FAQ: photography edition! part I

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LOVE TAZA camera post-2

so excited to get into some of our FAQ today all around the topic of photography with you guys! it’s one of our most asked questions these days and after asking you all about your interested in learning more from this blog post, i’m excited to finally start breaking it down and hope this is helpful!!!

in the past, i’ve felt a little timid sharing any knowledge i’ve gleaned about photography because when i was first starting out on my blog, a photographer i knew told me i could never call myself a “photographer” since i didn’t have a degree in photography and went on to share her frustration with how anyone could buy a fancy camera these days and say they were a “photographer.” i totally get and understand and am in awe of how incredible the work of so many professional photographers truly is, and would never want to diminish their experience, skill set or knowledge by trying to group myself with them. but i also want to say, that as i’ve had a camera in my hand practically every day the last 9 or 10 years, that that conversation so many years ago has been a hard one to shake and has often made me feel like my images won’t ever be good since i’m not a professional photographer with a degree to back my work.  i’m only sharing this with you, because it’s only been the last year or so where i’ve started to realize that that is plain silly. josh and i both might be self taught when it comes to photography, and still have so much to learn, but i freaking love everything about a beautiful photograph and want to feel proud of the images i create. i guess what i really am trying to say, is that in my opinion, you don’t have to have a degree and x amount of years experience to take good pictures or feel proud of them. you don’t even need a fancy camera. you can take pictures on your phone and if you love it, be proud of your work, because you are getting somewhere and that is really something!

LOVE TAZA camera post

something that is nice about falling in love with photography is having your man fall in love with it as well. honestly, the best photos you will find here on my blog or on my social channels are most likely taken by josh. so much for being an economics major! ;) and while photography has become such a big part of our day to day with having a blog, josh and i both really value and love documenting life through photos (and video) outside of that scope as well, so i think it’s something we’ll always be up to, regardless of if we are sharing it here.

while we are self taught, we are lucky to call some of the most talented photographers out there in the world dear friends, and they have always been so gracious at sharing their knowledge, or giving little bits of advice here and there to us when we’ve been together. i have to give a major shout out to tim coulson who taught me how to shoot my images in RAW (which allows for higher quality images) and also candice stringham who walked me through lightroom (the program we use to edit photos) for the very first time via video since she was in texas and i was in new york at the time. people that are talented and generous at sharing their talents just make me really happy and i so appreciate them.

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okay, so for this first photography post, i thought we’d start with what camera and lenses we use.

for the past 6 months or so, we have been shooting all of our images with a canon 5D mark III. this is a more expensive camera body, but it’s so reliable and fast and keeps up with us since we are frequently shooting. for years though, i used a little point and shoot camera and was happy with it. then, around 2010, i got my very first dslr camera, a canon rebel body, (and eventually invested more in the lenses i used with it) and felt like that changed a lot for me and my love of taking photos. that was also around the time josh started taking more photos as well so it was nice to learn together through trial and error by shooting manually.

most all of the images we shoot are with a 24-70mm lens. josh will also shoot with our 85mm f/1.2 lens (the photos he takes of just me are usually with it, like these ones) and whenever he does, i’m always like, we need to use this lens more! it’s a fixed lens though, so while it lets in a lot of light and produces the most beautiful sharp images with a low aperture (giving it a narrow depth of field so your object pops more since it’s the only thing in focus) that are ideal for portraits, you have to be farther away and obviously can’t zoom in and out. in our experience, it’s harder to use this lens in a day to day setting (at least for us) since we prefer to shoot a lot of candid images up close and also far away at the same time that aren’t so much a portrait style.

we also shoot the majority of our videos on either our canon 5D mark III or our smaller camera, the canon eos m3, which we also recently changed to, since it can auto-focus and has a mount for a mic if we need it. we tend to use both the smaller one and a larger dslr for any videos we shoot likes these ones or these as well.

i also am always so impressed with how far the iPhone camera has come along over the years and we take a lot of photos with our phones because of it. it’s nice since you already have it on you, and since it’s small and compact, if you’re juggling a camera in one hand and a child in the other (like me most days), you can still snag a decent photo with one hand!LOVE TAZA camera post1

any images or video we take under water (like these photos or these videos) we use a go pro and underwater camera case for.

if i have the camera on me, i have enjoyed wearing this cross body strap, so i have my camera out and on my hip at all times and then i can just swing it up to my eye to take a photo whenever necessary. it’s so much easier than pulling it in and out of a camera bag all day long. we don’t use a camera bag when we’re out in our day to day, only when we travel. beyond transporting a camera during travel in a camera bag or carrying case, we really just wear our camera or carry it with us.

i hope this break down of our cameras is helpful! let me know if you have any other questions based around our camera equipment, but i will break down some ways we shoot photos and also how we edit them (and our videos) in the next part of this photography series!

