Megan Allen

Hey, interwebs, Megan Allen here, and I’m a wedding photographer based in Southwest Ohio, shooting destinations worldwide.

Fueled by coffee, I’m game to go wherever my couples can dream up, be it the woods, desert, or jumping in the pool!

I have always been a creative person and thrived on the creation process, but just got into wedding photography May of 2014 after watching Susan Stripling on CreativeLive.

I immediately fell in love with the medium, managed to find a few brides willing to entrust me with their day, and went right down the rabbit hole of wedding photography without looking back!

I’ve had the honor of shooting weddings and engagements in 11 states and 3 countries in the past 15 months, and every day I thank my lucky stars for having the opportunity to do something I love so much and share it with couples on one of their most important days.

Over the past year and a half I’ve been blessed and honored to meet many fantastic photographers who have helped me grow.

[Click to open in a new tab: What’s the Best Camera Bag on Shotkit? Find out here!]

I’ve devoured educational resources, and read ShotKit quite religiously to learn and see what photographers I respect are utilizing to create their art. As I’ve read and watched fellow photographers, been part of Fearless Photographers, and shot the mess out anyone willing to stand still, I chased and developed my own style in the process, and I believe I’ve created a kit that provides me creative freedom to tell my couples’ stories the best I can.

Interestingly enough, I started out last year on Canon, and shot all my weddings on a Canon 6D and a Canon 5D Mark III.

I started on Canon because it was what the camera store had suggested, however, after the Nikon D750 released, I was impressed by the reviews coming out, and watched many of my friends and colleagues make the jump to Nikon.

One weekend I decided to test the Nikon D750 out, and that was all it took. While Canon was fine, Nikon has allowed me to shoot in a manner I feel is more intuitive to my style, and it’s really allowed me to push my abilities to the next level. So, without further ado, I give you my Shotkit!

Nikon D750 x2: Like I said, I was (and still am) fairly new to the photography world, but switching from Canon to Nikon was like having a pair of blinders taken off for me.

The Nikon D750 is unbelievably light, the autofocus is nearly mind-reading at times, it’s a low-light monster, and crazy sharp. The dynamic range is just mind-blowing, and to this day I’ll look at files and shake my head in disbelief at how much you can truly work them.

While I try to get things as right in-camera as possible, it really is a wonderful thing to know that the Nikon D750 can provide such stunning imagery under any condition.

Side note? The tilt screen is a phenomenal feature that while I didn’t think I would love, it has become completely irreplaceable. My pants might last a few weddings more, thanks to not having to roll around in the dirt *as* much as before, ha!

I love having two bodies to save time on switching lenses, and the Holdfast MoneyMaker has been one of the best investments for my back that I could have done. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it’s ridiculously stylish!

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART: When I first started, I leaned heavily on zooms. As I developed my style more, I realized I loved the look of primes and the opportunity it gave to truly be part of the action.

I generally start out every wedding with my Sigma 35mm f/1.4 on one Nikon D750, and it rarely comes off throughout the day. The wide angle allows me to really capture the whole scene, or get into the action and give a feel to the viewer that they’re really there.

Either way, the look of the images that come from the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 are fantastic. They’re sharp, the colors are robust, and I adore the pop from them. This is one of my most used lenses throughout the day, and one that I pack even when I have to par down for destination weddings.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART: While the 50mm range is solid, this lens isn’t one that I pull out a lot, simply because I love the 35mm too much. That being said, the same goes for the 50mm f/1.4 ART as does the 35mm: it’s silly sharp, the colors are gorgeous, and it just makes me feel like I’m there when I see the images out of it.

Nikon 85mm f/1.8: The Nikon 85mm f/1.8 is the other lens I start out my weddings with, and again, it rarely comes off. It’s a fantastic lens for larger detail shots, absolutely perfect for getting ready portraits, and it’s just an unbelievably beautiful lens.

It’s fast, and I rarely miss focus with it, which is crucial during a busy wedding day. This is my go-to lens for bridal portraits especially, because it’s a flattering focal length for people. It also is a lens I love to use for Brenizer Methods, which is something I enjoy creating.

Petzval 85mm f/2.2: This little gem is a bit of a trick lens for me. It doesn’t come out often, but when I have what I like to think of as bonus time with my couples, it definitely comes out.

I love the look of the swirling bokeh, and it generates a lot of comments when people see the results. It’s not one I would try to shoot an entire engagement session on, but I love slipping a few of these shots into a gallery to round out a wedding or an engagement session. Plus, let’s be serious…that brass lens makes me look like a pirate for a moment, that’s just awesome.

Nikon 105mm f/2.8: Oh, the 105mm, how I love thee! I’m a huge sucker for detail shots, and finding a new way to shoot the rings in particular is a challenge I enjoy. This is a lens I don’t use a ton throughout a wedding day, but one I find indispensable. It simply provides a look that no other lens can give me.

Nikon 200mm f/2.0: This lens is my baby, simple as that. There is simply no other lens that renders images as buttery smooth and beautiful as my 200mm, and there’s no way I’ll leave home without it. Is it a beast of a lens? Oh, yes. Has my brother deemed the lens hood a valid replacement for a salad bowl? Yup. But I adore this lens and it’s worth every penny. I take this out for portraits, for shooting in low-light ceremonies where I have space to get back, and basically anywhere I possibly can. I love this lens.

Nikon 16-35mm f/4: My 16-35mm is a lens that comes out for wide church shots, shooting a reception room, or a fun, large bridal party portrait when the distortion of the 16mm end can add a little something to the image. It’s not one I grab often, but I enjoy having it in the bag just in case I feel like a wide angle will tell the story better.

Nikon 24-120mm f/4: The 24-120mm is a lens I surprised myself by how much I enjoy it. It’s a great all-purpose lens when I need to shoot a variety of things quickly, and won’t be able to swap out lenses. I utilize it a lot during family formals when I don’t have enough room to get back with my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, but need a bit of compression still at that 120mm length.

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8: This lens is fantastic for ceremonies, portraits, toasts, family formals…basically anything I couple possibly throw at it. If I’m not sure what type of situation I’ll be in, and I want to be sure I’m covered, my 70-200mm is coming out. The compression of this lens is beautiful, and I love the look of the images that come from it. This is a lens I’ll use on an engagement session, or take on a destination wedding when I’m wanting to cover bases with fewer lenses.

 

Beyond lenses, I carry a handful of accessories to allow me to document the days as best possible. For local weddings, I carry everything in my ThinkTank Airport Security V2. That bag is wonderful, and can hold nearly everything in it.

I also take my Holdfast Roamographer with me for additional space. The Roamographer is simply one of the most beautifully made bags I’ve ever seen. I try to find excuses to use it. It’s my go-to for destination weddings, and I couple it with my ThinkTank Airport Navigator, so that I can keep all of my gear on my person for flights.

The ThinkTank Airport Navigator is wonderfully small, yet holds so much gear, you almost wonder if it’s witchcraft. It’s simply that good.

 

I prefer SanDisk SD cards, and I’m admittedly a memory card hoarder. It makes me feel safer to have an obscene amount of cards, you know, just in case. I carry three Phottix Mitros speedlites and trigger them with Phottix Stratto II triggers.

I’m a huge fan of MagMod speedlite modifiers, and have them on all of my flashes. The magnet system allows me to quickly interchange grids, diffusers, and gels, keeping things moving and providing me with the opportunity to tell a story in a more dynamic way.

I also carry a Westcott Ice Light with me as my video light, which I adore. Its ability to mimic natural light is fantastic, and helps me to create spot lighting for reception tables, to light the rings better, or to even dynamically light the couple in a way that isn’t possible with speedlites.

Lighting is something I really enjoy, and these modifiers allow me to play with light in new ways. I also carry my iPhone 6. Whether it is to light something, check the timeline, or to check the weather like a crazy person, it’s always on my person and a crucial part of the wedding day for me.

 

Above all else, I’m always preparing for a wedding with a coffee in hand! I adore meeting new people over a good latte, and if you’re ever in the Dayton/Cincinnati area, let me know. I’d love to connect and talk photography!

DISCLAIMER: No coffee beans were harmed during the brewing of this Shotkit.  :)

www.ChooseStudio22.com

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11 Comments

  • I have one Mitros+ and it works in the D750 hotshoe sometimes – but a lot of the time it doesn’t and I have to take it out and re seat it a bunch of times before the connection locks. What has your experience with that been?

    • Hey Josh!

      My experience overall has been a very positive one. I’ve had to reseat a flash maybe once or twice. When I had a flash go out, Phottix replaced it for me, no questions asked. Their customer service and quality has left me very pleased. I was using Canon 600EX-RTs before my switch to Nikon, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but thus far, I’m very happy with what Phottix has provided in the Mitros line.

  • Thanks for sharing. I’m wondering if there’s a cheaper alternative to the Westcott Ice Light that you use? I’m looking for one to also create some dramatic lighting effects. Thanks. Tom.

    • Hi Tom! I’m honestly not sure. I’ve only ever used the Ice Light, and I really like the look it gives. I’d recommend checking out Adorama or B&H and see if they offer a video that may suit your needs? Also, check out what you can do with speed lights and MagMod modifiers for dramatic lighting. The more I use those, the more I love them. Good luck in your lighting hunt! :)

  • I think this info is going to be handy for me. Thanks for sharing. I have ordered for Nikon D750 with 24-120mm lens. Please suggest me some essential stuff that is cheap but as good as high end costly products. I need accessories meant for photography for wedding where there is low light. It is because even though we have ceremonies and parties in marraige halls, in our place we have so many rituals to perform. During this, we have to deal with low light and crowd like stuffed in a room.
    So please help me with lighting gear and lens. And is there any altrnative to nikon’s 16-35 mm or a better lens to add catch more room.

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