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On a warm September morning, we climbed until we felt like we were standing in the sky. Clouds surrounded us for miles and miles. The mountains peeked through to show off their blue and green peaks. It was a morning to soak up the days, months, years that led up to their engagement. It was a moment to process how incredibly special both of these two people are. Cannot wait for their wedding in April.

 


The post EMILY + MATT<br> BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY // ASHEVILLE, NC appeared first on MORNINGWILD Photography.

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I’m sitting here at a cafe, browsing through these hilarious behind the scenes images from last year. Whenever I look through my intern/second shooter’s take, I always find (typically) unflattering images of myself, usually making a super intense concentrating face. However, sometimes there are ones that I store in a folder on my desktop. These special few showcase me in my element, enjoying the heck out of my work. Most people don’t have photos taken of them while they’re working, so I believe these images are a special gift.

All of the images taken of me below were either photographed by Bailey or Brittany.

One of the most important thing I teach my interns is how to photograph around farm life. Kidding. Sort of.

The reason I have an acupuncturist and a massage therapist on call.

When you hire me, know that I not only take photos, but I also fix hair, fluff dresses, adjust makeup, and make sure you are taken care of.

I think Brittany and I spent a solid 10 minutes trying to get this dress to balance on the light without losing it to the ground.

I truly love this work. I’m almost always smiling behind the camera.

Styling details + ring shots.

If I’m not smiling, I have RBF because I’m concentrating really hard.

Trying to decide if I should use flash or try catch bridal party before they enter the barn to have natural light (definitely chose the latter).

Even after 12 years and 200+ weddings, I still get butterflies and nerves before the ceremony is about to start.

Brittany. Perfect subject for light testing…

…especially for long exposures…

…and family photo locations.

She’s going to hate me for sharing these :) But really, look how fun our internship is!

Bailey always knows how to make everyone feel comfortable.

This was a really early call time for an elopement. But, we were able to experience the most magical sunrise. On the way, we pulled over a few times to take in the sky.

Sneaking cocktail hour food (the couple insisted ;)) This is always the point of max hunger on a wedding day.

My feelings encapsulated in one image about drunk people waving fire around at the end of a wedding night. (hah!) Thankfully, these guests were careful and no one caught on fire this time.

What it takes to get the flower girls to cooperate and look at the camera.

When you hire me, know that I’m really great at making faces.

Pretty sure this is the, “WAIT! I want to steal you for just one more minute for one more photo.”

Mom, if you’re reading this, don’t panic. I was only sort of on the edge of a cliff.

Hope you enjoyed a small peek at what it looks like behind the scenes.

The post BEHIND THE SCENES 2018 appeared first on MORNINGWILD Photography.

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Lisa and Raj spent months planning a large wedding in the mountains of North Carolina. What they didn’t plan for was that Raj would become suddenly ill and need a liver transplant. I received the email from their Nicole (their planner) a few months out from their wedding that they were postponing the festivities until Raj was back in good health.

I can only imagine how trying the next 365 days were. Test results. Labs. Surgeries. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Pain. Healing.  It was a significant life event that brought them closer together.

Thankfully, Raj made a full recovery. It was a difficult year, but they were ready to move forward. 

Priorities shifted, and Lisa + Raj decided to elope a few blocks from their apartment in the West Village. This time around, it would only be family and close friends. 

I walked into the hotel suite and found Lisa and her best friend getting ready. They were giggling, reminiscing and nervously anticipating the next few hours. Raj was at their beloved apartment and putting the finishing touches on his suit. They met around the corner on one of their favorite streets. Tears fell instantly, and I can only think that it was such a relief to make it to this moment.

We walked around the West Village until it was time to return to the hotel to prepare for the ceremony. Friends and family gathered while Lisa hid in her room. Lisa’s birth mother presided over the group and led the ceremony. It was an incredibly heartfelt experience to have her be a part of their day. As the ceremony closed, everyone came up to the couple and put their hands on them. It was a beautiful gesture of a community coming together to support their marriage. 

Raj’s mom held him close with tears in her eyes, simultaneously wiping the water from her son’s face. His family embraced him, speaking that they were so happy to have made it to this day. A year ago, they didn’t know if he would live to get married.

