The 2016 Birth Photography Workshop Review

It's been about two months since Emily Gerald and I hosted our one day, in-person Birth Photography Workshop. And in short... it was better than I could have ever expected!! 

There was one point during the day when I suddenly recognized I had a massive smile on my face and I thought "Self, there's no way it will ever be this perfect again." I mean, I am typically a pretty positive person. But everything about the day truly worked out SO well that I just don't know how we will pull it off again! Hah!

We started the morning by welcoming each attendee, introducing one another, and directing everyone to their swag bag of goodies. We invited everyone to fill up their breakfast plates and make themselves at home. For breakfast, we had a spread of fruit, bagels, yogurt, and a few warm quiches as well. We also beefed up a coffee bar thanks to the generous sponsorship of Beauty & Lifestyle Mommy Magazine. Each attendee was invited to choose a mug to take home with her as well. 

We started right on time (I was a bit of a time stickler which Emily so graciously rolled her eyes at throughout the day) and jumped right into learning about the birthing process. After a quick break, we welcomed our guest speakers, the Doulas of Northern Virginia. They spoke to our attendees about gentle and creative ways to handle communication with clients as well as their families before, during, and after the birth process. The doulas had such great insight and it was really fulfilling seeing each attendee scribble away as many notes as they could during the presentation.

Lunch time! We worked during a deliciously catered lunch by discussing work related issues and problem-solving solutions. Then, I scurried everyone back to the living room so as to not get off of our timeline! :)

After a bit of a battle over the remote control (Emily won), we jumped right into marketing and branding strategies. Everyone was feeling a bit more comfortable at this point and we started seeing some shoes being kicked off and blankets being pulled out from every corner. This is when things got really fun for me! Y'all know I'm a social media and marketing nerd!! We spent this time answering a lot of questions and we shared all of our must-have business and marketing tools to the attendees so they could walk away confident of their next steps.

Side note: Mid-speaking photos are so flattering, I know!

We discussed the importance of offering a buzz-worthy client experience and what that specifically looked like for Emily and I in our separate businesses and demographic areas. Then we took a quick break for a giveaway drawing! Because that wasn't jolting enough, we got up to stretch and change clothing because it was time for head shots!!  

After head shots, we gathered together again to start talking the nitty-gritty of workflow. We discussed our client workflows from start to finish as well as my editing workflow. (I finally had control of the remote again! Haha!) We surprised the ladies with another great swag bag item (presets! yay!) and this is when the questions and answers REALLY started flowing. Emily wrapped up this part of the day by illustrating exactly how she kept track of client data and all of her mad organizing skillz.

Before we knew it, our models were beginning to arrive and it was time to start our mock home-birth shoot! But our dinner had also arrived and we didn't want it getting cold. So we invited our models to join us and we all enjoyed another delicious, and super filling, meal. (Can anyone say pasta?!) We ate a LOT that day! Hah!

Tumblers courtesy of the Creative At Heart Conference.

Aaaaannnddd... time for the mock home birth shoot! Look how incredible our models were... such perfect acting skills! :) Mr. Newborn Baby was even on fleek with his "I was just born and I didn't like that experience" cry! Haha!

During the shoot, Emily and I discussed creative ways to problem-solve low-light situations that are so commonly encountered during birth. This was fun, especially in the small bathroom space!

I mean... does it not look like there was just a real, live delivery at our workshop?! I was in heaven, you guys. Seriously. 

And finally... it was time to wrap up the most perfect workshop day we could have ever imagined. This is Emily about to cry... no joke. (Seriously, we had worked SO hard and it all went so well... I'm usually the mushy one, but it really hit Emily here!)

We finished our time with our wonderful attendees by sharing with them what our BIG plans are for the near future (Here's a hint: education... connection... and nurturing...)! They were SO excited which made us even more excited about everything we have in the works! (And in just a few weeks we will be making some BIG announcements publicly!!!)

Honestly, I think we were both a bit surprised at how smoothly everything went. At the same time, we worked our tails off and thought of every single possible detail of the day for weeks leading up to it! It was a BLAST and we can't wait to connect with even more birth photographers to help give them the tools necessary to run successful, profitable birth photography businesses! 

