July 10, 2019

California Retreat 2.0 Testimonial

Posted in: For Photographers

You may have seen her phenomenal work on YouTube but can you image having the opportunity to stop & ask Ana Brandt, legendary maternity & newborn photographer, a question during the video? I had that chance in person in her studio during the 3-day California 2.0 Retreat. Ana teaches maternity clinics & baby clinics across the world but this retreat combined both in a ONE. STOP. SHOP.

The Stories

Originally available to 12, Ana Brandt hosted 4 photographers, including 2 international students, last weekend. What an amazing opportunity to hear other women’s stories it was! We shared tales of common photography struggles but also something all women are concerned with: how to balance work & family. As a mother, her love for her children shines through & she shared stories of how she does it. Like how sometimes she brought her babies into the studio & would (like a boss) manage her time by breast feeding her baby while the mom breast fed the newborn from the shoot. It’s time efficient & a really sweet bonding moment between two women at the same life stage.

“Live the Life You’ve Imagined”

Ana greeted us personally the first night in our apartment rental in Hunting Beach. We discussed what we wanted to learn & where we wanted to be in 6-months. She’s really big on intentional outcomes. Don’t say you’re going to do something to Ana if you don’t mean it! Any time we opened up about a struggle she was right there opening up about a past or current struggle too. Don’t be misled. Despite all of her MANY successes, she still has her share of critics.

The Work

While the California 2.0 Retreat was a dream come true for me the word “retreat” may be misleading for some because we got to work! And I’m so glad we did. If you follow Ana on social you know she’s not the type to sit still & neither did we. We shot 3 newborns, 2 moms, 1 dad & 1 little boy with in 27 hours of the 3-day retreat. We shot in Ana’s studio which is a dream! Oh my gosh, such a big, beautiful space. Just be careful if you’re a new photographer & don’t go prop-crazy thinking you need to splurge. Stay on budget! Which brings me to…

Getting down to Business

Ana & Geoff Brandt’s business tips. Over several meals with Ana & one with her husband, Geoff, we discuss practical matters like marketing. I greatly appreciated that Ana & Geoff didn’t just give generic advice but specific advice geared to where we are at in our careers right now & where we want to go. They don’t lecture. If you attend an education event with the Brandts be prepared for a conversation. They talk with you, not at you.

As a business woman on a budget I’m a big believer on investing in education first, over things because of the greater return on investment. It’s really tempting to be prop-hungry or equipment-hungry in the eye-catching world of photography. Like the dog on Up, a photographer’s neck twists suddenly at the slightest hint of treasure like we did when Ana invited us into her warehouse. If you follow me on Facebook you may have already caught my reaction live. The deluxe treatment of entry into Ana Brandt’s warehouse is not offered to just anyone! Thankfully, after 4.5 years as a professional photographer I could make a few purchases. 😊

California 2.0 Retreat: My Rating

In a 5-star rating system, I easily give Ana Brandt’s California 2.0 Retreat all the stars in the galaxy but I suppose 5 will have to do. The chance to get in her head & follow her mental processes for two days around the clock was an investment in my future. We covered lighting, posing, shooting & editing. Tossing fabric around an expectant mama, the move Ana Brandt herself created, was a must! Studio light & natural light were included, thankfully, for the complete experience. I took several pages of notes & came back with a variety of portraits to share with my clients. I can’t wait to tell them all about my weekend in California. Let’s get to work!

“Feel the Fear & Do It Anyway”

Maternity & newborn photographers, sign up today for Ana’s newsletter & if she ever opens up the California 2.0 Retreat ever opens again don’t make the mistake of missing out again. I’m telling you EVERY question you’ve ever wanted to know about maternity or newborn photography will be addressed. Anything you want to learn? Ana, with the true heart of a teacher, will find a way to make it happen. If you’re ready to take your photography to the next level sign up for one of Ana Brandt’s workshops right now!

Until Next Time,



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