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Three Days in the Life of Ana Brandt @ creativeLIV...

Three Days in the Life of Ana Brandt @ creativeLIVE Studios

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Image above Kate Hailey/creativeLIVE

Purchase/View Details of the 3 day CREATIVELIVE course

(video) Advice on Running a Baby Photography Business

My Stint on 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?

DAY ONE

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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.


I worked until the wee hours on the keynote and finally slept, it was time for day 2.

DAY 2

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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.

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( 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!)

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Paper used was bone – I burned edges in post processing.

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.


The rest of the day I felt good, the models were gorgeous and I knew I had great images.

I was tired but it was good.

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 3

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….


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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!

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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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Visit me at any of the places below.

and on Twitter

and on Pinterest

and on the Internet

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.

Photo Prop Floors and Backdrops

Planet Jill

Handcrafted crowns

Baby Le Cradle

Lemondrop Backdrops

Pixel 2 Canvas

Modern Rag Quilts

Picsie Props

Custom Photo Props blankets

Mr and Mrs Co – Moon and white paper floor and wall drops

Shoot Baby! – Beanbag, blanket stand and clamps

Artsy Couture

Sticky Albums

Special thanks to retouchup.com for being a sponsor and retouching our images. (retouching, not editing)


  1. Mimika Cooney

    18 November

    Congrats Ana you did an amazing job! I’m so there with you realizing we have to surrender our ego’s for the Lord to work in us and through us so we can become the beacons he has destined us to be.

    You rock!

    Cheerio
    Mimika 🙂

  2. Krista

    18 November

    Ana I had no clue you felt that way during the 3 days! You came across as confident, cool and collected. I loved the way you went about the whole deal. I just wish I had seen this earlier. Like this summer. :} I am wanting to do more family/grad shoots but for now am just building a portfolio with a mix of things. Now to find someone doing a interview like yours, but focused more towards family, and individual portrait styles. Great job on your work. For someone like me, it was AMAZING! Thanks for sharing with us all!! ~Krista

  3. Br0ni

    18 November

    Ana you were amazing!! So Inspirational my passion and excitment is still bubbling over from watching you!

  4. Marie-Louise

    18 November

    You were great! Don’t be so harsh on yourself!!

    You say there were a lack of questions on the second day, there were plenty being asked in the Chat room – I, for one, asked a few but none of them passed on! I think they could sense you were in your element so let you get on with what you do best!

    I am thankful that you took the time to speak to us! I could watch you work/talk on a regular basis, hint hint set up regular live streaming so we can ask you questions 😉

