The Top TEN Things I Did NOT Learn At The Meg Bitton Souls.Imagined. Workshop

My Christmas present came a little early this year.  I’ve never attended a photography workshop in person before, and it was high on my wish list.  While I’ve participated in many webinars and online courses, I knew that I was missing out on getting the most out of mentoring.  In person and on location mentoring is an investment of time and money – a priceless one that can’t be taken lightly.  I knew that I wanted to learn from the best of the best – someone that I admired and endlessly inspired me.  It didn’t take long for me to choose Meg Bitton.  Her airy, whimsical yet bold style of storytelling through images and her distinguishable talent had me mesmerized from the beginning of my career, so I sought out on my journey to learn from the best.  I enrolled in her SOULS.IMAGINED. workshop  last month, as my most treasured Christmas gift this year.  It included photoshoots with children and a maternity model in the forest where most of her captivating images had taken place previously, as well as post processing mentoring afterward – I knew it would be perfect for me.

When I began to share the news of my investment, most of my friends and colleagues were extremely excited (and some even jealous) for me.  I loved the support and as the weeks passed by, the excitement grew to match the levels of a kid on Christmas eve.  It was expected though – this was my Christmas gift after all!

The workshop exceeded all of my expectations and hopes by far.  I learned so many wonderful things from Meg and the other photographers that attended that weekend – a list of little treasures that would probably be 10 pages long.  Instead of  naming off every piece of gloriousness, I’ve decided to share with you the top 10 things that I did NOT learn at the Meg Bitton Souls.Imagined. workshop.  Since mentoring with Meg is a highly sought out experience, I stumbled upon quite a few “urban legends” of what to expect from her and our time together.  While some of the amazing legends were very real, some of the not so amazing ones were far from the truth.  I hope you enjoy my list of what NOT to expect – what I did NOT learn.


1.  I did not learn:  How to add blur to my images in photoshop.

I’m sure this one is a shocker to many, but it was never part of our workshop.  Instead, I learned how to nail some amazing bokeh IN CAMERA.  I learned about perspective.  I learned how to capture the sharpness in my subject and the natural blur in surroundings without the help of editing software.






2.  I did not learn:  How to edit with a slew of actions (available for purchase with a discount code after the workshop)

This one is BIG!  Meg edits by hand.  She teaches how to edit by hand.  She removes the crutches of actions and shows you how to be in control of your images and the vision you have for them instead of running a slew of random actions hoping to achieve the effect you have in mind.  It is the most liberating chunk of knowledge that I am so grateful to now possess.


before, SOOC image

Fox hood




3.  I did not learn:  How to block off and barricade NYC traffic just for a picture.

I did learn that a stoplight seems to last much longer when you’re in a car instead of lying in the street taking pictures though.  Also, that cars passing by find it all entertaining enough to take pictures, too.  (thanks Tara for this sweet shot!)

Street Shooting at the Meg Bitton workshop



4.  I did not learn:  How to create images with composites versus planning out and setting up an actual shoot.

This was an eye opener for me considering that quite a few of my typical newborn images in a gallery are actually composites created from multiple images and merged together via photoshop.  While that technique works well in newborn photography, it’s time consuming and tedious work.   Meg showed me how detailed planning and forethought with determination can create a beautiful image straight out of camera – specifically one that doesn’t require endless time behind a computer screen compositing.   Anyone that can teach me ways to save time is heaven sent in my opinion 🙂

city maternity


5.  There was no Meg Bitton Koolaide that I’d heard so much about.

However, she did keep us refreshed and well fed throughout the entire weekend!  The very first stop after meeting everyone was a drive-thru trip to Starbucks where she ordered 15 venti sized beverages.  The barista loved us, I think 🙂  Meg treated us to many delicious meals at fabulous restaurants in New York City and in New Jersey, along with an endless supply of  “Cronuts” each morning.  I know, I had never heard of them before either.  I’m addicted now though!


starbucks barista



6.  I did not learn:  How to fix a lack of vision in photoshop

Instead, I learned the importance of writing down my visions as soon as they cross my mind.  Brainstorming them and building on them until they come to life.  Wardrobe, setting, lighting, hair (and possibly makeup), angles, and even my plan for post processing should all be planned out prior to create this vision that came to mind months (or sometimes longer) prior.  The details matter.

