Category Archives: ask megan mondays

fulfilling dreams | folsom photographer

I’m not great at setting goals for myself. When I think of a goal I think of things that I try to accomplish, like putting the clothes away before I’ve already worn them all again out of the laundry basket. Like getting all three beds in the house made before 3:00 pm. Like actually checking everything off of a to do list before adding more. Some people might call these tasks. For personality types like mine, we know they are goals (lofty ones at that) because the chances of ever getting them done are slim to none.

So since your tasks might be considered my goals, your goals are what I call dreams. And I have had and realized a few dreams so far in my life. A huge one was opening an actual studio last August. And still, every time I unlock the door to my studio and am greeted by the gorgeous light streaming in the windows, I realize how blessed I am to be doing what I do and have a physical space to call my own.

This past month I realized another dream of mine–to officially launch my mentoring sessions available for the baby photographer. After many inquiries and conducting several mentorships I decided to officially take the plunge and announce my one on one mentoring sessions on facebook. And the response has been so encouraging–I can’t wait to meet the ladies that have signed up for their Mentor Me, Baby!™ sessions later this summer. I’ve also been so encouraged by the vendors who want to be sponsors and provide products for my goodie bags–seriously they are going to be awesome and full of items perfect for the baby photographer, including my Tea Party Action Set and newborn pocket posing guide (if you have a product and are interested in learning about becoming a sponsor, just click here for the details).

I figure that since I am so terrible at completing the daily tasks in life that I might as well make up for it by dreaming big. That’s the only way to do it, right? And if you’re interested in learning more about my one on one mentorship opportunities, check out my Mentor Me, Baby!™ page!


ask megan monday | week #10

This week’s question: What white balance setting do you typically set your camera to? Do you use a custom setting and if so what tool do you use to set it?

About a year ago I was asking another photographer this same question. Her skin tones always seemed to be so spot on without any color casts. I knew there had to be a secret and I figured it had to do with white balance. It was then that I was introduced to Kelvin. Kelvin quickly became my new best friend. He made my editing faster, my workflow more streamlined, he truly made my life easier.

Now before my hubby starts to worry that this Kelvin is going to sweep me off of my feet and ride into the sunset on his white horse with me, let me explain exactly who, err–I mean what, kelvin is. Kelvin is a way to measure the temperature of color which is used to set a custom white balance. Here is the super scientific method of explaining it. But basically sunlight is typically (although we know that there are so many external factors that can affect this) 5600K. I usually start around there and adjust based on that starting point. I know of a lot of photographers that use a grey card to get their white balance correct and the only reason I don’t is because I just have never taken the time to get one and try it out. I found that using the kelvin measurement of temperature works really well for the images I like to produce, so don’t fix something if it isn’t broken, right? Also, since I shoot everything in RAW, I am able to tweak my white balance a touch if it’s not spot on to my liking.

Here is a before and after example of an image I took at last week’s senior session. I had my white balance temperature set at 5900K and really liked the way it looked straight out of the camera so all I had to do was pull it up in photoshop and do my normal editing for the image. Fast, simple, and just my style. No guessing and keeping my fingers crossed that auto white balance would get it right. I was able to get it right in camera, which makes every photographers job so much easier.

ask megan monday | week #9

This week’s question: Do you offer workshops or mentoring sessions? I’m a mom with a new camera and have no idea what all of those buttons mean!

I remember when I got my first DSLR I immediately thought, “I have a nice camera–now I’ll have professional pictures of my kids!” That couldn’t have been further from the truth. Instead of instantly taking beautiful pictures of my children, I was producing consistently blurry images and just couldn’t figure out why on earth my pictures didn’t look amazing! It wasn’t until I was further in my photography journey that I realized just what the problem was–in order to take amazing images I need to have full control of my camera and that meant learning to shoot in manual. From that moment on I decided to learn anything and everything I could about my camera from anyone who would be willing to teach me.

For me, photography has and will always be an ongoing learning process. Learning to see the light in every situation, learning to interact with each different age group to get those natural smiles, learning to pose a brand new baby to create a work of art. And just as much as I love learning, I love teaching what I know to others. I’m so excited to be offering a workshop for moms this summer to teach them the foundations of photography. And just last week I had the incredible chance to share my passion for newborn photography with Melissa of Sugarbowl Photography. Melissa was gracious enough to write a little bit about her experience and I figured today’s post was the perfect place to share.

