Three weeks ago my hands trembled and heart beat fast as I asked Justin, my constant confidant, encourager, and voice of reason for the 30th time if this was a good idea. Years worth of technical research, stalking hundreds of other photography blogs, and general analysis over my entire situation and what I’m trying to do as a photographer were culminating in this moment. There was a 3-day deal for my dream camera, the Canon 5D Mark III and my absolute dream portrait lens, the 50mm f/1.2L series prime lens. It was the definition of surreal. Was I really about to spend an amount of money that took me a YEAR to save up through photo jobs on the equipment of my dreams?! I called my great friend Tim of TimYantz Photography to get just one more opinion on this whole thing. I trust Tim so much… I’ve told everyone I’ve talked to about him just how SMART and intelligent he is! Seriously, spend just five minutes with him and you’re going to walk away feeling like your mind is just overflowing with new thoughts and ideas and like your world just might have changed while you were talking with him. So when I called him, I knew his opinion would be the final PUSH to get me to press that order button!! And it was! He encouraged me to be brave and JUST. DO. IT. So I did. And a week later, as I was unwrapping the UPS boxes with shaky hands and sweaty palms, I was oh so happy that I took the plunge! I left my 7 year marriage with Nikon for Canon and I’m never looking back!! And here’s one of the first pictures ever taken with my new babies!

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As soon as I pulled it out of the box, it was love at first sight. It just felt so RIGHT. As a photographer, I have the obligation to say the usual cliche “the camera doesn’t make the image, the artist does.” Yea, sure, whatever. The bottom line is that at the end of the day, if you don’t have the right TOOLS to help you bring your vision to life, it’s going to be a LOT harder to make those images you want to create. (Disclaimer:  Okay, there obviously is so much more to being a photographer than your gear.  Learning how to pose people, compose an image, adjust your settings to expose properly, piece together a shoot from start to finish, and learning how to navigate the editing and post-processing world are just a few components of what it takes.  But if you have all of those things together and your gear just isn’t keeping up, then you’re going to be limited in what you can do!)  I liked my Nikon D300s, but I never LOVED it. It was grainy at any ISO higher than 1200, its sensor produced pictures more on the washed-out, desaturated, faded side, making for more work in post-processing, and it was just all around nothing breathtaking or spectacular. (Disclaimer #2: After several comments from fellow photographers, I feel obligated to say that the D300s and the 5DIII really cannot be compared to each other.  The D300s is much older technology and is not a full-frame camera.  However, I chose to switch to Canon over upgrade to another Nikon because I believed Nikon’s similarly priced full-frame camera equivalent to the 5DIII was not what I was looking for, although Nikon has some truly fantastic full-frame camera and prime lens options.) I never knew that a pair like the 5DIII and the 50 1.2 could make such a dream combo. I suspected it from its popularity with other photogs but not until I took that first picture of my dog sitting at the kitchen table did I fall in love. It was so CREAMY!! The colors were so REAL!! And even zoomed in at 100% crop, the images were SO. SHARP!! It was just an absolute WORLD of difference from my D300s and 50mm 1.8g! I just can’t add enough exclamation marks to get my excitement about this across!!! A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE, PEOPLE!!!!!
canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton
Ahhhh!! I am just swooning!!! For the first time, I am getting what I WANT out of my camera. Everything looks so real and timeless and classic and pretty and colorful and vibrant, allowing me to be more creative than ever. Even before I put ANYTHING on my Facebook page about switching, as soon as I posted a few previews from this session, people were immediately writing me saying “OMG!! The pictures look so REAL!!! I love the colors! What f-stop were you shooting at?! What were your settings? I love your editing!! What software do you use???” Those last two questions are SO funny to me because I have literally changed NOTHING about my editing in months. I was using the same presets I’ve put together and bumping contrast, saturation, brights, and sharpness like I always have…. same goes for my posing, camera settings, lighting use… nothing has changed except the equipment and, from my artist’s eye, this just isn’t even comparable to what I could do with my Nikon. I am head over heels in looooove with my Canon and I absolutely cannot wait to shoot my first event with it (and a Canon speedlite!!) this weekend!!! For now, I will stop rambling on about my love affair and share some more pictures from the afternoon I spent exploring and laughing in Fairfax with three great friends…
canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton
This is Brooke. I’ve had a couple classes with her over the years and she lived on my floor freshman year. She is also one of the few other people I know that speak Spanish. So yea, she’s pretty awesome.
canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton
And this… is Emma. You can probably tell from the pictures just how energetic, lively, and FUN she is to be around!! She has the most contagious smile and seriously beautiful hair!
canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton
And this is Ryan!! Like Brooke and Emma, he also lived on my floor freshman year, and he was known for having the coolest dorm room ever. He pretty much had another room entirely set up under his bed. I only saw it once and I WISH I had a picture of it to show because it was seriously the coolest thing I have ever seen someone do with that tiny of a space!! Ryan also took me to a John Mayer concert one time. And for that I will forever love him!
canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton
And then we found the Christmas tree…
canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton
And then I snuck into a few pictures, too!! Thanks Ryan for snapping these!
canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton
And then things got a little crazy (and maybe slightly illegal) and we took pictures on the railroad tracks. So rebellious.
canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton

canon fairfax portrait pictures virginia photographer lifestyle photography clifton
Overall we had such a fun afternoon and I can’t wait for the next outing where these three come along!! I haven’t been around campus much this semester so it’s always fun to hang out with my “Mason friends” and I really wish I did it more often! You can expect a few more posts like this throughout the winter season as I’m trying to plan some more afternoons out around the city with more of my friends :) When I’m not taking pictures of families, seniors, or couples… I’m harassing my friends!! Thank you Ryan, Emma, and Brooke for letting me try out my new camera on y’all!! And, in short… if any Nikon D300s shooters are considering the switch… JUST DO IT!

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