. I had no idea how hard it would be to work with babies on a live set, with a live chat room and cameras at every angle. I do videos all the time, so how hard could it be?
Most of the time our lives are nothing like we expect, and more often then not they are greater then our biggest intention or idea.
This was one of those times.
I realized very quickly there was no time to create award winning images or even take too long in a baby pose. It was time to teach. There were photographers tuning in from all parts of the world, and they wanted more. They wanted more than a sleeping baby. They wanted more then a wrap tutorial. They wanted – needed – yearned for inspiration, instruction and for someone to give them permission to go and just do it.
Apparently I was brought to task to do this.
There were times I was speaking and the words were flowing faster then my brain could tell my mouth to move. There were hours that seemed like pure minutes. There were sleeping twins that beckoned for hours of my time that I did not have. Toddlers who wanted to play, and Mothers who were willing to bare it all. How could I show the world what I had to offer? This is what I asked for. For two years I watched creativeLIVE telling the universe I HAVE to be on this show. I just had to. I loved babies, had great sessions, produced great images and I just had to do it. But my desire to do it was purely selfish. It was to inflate my ego, and reward myself for 14 years of hard work, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it to show the world how great my baby posing was? Clearly no.
We have a production meeting and I meet the hosts. I am feeling small. I am worried. Susan the host tells me she will hold the “space” open for me when I need it. I have no idea what that means. I say ok. She says they are “here” for me when I need it. I nod, again, not knowing what that means. The meeting continues while I mentally walk down an empty hall. I hear voices but I don’t see anyone. I wonder if there is an exit door somewhere.
I go to bed. I can do this. I am as prepared as I can be. Or am I?
I fumbled thru the first day. I sweated, and shook and felt that I needed about 5 days to work my baby magic. I struggled with what to show when and how fast I could show it. I had so much to say, yet realized within 5 minutes I couldn’t say it all. I could feel other newborn photographers critiquing me out in the world wide web, yet I wasn’t even online to see if they were but I felt it. I felt the comments and critiques and by noon thought I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t going to produce award winning images, and I was going to be a failure. I knew I had a good baby pose in there somewhere, but it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t remember the vendors that spent their time and money to send props and materials. I stumbled over my words.
I left the first day disappointed. Tiffany asked if I was proud. I said no. She couldn’t understand. I thought about it. I was proud in what I said yes. I told her – verbally, yes I was ok with what I said. Baby posing no. She asked me why. I felt rushed. I needed more time. I didn’t show enough poses. I shouldn’t have used a second basket. I didn’t set the beanbag stands right. I fumbled over the moon. I shouldn’t have wrapped the big ten pound baby in the end, she seemed hot. On and On it went. Part of me was on a high. I was so thrilled by the hosts energy and honored to be there. The chat room was on fire and I was excited. But deep down I was less then pleased with myself and I wanted a do over. I told my producer.
She told me to stop it. There was no room for that energy. I was great she said. The chat room was the busiest they had seen in a long time. She said I did my best and to put it behind me and move forward. There was no time for my deflated ego. There was no time. I had a job to do.
Day 2 comes. The first two pregnant women are there – I am in makeup and I am not feeling it. I tell Tiffany I am not feeling it. I don’t have it. I am not inspired. I just can’t. I am pacing the hall. I can’t do it. I fumble thru the first two pregnant women, trying to open them and inspire them. But I wasn’t open or inspired. I was blocked. I was blocked by my personal expectations. I was disappointed that I had an ego. I wasn’t that good. What was I thinking? Why on earth did I think I should do this and what right did I have thinking I was going to amaze everyone? I was wrong. I should go home. I can’t do this.
Its break time of the second day. I take a moment in the bathroom and I pray. I ask the Lord for inspiration. I surrender my ego. My selfish attitude. My desire to be right. I ask to be used. I ask to have the ability to teach and inspire. I ask to be used and to give the world what they need.
I leave the bathroom.
I go into the baby room and meet the first model of segment 2. I look at her and I introduce myself and tell her I need two things from her.
I need her to be amazing and open. That’s all I need. Can she do that? She has known me 30 seconds. She says yes.
I go into makeup. The pregnant couple is there. I tell them the same thing. I introduce myself and I ask if the can be open and amazing. Can they? They were already open before I even entered the room. They are Directors and Musicians, and they have my back, there are here for me.
I walk down the hall. I can do this. I tell Tiffany, my producer, the hosts. I am going to nail this segment I can do this. I love to do this. I want to motivate and inspire. I want to show the world how beautiful pregnant women are. I CAN DO this.
I feel it. I am inspired. The room seems quieter but I don’t care. There are less questions in the chat room, but I don’t care. I figured out why I am here. I have something to share. I can inspire people. I can tell them I was where they once were. I can teach. And so I go. I shoot faster then my sync cords will let me and I am in my element. I am in my zone and I am happy.
( I was told later by my hosts that the chat rooms were very active but they wanted me to have my space and time to focus on shooting. AND that is why we have AMAZING hosts!)
Lunchtime my family arrives. I get hugs from my children and my husband is there. And it hit me. It’s going to be ok. It’s going to be ok. They are here for me. My hosts are here for me. I am here for a reason and I have something to share.
My producer asks to go over my keynote for day 3 again. I thought it was done. It wasn’t.
She wants me to go for it. She wants me to let it go and be amazing. She wants me to let the world know what they need to know and don’t hold back.
I go to bed with a prayer. Use me. I will follow the voice that I hear.
Day three begins with my beautiful children by my side.
I ask my producer to see my keynote again. I need to know what I am going to say. I want to see the slides again and again. I need to see them. I need to know what I am going to say.
And then it hits me. Its all there. Its been a lifetime of knowing what to say. Its been 43 years of living a life and getting to a place where I know exactly where I am and what I love to do. It’s going on the journey and making it, and realizing I am here. I am doing what I was born to do and its ok. The words are there.
I realize the space that Susan was talking about. I can feel her energy with Jims and I realize its ok. Its a safe place and they are there for me.
I get it.
I start the day with asking if we are good enough.
The rest of the day was a blur. The chat rooms were blowing up. People were responding. The air was good. The space was secure.
I had to watch myself two times later on the rewatch to see what I said because I couldn’t recall. The words just flowed and I wanted 5 more days.
Wait….I am just getting started. Wait….I need more babies, I can do this…. Wait….I know why I am here and it has nothing to do with me.
I know I am good enough.
Until next time….
Purchase the course to get the baby love client guide, the pregnancy client guide,
the Lightroom edit video, the product guide and a slew of other goodies!
A HUGE THANK YOU to the AMAZING creativeLIVE staff. They are the best in the business.
The support of my producers was amazing. They did their job with perfection and kept me on task.
This is a huge team effort. Between the amazing PAs, the Audio crew, Production…on and on it goes.
Each one had my back and helped me go on and on to be my best.
I couldn’t have done it without my “crew” and I can’t wait to go back!
I MISS THEM ALL ALREADY!
And my HOSTS Jim and Susan….there are no words to show the thanks I want to give to you.!
You had me at HELLOOOO 😉
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A special thanks to the amazing vendors below. I will be creating a full list of what props/items they sent and what was used on set. For anything that was sent that wasn’t used, I will be using in my videos and studio in upcoming shoots and will post where the items came from to show my support and extend my thanks and gratitude.
All gowns by Ana Brandt/TAoPaN and can be found at http://www.shoptaopan.com
Ana’s upcoming workshops in California and NY are here in the shop.