  1. Heidi

    This is a really inspiring post! I think it’s great to know that some of your pics are taken with a professional camera and expertise, and others one-handed on an iPhone while juggling tots. All are beautiful!

  2. Carolyn Carter

    Things I love about you guys: you’re so willing to share your tips! Thanks!

  3. Things I love about you guys: you’re so willing to share your tips! Thanks!

  4. Madison

    What iPhone editing apps do you use??

  5. I have been absolutely dying to read a photography series from you guys because frankly your photos are goals. I’m actually partially trained (i did a little photo journalism in uni many moons ago. But my photos just don’t compare. Would love to see more about the settings you use and your editing process, especially for fixed lens as i prinarily use a 50mm.

    Lots of love from the UK!


  6. hanna

    Thank you so much for all the camera info –Like Hanna

  7. Rena

    Thanks for sharing! I’m always impressed by the perfection of your pictures!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  8. Lo


    There are SO many options out there now in the dslr world, and so I always find it super helpful to know what my favourite bloggers (whom I adore for their photography as much as their stories) are using.

    Thanks for the heads up, my only wish was that the iphone 7 camera came in the body of an iphone 5! #smallhandproblems


  9. Shermin

    Could you please tell us about the filters that you use for iPhone photos? Thanks alot

  10. Lauren Bee

    Thank you for sharing this. I take photos with a DSLR Canon 600D and am very much still in the learning process. Your beautiful photos are part of what inspired me to teach myself!

    I would definitely call you a photographer. You can’t be a doctor without a degree, but you can definitely be a photographer without one! I guess it’s a good reminder to be kind to each other, right? It’s terrible that we don’t always consider how our words and angry tirades affect other people.

  11. Jess

    love your blog post! When you edit your images in Lightroom, what do you do to edit them? Do you use any presets or something similar?

  12. Line

    Love this! I would love to know more about your lightroom routine! That is something I struggle with.

  13. Caroline

    Your pictures are always so beautiful! I was wondering if you could write a post about how you and Josh chose the kids’ first and middle names. They are lovely by themselves and work together so nicely as a trio!

  14. Katka

    Naomi, thanks for sharing these info & tips. I love the pictures you post here on your Instagram.

    I believe learning to make good photographs is mostly about taking lots and lots of pictures, learning what your camera can do, whether you can change some settings on your camera, etc. But lots of practice is probably the most important.

    I’m looking forward to future photography related posts!

  15. Kathy

    Thank you for such a great post- I’ve enjoyed your photography for a long time now- it definitely looks professional to me! But more than that, it is beautiful and full of joy.

  16. fefe

    Ahhhh it’s like you read my mind. I needed a post like this!

    Side note – I know you’re probably just bracing yourself for the amount of h8rs you get daily, but you don’t need to explain yourself when it comes to being a photographer. You ARE a photographer, and you rock at it. Being self taught is also something to be very proud of, and I’m glad you’re embracing that!

    There are an insane amount of famous & incredible photographers that don’t have degrees in it – and I can’t believe anyone would ever tell you that you can’t call yourself one without a degree. That is seriously so ridiculous and petty.

    Your images inspire thousands of people daily, you literally hustled until you could live off of these images, and you kill it!

    That being said – thank you for sharing this and your story here, as always!


  17. It’s so awesome how you and Josh share a common interest in photography :) Also you’re so right about iPhone cameras! Tempted to get the 7+ just for the camera, but I’m not gonna get a new phone until my current one becomes unusable :P -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  18. Abby

    Thanks for sharing about your cameras. What camera bag and carrying case do you use for travel?

  19. Ling Ling

    You guys take great photos! I was wondering, why do photographers prefer manual mode to Av mode? Since Av mode auto adjusts shutter speed which is nice, especially for capturing fast toddlers. Thanks!

  20. Thanks so much for sharing this! I have always been so in awe of your photos – and now all of your travel videos! I’ve used an old Canon Rebel for years but have been able to borrow my work’s Canon Mark D III on the weekends the past 6 months or so. But I’m doing a lot of traveling this year – Europe again! – and have been wanting to invest in a new camera that’s great for both photos and video.

    I know you said you use both, but do you use the Mark D III the majority of time when shooting your travel videos? I’m torn between getting a cheaper and lighter option to shoot on the go or just really investing in the big guns. I’d mostly be using it for still portraits and video- not necessarily landscapes or anything like that. Would love to know what you think!


  21. rachel

    You are absolutely a photographer! Just like an artist without a degree is still very much an artist :)

  22. I believe that a simple use of the word “professional” before a title will suffice to satisfy photographers who are more protective of their moniker and want to identify themselves beyond bloggers and instagrammers who are producing beautiful images but without the formal training.

    It feels dismissive to me for a creative to proclaim others cannot use the same title due to lack of training–it’s elitist (not everyone can afford the education) and exclusive (creatives arrive at their place in the world in many different ways!), and ultimately doesn’t serve the creative world, which I feel ought to be inclusive.