Toasts were shared, and the entire room was in tears. My favorite toast was from Lisa’s dad. He celebrated the newlyweds and also thanked Lisa’s birth mother for bringing Lisa into the world so that they could be her parents. It warmed my heart to see the entire family come together for their union.

Champagne was popped, and everyone mingled until it was time to head to dinner at Freeman’s Restaurant. They sat around a large table like a big family, sharing stories and appetizers until the candles were the only lights in the room.

The post LISA + RAJ<br> THE MARITIME HOTEL // NEW YORK, NY appeared first on MORNINGWILD Photography.

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I share all of these stories with humor and humility. I hope you find them funny and enlightening to what it is like occasionally behind the scenes. Social media paints a pretty picture, but I’m a real human just like anyone else. In each of these scenarios, my couples had no clue what was happening. I never bring any personal drama into a day because it isn’t my day. It is theirs. Even when things happen, I do everything in my power to problem-solve and put out any fires (literally and figuratively). But, even though it is a very, very special one-of-a-kind day for the couple, it is still a day where normal things happen in the background.
 
Of course, in twelve years you have to expect that there will be some crazy things that happen. However, the best professionals keep it professional, no matter what happens. 
 
 
A Truly Bad Stain

I didn’t notice until after the wedding that I had breast milk from pumping stained all over my satin shirt. It was obvious where the liquid had come from, if you get my drift. Thankfully this didn’t happen until the reception, and hopefully no one noticed in the dim lighting. Lesson learned:  always wear black.   

We missed the first dance.

 I’m one to always own up to my mistakes, but this one did not fall on me. This has only happened once in my career, and I tell almost all of my couples this story so that they understand why it is important that we don’t eat in a separate space during dinner (unless we are working with a team that I trust to keep us in the loop). Keep in mind, there were two wedding planners at this 100 person event. Two DJs. Two videographers. My husband was shooting the wedding with me. The wedding planners sent the videographers, Brendan, and myself far, far away to eat dinner, and we made sure to ask that they would come get us if any of the formalities began. They would not allow us to eat in the same room as the guests. After we had barely started on our food, one of the planners sprinted into the room shouting “They started the first dance without you!!! Run!” I was not happy. Not only was this their first dance, but the couple and their friends choreographed this hilarious and fun 10 minute ending to it. We caught the end of the repertoire, but I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn’t believe that FOUR people hadn’t noticed that the FOUR of us were not there. I could go on another tangent about hiring established, trustworthy vendors, but I won’t ;).

Tripping Over My Bag…More Than Once

You would think after 200+ weddings that I would learn to not place my camera bag directly behind me. I tend to take walk backwards without taking my face away from the camera, especially during group portraits. On more than one occasion, I was backing up to fit everyone in the frame, and I completely flipped over my bag. Also, I was wearing a dress. Lesson learned: wear bike shorts underneath dresses at all times.

I’ve experienced the flu, shingles, morning sickness, and even a car accident on wedding days, but have never missed a wedding…

One notable memory was flying back from Greece after a wedding and stopping in NY for another wedding before heading home. I was hit hard with the flu and jet lag all at once. It was probably the worst I’ve ever felt leading up to a wedding. Thankfully, I had scheduled an extra day before the wedding to get my bearings (or in case of travel delays), so I ran (more like crawled) to the nearest drugstore to stock up on a million cold and flu meds. I laid in bed all day. I woke up still feeling awful, but I knew that I didn’t have time to be sick. I could be sick for the next two weeks if I needed to be, but my couple only had this day to celebrate their wedding. My adrenaline took over, and I made it through the day. It was published in print, and it was a featured wedding on my website for years. Maybe I shoot better when I’m sick?

I was probably scammed for a travel permit.

