Gearhart, Oregon Beach House Adventure Couple Session

If I was going to live anywhere besides Colorado I would have to say it would be Oregon. 2018 has been filled with travels across the U.S. and this little beach home has some of the closest memories to my heart. You know the kind of friends that no matter how much time passes, no matter how many miles apart you may be, they will always be a part of your life? That’s my friend Nate. Nate is the type of guy who gives to others without hesitation and I feel so lucky to have experienced this little utopia with Nate and Hannah for the weekend.

Gearhart is an adorable beach town straight out of The Notebook about two hours away from Portland. The sand is like butter and it looks like every romantic novel you ever dreamed of. The green is as vibrant as my photos in real life. My curly hair goes wild in the misty air and a casual fluffy sweater with wine is a must. A typical night here consists of board games by the fire. If you read my last post, then you know that’s just about heaven for me.

This was my first time meeting Nate’s girlfriend Hannah and they only had one request for the shoot - to run on the beach with their pups!! Hannah is a curly-haired goddess as you can see below and Nate’s bird shirt and fierce beard made the final touches. This shoot was exactly as it looks: carefree, intimate, silly and sweet. That about sums up these two lovers in a nut shell. Thank you for frolicking on the coast with me I can’t wait to visit again.

Must-Have Photography Gear I Wish I Had Bought Right Away

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I have made tons of little changes in my camera bag/system since graduating from art school in 2016! From different programs and gear there are so many crucial pieces I wish I had know to get sooner. It can be confusing as to what you should buy or what might be crucial to your workflow. Here are a few must-haves that will change the game for you!

  1. SD and CF CARDS: If you are shooting with SD cards make sure to get the EXTREME PRO. Have you ever wondered why your camera is taking so long to record images and you are awkwardly trying to kill the time until you can start taking photos again at a session? Or how about the time it takes to transfer all those images at the end of the night? That happened to me multiple times and it’s super frustrating. Cards with write speeds over 95mb are where it’s at! There is one level above this with 300mb write speed UHC II and those will be my next investment. For now the 95mb work great for me. These cards will record your images and transfer them much faster. Get them here and the fastest here. If you are shooting with CF cards then get any of these. It will change your life and the flow of your shoot. No more missed moments! If you are shooting on the newer DSLRS you will want at least 64GB the space fills up fast.

  2. BATTERIES: I just finally bought these off Amazon this week. They have great reviews, are top choice for most photo blogs and have come recommended to me by photo friends who use flash a lot. Do yourself a favor and get them NOW. Stop waiting. Stop wasting your money and time driving to COSTCO to buy giant packs of batteries that you blow through in one photoshoot. I got the 16 pack because 4 just isn’t enough. Backups are where it’s at. I can’t even count how many times I spent $15/$20 on a pack of regular batteries when I could have bought them ONE time for almost the same price. I even tried the Energizer version a while back and they didn’t work so make sure you get this specific brand!


  3. HARD DRIVES: THEY FAIL. YOU WILL LOOSE YOUR DATA AT SOME POINT!!!!!!!! BACK that shiz up and make sure one version is online. Buy a SSD (solid state drive) this is just like the hard drive in your lap top and is way more reliable/faster than spinning disk hard drives. It’s more expensive. YES. FOR A REASON SO BUY IT. I honestly didn’t know and I wish someone had told me. They use to be like a $1,000 for a small amount of space so they are super affordable now and getting even better price points. DO NOT buy Western Digital hard drives. I can’t tell you how many people I have seen standing in line at best buy with Western Digitals that have crashed. IF you do get a spinning disk hard drive get multiple Lacie Rugged. They are popular and I have two of those but don’t rely on them as my main working hard drives. Moving forward I am stopping using spinning disks all together because they became so unreliable. So get the SSD DRIVES I have this one but I know a lot of photographers have this one here.

  4. ShootProof and Honeybook: Must-have for business owners! A professional and safe way for photo delivery to clients, with contracts, proposals, stats of your profits and more! These changed the game and made keeping track of everything so much easier. There are other programs that d0 the same but these two are the most popular. They usually have great discounts for first-timers too.

  5. This might seem silly but Amazon Prime has been a life-saver for me when it comes to quick delivery and saved trips to the store that may or may not have what I am looking for. Amazon Prime basically always has what I need and more often then not is cheaper or on sale. Look for the little coupons to click right below the pricing for even more discounts!

    ***Tip: I try to look for items that say, “ships from and sold by amazon when possible!”


  6. I’m going to end with a good backpack. The sooner you can get organized in your business the better. The smallest movements you make like having a backpack that you can easily access what you need during a shoot makes a world of a difference. I was still using a camera bag my mom had bought me back in art school up until a few months ago. I could never see what gear I needed because of the way it zipped up and how dark it was. If possible, go waterproof! Definitely make sure it has a zipper that opens face up where you can immediately see everything in your bag.

    ***Tip: Label lens caps with tape and you can easily read which lens you need to grab.

    Some people love a messenger style as well. Or they have a main backpack and transfer what they need into the messenger bag while they shoot. I will probably try the think tank belt soon though. They kind of look silly on but I need a faster way to switch out my lenses while shooting.

    My favorites:

    -House of Flynn: Colorful, lots of space, stylish and tons of options!! I have this one. Mine is sold out but there are other colors available.

    -Vinta Supply Co.: Modern, organized, sleek, a little small but great storage!

    -Think Tank: Practical and safe. Super popular.

    -Kelly Moore: Never used but the more casual photogs use this.

    -Wander: Great for the traveler, stylish, waterproof!

Invest the money so you can look and act like a professional right off the bat.

