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What’s in my bag? 50mm 1.4

A lot of people have been asking me about lenses and gear recently, so at the urging of my husband I decided to blog about what is inside my camera bag. I am going to write individual posts about the items so that you can get a better understanding of the pros and cons of each item.

I am a Canon girl all the way, so all of the gear that I show will be Canon. First off is my favorite lens to shoot with. My 50mm 1.4. This lens is simply amazing. The focal length is perfect and the bokeh is gorgeous, and it focuses fast. Every Time someone asks me what the first lens they should purchase is I tell the a 50mm, because they are so versatile. I prefer prime/fixed lenses over zooms because the clarity and quality is just outstanding, and I love shooting wide open so a lens like the 50mm 1.4 is an amazing lens that really defines my style. I would say that about 75-80% of the photos I take on a wedding day are with this lens. I have plenty of other lenses which I usually use for specific things, but I am really just in love with the 50mm. Don’t get me wrong I have been eyeing the 50mm 1.2, so if anyone feels the need to buy it for me, I would not mind a bit.

Here are a few shots of Rick and Bethany taken with my 50mm…

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Would love the 50mm 1.2 as well, but Nikon has not come out with an auto-focus 1.2 yet. Boo :-( One point for Canon, I guess!

I love my 50mm 1.4!! :) Such gorgeous images it produces!

Beautiful pictures! Love the 50mm 1.4!

Paige Sanchez

Is this Rick McDonald ????


Yes it is. If you look under weddings you will see Rick and Bethany’s wedding photos!

I love mine too.
Magic : )
Hey, love you forever if you could come over and leave a comment for the girl I interviewed today. She is pretty nervous. I don’t like when people are nervous!

[…] me and asking what equipment I use. Hands down the lens that I shoot with most often is the 50mm 1.4. However, a wedding photographer must own the 100mm 2.8 Macro lens. Must must […]

[…] and still have a fixed aperature at 2.8! My primary lens that I use about 90% of the time is my 50mm 1.4. And although I love this prime lens because of the wide open aperature, a 50mm just isn’t […]

[…] is no secret that I LOVE my 50mm 1.4, so I was a bit skeptical that another lens could be just as amazing. The 85mm 1.8 is my #2 lens […]

How it all began…

People often ask me in passing how I got into photography, sometimes I don’t know what to say. It often seems that they want a one sentence answer, and being the long winded person that I am I want to invite them to coffee just to tell them how it all began. I have never been very good at being concise, I used to describe books to my mom in so much detail, that it probably would have taken less time for her to read it herself. So consider yourself warned…

It all started in 2008 while I was planning my own wedding. I announced from the beginning that finding an awesome wedding photographer was the most important thing on my planning list. I didn’t realize how picky I would be. I looked at website after website and could not seem to find exactly what I was looking for. Finally I had to start looking in the surrounding cities and then it happened, I stumbled on my wedding photographer’s website and that was it. I knew after seeing the first few images on her site that she was MY wedding photographer. Her photos captured emotion and love, and I fell in love with her images.

If I was excited about her images before, you can’t even imagine how ecstatic I was when she blogged some of our images after our honeymoon. I will never forget the memory of me, my husband, my mom, and my sisters huddled around a laptop looking at every image. It was about that time that I realized that wedding photography can capture the essence of one of the happiest days in a person’s life. Looking at our photos helped us remember how wonderful that day was.

Just a few months after our wedding Jeremy and I were chatting about goals and the future.  While we were in college I had briefly mentioned that being a photographer would be an amazing job, but life and wedding planning had made things busy and the idea was brushed under the carpet. He asked me that night what I really wanted to do, and I just finally said it “I want to be a wedding photographer”. In the moment it felt like what I was saying was about as silly as saying that I wanted to be a pop star, but I said it anyway. Luckily for me I happen to be married to the most supportive and amazing husband in the world.  In the days and weeks after that we researched and looked at cameras…yes, I said I wanted to be a photographer and I didn’t even own a camera. Before making this big purchase Jeremy made sure that this wasn’t a passing hobby, and that this is what I really wanted. When I assured him that it was we pushed “place order” on my first camera, and the box arrived on Christmas eve. When I opened that box I didn’t know anything about photography but I was determined to do what I loved. Jeremy bought me books and I read every website I could find about photography. With a lot of hard work and late nights researching, I learned more and more.