“I am so thankful to have had the chance to do a one-on-one mentoring session with Megan! Her easy going nature and the way she shares her knowledge set me at ease right away and felt like I was photographing a session with a friend. It made it easy to dig in and glean as much as I could. I really loved how she told me about what she was doing and why, giving me a chance to see her work and then getting to use my camera as well. I had about 5 “aha” moments just in the time it took her to pose the baby the first time, and the things that I learned just grew from there. This day with Megan was so very valuable for me and the future of my newborn photography. Already, I can see a HUGE difference in the quality and art of my work, and I know my clients can as well! Thank you Megan so very much for all you’ve taught me!”

Please stop by Melissa’s blog and check out her images from our time together. And if you’re a photographer located outside a 90 mile radius of Sacramento and are interested in a newborn mentoring session, please email me–I’d be happy to send you my pricing and information packet.

(And I apologize for the lack of photos on the blog today. Our family is vacationing at the coast and believe it or not I don’t have my card reader for my computer. I promise many more posts will be coming later this week full of images, so stay tuned.)

ask megan monday | week #8

This week’s question: What is the turnaround time for custom photography? After my session takes place, how long will it be until I receive my images?

I get this question quite a lot. It’s so hard because we live in society where one click and you can instantly download an app. Another click and you can receive practically anything you want on your door step It’s unreal how quickly you can pay for something and have it in your hand just a few seconds later. There are a couple of industries where this isn’t the case and custom photography is still one of the lonely few.

So what is the timeline for sessions, proofing, and delivery for my business? Typically everything runs about 3-4 weeks from start to finish. We hold your session, within that week I post your sneak peek on the blog (although I typically put a few up on facebook within a couple of days–please feel free to tag yourself, post on your page, use as your profile image–just please don’t crop or edit in any way), then within one week after that your online gallery is available for viewing. After that it’s all up to you. Since all of my packages include a number of digital negatives and prints, it is usually the print part of the order that takes the longest to get back from my lab (usually about one and a half weeks until it’s in your hand). So while custom photography isn’t an instant download and you can’t walk out of my studio with prints that same day, it is definitely worth the wait. Custom art takes time to create and I promise the end result is always worth waiting for.

And here’s the sneak peek of a beautiful little gal who has been waiting for her debut on the blog.

ask megan mondays | seeing the light

Thank you all for the wonderful feedback from last week’s first “Ask Megan Monday”. Honestly, I just assume that people don’t even read my blog so it’s always reassuring to get responses and even questions for future Monday’s. So keep it coming!

This week I’m focusing on just one question that I received since the answer has many parts to it (and could probably fill up many more Monday’s, but I’ll try to keep it somewhat concise today.)

Are you solely a natural light photographer or do you use an off-camera flash as well? If so, which do you prefer?

When I began my journey in photography a few years ago I definitely labeled myself as a natural light photographer. Was it because I just loved natural light? Because I craved that golden glow? Because I adored capturing beautiful sunflare and that warm haze? No. It was because I was so stinkin’ scared to death of learning off camera lighting! For some reason I was really intimidated by the thought of using anything other than natural light for my images.

But last March when I attended Nichole Van’s Life as Art Workshop I had the opportunity to play around with her lights after one of her sessions where she explained how to set up, trigger, and use an off camera flash and I took this. Um…hello! If this is what could result from learning another lighting technique, then why would I choose to limit myself? I don’t think that I had even returned to California before purchasing my own set of lights and beauty dish. I knew that I wanted to be able to offer my clients a broad range of images and I felt that for my own business, learning off camera lighting was essential. And last year I also had the opportunity to attend Ali Hohn’s Rock that OCF Workshop to deepen my knowledge of lighting. The more I learn, the more I just love using my lights. It really just gives me so many more options and I love that.

With all that said, I don’t think I actually prefer one over the other across the board. It really depends on each specific session, subject, and look and feel that I want for the image. For example, I always use natural light for my newborns. I just feel that they are so fresh, so natural, and natural light really compliments that and brings out that new baby softness in their images. But for high school senior sessions I just love using my lights. It just feels more bold, I love the dramatic shadows, and really fits the style of my senior photography.

If anyone is interested in knowing what lights I have, I use Alien Bees and have the B400 (for my studio sessions–my space is on the smaller side so I need a flash with less power so it doesn’t have to be all the way across the room) and the B800 (perfect for outdoor sessions and lighting up your subject while also getting gorgeous sunflare. The sun it one powerful light source so you need a flash with a lot more power to get your subject properly exposed.) I also use a beauty dish as opposed to a softbox, but that’s totally just a preference thing.

So that’s today’s Ask Megan Monday. Let me know your thoughts or if you have any questions for another Monday.