I want to start this story out by telling you how much I adore traveling. I truly do. However, when you travel for destination weddings, it is quite an obstacle…if you travel legally. Most Caribbean islands require you to obtain a permit to work on the island. A lot of photographers will try to lie through customs, but this comes at a great risk for you and your couple. When traveling to Anguilla for the first time, the couple and myself did quite a bit of extensive research to try to figure out if we needed a permit (yes) and how to obtain one. If you’ve traveled to another country before, especially an island, you find out pretty quickly that things are typically processed “on island time” and not in the efficient American manner that we’re used to. After weeks of talking to the embassy and various representatives on the island, we discovered that we needed to get a local photographer to “host” me. They would do the work to get the permit and essentially vouch for me. The representative gave me a few names, and I reached out to the first one on the list.   Every email I had with this man was sketchy. It could have easily been copied and pasted from a spam letter. But, we had no other option. He arranged to meet me at customs to show the permit to the authorities to help me through. The couple wired him the money in advance. I honestly thought one of three things would happen to me when I arrived:  

  1. I would be kidnapped.
  2. I would be detained for trying to work on Anguilla because he wouldn’t show up.
  3. I would make it through customs.

The local photographer did show up, but I didn’t see him until I cleared customs. I was confused. Wasn’t he supposed to show the officials the permit? Where was the permit? He told me that he was there in case something went wrong. He knew the custom agents personally (insert laughing, disbelieving emojis). He left the permit at his house and said he would bring it by the resort the following day. He never did. It was by far one of the stranger experiences I’ve had traveling abroad. Thankfully, the wedding went off without a hitch, but I still left feeling like we all might have been scammed.

I’ve photographed so many times in the rain that I’ve lost count, but a hailstorm took me to another level. 

There was scattered rain on the radar, but it wasn’t supposed to hit until well after the ceremony. Guests gathered, and dark clouds loomed. As the bride walked down the aisle it started to mist. Then, it drizzled. Then, it absolutely came down in sheets. The wind picked up. Then, the hail started. I kept looking around at all of the guests in disbelief. No one left to find shelter. There were plenty of people without umbrellas, but they huddled under coats. Their loyalty and love for the couple was compelling. Not to mention, their bridal party stood the entire time (45 minutes!) without umbrellas. My intern had both of her cameras die that day from the moisture. Thankfully, mine were OK from darting under a tilted umbrella that we pulled from the car last minute. My intern was able to use my third backup that was completely dry in the car. Lesson learned:  always bring back up gear and store it in a separate area. Always bring multiple umbrellas and rain gear. 

The post MY MOST EMBARRASSING + CRAZY WEDDING STORIES appeared first on MORNINGWILD Photography.

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Katie and Christian were in the throes of wedding planning when we first met. They are photographers themselves, and we shared stories of travel, of an affinity for the mountains, and of the bizarre jobs we had before the present day (did you know that Katie was an actress on Nashville?!). It was a pleasant summer evening, and I’m glad our paths crossed for them to have engagement photos taken for Chelsea’s mentor session.

The post KATIE + CHRISTIAN<br> BLACK BALSAM KNOB // ASHEVILLE, NC appeared first on MORNINGWILD Photography.

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Brendan and I are goal-oriented people. It might be a first-born thing. We truly enjoy working towards something each year, and putting words on paper keeps us accountable. We pray over each project and dream, that doors will open and close as they should. 

This is the first year that I have worked with Lara Casey’s Powersheets. They are a game-changer. I’ve already found myself keeping up with habits longer because I can track them on a daily basis. I’ve also found ourselves completing projects quicker than we typically do because it helps us stay organized without trying to take on too much too quickly.

Before I jump into this year, let’s see how last year went:

2018 GOALS

1. Health

// Rehab ankle so that I can get back to running in 2018.
+Found out late in the year that I have celiac disease, which is probably to blame for the ankle issues. The rehab didn’t help much, but I’m hoping this dramatic diet change will help the inflammation.

// Less time on social media. Limit to two times a day. Lord help me. This will be a difficult one.
+Yes, this was difficult and only happened for a few months. Working on this again this year.

// Get into a daily exercise routine that can be practiced during busy season, even if it’s only 15 minutes/day.
+With so many health issues this year (ultimately getting diagnosed), it was difficult to exercise. I finally feel like I’m starting to heal and can get back into the swing of things. Hoping to revitalize this goal for this year.

// Learn more about meditation practice.
+I did download the Headspace app, but I only practiced when I felt it was necessary. Hoping to make this a daily routine in 2019.

