Megan Tsang

Hi! I’m Meg. I’m a professional photographer and San Francisco Bay Area native based in Birmingham, Alabama primarily photographing weddings, portraits, births and travel.

I was formerly an architect until the recession hit in 2008. While applying for architecture jobs I started a ton of businesses and photography was the one thing that stuck.

I’d always been interested in photography so, in hindsight, it was a natural progression. The first camera I owned was a film camera I got from a box of cereal when I was a kid.

At that same time, I took advantage of cheap flights, the freedom of working for myself, and being single to travel all over the world. I managed to go on a trip nearly every month for six years until I got married at the end of 2014 and moved to Alabama, where I thought my traveling would stop.

Surprisingly, thanks to vacations and my husband’s work, travel continues to be a normal part of my life, pre-covid at least. We even got to live in London, England for two months, thanks to my husband’s job.

Whenever anyone asks me my favorite places to travel, New Zealand is at the top of my list. The most unexpected place I’ve visited was Oman. And one of my favorite memories is when I randomly had dinner next to JC Chasez from *NSYNC in Scotland.

For a long time, I used to take all my gear (a big DSLR, multiple lenses, an instax, and a polaroid land camera) and lug it around on all my trips.

At that time I was taking pictures like crazy while trying to see everything I could. I was also usually blogging the trip at night or posting on social media throughout the day, more focused on producing work than stopping to enjoy it all. (I know, yikes!)

Now that I’m older and usually traveling with my husband or spending quality time with friends and family, I’m much more focused on experiences and slow-paced in my travels and photography.

When I’m deciding what to photograph I consider the little moments and contextual details that epitomize my trip and combine that with my love for the built environment and beautiful light.

I often refer back to the book, ‘Within the Frame’ by David duChemin, as my primer in my approach to travel photography.

As my way of traveling changed, so did my gear. Now I travel minimally and my back and shoulders thank me for it.

In my luggage, I pack my Canon Rebel XSN film camera, the Fujifilm X100S, and my Fuji Instax Mini. When I’m out and about I’ll take one camera, sometimes two, and my go-to is usually the film camera.

Canon Rebel XSN film camera with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 lens on Kodak Colorplus 200

Nowadays shooting in film enables me to photograph how I feel when I travel better than any other medium, thus why it’s my main travel camera.

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 is an amazing lens, and I’m often shooting wide open. Initially, I chose this lens because it was the smallest and cheapest I owned at the time. But over time I’ve grown to love the focal length on the Rebel.

This is my second Rebel XSN and you really can’t go wrong with this $12 body. With the lens, it’s a relatively light camera.

In most cases, I meter my film for the shadows at 125 ISO. All my film is processed and scanned by Indie Film Lab. They deliver my scans with in-scan corrections and I usually do some additional minor edits in Lightroom.

I choose my Canon Rebel XSN most often because it keeps me from obsessing over getting the ‘perfect’ shot, and there’s that thrill of getting my scans after my film’s been developed. Like many film shooters know, I’ve become much more selective in what I shoot.

Fuji x100s Camera

This little guy is such an awesome camera for travel. It’s lightweight and does relatively well in low-light. The quality of the lens is phenomenal. Fuji’s made a bunch of newer versions, but this one still does a great job.

I use this camera a lot at night or indoors when I don’t want the grain of film. It comes in handy with its 23mm f/2 lens whenever I want to photograph in tight spots or get wide architectural shots. For example, when I went on the architectural boat tour in Chicago, I made sure to bring this camera.

Fuji Instax Mini 25

Instant film’s got to be one of the most fun ways to document travel. The instax minis are especially fun little keepsakes from all my travels.

I love to photograph my travel companions with the instax. I’m usually photographing little vignettes or details with it too. This is usually the camera I’m taking if I’m headed to the beach since it’s such a no-nonsense camera.

This Instax Mini has options for exposure and what I assume is the focal range. My camera is very old so it tends to overexpose now and I compensate by shooting with the dark option.

ONA – The Bowery – Camera Messenger Bag

I’ve had this bag for over six years and it fits the bill for what I need.

It’s durable enough to protect my gear and endure all types of weather. It’s small enough that I don’t feel like I’m carrying a huge bag but big enough that I could fit all three cameras, my notebook, my wallet, and other small items if I wanted to. Oh and I’m sometimes known to also shove a book in the back pocket.

I especially like that it has a strong clasp and doesn’t look like a camera bag when I’m in crowded areas or places with pickpockets.

Extras

Finally, I keep a notebook with me to journal the dates and activities of my adventures and sometimes notes about my film or instax minis.

I started using these notebooks/sketchbooks back when I first started traveling during architecture school and have traveled with one for journaling and sketching ever since. I use the Canson 4×6 bound sketchbook.

I’m usually packing at least one set of spare batteries for each camera – extra film for the Canon and instax mini, a generic charger for the fuji (because the one that came with the camera was really bad and died) and a travel three-socket surge protector because you can never have enough outlets.

If I’m traveling for work, I’ll bring all my work gear in a Pelican case in addition to my travel gear above, but I’m very rarely shooting with my work gear when I’m exploring.

For anyone interested, this is my work gear: Canon 5d Mark IV, Canon 6d Mark II, Canon 50mm 1.2L lens.

Canon 85mm f/1.2L lens.
Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.
Canon 200mm f/2.8L lens.
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L lens.
Canon 430 EX speedlite (2).
Think Tank Photo SD Pixel Pocket Rocket (2).
Think Tank Photo CF Pixel Pocket Rocket.
SanDisk SD Cards 32 Gb (multiple).
SanDisk CF Cards 16 Gb (multiple).
Pelican 1510 case with padded dividers.
Two generic video lights.
My harness is a combination of two leather belts I connected for shoulder straps and two Holdfast Money Maker sliders to attach my cameras.
Canon Rebel XSN.

Whenever I photograph anything nowadays I think of two things: my best camera is the camera I have and why pictures matter to me.

When my mom passed away suddenly over seven years ago, all I had left of her were my memories. As we all know, our memory lends itself to forgetfulness, but thankfully photographs can be precious triggers.

When I look at photographs of my mother, no matter what type of camera it was taken with, I cherish those images because it preserves a part of my life my brain is slowly forgetting.

I know as a photographer gear is important, but I’m always reminded that what matters most is how I capture these moments in order to best preserve the memories for me and my clients.

megantsang.com | @megtsang

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