    I’m a published journalist who never went to J-school, but I’m still a journalist. Like you, I’ve been mentored along the way by generous colleagues. You’re a photographer producing beautiful images enjoyed by thousands of happy readers. The creative life has room for everyone in whatever manner they arrived at their place.

  23. Shachi

    This is SO HELPFUL thank you for sharing! As a new (ish) blogger the most daunting thing to me has always been the PICTURES and needing a “real photographer” with me.

    BUT this is such a great reminder that I can be a real photographer too, just gotta love it!


  24. Julie

    Hi Taza, I enjoying sharing your love for photography because your pics are so nice! I am in love with photography and I have been using a DSLR for about 10 years and last year I finally decided I wanted to get to the next level with my photography and returned to College to get a proper qualification. Since I am a mum of 3 it was slightly complicated to make it all happen but it’s one day a week and I love learning and finally getting into the depth of photography. By learning more technique I have managed to become more confident and getting much nicer results too. Returning to College was a good coincidence as I had just started my blog so I could ‘showcase’ straight away my newly acquired skills 😉. I use a Canon too (a 7D markII which is great) but I could not afford the full frame you guys have got but a friend of mine also raves about it so I hope I can get it sometime too. Thanks for sharing your learning curve and your tips, it’s nice to learn from you too! You are so lucky Josh has shown some interest too in photography (and is so good at it), he takes awesome shots of you, I am very envious! I am yet to get my husband on board….:( but I haven’t despaired yet;) Much love and have a nice weekend, Julie. Ps: hoping to see you in London soon??

  25. Julie

    …I forgot to ask whether you could share a few of your editing tips and how you do your videos? Thanks Naomi!


  26. Ella

    Photography to me is art. You don’t need a degree for it, just a lot of practice and skill. Everyone will have their own opinion about whether they love or hate it too. I’m a self-taught photographer and will always be learning. I read up on tips and tricks from as many sources as I can. I admire unique spontaneous photographs, which I think you capture a lot of, especially with your children. Always a lot to learn from each other, especially in this field. I look forward to reading more about this topic from you.

  27. Jessica R.

    Hi Noami,
    Thanks for the info! I would be soooo interested to hear about your editing process, a few details about using Lightroom or any editing apps you use.


  28. Clo

    Thanks for sharing !I love your photos !

  29. Elizabeth

    Hi! I’m about to start college in the fall and I really want to start a blog! Can you make a post about it? Do you use wordpress? Tips? Design?

  30. Rachel

    I LOVE the photos on your blog, so in my eyes and many others, you can consider yourselves pro photographers! You guys do an amazing job. One of my main questions is, how do you take the candid, full of movement pics of your kids without them being all blurry?? (In both camera and iPhone photos)…I can’t for the life of me figure it out and unfortunately most of my kids candid action shots are a fuzzy outline of them :) thanks for being willing to share advice with all us amateurs!

  31. Abby

    Love this post! && I say call yourself a photographer if you’d like…I truly believe it’s experience and or a degree or just having a love for it that makes anyone a photographer. Keep shooting away…and sharing posts about it…you’re readers appreciate it! Well I do anyways!
    BTW I’m a “photographer” in Las Vegas…lostwages.photography

  32. Thanks so much for this!!!!! I have been wanting to invest in a more expensive lens for a while and have been researching extensively before I take the plunge and buy one. Can’t wait to see how you edit the photos! That one I’m super curios about. You always take such beautiful photos and I would never consider you less than a photographer. I love your style and it so represents you and your fam and who you guys are. You can spot your photos online in an instant which to me shows you are a photographer with your own unique eye and style. =)


  33. Liz

    Hello! When you went to Paris, what camera bag did you use? Is there one that’s slightly stylish and not hugely burdensome, that you have come acrossed? Thanks for the tips!

  34. Liz

    Hello! When you went to Paris, what camera bag did you use? Is there one that’s slightly stylish and not hugely burdensome, that you have come across? Thanks for the tips!

  35. I like what you said about how just because someone takes pictures doesn’t “make them a photographer”, but how we can still better ourselves with practice. My husband and I still use the Canon T2i that we got in 2011 (big cameras are sooo expensive!) with three lenses, but sometimes the pictures come out super good in my opinion. I’m not sure how many other people mentioned this, but I would love to see your before & after pictures (when you use Lightroom to see how much they change). I think I read before that you often up the saturation to help your photos pop?

  36. Vanessa

    Hey Naomi(and josh!)! I’d be interested to know what kind of card reader you have for your camera? I know you travel a lot, do you have one with wifi to make it easy on the go? I just had a little one and have the same camera and would love to know what you use! Thank you!! Love your blog x

  37. Kayla

    Do you mind me asking what underwater camera case you use? Thanks!

    • josh

      We have just used a GoPro camera. But some day we want to try still photography too!