// Less sugar, more salads.
+Unintentionally this is happened drastically when I had to cut out bread and other pastries.

// Less trashy TV, more educational podcasts while editing.
+Hah I think I spent most of 2018 editing to Revenge and other dramas. I have had a better start for 2019, however.

// Wake up a little bit earlier to prioritize quiet time, prayer, and meditation.
+Again, didn’t happen, but it’s already been a better practice in 2019.

2. Family

// Catch up on 2016 + 2017 family books from Artifact Uprising.

// Make Kitt’s one year video.

// Continue to take monthly portraits of Kitt on my SLR.
+This somewhat happened but not as much as I liked.

// Continue weekly planning meetings with B to communicate better about our schedules.
+We had good months and bad months of being on top of this. This is on our goal sheet again for 2019.

// Plan anniversary trip! We’re thinking Iceland might be our country of choice for 2018.
+Yes! But, we ultimately went with Montréal because it was our first time away from Kitt and didn’t want to leave him for more than a few days. 

// Continue bi-monthly date nights.
+ Yes! We trade with friends of ours every week, and it is the best! I can’t believe that more people don’t do this because babysitters are expensive.

// Find a sitter for Kitt and Poa. (Anyone know of the best way to go about this?)
+One of my lovely brides helped me out a little this year, but I’m still working on building this network…

// Carve out time for a weekly family day and a monthly adventure/outing.
+I would give us a B- on this. We were good about making hikes happen more often than not, but I’d love to make this a bigger priority in 2019!

3. Self-Care

// Monthly creative space. Once a month, do something that is creative, fun, and away from the office.
+Nope. I wish this had happened.

// Finish #emertlangeproject
+Not yet either. 

// Complete two workshops (Teethkiss + Awakening the Spark)

// Work through my “oneness.” Learning about the enneagram changed my life! It revealed my strengths and weakness. As a “one,” I need to learn to be less of a perfectionist, less critical of myself, delegate more.
+Always a work in progress :)

// Learn one new skill or craft.
+Not yet.

// Less, less, less. Purge our house, buy less things, enjoy what we have, experiences vs. things.
+Yes, yes yes. We’ve been better about this.

4. Service

// Find a way to serve the community on a regular basis. Maybe return to volunteering for Arts for Life? Connect with nonprofit and help with media?
+Still want to do this.

5. MorningWild

// Make time for more real life family sessions, elopements, and boudoir work. Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE weddings. I just want to make a pointed effort to leave space for these in my schedule too :)
+YES! I put this out in the universe early in 2018 and was so happy to have so many on my calendar. I would love for this to continue into 2019.

// Integrate new albums and books for late 2018 and 2019 pricing. I’m excited to collaborate with these new companies!
+YES!

// Blog more frequently. Blog more personal work and educational posts.
+YES! Need to work on the personal + educational, but prepping blog posts in the off season helped a ton with posting consistently.

// Hire a spring intern and fall intern.

// Explore new packaging options for 2018 couples.

// Update website.

// Update guides and welcome book.

// Catch up on submissions before the season begins.

//  Integrate blog and website into a new blogsite? 
+I can finally check this off in 2019 :)

  

GOALS FOR 2019

1.Reclaim my health

The celiac diagnosis hit me hard emotionally. It was is a tough thing to come to terms with, as food is such a huge part of relationships and community. We are also foodies, and being limited to where and what I can eat is difficult. Thankfully, it was caught early, so I didn’t have as much damage as some people do. 

// See an acupuncturist to help with healing inflammation.

// Find a new GI doctor. Not loving my current one.

// Daily meditation practice. Or, maybe 4-5x’s/wk.

// Weekly yoga or group exercise.

// Find new gluten-free recipes.

// AIP diet to discover other bothersome foods.

// Earlier bedtime.

// Getting off my phone by 9p.

// Start a garden!

2. Intentional Time

As all of you married folks with kids know, you have to work hard to make time for your marriage and friendships. Writing these down on paper helps us not just settle for Netflix nights (even though I cherish those too!).

// Weekly meetings (helps us communicate about the week’s schedule and setting expectations for us both).

