This workshop mentorship review for Son Kissed Photography by Kristen Mackey is long overdue! I did my 1:1 hands on mentoring in September 2019 and now it’s March 2020. But better late than never right? At the time I’d been a full-time newborn photographer for almost 7 years. I felt very comfortable with the controls on my camera, and studio lighting. What I did want to work on was perfecting my posing. I just really wanted to dial things in and work on a “easier” posing flow. Specific poses I wanted to work on were baby in a bucket and taco. She I so good at getting those babies curled up.
I booked an extra day at the beginning and end of the 2-day mentoring sessions, so I wouldn’t have to worry about flight times and I wanted to be rested and prepared for the day. Kristen was super helpful to make sure I was flying in to the right airport and got a hotel booked near the studio. When I did my mentoring session she Kristen was still at her commercial studio. As I write this though she is working on moving her studio back home.
I’ve taken a fair number of workshops in my career, and I’m definitely not new to newborn posing. Kristen Mackey is by far the best instructor I’ve ever had, and the best investment. She explained things in a way that was easy to understand. She took her time to make sure you saw what she was doing. There were so many little things she shared that made such a big difference in my posing. The only thing I wish I could change was I wish I would have done it sooner.
As far as I remember day 1 she posed the babies and day 2 you pose the babies with her right next to you to help you along. I think we had 4 models, 2 each day which was awesome. At the beginning she asked me which poses I really wanted to work on and we spent extra time on those to make sure I really had a good foundation.
Even writing this blog now makes me want to go back and do a refresher all over again. Oh! You also get access to her posing videos, so in a way you do get a refresher if you need to see something again. Super helpful!
Who would I recommend this for?
I would recommend this mentorship to someone who has at least been doing some newborn photography. If you really want to hit the ground running, maybe after 6 months. Personally, I think it’s good to have a little bit of experience, that way you really know what questions to ask and where you need work, and it’s not an overload of a ton of all new information.
What would I do different?
This is a hard one because I feel like I got so much out of it, that I’m not sure if I would change anything. I think it would have been better if I had more model newborns lined up for practice when I got home, but it was in the middle of my super busy fall/winter season and that just wasn’t possible.
What was my favorite part?
It was all my favorite. I love looking at the images I posed and took, and the images from session after the mentorship and I’m just so happy with everything I learned. Some of the more “fan girl” favorite parts was meeting Kristen after being such a fan for years. It was really a dream of mine to do this. And seeing her studio where all the magic happens.
What was my biggest take away?
My biggest take away was bucket posing. I was having trouble transitioning baby from holding them into the bucket without an assistant. I would hold them mostly upright (like they would be in the bucket) and I was afraid they could rear back if I didn’t have another hand behind their head. Problem with this (and I say this with love) parents make horrible assistant. I don’t know if it’s because they are nervous or just excited with what is going on, but at the time they are not good listeners. That’ why I like to involve them as little as possible (but sometimes you do need a spotter and having an actual assistant isn’t an option right now). Anyways long story short, I was holding the head of the baby too high. If I hold their head lower so they are flatter when transitioning they can’t rear back. Bingo!
Overall, I would give the mentorship 5 out of 5 stars. Also, if you are a photographer that’s been doing this for a while go into it with an open mind. Sometimes you think you know how to do something, but there will be a little tip that will make it so much easier. Just listen and soak it all in!
PS. Just some fun photos from my trip. Since I was flying from Tulsa back to California during the day I got the awesome bonus of flying over the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell. Plus, a short layover in the Vegas airport where I won $50 at a slot machine. It was a win-win!