INTERVIEW WITH ANA BRANDT | CELEBRITY PHOTOGRAPHER
Today we are extremely excited to spotlight, Ana Brandt, of Anamaria Brandt Photography, Inc. and TAoPaN, LLC Ana is one of our Celebrity Photographers for the month of July! You can sign up for her critique sessions here!
Ana Brandt has been specializing in pregnancy and newborn imagery for over 12 years. Her classic images stand the test of time as her clients come her over and over again to document their pregnancy and newborn arrivals. Known for her endless patience, Ana believes that to create a business that lasts, you need more then great images of sleepy newborns.
Ana's book The Art of Pregnancy and Newborn won best Portrait Category for her cover image from the Professional Photographers of California. Ana just released another book entitled "Baby + Facts = What Every Newborn Photographer Needs to Know". In addition, recently the Professional Photographers of America deemed her in person workshops part of the PPA Continuing Education Program, allowing PPA Members to earn merits for her classes. Ana will also be working with PPA, in teaching Super Monday courses from her Tustin Studio. For the past few years Ana has been working with celebrities such as Alicia Silverstone and Ian Ziering, as well as a slew of other LA Stars in capturing their pregnancy and newborn imagery. http://www.anabrandt.com and http://www.bellybabylove.com
Born and raised in NY, Ana came to California 13 years ago and built her clientele one at a time, to an A List of over 2500 throughout LA and Orange Counties.
Ana has been published in Rangefinder Magazine (July 2011) and runs her own online magazine, called TAoPaN Mag. (http://www.thetaopanmag.com). Besides her photography business, Ana runs TAoPaN (The Art of Pregnancy and Newborn) which provides mentoring, an online workshop, in person workshops and an entire clothing line for photographers choosing to focus on the pregnancy and newborn stage. http://www.theartofpregnancyandnewborn.com Ana will be teaching her TAoPaN Workshops in Hawaii this June, heading to the East in the Summer and Barcelona Spain this Fall. Ana also raised 3 children while building her business and has weathered the ups and downs of the economy by choosing to specialize in the early years of life.
Ana resides in Orange Hills, California with her three children and has plans to continue to grow her photography business, while support fellow photographers in the chosen specialty - pregnancy and newborn imagery.
Ana, what camera do you use? Favorite lens?
Canon 5 D Mark 2 24-70L (can I also say I love my 85?)
What has been the most helpful critique you ever got on an image?
Watch the details. We are always in such a hurry to get the shot. So the critique was - get the shot - then perfect it - and its a critique that I repeat over and over again. Details are so important! (details such as fingers popping out of head, squishy faces, double chins, etc)
What 3 words would you use to describe your style?
Classic, simple, timeless
Where do you pull your inspiration from?
Oh my everywhere - does everyone say that? I LOVE LOVE VOGUE Magazine and any clothing magazine because they know how to show a woman's body. So I imagine each subject with a baby in their tummy and I take that and use that in my pregnant sessions. I really try and move the women's body as much as I can, and stretch her out to really show who she is. With newborn - everything inspires me. Diaper magazine ads, Pinterest, everything!
More then anything - its the client. I love to watch them move and I really try and let the people inspire me.
What is one specific way that you balance work and family?
Schedule, schedule, schedule. I plan my schedule around my family. Kids - school lunches - activities come first. I moved my studio start time to 10am to allow the morning time to get kids off to school or activities in the summer. By 10am they are usually where they need to be, and I can focus on my work.
I also have help. As each child grew, I adjusted my schedule and hired assistants to work on things like production. I would rather be with my kids then working on production all day. I also adjusted my schedule to not work every weekend and to be closed Sunday and Monday. I find if a child is going to be sick, it's usually on a Monday!
Lastly, our school - home and all activities are all within 15 minutes of each other. That way I am always close, and running back and forth isn't an issue.
Best biz/photo advice?
Focus, focus focus. Don't try to do everything all the time. To really be recognized in the field, and by your clients you must be amazing at SOMETHING. Whether its weddings, kids, babies - be great at that and if you aren't - focus until you do. You can do the other stuff to pay the bills, by honestly if you specialize in something - you will never be out of business.
Also hire HELP. Even if its an intern. No one can grow alone - no one.
What have you learned the hard way?
To not be everything to all people.
Keep your clients separate from your friends.
How does your business deal with the rise in photographers. What have you done to standout and compete?
Oh my - I try and ignore it, because if I focus on it it will bring me down. On my block alone, 3 photographers have moved in! I try and focus on my OB displays by continuing to change them, and make sure to market to my existing clientele. It's harder to keep a client, then get a new one, so we really encourage our baby plan and always make sure to stay on top of the latest trends, while keeping our images classic. We also really go out of our way to provide everything we can - such as props, knits for babies, as well as clothing for pregnancy. We know we are dealing with a sensitive time in a persons life, so we really try and go above and beyond and make it convenient for them.
Lately we have been going to our clients homes and help them with the ordering process and decorate their home. This has really made us stand out and create a partnership with our client.
Where have most of your 2011 clients come from (besides WOM)?
Our OB Display - hands down - more then WOM.
What is your most popular product?
Coffee Table Albums of Pregnancy and Newborn
What is the best workshop or convention you have attended so far?
Why do you think honest critique on your images is important?
The only way we can grow is by being taught - whether it is by mentors, peers or our family. As an artist we will always be self critical - and that will never go away. However, we can not grow alone. We need support from fellow artists, and one can only - only get better by honest pure critique. No one - or no image - is perfect.
Want Ana Brandt of Ana Brandt Photography & TAOPAN to critique your images?
Sign up for her 4-WEEK CRITIQUE HERE!