Whitney is a mom living in Boston, Massachusetts. She's been photographing babies and families since 2012.

Why Rachel Vanoven’s eWorkshop was the Best Investment in my Photography Business

There was a time, not so long ago, that I contemplated selling my photography gear. I had studied Photography in college, and graduated with a BA in Studio Art. While working full time in Marketing and photographing company events, I also spent a few years as a second shooter, photographing weddings, but never really feeling fulfilled. Sure, I still loved photography generally, but I just didn’t feel a connection to anything I was producing.

All that changed when I discovered newborn photography. It started with a good friend asking me to shoot her first born, and quickly became an obsession. I have always LOVED babies, so this seemed like the perfect path for me! I devoured all the information I could find online, started building my portfolio, and bought tons of props. I followed amazing photographers that I found online and tried to emulate what I loved about their images in my style. Photographers like Rachel Vanoven, Erin Tole, Sandra Hill, Kelley Ryden, and Brittany Woodall.

Last year, during her Black Friday sale, I purchased Rachel Vanoven’s Newborn eWorkshop.

There are so many things I have purchased for my newborn photography business—blankets, lenses, baskets, hats, headbands, more blankets, seamless paper, flooring, wraps, and somehow, even more blanketsbut Rachel’s eWorkshop was the single most valuable purchase for my business. My favorite things include:

  1. Posing Videos. Although I’ve watched these so many times I feel as though I could recite her voiceover, I learn something new that I can use in my posing every time. She describes every little detail of what she is doing, how she’s holding baby, which hand does what—this is literally a How To guide to all her posing.
  2. Shooting Rules. Rachel outlines a few rules in her workshop that should always be followed. This one is an embarrassing one to admit, since I went to school for photography, but newborn photography is very special. Many of the “rules” she articulates immediately make sense in your head once you see them, but once they are outlined for you, its so easy to put these into practice and greatly improve your images.
  3. Transitioning and Workflow. Her advice for transitioning has completely changed the way my sessions flow. This was one thing I really needed help on. Which poses to start with? When should I do parent photos? What about siblings? Rachel covers all of this in her eWorkshop, and her advice is invaluable.
  4. Post Processing. Not only does she share all the steps she takes AFTER the session is over, but she also includes videos of over an hour of her processing a session. Using some of editing workflow has cut down my editing time and helped me find consistency my final images.
  5. Preparation. This goes beyond the preparation guide (which is awesome, btw). Rachel outlines how she prepares for a session, and how she gets those sleepy babies that are easy to pose.
  6. eWorkshop Facebook Group. When I first heard about this part, I thought it was a nice bonus. The access to this Facebook group is invaluable. You can share photos for CC, ask a question, browse for inspiration, or search for old posts to learn. I visit this page so often that my Facebook feed is almost entirely posts from this group. I cannot say enough about the talent and value of this group.

If you’re on the fence about purchasing Rachel’s eWorkshops, I hope you choose to buy it. It has helped me grow as a newborn photographer, improving my final images, helped me to save time during editing and session, and giving me greater confidence in my abilities. I am loyal to anything Rachel puts out there, and will continue to purchase anything she makes available!

See how my work has improved, sometimes slightly, from 2014 to now:

Before and after Rachel Vanoven's Newborn eWorkshop


Whitney O'Brien

photographer, new mom, puppy lover, coffee addict

Follow Whitney on Instagram @whitneyobrienphotography