While Jenny and I have considered ourselves "amateur photographers", we've truly grown to love and enjoy capturing moments and memories with our cameras. Ever since we started blogging it's been something we've had to learn and grow in. Lucky for us, we were able to take a really good digital photography class together in college which helped us feel so much more comfortable handling a DSLR. Over the years we've experimenting with various lenses, lighting, editing tools and photo styles and it's been so fun to hone in on our photography skills.

At this point in our business and in our personal endeavors it's become something we do on almost a daily basis! From instagram photos, to blog posts, to filming or just taking pictures for ourselves. Learning basic skills in photography is such an incredible and important skill to have, especially for those in the blog/hand-maker/small business/youtube/social media world. -- Today we are sharing with you our favorite gear for taking beautiful photos. These are things we use regularly and LOVE...a lot! They've helped us improve our skills as photographers as well as improve the quality of the photos we take on a regular basis! 

1. CANON 70D + CANON REBEL - I started out using a Canon Rebel t3i and LOVED that camera! I used it almost daily for a handful of years and we used it to take all of our blog photos and I shot all of my YouTube videos on this camera. It was so good to me! Recently, Jenny and I decided to upgrade our cameras and purchased the 70D. What a beautiful camera! We love that is has WIFI capabilities and we can connect our phones to the camera to pull of photos we've taken. I personally love that it has an automatic zoom feature during video mode so the subject always stays in focus. The rebel camera series are perfect for beginners. It's truly a wonderful camera. If you're looking in the more intermediate/advance range and don't want to spend a couple K's on a  Canon "Mark" we have loved our 70D's so far. They are sturdy cameras, have flip screens and both take beautiful photos. 

2. 50mm + 28mm + 35mm + 18-125mm LENSES - It's my opinion that the lens makes the camera. You can have a stellar camera and a not-so-stellar lens and still get "ugh" photos. It's important to invest in a good lens that will suit your needs! Right now Jenny and I used 4 different lenses between the two of us. Some have similar features, some have better prices and some are great for video! I've done a little comparison below of our top recommended lenses.

* 50mm f/1.8 - (Above photos taken with a 50mm lens) Almost everyone would recommend picking up the "nifty-fifty" this is a must-have lens at a great price point. If you are looking for one lens to start off with, get this lens! It takes beautiful photos and can shoot beautiful video too. At $125.00 it's an AMAZING price! This lens is also great in low-light settings and has a beautiful depth of field making the background soft and blurry and the focus sharp an in focus. 

* 28mm f/1.8 - (Above photos taken with a 28mm lens) This is the lens I currently keep on my camera at all times. I use it to shoot all of my thumbnail images for my videos and I often use it to shoot my b-roll for my videos. It takes great outfit photos and home photo too. An all-around GREAT lens. It also does well in lower-lighting settings and is just lovely. One of my very favorites.

 * 35mm f/2 - (Above photos taken with a 35mm lens) Jenny just purchased this lens with her 70D upon the girls at A Beautiful Mess's recommendation. Similar to the 28mm, it's a great everyday lens that you can use for so many different occasions. It's also going to be great for products, food, outfits and home photos. The main difference between the two is that the 28mm is going to offer you a slightly wider angle on your photos that the 35mm but they are both great and have a similar price point. 

* 18-125mm Lens - I ended up getting this as the kit lens with my 70D. I wasn't sure at first but now that I've had some time to play around with it, I'm loving it! While it's not my favorite for shooting photos (I would definitely pick the 28mm or the 35mm), it is a great lens for shoot video. I love that it offers a silent auto-focus so you can't hear the focusing during video shoots. It also picks up great on the lighting and I'm still able to achieve a pretty blurred background. (If you buy this lens with the 70D you can save some money!) 