Brave Merida Red Head Beauty

Ginger Beauty Brave Merida



7.  There was no required lens or camera.

I’ll admit, I was concerned about this prior to investing in the workshop.  I contacted Meg with a few questions about my gear and I was surprised that she was not concerned about my low end DSLR camera body and limited lens collection.  She suggested I bring or rent something with a 200 length just to see the full potential of what I will learn in my resulting images, however, it was by no means a requirement.  Once the workshop began, I realized that we all had very different equipment.  Meg worked with each of us to make sure the crop sensor’d shooters had the space they needed and that each of us were able to capture something amazing with whatever we were working with.

behind the scenes

sister and brother



8.  There were no second agendas or sponsorships.

I really appreciated this.  I cannot count the number of learning experiences I’ve invested in only to find out that they were actually sales pitches for some product, prop vendor, or a new action set.  I understand the need for sponsors sometimes and I love my prop vendors as much as the next person, but it was refreshing to know that everything Meg was teaching us and sharing with us was real and raw – straight from the heart with no ulterior motives.

beautiful ginger girl


 9.  I did not learn that planning has to over-ride spontaneity

While the workshop had a detailed itinerary and planning was a huge part of Meg’s shooting style, I watched first hand how inspiration and creativity will take flight with spontaneity, regardless of the plans.  One of the attendees was a nursing mother and had her baby girl with her for the weekend.  Although the baby spent most of her time with her Daddy and siblings at the hotel, she had to nurse a few times while we were doing our post processing classes next door.  None of us minded that she nursed while we learned, and we all witnessed the light in Meg’s eyes as a new idea came to mind.  She asked if we could photograph mother and baby nursing on our next photoshoot excursion.  You can imagine the shock and excitement of everyone in the room.  Meg didn’t miss a beat though, and had the gown and bonnet on the way to our destination – she was continually building this spur of the moment vision and adding on to the perks of our workshop along the way.  I’m not sure if it were the circumstances, my specialty, or the “models” themselves, but these were my favorite images from the weekend, and I was so grateful for the opportunity to capture them.

breast feeding babyIMG_8605



10.  I did not learn how to be just like Meg Bitton.

This workshop was about ME.  Although Meg was an open book and shared anything we asked, she always clarified “that’s what works for me, but may be different for you”.  She shared her unique business plan that works for her niche market, and then we all discussed our own plans and what does and does not work for each of us.  She did not teach us how to edit just like she edits.  She taught us how to show the beauty we captured, how to highlight connections and bring focus away from what wasn’t important in our images.  She explained how to create the dramatic effects that would fully portray our vision – whatever our vision may be.  She never harped on prices and the fall of the industry like so many others get caught up in.  Instead her focus was each of us – artists on a journey.  Whether our journey paid well, was just a hobby, or was winding in the direction of creating fine art just to display in our own homes, it didn’t matter.  We were all photographers; individual artists there to learn how to get the very most from our own unique journey – not how to be like Meg Bitton.

twirling girl in the forestIMG_8314



While shooting in the forest I saw this bird standing guard in a tree just above 20 of us.  I was fascinated by his intensity – he was focused and unafraid.  After I snapped an image I noticed a heart shaped branch behind him that he almost appeared to be protecting.  This out-take image sums up my whole experience for me.   The most profound thing that Meg taught me that weekend is FEARLESSNESS.  I have a renewed confidence in my artwork and the ambition to chase my dreams, as wild as they may be.  I’ve learned the importance of documenting my visions and focusing on my inspirations (not as much on the work of other photographers in my genre).  I’m finally at peace with my choice to not strive to be like everyone else in the industry and instead break and make my own little rules along the way.   I’m not afraid to step outside of the box more and capture what calls out to me – regardless how controversial that may be.  I’ve learned that not everyone will see what I see, they won’t all LOVE my work.  The important part is to stand by my artwork no matter what – if it came from my heart, I need to protect it.   This knowledge, clarity, foresight and FEARLESSNESS would not be in existence right now without that weekend learning from Meg.  She gave me my most treasured gift of all.






pictured moments by april signature




December 26, 2013 - 2:56 pm

Jamie Smith - LOVE how you wrote this! LOVE!

December 26, 2013 - 3:37 pm

April - Thank you for sharing! Your images are absolutely stunning!

December 26, 2013 - 4:49 pm

Lisa Adams - WOW April, that was GREAT!! Your pictures awesome!! and your blog very well written! I think it should be shared with Meg!!

December 26, 2013 - 8:41 pm

Kelly Ruth Frazier - Beautifully written and so very true. And I feel special that I am in your blog 1 1/2 times!!

December 26, 2013 - 8:45 pm

Victoria Anne Hershman - This was an amazing post!! Love love LOVE!

December 26, 2013 - 8:48 pm

Kemis Hancock - awesome blog April.

December 26, 2013 - 9:27 pm

April Lemley Humphrey - Thank you all! I know I didn’t do her justice, but it’s straight from the heart <3

December 26, 2013 - 10:07 pm

Krista Frohlich - Perfect. Nicely written April. 🙂

December 26, 2013 - 10:50 pm

Lisa Creager Adams - WOW April, that was GREAT!! Your pictures awesome!! and your blog very well written! I think it should be shared with Meg!!

December 28, 2013 - 8:03 pm

Patricia - This is beautiful. Your words, your images, your feelings. Thanks for sharing this and providing inspiration for me!!!!!

December 28, 2013 - 10:04 pm

Hannah Drews Photography - I have been dreaming of a workshop with Meg Bitton! This was such great information and I loved all the images you captured!

