Let’s Talk: Photography

I remember when I got my first “real camera” in the 5th grade .I thought I was soo cool. I snapped pictures of everything- from blurry shots of my converse to pictures of random rocks on the ground. I wish I was kidding you. Then I joined yearbook. Documenting candid moments around the middle school and spending afternoons in the darkroom made me fall in love with photography even more.

Over my college years, I kind of strayed away from photography; borrowing my mom’s Canon Rebel on occasion for travel and dabbling with her ten-year-old hand me down Rebel in my free time . For months upon months, I debated back and forth about investing in a camera for myself so I could get back into the thing I had always loved. In April, I finally got the Canon 6D. It was love at first sight. With a new camera, I rediscovered my love for photography.

Taking photos is a part of my summer internship this year. That was one thing that really sparked the idea of finally investing in a good camera and lens. However, another secret reason I invested in a new camera and lens is because I am hoping to get into senior photography/portraits/blog photos this upcoming year. I think it would be something I would really, really enjoy!

Recently on Tumblr, photography-related questions have been pouring in. Questions about everything and anything photography related have flooded my inbox (in a good way!). Y’all asked about specific camera and lens and blurry backgrounds, so I wanted to do a quick summary on all those questions. I do  want to disclose that I am not a photography expert by any means whatsoever. All I can do is give my experience and personal advice, but I hope you find these suggestions and tips helpful. Let’s get started, friends:

lets talk photography

1. THE CAMERA

When I started getting back into photography, I asked several photographer-friends if I should invest in a new camera or if I should invest in a new lens. The vote was pretty split, surprisingly enough. After investing in both a new camera and a new lens over the past few months, I can definitely say that decision depends. If you don’t already have a DSLR camera already or your DSLR is ancient like mine was, opt for getting a new body. If you already have a great camera body, get a new lens. When it comes to cameras, I am a huge Canon fan. My sister and mom have the Canon Rebel, and I would highly recommend it if you are looking for a first camera. It isn’t ridiculously expensive, but it’s a very solid, high quality camera. If you have a large budget, definitely, definitely get the Canon 5D Mark III. It’s a fantastic camera, and a lot of professionals use it. The 5D Mark III was out of my budget, so I opted for the next best option- the Canon 6D. I absolutely love it, and it is seriously a fantastic camera body.

2. THE LENS

When it comes to camera lens, you tend to get what you pay for. Choosing a lens totally comes down to what you like to shoot and what you are looking for. For me personally, I wanted a prime lens because I love to shoot portraits and lifestyle pictures. My very first ‘real lens’ was the Canon 50mm 1.8. The 50mm 1.8 is very affordable and is an absolutely beautiful lens. It allows you to create that beautiful blurry background (also called Bokeh). We will discuss later in the post how to create that blurry background/bokeh. I personally use the Canon 50mm 1.2. It is a very, very pricy lens, however, it was definitely worth the money. 100%. I saved up for it for a long time, and I have no buyer’s remorse whatsoever. It is such a gorgeous, gorgeous lens, and I couldn’t love it any more. I purchased my 1.2 from Best Buy, but Amazon is another great option. I definitely see a difference in the quality of photos between the 1.8 and the 1.2. However, the 1.8 is still an incredible lens, especially if you are looking for a perfect ‘first lens’. Another great prime lens for portraits is the canon 85mm. You can’t go wrong with that one either!

Here are some photos to compare the Canon 50mm 1.8 and the 1.2. The main difference I notice off the bat is the size. The 1.8 is very light and easy to tote on the go. The 1.2 on the other hand has some serious weight to it and is quite big.