// Find a church community.

// Plan outings with friends and neighbors.

// Continue going to book club :)

// Go to local events.

// Find a babysitter.

// Setting a part time bi-monthly to do something together as a family (hiking, day trip, etc.).

// Plan our anniversary trip!

// Plan New Mexico trip!

// Regular Sabbaths (twice a month?).

3. MorningWild

I’ve been in this business for 12 years, and I believe in setting goals every season. It helps me not settle into routine and to keep striving for the best experience for each person that interacts with MorningWild.

// Explore some outsourcing to allow more time for shooting. 

// Update client management software for 2019 pricing and workflows.

// Migrate all galleries back to Pixieset and upload old galleries for online storage.

// Create an intern binder.

// NEW WEBSITE AND BLOG!

// Start a weekly social media plan. Sign-up for Tailwind.

// Consider growing the team.

// Hire fall intern.

4. Embrace Creativity

There’s no doubt from looking at last year’s goals that self-care was a last priority. I’m working harder in 2019 to change this.

// Learn a new art form (pottery? drawing?)

// Finish #emertlangeproject

// Less social media, more books, more movies, more inspirational visuals.

// Shoot more film

// Shoot more for myself (more of our family).

// Carve out time for reflection (possibly on a Sabbath day?).

// Catch up on family books.

// Kitt’s two year video.

The post 2019 GOALS appeared first on MORNINGWILD Photography.

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Kendra + Jon built their home in a magical place. The forest engulfs the property, as if the cabin grew out of the earth among the other saplings. Cell towers cannot reach the house, which makes one feel as though they are in the wilderness upon arrival. The children spend their summer days exploring the woods with their dog, Beulah. They look for flowers, for bugs, for places to climb. They know the land as if it were a part of them.

As the warm light is swallowed by the horizon, the mosquitoes begin to hum. Everyone settles inside to read by the fireplace and rest before another day of adventure begins.

The post MILLS FAMILY<br> MONTAGUE, MI appeared first on MORNINGWILD Photography.

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It was a day that reminded us that we live in a rainforest. Warren’s grandpa always called these types of days when the mountains breathed smoke, “rabbits cooking dinner.” The rain was constant all morning and afternoon. It would pour, drizzle, and subside. There was a note of the crisp fall air, but the humidity clung on to the last days of summer.

As they both nervously prepared for the day with their closest friends, the rain momentarily paused. Warren met Stephanie in the soaked grass and gave her the biggest hug. They laughed. He circled her to check out every angle. They exchanged cards, only to make Warren tear up at Stephanie’s words. 

We walked past the horse pasture into a large open field. The mountains were mighty, and the passing fog opened up to release another melody of water escaping to the earth.

Guests sat in the light rain faithfully, never complaining. Some had umbrellas, others didn’t. No one seemed to mind the pitter-patter of the shower. Steph approached her dad, and he instantly became emotional. He walked her down the aisle with her mother, sobbing along the way.

Vows and poems were read. Tears fell. Rain halted.

They were pronounced and took a minute to themselves to take it all in. They rejoined their community to celebrate with custom cocktails and southern snacks. 

After everyone had enjoyed delicious southern comfort food, we snuck away at dusk to catch the last glimpse of the colors catching in the clouds. Our feet were soaked from the tall, damp grass, but no one seemed to mind.

Warren and Stephanie danced and sang to each other, stopping only to look at each other with the strongest adoration. Their mothers cried. 

The party felt larger than their guest count. Everyone joined the newlyweds to enjoy the specially selected playlist. As a tradition, the men took off their shirts to dance around Stephanie and lift her in the air. There was a vibrant energy that continued throughout the evening and beyond the last song played.

The post STEPHANIE + WARREN<br> MAST FARM INN // BOONE, NC appeared first on MORNINGWILD Photography.

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This is the fourth part in a series of my favorite business (and personal) tools. Here is the lineup:

// Software
// iPhone apps
// Tangible products (packaging)
// Camera Gear

PART FOUR:  WHAT IS IN MY CAMERA BAG

I will write another blog post on entry-level gear that I recommend for those wishing to buy a camera for their honeymoon, new baby, etc. This post will detail the gear I currently use and recommend for professionals.