December 28, 2013 - 10:05 pm

Hannah Drews Photography - I have been dreaming of a workshop with Meg Bitton! This was such great information and I loved all the images you captured!

December 29, 2013 - 7:24 am

Traci Lynn Fugitt - this is absolutely wonderful <3

December 29, 2013 - 10:08 am

Jessica - This was wonderful! Thanks for sharing I am one of the jealous ones that wants to take her course! Love this sum up of the journey.

December 29, 2013 - 10:10 am

Mia - beautiful images and heartfelt summary. Thank you for sharing my experience. I am now saving for a Meg workshop 😉

December 29, 2013 - 11:08 am

Opal Michel - Great post. Thank you for your insight. I’d love to take a workshop with her one day. A mamma can dream, right?

December 29, 2013 - 11:14 am

Christina - I’m taking Meg’s workshop with Pebbles and Polka dots and this just excites me even more. April can not come soon enough!!! Thank you for being so honest!

December 29, 2013 - 4:03 pm

Christine Barenklau - Thank you for sharing your beautiful experience and amazing images!! You are an inspiration!

December 29, 2013 - 4:22 pm

Stephanie Lacroix-Schmidt - Amazing, April! This was so inspiring! <3

December 29, 2013 - 4:35 pm

Christina Lourenco Borsch - so inspiring!! thank you for sharing.

December 29, 2013 - 8:26 pm

Chelsea - So eloquently written. Thank you for sharing, and congratulations on reaching self-actualization. That’s a tremendous (and inspiring!) thing to conquer. Also, I especially loved the pull-back photos, made it all feel that much more realistic – thanks for including those!

January 16, 2014 - 10:32 am

Bryna - I am in complete aw of everything here. You are beyond talented and your passion shows through your work!

February 1, 2014 - 9:49 pm

Tammy - This was a wonderful post – thank you for sharing! I really would love the opportunity to take this course as well. I suppose I will keep my eyes open to see if there is any info about signing up/dates. What an amazing experience for you and I could feel how much you loved it!!!


March 17, 2014 - 2:05 am

Trina Dinnar - Inspiring read! Thank you so much for sharing your amazing experience 🙂

April 1, 2014 - 4:04 pm

Cheryl - Such a lovely testament ~ and beautiful images too!

May 25, 2014 - 5:52 pm

Sai Nikileshwar - <3 your work is amazing too :D

May 25, 2014 - 11:20 pm

Kassándra Gris - You achieve an incredible look in your photos! Can I ask which camera and lenses did you finally use? (the canon 200 f.2 L, that I suposse that is the similar that Meg Bitton is using with Nikon is far far away from my real life) Thanks!

June 3, 2014 - 1:01 am

Alicia Jones - I have always been a fan of Meg’s and your photography is beautiful as well. I have always wondered what lens she uses the most to get the wonderful blurred backgrounds. I have a Nikon D3000 and wondering if I bought a 200mm if I could get that result? Thank you for any help you could provide.

June 7, 2014 - 7:48 pm

Lindsey Dueck - Great, now I NEED to attend a Meg Bitton workshop!

July 5, 2014 - 10:12 pm

pmg - Beautiful images! Did you end up renting the 200? I have only used primes so just wondering if that length lens helps with the blur/perspective you mentioned in #1.

September 25, 2014 - 4:11 pm

Mary Burns - Wonderful post!!! So true that every artist must follow their own personal dream and vision!!

September 25, 2014 - 4:11 pm

Mary Burns Photography - Wonderful post!!! So true that every artist must follow their own personal dream and vision!!

September 28, 2014 - 9:50 pm

Mjames - Hey in my hotel after a 2 of 3 days with Anna Brandt’s in person workshop, went to look something up and came across your blog accidentally. So beautifully written and your images are simply gorgeous (and I’m a picky photographer lol) looks like the workshop was amazing for you..I feel the exact same with my timewth Ana Brant, a long time inspiration for me. I even signed up for tomorrows 1 day workshop bc I just want all the time I can get with her. I know they are comsiderably cheaper than Meg’s workshops but the quality was priceless and while she didn’t plug any sponsors we did get a goodie bag filled with amazing stuff from companies that do sponsor her so I thought at was an added bonus I wasn’t expecting at all but I hear what you are saying. She also included an amaxing maternity dress for us to have another total surprise. Anyway I can’t believe your images are in a low end camera, unbelievable and you are clearly great at editing. Well done! Great read as I wind down from the same high I’m sure you were on after you finished your workshop…ill be looking out for your work

September 3, 2015 - 9:12 pm

Rebecca McManus - What wonderful words……. just what I needed to hear.
Thank you!

October 22, 2015 - 11:12 pm

Nira - Which workshop would you recommend for people who are outside of USA?

March 8, 2016 - 10:44 am

Raman Sahni - amazing

December 29, 2016 - 10:33 pm

Dalena Jones - April this is beautifully written!!! Love everything about this blog post!

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