[50mm 1.8 – $125]

canon 50mm 1.8 // www.mackenziekendall.com

[50mm 1.2 – $1,349]

canon 50mm 1.2 // www.mackenziekendall.com

* Okay, so now for explaining how to get the beautiful, blurry background. It’s definitely all about the F-stop. I set my camera on manual mode, and then I change the F-stop. In easy-to-understand terms, the lower the F-stop, the blurrier the background. The higher the F-stop, the less background the blurry is. For the photos on the left, I used the highest F-stop possible (F16) on both lenses. For the photos on the right, I used the lowest F-stop possible (so F1.8 on the 50mm 1.8 and F1.2 on the 50mm 1.2). So do you need a $1,000 lens to take beautiful photos? Absolutely not. As noted above, the 50mm 1.8 takes some gorgeous photos that really allow you to get that desired blurry background!

3. SETTINGS & LIGHTING

If you are an avid-selfie photographer, you understand already that lighting is everything. Lighting can make a HUGE difference. With DSLR camera, that definitely still applies. Best time to shoot? In my opinion, morning or evening (the golden hour). As for settings, I personally shoot on manual mode. Manual mode can be tricky at first, but I definitely prefer it when taking photos. If you are new to photography, definitely opt for Auto. If y’all would like to see a post on manual mode in the future, let me know & I would be happy to make one.

photography tips

I hope you could find this post helpful! If you ever have any other photography-related questions that you would like me to post about, let me know. I hope you have a fabulous Friday!

xoxo,

Mackenzie

Cali Apartment Tour

“Hey MTV & welcome to my crib”. Lol. Jk. I kid, I kid.

Hello, friends & happy Thursday [unless you are on the west coast, like me, then happy Wednesday evening]! I’ve been settling into my new -and very first – apartment these past few days, and I am so happy that things are finally coming together. The apartment hunt was not easy, by any means, whatsoever. After weeks and weeks of searching the depths of the internet, I finally found the perfect home, nested in Redwood City. Because living in California is crazy expensive, I kept the decor very affordable. I found the majority of the pieces at Target, and I found several little gems at thrift stores around the city. Living by myself in an apartment for the first time has been such an exciting adventure so far, and I am looking forward to these next three months in Cali! I am so incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to live & work in one of my favorite places in the entire world.

I wanted to share with y’all my new home for the summer! Without further ado or continued rambling, here is my new apartment:

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[wooden giraffe // palm print dress]

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[tassel pillows]

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[bag tassel]

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[candle]

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[hair drier]

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[shower curtain]

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[gold wire decor]

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Thank you for checking out my blog!

xoxo,

Mackenzie

Cooler in Culottes

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culotte jumpsuit (from forever21. linked similar) // earrings (similar) // heels // clutch (similar)

“Culottes are my new obsession. I am seriously in love”, I told my roomies just a few weeks ago, holding up a photo of dressy, white culottes on my phone. “Culottes? What the heck is a culotte? Those look like gauchos. Do you mean gauchos- like what we wore in the 4th grade?”.

Culottes, gauchos, same thing. Either way, I still love them. A lot. Being 5’0, it can be difficult finding full jumpsuits and flare-legged pants that don’t completely drown me in heaps of fabric (or require the usual visit to the tailor for routine alterations). Culottes rocks- for every figure, every height. I find them to be surprisingly flattering, especially paired with some dressy sandals/heels. Even better than that, they are comfy x 100. For special events, it can be natural to reach for your typical sundress or your favorite maxi, but why not try something a little out of your comfort zone? Culottes can be perfect for that summer wedding, paired with statement jewelry, a clutch, and dressy sandals. Daytime? Opt for metallic sandals and a loose, beachy braid, and you’re good to go.

Have you tried culottes yet? If so, let me know if you love em’ or hate em’. Later this week here on the blog, I will be sharing my new – and very first – apartment! I am so excited about it, and I am finally done unpacking. Hope you all are having a fabulous week so far!

xoxo,

Mackenzie


Here are some more culottes to keep you cool for the summer:

 

 

Happy One Year!