Thank you, More, for the lovely portraits above.

CAMERA BODIES + ACCESSORIES Cameras

The two major competitors in the SLR market for wedding photographers over the past decade have been Canon and Nikon. Other companies are rising as mirrorless options become more available and affordable. I’ve shot with Canon my entire career, and it’s easy to say I’m a huge fan.

Canon’s color profiles, especially for skin, win me over time and time again. Their glass is phenomenal. I do think their earlier bodies were closer to film profiles (5D classic + 5D Mk II), but I’m still attached to my 5D Mk III and 5D Mk IV. Nikon has always been superior for low-light capabilities and fast focusing (especially for sports). However, I think Canon has caught up, especially if you’re primarily working as a wedding/portrait photographer.

I always work with two bodies because I hate taking the time to change lenses, especially during peak moments (ceremony, first look). I currently shoot with a 5D Mark IV and 5D Mark III.

CF Cards

The most important thing to me with CF cards is that they are first, reliable. Second, fast. I’ve had the most success with SanDisk, and their recovery program is great, if you ever have to go down that path. Until I purchased the Mk IV, I always shot on 16 GB cards. Cards fail, and I never want to have an entire wedding on one card in case this does happen. I recently upgraded to 32 GB only because the files on the MK IV are so much larger. I also shoot with backup SD card on both camera bodies.

Card Case

This story is embarrassing, but it’s worth sharing to explain why I use this particular type of case. I used to have my CF cards attached to my camera body in a malleable plastic case. I was photographing a senior session on a huge stack of rocks in Lake Michigan. In slow motion, I saw my camera strap break, sending the CF card pouch flying in between rocks and into the lake. It was impossible to get it back. It was the end of the shoot.

I tried not to cry, but 50% of the session was gone. Thankfully, I shoot I with two bodies, so I had photos from the first half of the session on that camera, and the rest were on my other camera body. I was able to rescue the session, and the client was happy with the final result.

Since this experience, I upgraded to waterproof, shockproof cases. They are almost indestructible, waterproof, and obnoxiously bright. I also don’t attach anything to my cameras any more. I couldn’t find the exact model online, but this is similar.

Camera Strap

I can’t sing enough praises for the HoldFast Money Maker camera strap. I used to have terrible back and shoulder pain, but this device has almost completely alleviated it. I recently purchased India Earl’s camera strap, as I admire the fact that you can clip cameras to your pants so they don’t swing when you’re hiking and such. So far, I like that my hair doesn’t get tangled in it, and the straps are custom-fitted. I’m still breaking in the leather, so I find myself switching back and forth between the two.

Video Light

I consider this an essential piece of gear in my bag. This little light has saved me big time in tough lighting situations. There was one wedding years ago that was under Christmas lights with no other ambient light. It was so incredibly dark that my camera could not focus at all. I’ve been in similar situations since then, especially with outdoor weddings or dark churches. When this happens, I will have my second shooter hold this for me at a 45º to bring in some additional light. In a church situation, I will attach it to my camera at a low setting with just enough power to help me focus. You can also use the AF assist beam with Canon flashes, but I still find the video light more helpful in certain situations. A video light is also great for long exposures (trying to get everyone in focus before pressing the shutter) and for detail photos in dark reception spaces, especially if you don’t have time to set up OCF.

Tip:  do not buy a cheap video light on Amazon. It will break. You will have to replace it, and it will end up costing more. I’m reporting this from experience ;)

Flashes

I’m simple with my lighting set-up. I use two Canon 580 EXII Flashes. I haven’t upgraded to the newer flashes because these have suited me fine for the past seven years. When these go, I will probably upgrade to whatever is fresh on the market.

Remote Trigger

I sometimes like to play with long exposures if there is time during the reception. This is a handy tool to help prevent camera shake.

Carry Bag

I was loyal to Kelly Moore bags for years, but they always broke or the faux-leather would peel. I’ve now had my Ona bag for four years, and it is holding strong. I have this one. I use this bag when I shoot locally.

