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Wednesday Q&A Series #1 {How I started, and my favorite gear}

i am going to try as best as i can to blog a Q&A post every wednesday, kind of a “how to” or “how I do it” idea … so if you have any questions about ANYTHING… could be photography related, could be about business, hair, makeup, style, how to deal with irrational phobias of large farm animals {ha ha}, shopping, personal… anything you are wondering “how i do it”, just throw it out there and i will answer one a week in this series! {and if i don’t know, i will find try to find a guest blogger who does! ; )}

i am totally overwhelmed at all the questions that got submitted this week {SO AWESOME! THANK YOU EVERYONE!}, so I am going to pick out a few of them and start that way. if i didn’t answer your question this week, i will do my best to get to it next week! i just want to put it out there, that in NO WAY do i feel as if i have got it figured it out, i am still learning as i go along, and these posts will merely be my opinions and what has worked for me. i totally believe that there are more ways than 1 to do things, and somethings work great for one and not so great for others. these posts will be my experience, and i will occasionally have a guest blogger talk about theirs. if that is cool with you guys, let’s get started! {so excited about this!!}

so a lot of the questions had to do with equipment, what i started with, what DSLR i would recommend to someone looking to purchase their first camera, and what lenses are my favorite for a number of different purposes. i started out with a Canon Rebel T2i DSLR that i got for my 21st birthday, with the upgraded EF 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6  kit lens… this was a great starting camera, i could learn to shoot manually and practice practice practice. i sometimes became frustrated with my images however, because with such a high f-stop (3.5-5.6 depending on zoom) i wasn’t getting the “look” i wanted with my images. i was in school at the time i received this camera, and being a photographer was definitely not what i expected to come out of it. i loved taking photos of our personal travels and adventures, but i never imagined that the camera would become my career. 6 months later i began taking family photos for different friends for their christmas cards, etc. my first paying job was $100, and it was for a family i had known my whole life. we did an hour long family photosession and i gave them a high resolution disc with 150 images. i had so much fun and they loved their experience with me, which in a small town naturally the word got around fast, and soon i was charging $200 for family sessions. not long after that i booked my first wedding for $1000. i realized that i didn’t want to show up to the wedding with a f/3.5-5.6 kit lens as it wasn’t fitting the vision of my style and the product i wanted to produce, so one of my best friends lent me her Canon 50mm F/1.4 lens. THANK YOU JANINE SEPT!! this was a lifesavor, and although there was a learning curve at shooting with such a wide aperture, it turned out better than i could have imagined. {That lens retails for about $400.}

as of right now, my favorite “all around must have lens” is the Canon 24-70mm F/2.8L – it is quick and versatile. great for families and capturing fast moving kids. the wide angle is awesome for group shots and when there are storm clouds in the sky this is always my go-to! the zoom gives a softer more “bokeh’d” look to the images, so the variety you can get with one lens is awesome. great thing is that the version II that just came out, so there are tons of these lenses on sites like castanet and kijiji for great prices!

my favorite FAVORITE lens right now is the Canon 50mm f/1.2L which retails for about $1600. it is the PERFECT portrait lens, i hardly ever take it off of my camera. all of the canon L series lenses are amazing, and the next one i can’t wait to get is the 35mm F/1.4L!

so, in point form:
my first camera: canon rebel t2i (great starter camera for someone looking to get into the DSLRs and for personal use. I would recommend getting the upgraded kit lens the 18-135mm)
what i use now: canon 5D Mark II (but wanting to upgrade to the Mark III!)
my favorite lens for family/all around must have: canon 24-70mm F.2.8L
my favorite lens: canon 50mm f/1.2L
Tip: check out kijiji or castanet for used gear if you are on a budget! that is where my gear goes when i upgrade!

Here are some quick answers to some of the other questions I received:

-i don’t use florbella or any other presets or actions on my images at the moment. i did go through a “phase” where i would put my images through presets from Pretty Presets for Lightroom, and although they offer great products and customer service it just didn’t fit the vision of my brand. however, i do use their black and white collection occasionally for my B&W images. 100% of my editing is done in adobe lightroom, to download the free 30day trial click here.
-i am considering doing a workshop within the next year, and i am in the process of developing a mentoring program with the release of my new website and re-brand in the new year… (so pumped!)

Next week I will be addressing some more personal/non photography questions that i didn’t get to today and any that come up in the next week, as well as some tips and tricks on the techniques and camera settings for taking photos of your christmas trees over the holidays! hope you have enjoyed the first installment of the Wednesday Q&A series, and i’ll see you back here next week!


(and because every post should have a couple photographs, here are some examples of shots taken with different lenses and gear. The first one is from my very first photo-shoot ever, and the last one is from my most recent shoot… enjoy! 🙂

{Very first photoshoot, ever, below. Gear used: Canon Rebel T2i, Canon EF 18-135mm F4.5 kit lens}

{Gear used: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens} shot wide at 24mm… shooting wide with this lens is great for accentuating dark clouds like below)

{Gear used: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens} shot wide at 24mm again… also great for silhouettes (below on the right), and catching sunbeams like the image on the left.{Gear used: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens} shot wide at 24mm again… I also use it for shots where the landscape is the focus like both images below… {Gear used: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens} With this lens, you can also use the macro function which is how I took this ring shot below.{Gear used: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens} zoomed in at 70mm, notice the bokeh/portraiture look the zoom gives the images versus the landscape/more crisp shots when shooting at 24mm.{Gear used: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens} zoomed in at 70mmand… for my FAVORITE LENS… the Canon 50mm F/1.2L … I love the look this lens has for portrait shots, the bokeh makes the subject POP, and the images are still incredibly crisp.. just love! it also is great for soft romantic photos with silky light.. mmm… totally my style!{Gear used: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 50mm F/1.2L)

{Gear used: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 50mm F/1.2L){Gear used: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 50mm F/1.2L)And last but not least, a couple shots from my most recent photo session… just LOVE these 2 🙂

{Gear used: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 50mm F/1.2L)

there you have it! if you enjoyed this post and you found it helpful, please click the “like” button below! i would love to hear your feedback as well, and any questions you have about this post you can posts them in the comments below or inbox me! if you have questions you would like to be answered in the next Wendesday’s Q&A, send me a message through my business facebook page and i will do my best your some answers! {you can find my business page by clicking on the pink side bar up on the left hand side of this page that says “become a fan!” – Thank you so much for stopping by and have a beautiful day!!

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  1. Ashley Willan says:

    We love you too Meg! So proud of you.. cant believe its only been 2 years, wow! 🙂

  2. Carol Kostrosky says:

    Great blog Meg, just got a canon rebel T3i. Having lots of fun but that’s all on auto. Have no Idea about manual, have to take a class, or 10. Looking forwart to next weeks bolg.

  3. Amanda Neal says:

    You are definitely an inspiring girl! I have been learning my camera since laynee was born and I would love to be “Amanda Neal Photography” one day! You can count me in when you are doing workshops and mentoring because I feel like I’m at a stand still point with it and don’t know where to go next!
    You are fantastic meg 🙂



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