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*Inserts cute picture of myself with a balloon*. HAPPY ONE YEAR. It feels like just yesterday I was dabbling around on WordPress, possibly cussing under my breath at the computer in a haze of technological confusion. I can’t say blogging made a whole lot of sense at first, and to be honest, at times it still doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean I love it any less. Blogging has given me so much; it has given me confidence, and joy, and the most magnificent creative outlet. Most importantly, blogging has taught me such an abundant amount. Over this past year, I have grown so much and I have learned more than I could have ever imagined. It’s absolutely crazy to think back at who I was a year from now and how life was in general. Things change so much, but that change can be so beautiful.

I wanted to take the time to thank you. Thank you for supporting me, loving me, and encouraging me- through my flaws and mistakes and all. Last May, I started this blog as an almost ‘transition’ from Tumblr. Thank you to the many that have followed my life over the past three years through Tumblr. Thank you to the new friends that have recently joined this journey [I am so glad you’re here!]. And thank you to those that have somehow stumbled upon my tiny corner of the internet over the past twelve months. I can’t even express in words how much it truly means to me. I am so thankful for each and every one of you. I really, really am. So cheers to one year of ‘official blogging’ and to many more incredible years to come.

xoxo,

Mackenzie

 

Dallas Adventure

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senior picture // cake bar

blowing bubbles

sunflower

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call me maybe

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silly group photo

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starbucks

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brewing co

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bull tank

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walking

senior photos // group

kappa kappa gamma

pale pink wall

senior pictures

friends

flowers in the hair

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Happy Wednesday! When you were in middle school, did you ever take photoshoots for fun with your friends? I definitely did. No shame, no shame at all. We always had a blast [and now as a college student, I love to look back at the photos from my awkward middle school stage and LOL]. Fast forward nine years… definitely still having photoshoots for fun. My excuse this time? I got a new lens! After saving for months and months, I finally splurged on my dream Canon lens. So of course after leaving Best Buy, I had to play around with my new lens right away. My sister, friends, and I headed to the city to snap a few fun pictures in the heart of Dallas. Our favorite location to shoot? Trinity Groves. SO cute. My kind of perfect, summer afternoon.

I hope you’re having a fantastic morning!

xoxo,

Mackenzie

Sunflower Romper

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sunflower romper // necklace (linked similar) // duster cardigan (under $30!) // sandals

Hello friends & happy Tuesday! Pretty recently, I told myself I was going to stop buying printed pieces. Over the years, my closet has accumulated too many prints to count. It’s fine. It’s not like I’m a real adult or anything. However, I decided I would start trying to replace some of my patterned pieces with solid, neutral colors. But let’s be honest. What fun is that?

This past week, my sister and I were shopping at our favorite local boutique, girligirl (If you live in the DFW area, you have to check it out!!). For months, I had been eyeing this adorable sunflower adorned romper from [yes, you guessed it] Show Me Your Mumu. I debated back and forth about ordering it because I was like, “It’s so cute!! … but I should probably buy something solid and neutral…. but it’s adorable!”.  So when I saw this piece in person, I decided to try it on. I fell in love. Yesterday, my sister, some friends, and I went and snapped some photos in Dallas to try out my new camera lens (which will be on the blog later this week). I wore this new romper, and I have never received so many compliments on a piece before in my life. It’s so unique, and it definitely makes a statement. I surprisingly love the fit of this romper. It almost looks like a top or a dress at first, but it’s actually a romper. I paired it with a long, crochet cardigan duster, lace up sandals, and a choker necklace. I can’t wait to style this fun piece all summer!

I hope you are having a great week so far! Thanks for stopping by!!

xoxo,

Mackenzie

Talkin’ Flatforms

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metallic flatform wedges

Wedges + sandals = flatforms. Meet your newest summer obsession & the hottest shoe trend. Never did I ever think I would fall for the flatform wedge, but I have to admit, I am a little obsessed now. When my mom and I spotted these Steve Madden beauties, we both snagged a pair (she opted for the tan and I went with the gold). Best part? They are under $100. Other best part? They are so, so comfortable. I love that they are versatile and can be easily dressed up or down. Whether you have a special event like graduation or you want a casual pair of wedges you can pair with rompers and shorts, these gems are perfect. I have a feeling these may be my newest faves [which is why they deserved a photoshoot of their own!].