And... if you don't want to just take my word for it... here are a few of the reviews that came in days after the workshop:

"Emily and Liz are masters at their craft, incredibly savvy businesswomen, and all around inspirational human beings! I was so inspired by their workshop, and know without a doubt the lessons learned will help take my business to the next level!"

"Y'all did such an amazing job with this workshop! I was so impressed at how well organized it was and how many little 'treats' you had for us! I also can't say thank you enough for being so open and exposing every detail of your business with us! I NEVER expected that and it was such an amazing surprise! I left feeling like I had two new friends and colleagues, instead of being intimidated by your amazingness! ;) 

I have been so hesitant to invest in workshops in the past because so often you hear that the workshop didn't live up to the investment. It's hard to know who to trust those hard earned dollars with. This workshop was so organized and Emily and Liz were so transparent that this workshop FAR exceeded my expectations! I'd invest in them all over again!"

"The Birth Workshop with Emily & Liz was simply spectacular! As leaders in their field, they both exude a wealth of knowledge valuable to anyone wishing to delve into the birth community or enhance the services they already offer. From the birth process, marketing, shooting, post processing, and client care, this workshop truly has it all! If you're considering the Birth Workshop, stop considering and go ahead and dive in! You won't regret it!"

"The content shared was fabulous and the manner in which it was presented was commendable. The learning atmosphere was relaxed and comfortable. There are no words to really reflect the incredible value of this day long educational event. And the various surprises were just icing on the cake. I left as a very happy camper and newly minted business woman."

"I am blown away by the hearts of both Emily and Liz! They are wonderful individually, but power houses when they are together! They both truly want me to succeed as a business owner, mom, and wife. Their combined passion, knowledge, and humility was uplifting throughout our time together. No one is too new or too experienced to learn something from Emily and Liz. You won't want to leave at the end of the day, but you will go home with so much new information and ideas to implement. I can't recommend these ladies enough to work with!!!"

"If you are looking to become a birth photographer, the birth photography workshop is one you don't want to miss! Emily + Liz are the absolute best and truly, are open books! They are so welcoming and personable but not only that, they are also encouraging and supportive both before and after the workshop in helping you grow your business! If you are looking to learn more about birth photography, look no further! You will not regret it!"

"From the moment I walked in the door at The Birth Photography Workshop I felt as thought Liz and Emily had poured their hearts and souls into this event. The venue was beautifully decorated and welcoming and at the same time felt comfortable enough for me to relax and take it all in. The content Liz & Emily shared with us was more than I could have ever imagined. They truly dug into the depths of birth photography from the very first steps when you receive a client inquiry to the last meetings you have delivering images. Not to mention the business side of things; marketing and web-presence, social media, etc. I am so honored to have been able to attend the first and only in-person Workshop, my heart is so full and grateful for the amazing experience. <3"

Again, we want to give a huge shout out and thank you to all of the sponsors who made this workshop possible! 

And for funsies... here's a crazy picture to wrap up this blog post. Hah... I've NO idea what we're (I'm) doing with our (my) hands, but it makes for a good laugh!

I owe a HUGE thank you to my girl, Emily... I would have never been able to pull this off by myself. Without you, girl, I'd never be watching these dreams of mine come to fruition. Thank you for putting up with my scattered brain, unpredictable availability (thanks to having kiddos!), and all of my feels. This was amazing and I'm so excited to dig deeper into our dreams right alongside of you!!! Muah!

All photos in this blog post were taken by Kristi McKeag. THANK you, fellow mom-tog, for being there to capture everything!!!! 

Liz Cook

Liz Cook is a wedding, birth, and motherhood photographer based in Central Virginia. Her intuition and creative perspective allow her to connect both professionally and personally with her subjects, and thus, her portfolio is saturated with authentic emotion. Whether she's sharing her story with fellow entrepreneurs or enjoying quality time with her husband and two daughters, Liz is both present and passionate about capturing and celebrating life. Her work has been featured by O "Oprah" Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Glitter Guide, Essence Magazine, domino, Rue Magazine, among others.