March 31, 2017


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Just Starting Out As A Photographer?

I get asked on a pretty regular basis on what editing software I use, what lenses I recommend, who I use for prints, etc... so I thought I would put together some answers and frequently asked questions in one spot. 

If you are just starting out, I hope this helps a bit! I am an affiliate with some of the companies I am listing below because I love them that much, so please be sure to use the referral links below. 

What editing software do I use? 

I use Adobe Creative Cloud, this is just under $10 a month and includes both Photoshop and Lightroom. I don't use Lightroom as much as Photoshop, but to have both options available to me is amazing. I will also add that to use the majority of the products and tutorials that I offer, you will need Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud (or Adobe Photoshop CS2-6). 


What camera do I shoot with? 

I shoot with a Nikon D800 currently. I love Nikon but I equally love Canon as I have a Canon film camera that I use from time to time. I also shot with the Canon 5D Mark III and swooned, I almost switched completely over and still debate on it from time to time.

What lenses do I use? 

Honestly, my lenses change with what type of sessions I am shooting. I will say that I typically shoot every session with a wide angle option (my 24-70mm 2.8) and a prime lens. (85mm 1.8, 105mm 1.4)

If you currently have a 50mm (which is what I started out with) or even a kit lens, you can rock with what you have got until you are able to get one of the lenses I mentioned above. I also recommend renting lenses to get a feeling of what you want.

BorrowLenses is one of the companies I use when renting my lenses and camera gear. 

New to Photoshop and don't know where to start? 

I recommend my Breakdown for Beginners course before taking any other courses. This is a series of video tutorials that break down the tools that I use and also how to apply actions to your images. 


Who do I order my prints through? 

I use a few different places for prints and the first I will highlight is Artifact Uprising. I cannot get enough of the square prints, I love them so much!! I also use

As far as canvases, what I have mainly on my own walls are Canvas on Demand canvases and I have a lot of them as I have a huge obsession with big canvases on my walls. :) 

Who do I recommend for online presentations? 

I definitely recommend Animoto for slideshows and for online galleries, if you are starting out, SmugMug is a good one. 


How do I add skies in photoshop?

I have a great tutorial that I share here. 

Do I offer templates for photographers? 

I do not; however, I do use Design Aglow's blog templates from time to time and I love them. I also have used their marketing templates with my client work. 

Do I shoot weddings? 

I do not. I started out shooting weddings but fell madly in love with capturing families and children so I made the switch to specialize over five years ago. 

Do I offer mentoring? 

While I don't currently offer one on one mentoring, I have many avenues available for you to learn what I do. I have in-person workshops that I do every year and I have many online workshops that teach how I process my images. Also, I have a forum where you can get more specific feedback on your own images, Exposure by Jean


As an introvert and shy person I struggled to talk about my business. Despite that, I still would pass out cards, visit wedding boutique shops and reach out to vendors etc. After trying to build momentum again and again I changed up my strategy. I stopped chasing clients and eventually they started chasing me. See I stopped worrying about my logo and business cards and start focussing on my product. I discovered ways to give my clients something unique with every session. Now I have a large list of regular clients all over the US and locally. To see how did it click here.

14 Responses


February 03, 2018

Thanks for this site and post. I’m trying to get back into an old love for cameras. I haves Nikon 5100 and a cano t6 . Y lens came with the cameras and have been looking for more portrait friendly lens. I’m also into landscape, so in essence I just want to capture life. I’m so excited but afraid of the overall cost. I look forward to following your future post for grounding!!


October 06, 2017

Thank you so much for sharing all this wonderful information for us. This is so awesome. Your work is amazing. Again Thank you?

Linda cobarrubias
Linda cobarrubias

September 07, 2017

Very interested in your in person workshops and photoshop tutorials

Lois Maurice (Jane)
Lois Maurice (Jane)

August 28, 2017

I love taking candid, action, special effects, and landscape shots using my Canon EOS Rebel DSLR. I put my photos to use in a combination of digi-scrapbooking and prints after enhancing using Adobe Photoshop Elements. I learn Digi-scrapping and enhancements from National Assoc. of Digital Scrapbookers (NAODS). I look forward to learning here, as well. Thank you for providing a great showplace and learning place.


August 22, 2017

Thank you for sharing! I am really looking forward to checking out all your tutorials that I’m sure will guide me in the right direction.


July 15, 2017

Thank you very much for your input and ideas. I am looking forward to all the tip you can give especially on Photoshop.

Tammy Lease
Tammy Lease

May 29, 2017

Hello! Thank you for all this wonderful advice. I have a Nikon L810 what would be a good lenses would work best for it? Thank you again so much

Jasie McNeill
Jasie McNeill

May 09, 2017

I have Lightroom and adobe creative cloud. Just got them recently and my cc says I’m out of storage hoe can that Be if I pay monthly.

Jenniffer Jackson
Jenniffer Jackson

May 01, 2017

Love your work … your photos are so alive !! color, sharp and very creative love it love it!!!

Desiree Laspata
Desiree Laspata

April 26, 2017

Thank you so much for sharing all of this information! I have had such a love for photography since high school but was always scared to go for it. My husband has been encouraging me for years and bought me a camera but I wasn’t ready until recently. I started doing some reasearch to learn more and came across your Facebook page. This is so helpful for someone like me. You are so talented!


April 23, 2017

hi Jackie your work is beautiful , I have a Question In regards to the cameras, what do you recommend for a beginners camera? I want to upgrade but still in the process of learning and I’m in a limbo with which camera to buy/upgrade ? Any suggestions

April 19, 2017

I have tried to learn PS on my own, but realized I needed help. Your tutorials have been very helpful. Thank you for sharing!!

Linda Flanagan
Linda Flanagan

April 01, 2017

Your photos are amazing. I just recently subscribed to Photoshop and also have light room. I find myself going straight to photoshop and just touching up wit LR. I would love to learn what ever you have to teach.

sherri cox
sherri cox

March 31, 2017

Thank you Jackie, this was so helpful. I hope to soon be able to participate on every level, looking forward to your tutorials and tips. Hope to have more time soon!

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