Travel Bag

It’s challenging to fly and hike with camera gear. I’ve experimented with many different systems, and the combo that seems to work best is bringing camera gear in a backpack and putting clothes in a roller bag. Since I almost always fly on a regional jet from Asheville, I don’t want to have to planeside check gear. The only way to get around this is to have a bag that fits under the seat. I also use my backpack when I have long hikes, as my shoulder bag can be awkward to climb with. After trying out a few different companies (Ona, Langly) and not loving their bags (usually for lack of comfort), I’ve found my favorite is converting a hiking backpack into a camera bag. I bought this bag from Osprey and fitted it with padding to custom-fit my gear. The waist belt is key, and my back is happier for it. I also like that it looks less like a camera bag.

I wrote more about traveling with gear in this blog post.

LENSES

If you’re going to spend big money on any gear, spend it on lenses. A cheap lens on a $4000 camera body will make the images look cheap. My favorite lenses:

24 1.4 L

This is my favorite lens for family sessions, and it is glued to my camera for the dancing portion of the reception. I appreciate that for such a wide lens, the distortion is minimal. However, because there is some distortion, I really don’t use it except when I’m in tight spaces or want the capability to get super close to people.

35 1.4 L

If I had to choose one lens, it would be the 35.  I use this lens for 70% of my wedding days and 100% during portrait sessions. I also use it the most for traveling and personal work.

45 2.8 TSE

I only use my tilt shift on occasion, mostly because it is a gamble to get people in focus (it’s a manual focus lens). I play with it more at portrait sessions, and I will occasionally pull it out if I have time on a wedding day. I really adore the flare and color that comes out of this lens on a sunny day. Tip: use live view to help focus when using this lens.

50 1.2 L or Sigma 50 1.4 Art

The other lens that is almost always on my camera is my 50. It’s on my second camera for the majority of portrait sessions and probably 50% of a wedding day. Even though I’m loyal to Canon glass, I recently purchased the Sigma Art to see if it would be sharper and faster at focusing than my Canon 50. So far, it is tack sharp, and I think I like it better. However, the color + bokeh on the Canon lens is butter.

85 1.8

This is a cheaper lens in the Canon lineup, but I like it because it is light. I purchased this for elopements because I was sick of lugging around my 70-200 2.8 up trails. The biggest negative is that the focusing is not the best. But, when you nail it, the photos are glorious. I also use this lens for macro shots (more info on those filters below).

70-200 2.8

This is probably my least favorite lens of everything in my kit, but I find it necessary as a wedding photographer. I never bring it to portrait sessions because I hate how compressed it makes the scene, and I don’t like being that far away from my subjects. However, it is wonderful for ceremonies and reception formalities when you don’t want to be noticed.

135 f/2

This is another great long lens to have for hiking elopements and destination weddings. It’s much lighter than the 70-200, although it is not as versatile. I recently brought this instead of my 70-200 to a destination elopement, and it was perfect. I didn’t need the full length of the zoom lens, and I loved that it lightened up my pack a little bit. The bokeh on this lens is also something to write love songs about.

40 2.8 (pancake lens)

I don’t use this lens for weddings, but I wanted to mention it because it is a phenomenal travel lens. When I want to pack light, it is perfect. It’s a wonderful mid-range lens that’s between a wide and medium focal length. Even with it’s cheap price tag, it is actually pretty great at nailing focus too.

Macro Filter

I wanted to “up” my ring shot game, but I did not want to invest in a macro lens because it was the only part of the day that I was using that feature. These filters are perfect because they are cheap, they get the job done, and they work well. I pop these on my 85 1.8 when I photograph rings.

Another tip: buy lenses used if you are short on cash. In fact, most of my lenses I have purchased used. Good glass lasts a long time, as long as you take care of it, so you won’t see a huge difference in new glass vs. used glass. B&H, KEH, and Amazon are all great resources for used lenses. Make sure the condition is always 8+ and that they have a return policy if you find it is in worse condition than advertised.