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

xoxo,

Mackenzie


Here are some other flatforms to keep on your radar: 

flatforms

one // two // three // four // five // six

Cactus Craze

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IMG_0180cactus cardigan (sold out) // black tee // denim shorts // sandals // bag charm // necklace (linked similar)

In the 7th grade, the cactus craze started. I remember getting probably five cacti plants for my birthday that year from friends, and my obsession with them never really ended after that. By the time high school graduation rolled around, I had something of a cactus garden accumulating in my room. Over the years, my love for cacti has not died whatsoever. I celebrated my 21st birthday this past weekend with my college friends, and my birthday sign was a giant, glittery cactus [pictured below]. It was so perfect! Long story short, I have an undeniable love for cacti.  I am a sucker for succulents, what can I say?

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Earlier this semester, my mom surprised me with this amazing, cactus cardigan that she snagged at a local boutique. Not only is it unique,  but it’s super comfy (which is always a plus in my book!). I paired it with a soft black tee, distressed denim shorts, and lace up sandals for a casual and easy look. In the past, I’ve always been pretty anti-cardigan. However, this one has definitely been a huge game-changer for me. I have a feeling I will be embracing the cardigan all season.

On a slightly random note, I have officially moved out of the sorority house. The past two years living in this beautiful house have been incredible, and I am so thankful for the friendships & memories I have made. Moving out today was bitter sweet, definitely more bitter than sweet in all honesty. However, I am excited for this summer and the adventures ahead.

I hope you’re having a great week!

xoxo,

Mackenzie

Photography: Dallastyle


P.S. Here are some more cactus pieces that I adore:

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1. one piece swimsuit //  2. clutch // 3. choker necklace // 4. stud earrings // 5. phone case // 6. ice trays 

 

 

Feelin’ Shady

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Hello, hello! Lately, I have been living in sunglasses. I think mostly because I’ve just been a little lazy about putting on makeup lately. Also, they just make me feel a little extra sassy-  I’m not going to deny that. There are so my sunglasses out there to choose from. Whether you like cool & classic or totally trendy, there’s a style for everyone. I’ve picked out some of my faves out for the summer [I’ve been eying *no pun intended* one & two for a few weeks now..] –

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one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine

Let me know what sunnies you’ve been rocking lately!

xoxo,

Mackenzie

Spring Staples + New Camera

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straw clutch (linked similar & affordable option) // metallic sandals // statement necklace (linked similar) // [turquoise dress]

Happy Tuesday! Guess what? I got a new camera, and I am so in love. For the past few years, I have been borrowing my mom’s 11-year-old Canon Rebel. It was great, but it was definitely time for an upgrade. After doing tons of research, I finally found the perfect one (in my price range). I decided to purchase the Canon 6D, and I couldn’t be happier with it. To test out my new camera, my mom & I snapped a few photos of my favorite accessories for spring time. I think these accessories are especially great for spring and summer special events + weddings. For the bag, I opted for an adorable Vineyard Vines straw clutch that I picked up at Nordstrom Rack last year. It’s the perfect size! When the Sam Edelman Yardley lace up sandals came out, I knew they would be definitely be a staple for both work & play. Plus, they are beyond comfy, which is always a perk. I love all the color options, and I have to say the metallic ones are my new faves. To finish the look off, I added an iridescent Kendra Scott necklace. I really love the way they can dress up any look & add just a touch of glam.

With just nine days left of junior year, I have been packing and studying like crazy. My countdown for summer has officially started, and I know I am going to be taking so many photos this summer in California! Let me know if y’all ever want to see posts on photography/cameras/lens/editing/etc.

Have a great week, friends!

xoxo,

Mackenzie


Here are some other clutches, metallic sandals, and statement pieces for spring: