My Photography Gear

July 25, 2015

There’s a lot of info in this post so I want to say the really important things up front: you can spend a lot of money equipment and still have shitty pictures. I say this because
1) I would hate for anyone to think they can’t have beautiful images because they can’t afford the slew of things I listed below
2) and because my biggest pet peeve is when people attribute a good photo solely to what I’m shooting with.  People do this all the time: “Monique’s photos are so beautiful. She has a really good camera.” And each time it’s like they are breaking off a little of my soul and stomping all over it.  
Lastly, it’s also important to remember that I have been acquiring all this stuff since I was 16 (I’m now 21) by buying second hand and waiting for good deals. And while my camera body was purchased for as a gift for my 21st birthday, everything else I had to save up for.
1. Canon 6D – Canon’s smallest full frame body. I had the 5D MIII for a hot second but decided I didn’t need all the features. With the money, I got back from downgrading I was able to buy a new lens.
2. GoPro Hero4 Silver – I just got this and haven’t used it too much, but I’m so excited to take it with me when I go to Thailand in January. I’m constantly daydreaming about all the underwater footage I’ll get.


3. Sony point and shoot – I always want to have a good camera on me, but it’s just so impractical to haul a DSLR around all day every day.
4. 35mm lens – I took a risk buying it on eBay for a price that was too good to be true. I don’t use it often but when I do I’m in LOOOOVE with the wide angle images it produces.
5. 85mm lens – I only ever use this when I’m shooting food. It takes some really sexy close-ups.
6. 24-70mm lens – My newest lens which I use when I’m out and about and need as much versatility as I can get.
7. 50mm lens – My first lens that will always have a special place in my heart. I really attribute my rapid progression in photography to my 50; it’s so versatile and gave me a lot of room to play around. Also, the fact that it’s a prime lens (it doesn’t zoom) meant that it made me think a lot more about the way I composed my shots. He’s an oldy but a goody.
8. Memory card holder – So I can (try to) keep my cards in one place.
9. Memory cards – I have a million of these all over the place. I always find them in the most random places –pockets, sofa, drawers, handbags, etc.
10. External hard drive – After I take photos I always immediately store them on my external hard drive. I’m terrible about not misplacing memory cards, so this is the only way I don’t lose my photos altogether.
14. Reflectors – I mainly use the white one to help get light into dark areas of food photography, and the translucent one to help diffuse light from my windows.
15. Mono lights – I’m in loooove with my lights. My photography style is bright and slightly overexposed with natural light. This is impossible to achieve when the sun has set before I’ve even reached for my camera. Because of this investment, I’m able to get shots like this and this at 11PM.

 16. Camera crossbody – When I’m out and about in town and don’t want a big CANON bag announcing to the world that I’m carrying equipment worth stealing.
17. Crumpler – For the times when my camera bags just won’t go with my outfit, I can turn any handbag into a camera bag.
18. Camera backpack – This is used mainly when I’m traveling and have to carry more than my camera, cell phone, and credit card. I’m not one to carry more than one bag at a time, so this gives my camera plenty of protection while allowing me room for other things.
19. Camera sling – Rapid R seems to be the only company that recognizes that women are photographers. They know how tragic looking most camera slings are when worn across the chest. This strap is curved at the shoulder so it’s as flattering as a camera sling can be…basically it doesn’t cut across your boob in the most awkward fashion.
20. Bose headphones – When I edit my photos late at night I listen to music or podcasts with these headphones so I don’t disturb my sister.
21. Posterboards – These things are lifesavers for hiding an ugly background or a kitchen that needs to be cleaned. I have them in white, black, and pink.
22. Wacom tablet – For adding handwritten text to images. 
23. UV filters – I’ve invested so much money in my lenses that spending a little more to help keep them protected is worth it. Always having them on my lenses means I have to be too concerned with making sure that my lens cap is on.
24. Camera remote – For when I’m cooking and don’t want my dirty hands all over my camera.  
25. Photoshop CS6 – What I use to edit my photos
 *This is not a sponsored post.

Ikea Nordli Nightstand Revamp

July 19, 2015


The last 4 months that I’ve been living in this apartment, I’ve been nightstand free. The space that allows for a side table is so narrow that most of the options I liked wouldn’t fit without making it impossible for me to get to my closet. But after too many times of falling asleep with my electronics, books, and face wipes next to me, I knew I had to find a solution. I was browsing Ikea the other day when I came across the Nordli Nightstand and knew I had to get it. I went to Ikea that day, and within a few hours I had it assembled.

I love it because it’s well designed with a shelf, a drawer, a little tray, and an open backing for cords (so you can charge your electronics inside the table). However, there’s no denying that with it’s minimalist design, it’s a tad on the boring side. I decided to spruce it up with a drawer pull from Anthropologie and leftover marble contact paper I had from thisthis, and this post. 
I used a rubber bench scraper, but if you’re doing a similar project a credit card will work also. You want to make sure to pull the paper backing off a little at a time then immediately smooth the contact paper down so you avoid air bubbles. It’s pretty hard to do a perfect job, but a few tiny air pockets aren’t noticeable without close inspection. Also, be sure to take extra time trimming and folding the corners. A dead giveaway that it’s not real marble is if you can see wrinkles and creases at the edges. To make the process easier I applied the contact paper before attaching the table top with screws. 


I told myself that I didn’t want to spend more than $12 dollars on a drawer pull, but when I saw these at Anthropologie I had to have it. Suddenly all the other options seemed hideous so I caved and spent a whopping $28 on it. If you do buy these pulls, I recommend going to the store to pick them out because they come in all different shapes and sizes, and the hues range from cream to deep purple. 

Because of all the storage space inside, I’m able to keep the top clear of any junk. In my bedside table I store remotes, a notebook, a pen, cuticle cream, cuticle clippers, and makeup remover wipes. I use the shelf to charge my iPad and phone. 

7 Things I Loved This Week

July 02, 2015


1. L’Appartment Living – This French blog focuses on food, home decor, and basically all things lifestyle. The pictures are stunning, and the content is inspiring. It’s written in French though, but I just use it as an opportunity to practice my reading comprehension.

2. Existational instagram account – This is one of my new favorite Instagram accounts. I’m obsessed with her adventurous travel photography that always makes me want to pack a suitcase and go somewhere. Her eye is amazing, and you can see more of her photos on her flickr account (which I stalk obsessively).

3.  The Talk of Shame podcast – This is one of the few podcasts I listen to that can actually illicit a physical response from me while I listen. Streeter invites a comedic guest on the show and they share one of their embarrassing stories, and at the end a listener submitted story is read. I’m always dying of laugher or cringing in sympathetic embarrassment on my subway commute.

4. Late evening sunlight in my bedroom – My bedroom gets amazing light around 7pm. It’s so beautiful that most evenings I’ll just sit in bed listen to music and appreciate my view.

5. This BuzzFeed Bro-Dal Shower post – I’ve been loving the original content that BuzzFeed has been putting out lately. This bro-dal shower post is hilarious and so on point.

6. The stacks of free, pre-released books I get from work – One of the best perks of working for BuzzFeed is that publishers are constantly sending copies of books before they are released. When my boss told me the piles and piles of books were totally up for grabs I went home with two shopping bags overflowing with titles that won’t be released until August/September.
7. My new 24-70 f/2.8 II lens – I have been lusting after this lens forever, and it is finally mine. Up until now I’ve only had prime lenses, which have served me well, and which I still really love. However, I’m traveling more and wanted a lens that would be a bit more versatile so I wouldn’t have to carry around my 50mm and 35mm everywhere I go.