It is hard to believe that it has not been that long since I first picked up my camera, which now seems like such a part of me. It has proved to me the value of people believing in you, and I am so greatful for a husband who had faith in me from the beginning. It also showed me that if I want something bad enough, and work my hardest, I can accomplish it.

Here are a few favorites from the past few weeks…

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I love “how it all began” photographer stories! Especially yours because it’s very similar (in many ways) to mine. I know I’m not J*, but hopefully this comment will make you smile :-)

Thanks for the blog love Kristin! And way to follow your dreams! :)

Josh-Danielle Venable

Can you tell I’m going through your whole blog today? I love this story. :)

Kristin Schmucker

You are too sweet!!!


Since January, Jeremy and I have made a point to go walking as often as possible. We used to just sit at home and relax while watching TV. As much fun as it is to be hopelessly entertained, we have both found that our marriage and love for each other has grown since we have done this. Is TV really that important?

Usually we only walk one mile. Often one and a half. Sometimes two. However, it gives us a chance at the end of the day to unwind from the stress, hide from the snacks, and openly talk to one another. It may not be as intense as p90x (which we are still doing on and off), but it works for us.  It has allowed us the freedom to share dreams, goals, and aspirations in an environment of privacy. Sure there is noise and there are other people around, but for those thirty to sixty minutes, it is just us. It’s our time. Our time to share, encourage, and love.

If you are dating, engaged, or married, I encourage you to try taking walks with your love. I promise you, you won’t regret it.


I’m proud to say, my shoes are much cuter!

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I just love our walks. You’re my best friend babe! Love you.


Very true! We walked all last semester and I always looked forward to the time at the end of the day where we could spend time together and talk, while doing something productive!


Nate and I used to do this all the time and now that it has warmed up we are going to start doing it again. I will say that what you said is so true! I love our walks :)


My parents still go on walks! :) And I’m quite partial to them myself. ;)

Wedding inspiration

undefinedThere are so many amazing websites out there for wedding inspiration…but I just found a new one, and i am hooked. I just found Wedzu and I LOVE it! It is basically Etsy  but just for weddings! It is a one stop shop, and I think you could just about buy everything you need for your wedding on this site, with the exception of the groom.

I found so many things that I want, that a friend and bride told me that I need to have another wedding. I couldn’t agree more, same man different details! Don’t get me wrong, I loved everything about my wedding and I wouldn’t change anything  about it, but it would be fun to plan a totally different theme…maybe vow renewal in a few years???

If you are planning a wedding or just like pretty things, check it out…you won’t be disappointed. Here are a few of my favorites, you can click on the photos to go to the products page.

I just love this adorable guestbook idea, these look like library cards…maybe it is the nerd in me, but I think it is adorable.

 undefinedI just love this cake topper…so cute!undefinedThis is a sash to wear over your wedding gown and comes in several colors, I just love how romantic it is. undefinedWhat an adorable alternative to the traditional ring bearer pillow. undefinedTelegram Save the Dates??? Yes, please. undefined I just love this flower for the brides hair, it also comes in a pale pink which is just as stunning.

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You and I are obviously kindred because I love all of those things, as well. =)


For sure Nessa! I was going to just choose one or two things, but they are just all so great…I could have put 20 more!


Haha love the telegram! And the library cards, too. lol It’s good b/c you won’t be receiving “calls” for a LOOOOOOONG time ;) hehe


LOVE the telegram!! So creative!

Wow, Thanks for mentioning our library cards Kristin!!! That was so sweet of you. We’re glad to see others love them just as much as we do! :) Wedzu is quite addicting, isn’t it! So glad we stumbled upon it!
Thanks again!
Jessica of Invitations Ink

The one thing I wish I knew… Part 1

Last week I had this crazy idea to email some of the photographers in the wedding industry that I respect and ask them what they wish they had known when they were just starting their business. Not only would their answers be encouraging to me, but they would also help other photographers who read my blog. I was a little nervous as I pressed the send button on that email. I was afraid that none of them would email me back, how embarrassing would that be! However, I have learned that the wedding industry is filled with people who look out for each other and really want to help others succeed. The response was great to the email that I sent out, therefore this post will have several parts over the next several days because I couldn’t fit all of the answers in one post. Here are just a few of the responses, be sure to check out all of their amazing blogs!

