Newborn Workshop – Rachel Vanoven

Newborn Workshop – Rachel Vanoven

It was something I knew I had to do once I ever heard her name. At the start of my career and learning photography I purchased Rachel’s online workshop for newborn photography. Her voice was soothing and to the point as she explained her newborn flow posing and safety. I feel like I learned the most from these videos and it really jump started my career. After learning from these videos I did a series of in-person workshops with other amazing photographers including Andrea Kinter, Ana Brandt and Sabine Brandt from Living Dreams to educate myself and always be the best at my craft. The second I heard Rachel was holding 2016 workshops I knew I needed a spot. It was late July of last year that they went on sale and as I sat in my sister’s backyard at a family bbq I bought myself a seat. I had a slight heart attack at the cost of all the expenses I was about to incur but at that moment it didn’t matter. I ended up purchasing a seat for a April 2016 two day class with 2 other workshop attendees. It would be a few days after my return from Japan and I was not looking forward to the jet lag and exhaustion I would be encountering but….I knew it would be worth it!

It was the beginning of my adventure as I took flight by myself to Indianapolis, Indiana on April 10th. My first night was welcomed by Rachel, her sister Karis, Kaitlin and Leslie. This was my group for the next three days and I had to take it all in- jet lag or not!

Day 1: 3 models

The 1st model was really the best of the day. She let Rachel pose her for almost 2 hours as we watched and took photos. Rachel sat there and watched us as we shot correcting our angles and telling us to explore new ones. It’s the small things you don’t realize because you are so set in your ways but a slight move to the left or the right can make a world of difference. After a long day of 3 littles we had the opportunity to head back to Rachel’s home to go over editing. This was super special as we are the only workshop attendees to have been given this VIP treatment.  I am going to girl crush for a second here— this is like going to your favorite celebrity’s home and seeing things you have seen on social media. Her husband, children and animals are all real and were right there in front of my eyes. It was cool and I felt like it was great to see that side of her as well. For a second night we dined on Mexican. No complaints from me!

Posed by Rachel, edited by me:

NYC Newborn Baby Photography

Day 2: 2 models

This was our day to pose and have Rachel assist us. I chose to pose forward facing on the bean bag and side laying in a prop. I love the behind the scenes Karis was able to get of Rachel and I. I feel like the forward facing pose has been drilled into my head now. Since the workshop it has been a total success! The last baby model of the day was for Rachel to go through an entire session from start to finish as we observed.

Posed by me & Rachel, edited by me:

NYC Newborn Baby Photography

Behind the Scenes by Karis

NYC Newborn Baby PhotographyNYC Newborn Baby Photography

I am forever grateful that I was able to partake in such a great workshop and meet wonderful people. My husband continues to tell me “Stop going to workshops, you don’t need them!” As much as I know he wants me to save the money he also believes in me and thinks my work is great. I on the other hand, feel it is always important to grow and learn from the best people in the business. Everyone does things different and I am here to see what works for me and how I can be even better!

NYC Newborn Baby Photography


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Jessica Elbar Photography
315 West 39th St, Suite 305, New York, NY 10018

Jessica Elbar is a NYC photographer specializing in newborn, maternity, child & boudoir portraits. Our studio is located in Midtown and we serve NYC and the surrounding areas.



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