Hey guys! On Tuesday I hosted my first ever insta-live session! I posted that morning that I’d be doing a Q+A later that afternoon and asked you guys to shoot me any questions you might have about photography, business, life, or whatever you wanted to know! I was a bit blown away by how many q’s I got! I wrote them all down and tried to catergorize them so that my Q+A would go smoothly. I had some repeat questions, so I tried to cover the most popular/common ones.

Incase some of you were unable to tune in when I went live, I’m going to answer the questions I covered in this blog post! & I decided that I’ll continue to do a few more insta-lives to answer the questions I didn't get to as well as any new questions you throw my way. So ask me anything!

Comment below any/all questions you have and stay tuned to my instagram to see when my next live session will be. As nerve wracking as it was for my first time, I loved (virtually) hanging out with you guys, so let’s keep it going!


+ What gear do you use? 

Two Canon 6Ds + Canon 35mm 1.4L + Canon 50mm 1.2L + Canon 24-70mm 2.8L + Canon 100mm + Canon TS-45mm

What lenses do you use most + when?

I pretty much always have my Canon 35mm 1.4L on my camera body. It’s my go-to lens 90% of the time + in all situations. I also love to use my Canon Tilt-Shift 45mm 2.8 lens during portraits, detail shots, and to get more edgy candids. The tilt-shift adds an interesting touch to ordinary images that I really like.
I mostly use my Canon 24-70mm 2.8L lens at wedding receptions. It’s best for the dance floor since you’re usually having to weave in and out of everyone jumping + dancing around. I also use it for family portraits since it’s my widest/most versatile lens.
I use my 100mm Macro lens for detail shots at weddings and during wedding ceremonies for a super close-up shot of the bride + groom. 

+ What editing software + presets do you use?

I use Lightroom 5 with the Adobe Creative Cloud account and I use LXC presets with major tweaks. I like to keep my greens + yellows + blues super unsaturated. I play with my split-shadowing + hues quite a bit as well.

+ How do you keep consistency in your photos?

You’ve got to really know your style + what you’re aiming for to keep consistent. As I'm shooting, I know how I’ll edit them – usually underexposing while I shoot a little to save the highlights and create moody shadows. Presets help to keep consistent. Also knowing how to work with all lighting situations and shooting to keep your light consistent.
As for my Instagram feed, I use the app UNUM to see what my next post will look like next to my previous posts. Highly recommend it to make sure your posts flow together well!

+ How do you pose people + get natural interactions?

Helping my clients become comfortable with me is really important. I typically like to meet up for coffee or drinks before the day of the shoot and develop that relationship. I’m an open book with anyone, which helps with my clients and usually leaves us being friends! I ask them questions and through them opening up to me, it helps them trust me. When I’m shooting my couples, I’ll give direction into some easy poses at first and see how they react to them and how they interact with each other. I base my next moves off of those reactions. If they’re feeling awkward, I’ll have them run around and get movement shots until they feel comfortable enough to do some PDA and let me get those close up intimate shots. It’s important to read your clients and make the experience all about them.

+ Did you go to school for photography?

Nope. I took an Intro to Photography class at UCO my second year of college (while I was majoring in General Studies, hating school), fell in love with the art of taking photos, and took off from there!

+ Do you use reflectors?

Nope. I have one, but have only used it a couple of times with newborn shoots. With my clients, I’m just always looking for good light or playing with shadows instead of bouncing away from them.

+ Do you tell your clients what to wear?

I generally tell them a few guidelines that are good to follow, but I always want them to feel their best + feel comfortable so I don’t force anything. I do give my engaged clients a Styling Guide that’s full of mood boards + tips to inspire ideas for finding outfits that go well together.

+ How do you charge for travel?

With anything, it takes time to really figure out what works for you. Test out the waters with some pricing on 2-3 couples. If you book all 3, then maybe you’re too cheap. If you don’t book any, then you’re too expensive. It’s important to build your ‘travel’ portfolio to show your clients that you’re not afraid to travel, that it’s easy, and that others have done it before them. People like to see that they’re not your guinea pig. Unless you’re doing it for free! Which is an option if you want to build your portfolio.
Personally, I shot my first international wedding for cheap. I sent them my normal (local) pricing and just told them all travel is included. I didn’t walk away with much money, but then I got to shoot in that location again later in the year due to a bride seeing I had shot there and liking my work. It’s definitely a process to gain travel momentum, but luckily with where Instagram is these days, it’s become much easier! 

+ Do you use hashtags?

Sometimes! If it’s a wedding image that I think will gain traction, then yes. I’ll tag a few wedding blogs who tend to repost images or I’ll hashtag locations where it was shot ( for example : #portlandweddingphotographer )
I also created my owns hashtags to compliment my business + my brand so that my clients can follow along with my work specifically. They can also use it when they post their photos from working with me, so it’s fun to follow along! My personal hashtags are #melissamarshall and my brand tagline #forthewildlyinlove .

+ What apps do you use to edit iPhone photos?

I use VSCO, usually preset M5 faded to about 7 or 8. I also use Facetune 2 to desaturate all colors except skin tones.

What’s your day-to-day look like?

Someone asked this q on my insta-live and I started answering it and somewhere between my morning routine and drinking coffee, I got off on a tangent about where I find my inspiration! Haha so I’m sorry to whoever that was, and here’s the right answer:
It changes pretty often, especially the past few months with us preparing to go home. But I’ll usually wakeup between 7 and 8am. Feed Watson + start boiling water. Pick up my living room, light a candle, + put on my morning playlist music. Make Chemex brewed coffee + enjoy it while I read some inspiration (right now, I’m reading Kinfolk Home: Interiors for Slow Living. It’s full of people’s homes + stories + how they spend their time in their homes, i love it). Josh usually sleepwalks into the living room by the end of my reading, we’ll eat breakfast, and then head to the gym. Once we get back, I’ll shower and I’ll get to work! I’ll answer e-mails, edit, and work on Thrive Modern. I eat lunch in the middle of all that, usually stop working around 4:30, clean up the house some and chill with Josh for the rest of the evening. We love to relax at home or go to happy hour at one of our favorite spots. We usually go to bed around 11.

This will all change quite a bit when we get back to Oklahoma where Josh will be working a lot more and I’ll have to find a new routine. I think it’s important to know yourself, know when your ‘power hour’ is, and be a boss! 

+ About inspiration:

I find inspiration from my surroundings a lot. Interior design, architecture, shadows on buildings, coffee shop designs + aesthetics, and photo journals. I love looking on Pinterest, but usually cap it at 10 minutes on there. Otherwise it just becomes overwhelming. I also like to look at other photographers work who’s style is different than my own. I find that when I’m looking at photographers who’s style is similar to mine, I really just start to nitpick + criticize my own work and its counterintuitive to my aim of being inspired! That might not be the case for everyone, but I choose to “stay in my own lane” as much as possible. 

& that’s it! These were the q’s I answered for my first instagram live session! I’m excited to do it again in the coming days, maybe I’ll shoot for Tuesday again. I’ll keep you posted!
In the meantime, feel free to comment with any q’s you have! I’ve loved the ones I’ve been getting. & to those of you who asked a question I didn’t get to, I promise I will!

Lastly, if you’re wanting a way more in-depth Q + A with me that also includes a portfolio critique, a live photoshoot, watching me edit, and a whole lot more --  you might consider booking one of my mentoring session options! As of right now, the first 3 people to book a mentor session get $100 off (includes ALL options).

 Yay! Thanks again for following along, let’s be friends!