3. RAD LAB - (Screenshot of Rad Lab above and all photo examples where edited using Rad Lab) As far as editing goes, Jenny and I LOVE and have been using Rad Lab for years. It's a program that works within Photoshop or Lightroom. Once you've opened your photo in Photoshop you can open it within Rad Lab to edit. What I love about this program is that you can easily toggle and play with actions. They have previews of your photo with the various actions applied to the right of the program and you can add as many as you want to your photo and make any adjustments you want. You can even save your favorite recipes to use later. It's easy to use and the actions are BEAUTIFUL. Our very favorite! I 100% recommend it! (Also be sure to check out Get Totally Rad's other products!)

4. CANON G7X - This is a bonus recommendation! If you're looking into vlogging and shooting video on the go, this is THE camera to get. It shoots amazing quality and I LOVE it. Btw, be sure to check out my "How to be a YouTuber" e-course if you're interested in learning more about video gear and running your own channel! Here is an example of a vlog shot with a G7x.

5. KELLY MOORE CAMERA BAGS - We've both been through and tried out our fair share of camera bags. A favorite has always been Kelly Moore. Her bags are multi-functional, sturdy, beautiful and LAST! I love my KM bag and I've had it for years. I currently use it as a diaper bag and it's perfect for that too! I'm thinking about getting a new one soon. ;) 

6. ABM PHOTO IDEA BOOK - (Photos of Idea Book above shot with a 50mm lens) As a fun inspiration resource, check out the ABM Photo Idea Book. It's beautiful and it has so many great thoughts on shooting pictures, challenging yourself and getting creative. 

7. AFTERLIGHT APP - (Photos above edited using the Afterlight app) And finally, a phone app! Jenny and I take a lot of picture with our phones (we both own the iPhone 6 plus), and so it's important for us to have a good editing app that we can use for our social media outlets. 97% of the time we are using the Afterlight app to edit our photos. We'll either use photos from our DSLRs or directly from our phone and edit them in this app before posting on Instagram. It's an incredible app and can do so much! Check out our Instagram accounts here: Jenny | Savannah 

That wraps up our top photo gear recommendations!! If you have any recommendations to add, please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comment section below! Thanks so much for reading friends and happy snapping!! xox 


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Author: Savannah Wallace // Photography: Maiedae
Find Savannah Here: Instagram // Pinterest //  Beauty Channel // Disney Baby



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SAVANNAH

1. Philosophy Fresh Cream Body Lotion // This stuff smells AMAZING, Jon loves it too!

2. Smith & Cult Nail Polish in Teen Cage Riot // I’m obsessed with this nail polish brand. The colors are beautiful and they are a 5-free brand which means they aren’t made with 5 of the most toxic ingredients usually found in nail polishes.

4. Josie Maran Pure Argan Oil // For my dry skinned gals, this oil is an amazing, natural moisturizer for the face and doesn’t have a strong scent.

6. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo // Such an incredible book. I’m so excited to start applying her tidying method and get my home in order!

7. Darling Magazine // Such an amazing magazine with a beautiful mission. Real women, not re-touched.

8. Jurassic Park: Ultimate Trilogy // I heart dinos.

11. He & I print by Britt Bass Turner // I current have this print above my mantel and the colors always make me feel so happy.

12. Canon DSLR 70D // Just got this beautiful baby and I’m in love. My favorite feature is the auto-focus, it makes creating videos for my channel SO much easier!

JENNY

3. Wolf Moon Necklace by Melting Sun Apparel // My go-to necklace right now. It's simple, yet beautiful and goes with everything.

5. Maddox Bootie from Karu // I've been dying to get my hands on a pair of these gorgeous boots. *drooling*

9. 2016 Birch Floral Planner from Rifle Paper Co. // I'm a huge planner and organizer, however, I don't have time to make lists all day. I like an in between planner and calendar that I can make look pretty but also not spend days working on. This is perfect for me and absolutely gorgeous. I found out a few days after I ordered mine that Savannah ordered one too without us even knowing. :) We are basically twins.

10. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment // I got a mini pack of 5 Fresh Sugar lip treatments at Sephora and I've been wearing them every day since. They are super moisturizing and several of them are tinted which I love when I want something in-between lipstick and chapstick (which is most days)

13. Canon DSLR 70D with a Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Wide-Angle Lens // Savannah and I both upgraded our cameras to this baby and I added on this gorgeous 35mm lens to go with it. I have to say, it's an AMAZING difference. I feel my love for photography coming back.

14. Adler Rug + Kensington Rug from Loloi // We have a few home projects in the works and I'm dreaming of putting the Adler rug in our living room and the Kensington rug in our master bedroom.

15. Kate Spade Watch // I'm absolutely loving this watch! So gorgeous and chic.

16. Copper and Torch Terrarium Window Box // Lindsay makes the most beautiful glass terrariums that hang on the wall. I'm hoping to grab one for my bedroom soon.


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Author: Jenny Highsmith
Find Jenny Here: Instagram // Pinterest // MooreaSeal // Print Shop



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Being a stay at home mom (SAHM) while running a creative business can sometimes be hectic. There is often a fine line between loving the freedom of creating your own schedule and chaos. ;) It can definitely be complicated to find a balance that makes sense for you and your family.

There have been seasons of time when I find myself getting into a severe slump. Feeling un-energetic, tired, un-inspired and often times un-showered for more days than I would like to admit. ;) When I get to this place I know that something is off. It hinders my ability to be a great wife, mom, friend...to be a great worker, to care for myself and to be creative. I usually find myself in this place after a habit of sleeping in as much as I can, staying in my PJs, not being active and eating so-so. It starts with those little habits and slowly progresses into a lifestyle that isn't good.

I got to a point where I was tired of being tired and tired of the lack of energy and creativity. I wanted to offer my family and myself more and that meant making some changes and choosing to motivate myself towards those changes. 

This has actually be a topic of discussion between Jenny and I for awhile and the tips I'm writing about are practices we've both embraced and worked on making part of our day to day life. So let's get into it shall we?

I truly believe that the secret to changing your day is creating an intentional morning for yourself.

Jon and I decided to lean into each other and help each other out by making this change together. On an ideal morning we get up together super early (6:00AM-ish) while Soren is still asleep. We get some water, workout together. Sometimes I'll do yoga, while Jon lifts weights and sometimes we dance like zombie fools to our Just Dance game. ;) After our workout, we'll shower, get Soren out of bed and let him watch an episode of Curious George while I get myself ready for the day and make the bed. As Jon leaves for work, Soren and I go and have breakfast together. After breakfast I like to try and squeeze in a little quiet time while Soren plays. -- Our mornings tend to vary day by day but using this as our general schedule has really been amazing. Jon and I have loved the extra time we get together in the morning and taking the time to get active has helped my pregnant body feel so much better and given me SO much more energy through my day. I honestly feel like a completely different person after making this change! 

I think taking the time to create your own intentional morning each day is an incredible way to set yourself up for a positive day. What are the things you would like to do in the morning? Read, exercise, make a yummy breakfast, take your time getting ready, have quiet time? What are habits you want to quit doing in the morning? Getting on your phone, pushing the snooze button too much?? I encourage you to sit down and write out your ideal and intentional morning. Depending on when you need to start your day, back up the time you need to wake up so you can enjoy your new intentional morning. Make sure you allow yourself to get to bed at a good time too so you get the sleep you need! :) -- If you want another INCREDIBLE resource on creating intentional mornings check out the book "The Miracle Morning" by Hal Elrod. It has some great concepts, is incredibly inspirational and an easy read. I highly recommend it!

Do you have tips on creating an intentional morning and starting your day right? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below! Love you friends! xox


POST CREDITS

Author: Savannah Wallace // Photography: Maiedae
Find Savannah Here: Instagram // Pinterest //  Beauty Channel // Disney Baby



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