COMPUTER GEAR Laptop

I work off of a Macbook Pro when I travel, and I find myself using it more and more since having a kid (working remotely when I need a quieter space). Tip:  keep your computer as empty as possible. I don’t store anything on my laptop, and I work off of hard drives to keep things running as efficiently as possible.

iMAC

Early in my career, I worked exclusively off of a laptop. When I saved enough money, I purchased an iMac and have never looked back. The time I’ve saved by this investment is invaluable. As much as I would love to throw cash at some of the more efficient Macs, it’s never made sense financially. I just make sure to get the most ram and fastest processor available. As an old friend once advised, “buy the best computer you can afford, but don’t go into debt to purchase it.”

Hoodman Card Reader

Oh my. If I had a dollar for every card reader I’ve ever had…until I purchased a Hoodman reader. I can’t tell you how many times card readers have completely stopped working. But, I LOVE my Hoodman card reader. This thing is fast, reliable, and (knock on wood) has held up through a few wedding seasons.

Headphones

These have become essential since having a baby. The bluetooth feature is clutch, and they are comfortable to wear for hours when I work late.

Hard Drive

There are many, many different ways to back up photos. A lot of friends swear by a Drobo system, but I really love Lacie Rugged drives because I travel and work remotely so often. They’re super fast, which is wonderful for backing up terabytes of work. Once a wedding is finished, the images live on Pixieset, an off-site location, and on one of these drives.

The post MY FAVORITE BUSINESS TOOLS (PART FOUR) appeared first on MORNINGWILD Photography.

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This is the third part in a series of my favorite business (and personal) tools. Here is the lineup:

// Software
// iPhone apps
// Tangible products (packaging)
// Camera Gear
// Travel

PART THREE:  MY FAVORITE PRINT + PACKAGING BUSINESSES

While we like to live minimally, I do cherish the few tangibles that we do have. They have to be sentimental, useful, or make us happy simply by their beauty. I truly love sending my couples something tangible with their collection, as it physically connects them to their images and the experience. Here are my favorite companies to work with:

Renaissance Albums

I’ve admired the quality of Renaissance Albums for years because their albums are stunning. The craftsmanship is superb. Photographers, their pricing system is a little bit confusing, but their support staff is wonderful, if you ever get stuck.

Red Tree Albums

Their paper is beautiful, and they make your photos look incredible. I highly, highly recommend them. I also think their ordering process is one of the simplest on the market.

Artifact Uprising

I’ve worked with AU for years, and my biggest disappointment is their ordering system. It changes every couple of months, it is slow, and it is confusing. This was the biggest reason that I migrated from their product to Red Tree. Their staff is incredible, and I think their products are just lovely. Their mission statement also connects with me on a deeper level. I’m mentioning them here because I still believe in their product, and I love printing with them for personal use.

Richard Photo Lab

By far, my favorite online print company for professionals. I love their quick turnaround, and their print quality is fantastic.

Indie Print Co.

I’ve worked with Indie for film processing before, and they just launched their new print studio! I’m hoping to integrate a few of their products into client gifts this year. Check them out!

Magcloud

I’ve sourced my welcome books through Magcloud for the past seven years (now they are owned by Blurb), and I’m still impressed by the quality of their product. They are one of the few companies that you can print publications through on a small scale.

Make & Stow

My legacy boxes are sourced through Make & Stow, and I’m a huge fan. There are many, many companies that sell wooden boxes for photographers, but the quality and craftsmanship of M&S boxes stand out above the rest.

Paper Source/Paper Presentation

My favorite sites for paper products (stationary, envelopes, markers, etc.)

Asheville Bee Charmer/French Broad Chocolates/Whist/Duncan and York

I just adore supporting these four local businesses for welcome gifts and thank you gifts. They all curate beautifully designed pieces that I’m excited to gift.

Amazon

I try to support small businesses as much as I can, but Amazon is a winner for small things like twine, clear bags, muslin bags, etc.

Etsy

If you can’t find it anywhere else, you can probably find it on Etsy. I source my lavender and linen for packaging from two shops on here.

Uline

Uline has every shape and color you could ever need for boxes. While I wish there were a slightly more beautiful way to ship a product (if only the post office would accept it!), Uline gets the job done.

The post MY FAVORITE BUSINESS TOOLS (PART THREE) appeared first on MORNINGWILD Photography.

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