Anja Mcdonald Maternity and Newborn workshop
Before we go anywhere with this let me tell you…im no blogger. In fact, I think this is like my third blog in 4 years. *insert face palm emoji right here baby.
Here’s the thing, I’ve spent so much energy building up my skills and my technical ability learning everything about photographing newborns that the admin seems to fall by the wayside. BUT. There are some things that the world just needs to know about.
If you are running a maternity, family or newborn photography business you need to read this. Oh and did I say business? Yes, that’s right, it’s not all pretty props and bubs, if you are going to commit time away from your family and use energy and pour money into this craft, it’s a business that you need a return on. Your time, is worth money. Deliver high quality goods and receive a monetary return. Pretty simple right? Ok back to topic…
I’m not really a workshop attendee. Workshops- (for those that don’t know), are simply photographers with more experience than you in a genre you feel the need to learn about- teach you their tricks of the trade in return for a small fortune. Turns out, most are totally worth every cent by the way. (Just sayin.) In fact, I honestly think that most teachers in this industry do not charge enough for handing over a majority of what they have learnt over many years and that try to relay as much as possible of it all in a neat little day or two.
And all the good ones, do hand over a heck of a lot of info..
Then you return home from a workshop and you go hell for leather trying to put into practice what you’ve learnt and you do a model call or practice it all on your next clients… And if you are like me and take notes that look like hieroglyphics, then you need to rely on the supportive Facebook groups that are a fabulous back up when your writing is illegible. I kid you not.
Back to my story, I really am no workshop attendee. In fact, I’d never attended a workshop before this one. Like EVER. Ok, so these workshops, generally are held at a fellow photographers’ studio. THIS IS ME!! This is where I fit in.
I LOVE hosting, not only to learn some cool stuff (but in all honesty in between running in and out of the workshop attending to everyone’s needs, you do miss a lot of content but I absolutely love hosting regardless). I have hosted some amazing photographers (and yes I really should blog about them all as they really do deserve it)…those in the industry will know the following names for sure..Kath V, Erin, Russ, Paulina, Amy and of course Anja to name a few..
… there’s a few more biggies on the horizon but can’t tell you just yet. Here’s the thing, I enjoyed them all. I have positives about all of them….the problem is that when you are hosting, you really are only learning in snippets between tending to everyone. Still fab right? Absolutely! So for me to actually attend a workshop and pay a fee….well, not only did I have to really want to learn what this teacher is teaching, I had to make sure I was going to get enough content to be able to apply it to my business.
When I hosted Anja back in February, she did a dual workshop with the very talented Amy McDaniel’s from America. Amy taught newborns and Anja did maternity and family photography.
So back to Feb this year when I hosted Anja, I missed a lot of what I needed to learn in the maternity portion so when she announced a workshop at the Gold Coast a mere few months later, there was no chance I was missing it. And it was my first time as an attendee! Yay! No tending to anyone (kind of killed the Greek in me as I still felt I needed to feed everyone) SO, off I went, on the 4th and 5th August 2018 I flew from Sydney to the GC and couldn’t wait to see what was in store. 2 day workshop with Anja Mcdonald… First day was newborns (which I’ve been photographing now for 4 years and quite comfy in my style and I have wonderful repeat clients and excellent referral based business so what I was really there for was the Maternity. Anja’s maternity is classy. Nothing over the top, simple and elegant maternity images. Here’s the thing about photography though, you honestly never stop learning. So, I knew seeing her photographing newborns would be terrific too, you always pick up tips here and there. There is always something you could do better. I think that’s why most of us never really think our work is as perfect as we’d like it. There always something telling us that it’s still not as perfect as we’d like it to be, each image we scrutinize over, ‘do this next time’, ‘must remember that that could be fixed next time” and so on and so on. It never ends lol
SO Day one, we had 2 babies.. naaaaww. We love babies right? otherwise you really cannot be a newborn photographer. If you don’t show them love and the patience of a saint, you’re in trouble! They are the only boss in the room when they’re being photographed.
So back to day one, Anja was terrific with the babies, of course, but her explanations on lighting placement, keeping things simple and her workflow guarantees a full gallery of images. Its that simple. She shoots for the clients, she keeps things simple and has the target in mind (which I can’t tell you but it’s worth doing a workshop to find out!) SO yes, learnt a lot even during newborns!
Day 2….Couldn’t wait for maternity!! And she did not disappoint. We had 2 amazing girls who were really cooperative and watching Anja work and to be able to get a full gallery of maternity images from just a few simple poses was AWESOME. Lots of lightbulb moments during this workshop for me. Truth be told, I’m not a massive fan of maternity sessions-wait let me clarify before the industry crucifies me-it’s because I was scared of them.
Id never been shown how to do it and I hadn’t pursued learning because so much of my business was built really quickly around newborns that I honestly had zero time to practice. I dabbled in maternity images and was happy with what I produced based on my experience but I honestly still hadn’t grown enough confidence to continually want to book them. Anja ran through her workflow, different variations of studio lighting and all of her editing.
She is a very clever cookie this scandi chick that Perth now claims as their own.. She is strategic in the way she presents her packages to clients, she offers value for money to them and runs a very profitable business. Her demeanour is zero nonsense and very professional.
She has been in the photography business for over 20 years , here and overseas and is extremely personable, from what I witnessed and what I see in her private mentoring group she is also very transparent with her knowledge. When you watch Anja teach, you can tell by the way she answers your questions that she wants to give you solutions that are tailored to your needs, she follows up with us all and checks in on what we are up to and if we have applied some of the things that we covered. All in all, I cant recommend this workshop to anyone in the industry, newbies as well as more experienced photographers who need some motivation to change things up a bit.
I hear on the grapevine, (or it could be in our group so you really must workshop with her and join) that she has a family workshop coming up in Sydney. Well, yes im going to host, don’t be ridiculous as if I wouldn’t but even if I wasn’t, id be signing up for that one too.
And ps. Don’t call her Onion, she hates it. Hahah luv you Anja! xx
All right peeps, if there’s a section for comments below, tell me if you loved this or hated this or if I should just shut up and never tell you anything ever again lol And if there isn't because I'm a photographer and not a blogger, feel free to shoot me an email with your comments.
Here’s Anja’s workshop link https://anjamcdonald.com.au/workshops/
Oh, and to all the beautiful teachers that I have hosted (and I am very selective by the way,) I will eventually blog about you all too!!!
Linda G xx