    All the best and thank you for being an inspiration! 🙂

    Marie-Louise

  5. Vera Carvalho

    18 November

    i have been struggling deep with what it is i am meant to be doing. struggling deep to figure out my self worth in a professional way. to believe i am capable of producing something worth paying for. anytime i try to talk about it with someone i get really confused faces mixed with “you are just too lazy because you are comfortable”. it is confusing for people to understand why someone who is confident in her personal life could have so many doubts when it comes to her professional life. i have come to realize i am one of those people who struggle immensely with doing something they don’t feel passionate about. i grew up around death, i became this goth kid who had buried a lot of angst and questions about life and death, up until i was 14 i had never met other kids who shared this with me, i felt so out of place, until i found goth and metal music which led me to make new friends. i had such a hard time being around people. getting out of my head. when i was 15 i got my hands on this point and shoot and started experimenting with self portrait, i fell in love with photography and would spend hours looking at other people’s work. when i was 17 and it was time to go to uni, i did not know what i wanted to be. i am middle class, i was raised to become this successful person, up until that point i had 18 (out of 20) point average in school, it was perfect, but it was pretty good, specially for someone who studied subjects like philosophy, psychology, literature, foreign languages which has a lot more of a grey area than lets say math, which is either right or wrong. i was attracted to challenging ideas, to art, to words, to thoughts… i moved out, went to school and ended up in journalism… my first choice of school, highly influenced by my teachers who thought i had so much potential with words. i hated it. i mean. i am not a social person. how on eath did i ever think it would be a good idea to study journalism? where all you do is be with people and talk to people? i became very very sad and while everyone was gaining weight eating junk and going out i was losing weight and crying myself to sleep. i failed my first class that year. i was not interested in it at all despite all efforts. i would end up crying because i would spend hours reading material and nothing would get stuck in my mind, it would be as if i had been doing nothing for those past hours. still something good came of it. i had a class of video and photography and that was when i wrote my first little screenplay and when i first learned to shoot and develop black and white film. if there was something i was willing to spend hours learning about it was about those things! as fate would have it, i had this friend who was living next door to me, who was studying social services, tell me about other first year kids in her school who spend their days with cameras on their shoulders. i got really excited but i still needed to talk to my parents about switching schools. they knew i was extremely unhappy but they didn’t know the extend of it. when it became necessary for me to see a doctor my father said to me in tears that had he known he would have not pushed me to stay in that school. i switched! to get into this new course my highschool exams were not enough, i needed to take another exam, a specific one the school board made the kids take and which would influence the grade average for admission. it was about explaining what we thought would be the future of the media, about analyzing a short film and about explaining what we thought about the whole being more than the sum of its parts. when i found out my grade i wasn’t too excited. it wasn’t great. 15.5… it was the highest grade though, and there were only about 3 other positive grades… the rest were all 3’s, 5’s… it was a mess. i was so puzzled by this. i did okay in all my classes which involved abstract thought… but i was terrified of everything that involved actual manual work. i was terrified of failing. i wasn’t used to going out and doing things. up until this point i had always been a great student, thinker and writer… i wasn’t resourceful like other kids… i wasn’t social like them, i am one of those people who gets really intimidated by the thought of having to do something i don’t master. i was out of my comfort zone and still am. i am now 25. i finished uni 3 years ago, i have worked for photography businesses as a photoshop editor. i don’t really have worried about failing in photoshop. i enjoy it and i know it is something i can do without disappointing my boss, i also don’t have to worry about having to talk to other people since i work from home. people often ask me why am i not doing photography if that is what i went to school for. they don’t understand it. i even think a lot of my friends have forgotten i am a photographer because i don’t live with a camera attached to my shoulder. for some time i thought that could only mean i wasn’t a photographer. i don’t feel the need to shoot everything i see like some other photographers do. people also often say to me that if they loved photography they would be out in every city event shooting people. i hate photojournalism, i hate event photography, i don’t go to events with tones of people, i avoid situations like that like the plague, why would i want to go shoot those things?? for a long time i convinced myself something was wrong with me, that i was definitely not a photographer and that i had lost a whole lot of time studying something that apparently i wasn’t cut out for. after all these past three years all i was really interested in shooting were plants and my cats. i wondered how i could have been so wrong. i felt like a disappointment for my parents. they raised me to be successful and there i was, doing nothing with my education. i am 25, my father was shot late 2012, it has been two really rough years, i had just applied for veterinary care school in an attempt to figure out a more rewarding path, and had not yet shared these news with my father, i was waiting for the confirmation that i had been accepted in the course. my father died and two months later i was back at school, full time, studying something i had no previous background on, giving shots to cows and sheep, and even through all of that i made it out with a 16 average. i know i am not lazy. i know i find strength in the hardships of life. i know everything i have gone through until now is preparing me for what is to come. still… i am so scared.
    i ended up interning in a really cool grooming shop. my mind started to wonder if i could mix these two things… a grooming salon with a photography studio. my mind has since been flooding with these ideas and yearnings about pet photography. i decided to take out of the picture the question: “what do you see yourself doing for the rest of your life?” (it is just too overwhelming) and just focus on “what it is i like to spend hours doing, right now.” the answer was: hanging out with cats and dogs, be it in a grooming salon or taking their photos and cross stitching. despite all this excitement i am yet to take that first step into going pro. into paid work. i know i can get some cool shots, i know this isn’t all due to luck, i know i have a predisposition for it most people don’t. still i don’t think i am good enough, i always wished i had done better. this feeling of dissatisfaction is a good thing i know, it is what makes the greats be great, because they never settled in what they knew. i know that. so why do i let it be the thing preventing me from trying?? why can’t i make the transition from being terrified of bad results to being excited about getting good results?? i am to afraid to even move. baby steps i keep thinking, baby steps… your talk has made me start working on images to get printed. i am sure what is not good enough in my eyes will be beautiful in someone else’s, still… i am terrified. i know my family doesn’t get how can shooting pets be a living? i know they think i should go into wedding photography or something like that. i quite hate it though. i edit photography albums and that is quite enough for me. it is so hard to feel your family does not get you, to know they think shooting is shooting and i shouldn’t have preferences… it goes back to that story about shooting horses, you love them but you don’t want to shoot them. most people will not get that at all. and if we were talking about a subject that makes most people money, like weddings, oh people would get it even less. after all, how can you not like something that will make you guaranteed money? i am one of those people who don’t think about money a whole lot… who only shops when the sales are on, and that still hasn’t had a smart phone… gosh, finding my place in the world is being a whole lot harder than i ever could have thought. your workshop was great ana! i need to hear more successful people like you talk so i don’t feel like such an alien sometimes. hugs for you and the family, wishing you all a lovely life!