I have to add a HUGE thank you to all of those that responded to my email, I greatly appreciate you all for taking the time to give your input.

What is the one thing that you wish you knew when you started your photography business?

Jasmine StarWhen I think back to when I first started, I can’t help but feel sorry for that girl. The girl who didn’t trust herself enough to take bigger risks. Who didn’t dream big enough. Who limited herself by her own experience and other people’s estimations of what was possible.

If I could go back and tell the Jasmine Star of 2007 something, I’d whisper in her ear: Believe in what you know you can do. Trust your gut. Ignore the naysayers. Dream big, but hope for more. However, knowing myself back then, I would ignore the whisper…so then I’d grab me by the shoulders, give me a good shake, then holler straight in my face, SPRINT TOWARD WHAT YOU WANT AND DON’T EVER LOOK BACK. Ever.

Katelyn JamesWhen I first started I WISH someone had told me to be just as much of a business woman as a photographer. A business can’t survive on pretty pictures alone! The BEST piece of advice that I received was to challenge myself… DAILY. If I wasn’t doing something that made me nervous and was somewhat scary everyday…then I wasn’t growing. This is HUGE for me!

Deidre LynnWow – I guess I would have told myself not to waste money on some of the lenses and “doodads” that I bought. My zooms seemed pretty darn fantastic at the time, but having all my primes 2+ years earlier would have been fabulous. That and projecting your personality out there so you’re booking brides who like both your images AND your personality.


Stacy Reeves – One thing I wish I knew when I started was the importance of light when it comes to photography.  Too many photographers focus on settings or gear or poses or backgrounds or other technical stuff, and they copy what other photographers are doing, but they don’t understand why their photos don’t look as good as the people they’re copying.  It’s all because they don’t have the same eye for light that the more experienced photographers have.  I remember when I was starting out I was so obsessed with getting blue skies.  Whenever I would see a photo with a blue sky, I would always beg the photographer to tell me their settings, what lens they used, what they did in Photoshop, all that jazz, and even when I recreated all of that, I still couldn’t get a blue sky.  It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that getting a blue sky was all about lighting the subject extremely well (either with the sun or with a flash) so that you didn’t have to overexpose the sky.  I think the day my photography really jumped to the next level was the day I stopped obsessing over lenses and settings and Photoshop and especially backgrounds/locations, and started focusing on finding or creating good light.

There will be lost more responses to come, so keep checking back.


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What a great idea to e-mail them! It was very encouraging to read what they all had to say. And a huge thanks to you for sharing this with everyone (photogs especially) :-)

Cool! I def need to get on my lighting skills :)

I love Stacy Reeves comments! She’s one of the best and she’s always honest about photography.

Thanks SO much for letting me be a part of this! :)

Thanks for posting this Kristin! Def a big help! :)

Wow, so helpful and informative! Thanks so much for posting this! Can’t wait for pt.2! :)


Thank you SO MUCH for posting these. As a beginning photographer I am uncertain about trying new and bigger things because of my lack of knowledge and experience. Jasmine’s comment was especially helpful to me! Please keep the tips coming!

Hey Kristin! So great to read these answers and encouragement and advice…thanks so much for reaching out and sharing with the rest of us! :)

[…] is the one thing that you wish you knew when you started your business”. If you missed part one you can see it here. Stay tuned for the next set of responses…there are so many great ones to […]

[…] is the one thing that you wish you knew when you started your business”. Be sure to check out part one and part two if you missed them. Stay tuned for the next set of responses…there are so many […]

[…] business was and they emailed me their answers…and they had some great ones. If you missed part 1, part 2, and part 3,  be sure to check them out. Stay tuned for more next […]

[…] business was and they emailed me their answers…and they had some great ones. If you missed part 1, part 2, and part 3,  be sure to check them out. Stay tuned for more next […]