Stay spicy,

Meg

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Oakland, San Francisco California Adventure Couple Session Anniversary

Fun fact about the Dohan’s: they totally geek out over Halloween! Patrick actually took the very first picture below and I had to share a little spooky spirit for them as the holiday approaches. Giant size candy bars are not the only reason Patrick and Erin have trick-or-treaters swarming their house! Their good friend Hannah Chamberlain with Spirited LA may or may not pass out her special potion to adults. But hey, that’s just a rumor. You’ll have to visit yourself to see. If you are wondering what marriage is going to be like, the Dohan’s set the bar high. We stayed up until 4 a.m. playing board games while we listened to Lianne La Havas and St. Paul on the record player. If you haven’t heard of Lianne hit that play button below and set the mood while scrolling through their anniversary session! This particular song is actually from their first dance.

We wanted to make their anniversary session a celebration so we hit up a few places around Oakland, California to keep things interesting. Erin’s favorite part of the night was getting to hand out balloons to the little kids and Patrick obviously was digging the food trucks. Anniversary sessions might be one of my favorite types of couple shoots ever. After all the hype of the wedding has passed and real life has set in you can reflect on where you were and where you are now. Even if it’s only been a year! Time is fleeting and ever changing. I know they had so much fun taking getting ready photos in their home and getting lost in the city on a date night together. Enjoy!

For Brides: 3 Must-Know Tips for a Seamless Wedding Day Timeline

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1. Hire an event planner

A event planner is one of the most crucial yet overlooked investments and should be at the top of your list!. It typically gets laid off on the mother, aunts, friends etc. While it’s awesome and necessary to have the extra help, you miss out on spending time and making memories with some of the most important people in your wedding. Hiring an event planner for more than just “day of coverage” will save you time and MONEY. The unexpected stress in planning a wedding will not hit until you are in the thick of it laying in DIY on the floor drowning in tears of regret. Just kidding, it might not be that bad but seriously an event planner is like a real-life fairy godmother, an angel unicorn boss-lady sent from above. Event planners not only provide you with options that fit your budget, but they can match you with trusted vendors who fit your personality.

2. Schedule in more time than necessary

I haven’t been to a wedding yet that didn’t fall behind schedule. It’s nothing to be afraid of but you can be proactive in creating a better flow to your day. I have all of my brides schedule events throughout the day at least an hour ahead of time. From Grandma being stuck in traffic, the flowers getting delivered to the wrong location or the sound system suddenly not working right before you are supposed to walk down the aisle, I have seen it all. I always tell my brides to get ready first in case there are any last minute changes and so they can enjoy drinking mimosas, sharing gifts with loved ones and RELAXING. The more time you have to soak up these moments the less stress you will feel.

3. Incorporate a first look

A first look is when the bride and groom  see each other before the ceremony in a private setting. I often get told, “But I don’t want him to see me before the wedding, it won’t be as special!” The best way to describe it is like giving a speech. You could practice a hundred times in front of the mirror but the reality of standing up (waking down the aisle) in front of a crowd can’t be compared. There are a few huge advantages! The first look is the perfect time to share special gifts, love letters and just soak up time with your loved one. After all, the wedding is about YOU TWO so why would you wait until 4 or 5 p.m. to celebrate with your significant other. The biggest reason of course is photographs. Packing a ton of formal pictures into an hour and half is NOT FUN. By the time you get to the photos you were most excited about you are feeling rushed and anxious to get to cocktail hour. This totally takes away from the candidness that could have been captured or even the amount/creativity I can produce as a professional.

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Why You Should Say "YES" To Engagement Photos

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1. You can get to know your photographer

If you are willing to give me the time, I am here to make some magic happen. I see the best results when I get to spend longer periods of time getting to know my couples. Together we can figure out a few different spots to shoot at and with each location various opportunities will arise. Plus, who doesn’t want to rock more than one outfit?

2. You get comfortable in front of the camera

I’ve always been at ease behind the lens but there was a time when I was just as intimidated as you might be feeling. With social media blowing up as the number one tool for marketing, I had to put myself out there – up front and live! Believe me, I’ve felt that same awkward stiffness and butterflies in my stomach too. There is often one person in the relationship who doesn't realllly want to do it. Then the other is usually praying that they have fun and get into it. My job is to guide you just enough and then make you forget about the camera. Reason number four is a huge piece to this so be sure to read on! Every so often, I also like to show you the back of the camera so you can see how things are translating on my end. This way, you get a glimpse of that unspoken bond between you.

3. Makeup, hair trials and outfits

Typically, women are worried about their makeup and hair. Will my makeup last all day? Am I wearing too much foundation? Should I get lash extensions? Does it change my natural look? A successful engagement photo session will give you a sneak peek as to what the camera sees and you can make adjustments before the wedding. Lastly, oh to be young. You will never be this young or at this time in your life again. When you get to dress more casually for your engagement photos versus a wedding when you are all done up it will make for timeless photos. Photos that you can look back on and say, "that was us". 

4. go on a date

When I was in art school my teacher Cynthia taught us two things that matter most for any photography shoot – lighting and location. I use the same tools for my family shoots as I do my engagements. You’ll probably have a theme for your wedding so why not set the tone with your engagement photos and do the same? Think of it as a date night! Are you die-hard baseball fans? Then, let’s find a way to get on the field. Are you mountain climbers? Let’s get some action shots, then get a little more dressed up if you want and have a picnic on the rocks with beers overlooking your favorite view. Do you like to wander through art galleries and studios? Let’s incorporate your favorite art! The possibilities are endless! You choose the place and trust me, I can make it work! I just need your trust. The most important piece is to embrace who you are.

These are just few reasons why engagement photos are important, fun, and critical if you want beautiful wedding day images!

Shine bright,

Meg

*Funkwerks Brewery Engagement Session Fort, Collins CO