  6. Jennifer

    18 November

    I loved reading your innermost thoughts. I just wanted you to know that I found you to be so inspirational, and I thoroughly enjoyed your course on creativeLive. Can’t wait to see you back there again. In the mean-time, I will continue to watch and learn. Thank you!

  7. Belinda

    18 November

    Ana – this was the first Creative Live I have watched and I absolutely loved it. I’m in New Zealand so getting up at 6am on a weekend is not my idea but you inspired me so much on Day 1 I had to keep watching. Have faith in yourself and your ability, you did an amazing job!

  8. Christa Hook

    19 November

    Ana you totally rocked it girl! I so needed you this week after 4 rough newborn sessions recently. You are an inspiration to so many of us out here. I admire your art, your confidence, your drive , your motivational encouragement and your honesty. You have come so far, accomplished so much, and you’ve given even more. There are very few people willing to help others like you do. Thank You!

  9. Dilia

    19 November

    I have been watching creative live for less than a month and I have learned so much in so little time. However, your three days were inspirational, insightful, entertaining, and beautiful. You are an amazing person and that shows not only through your work but through your work ethic. I have been struggling for awhile trying to find my inspiration and drive. You were able to inspire me in less than two hours of day one of your CL workshop. I knew I wasn’t going to have time to sit and watch it on Friday and I have yet to watch it, but you know what I did after the end of day one? I went and bought your workshop. I will watch it every time I need inspiration and to believe in myself. I would say motivated but honestly you did that for me on day three.

    You know, we are only human. We will have our good days and our bad days but never let it sabotage your self worth. I will continue to turn to those videos and look within myself to find the artist and photographer I want to be. I sometimes think I’m not there yet because I don’t put the time just so that I can focus on my graduate program. However, every single minute now that I have free, I’m editing or shooting. I will be great! I tell myself this every morning. And Ana, you are great. You have to tell yourself this or write it on your mirror so when you look at yourself, morning or night, you are reminded. God Bless you and may you continue to have success in all that you do.

  10. Rebecca

    19 November

    Ana you are amazing! Thank you for being so open and honest and really putting it all out there. This is the first coarse I have watched were I felt like nothing was left out or held back. It has inspired me beyond words. All I can say is THANK YOU!

  11. Candy Hoehn

    20 November

    You were amazing. Everyone doubts themselves. You are so brave to put yourself out there. I don’t think anyone can do this but you did it!

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