I quite often use the caption ” Love + Light” because I truly feel that you really need to have love. Love for your craft. Love for your camera. Love for your client. If you aren’t loving something….the craft, camera or the client…it is hard to be passionate and be amazing. We all have challenges on so many levels in any career – and Photography is no exception. I am not saying I love every shoot or every client – and I am sure others can say the same about me! But those days…the days when things are good. The days where you push thru the challenges and can really see the light and get things to work – that is what we hold onto!

I travel a lot and let me be the first to say there is NOTHING easy about it. I won’t bore you on the jetlag, or leg cramps, swollen feet or lack of any real food I can eat in this post, because it sounds too whiny! It is so much easier to have my clients come to me, shoot in my own studio with my own lights and know everything will be alright. When I travel I stress about catching the plane, then making sure I have my luggage – then finding the hotel. Once I am settled and all is good, then reality hits! I have to shoot! Most of the time I have no idea what the room looks like, what the lighting condition looks like or even my subject. I am walking in blind – completely – except for my camera – everything is unknown.

These are stressful times!

The lights don’t work.

Projectors don’t work.

Models may not show.

Students come far and wide and most often will come from a dozen different countries. They too are stressed. It’s time away from their families – sometimes it’s the first time they have ever traveled! They are nervous. They are hopeful. They have great¬†expectations. There are times where I feel the expectation is so great I want to pass out from anxiety. So worried I am going to disappoint. Then there are the models. Will they show? If they do are they nervous? Will the babies cry? If I am stressed they will be, so I need to be calm and relaxed and show everything is going to be alright – even when I am not sure it is.

Having a good organizer or assistant is key. Having anyone by your side is essential. In my studio it may be an assistant – on the road, it could be my family or my host. Having someone who can be calm, positive and handle things when they are at the worst is so important. Teamwork is everything as well as compassion and understanding.

In this Blog post, I am going to use my event in Rio as an example. I have been to Brazil many times – I believe 7! I have developed amazing relationships with many and I consider this a wonderful country to work – despite their economic hardship, they are some of the most loving people in the world. For this event, I was invited to speak to 100 people. They were coming from all over and some had literally traveled all night. As they were piling in I could see how excited they and our models were. It was only pregnancy so I didn’t have to worry about newborns.

We were in a conference room, not that big but with no natural light at all. My plan since I really didn’t have that much time was to demonstrate single light for pregnancy and showcase my imagery with instruction to inspire them. In the beginning, nothing was working. The projector, the lights, the triggers. I was so stressed and I know my hostess was too! My son Evan was there and he helped us set things up to shoot to the iPad so people could see – since tethering was not working. I didn’t have a stool, so I stood on a chair to get some height.

It took a while, but with some serious teamwork and tiny prayers, we got it all to work. I went immediately into my presentation, showing transitional pregnancy and I made the students work a bit! They tossed and tossed and tossed that fabric. They saw how it isn’t easy but it can be done. The models shined and the students were happy and I was too! I was exhausted when it was over but I was so happy. I was so happy for love, light, patience, and perseverance. We took photos, hugged and the students shared some of their stories. There are days I am never sure quite where I am or what I am to do. But somehow, somehow the angels above guide me and I know I am exactly where I need to be.

I slept very very well that night. The next day I woke up and headed to Belo Horizonte to do it all over again.

One thing I know for sure? You need Love + Light.

Ana Brandt

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