This is my FAQ page, for my most commonly asked questions on Instagram.
How do I process my images? How do I get them from my camera to my phone?
As you can see, from the list below, I shoot with Canon equipment. I shoot in RAW, and transfer my images to my Mac to process them in Adobe Lightroom. I then output my images (1500 pixels (longest side), 72 dpi, jpg (quality 100), sRGB). I output at a larger size then needed on Instagram in case I want to crop after processing on my phone.
I transfer the outputted images to my dropbox folder (don’t have dropbox? Use my referral link for 500MB of bonus storage space upon sign-up). With Dropbox, anywhere I have an internet connection I have access to my images. Once the download (to my phone) is complete I then delete the image from Dropbox, so I won’t accidentally post the same image again (that has happened a few times, ooops!). At that point I may do some final processing in either VSCOcam or Musecam, as sometimes the image looks different on my phone than it did in LR, and I just might want to tweak the result a little bit, before I upload the image to Instagram.
If you would like to know more about my Time Stack Photography, see this blog posting.
My Camera Equipment:
My Camera Equipment
• Canon EOS-1D X Digital
• Canon EOS 5D Mark III
• Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM Lens
• Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens
• Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
• Canon EF 24–70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
• Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Tilt-Shift Lens
• Canon 100 mm f2.8L Macro IS Lens
• Canon EF 70–200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
• Canon Extender EF 2X III
• Petzval 85mm f/2.2 Lens for Canon EF Mount (Brass)
• Canon 50 f1.4 lens
• Canon Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3
• Lensbaby Composer
• Lensbaby Close-Up (Macro) Kit
• Lensbaby Fisheye Optic
• Lensbaby Creative Aperture Kit
• Canon 580EX II Speedlite
• extension tube
• Canon EOS-1D MarkIII
• Canon EOS-1D MarkIV
• Canon 5D (current version of this camera is Canon EOS 5D Mark III)
• Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras
Hello I just wanted to pass by and let you know what great animal photography you do. The pictures are clear and beautiful and in some you capture such emotion on those little faces. I’m dabbing into photography but my images never turn out like those. I’ll keep trying though. Great job!
Do you out protective lens filters on all your lenses for protection? I was just wondering if it is worth it
Yes, I do. Feel it’s worth it to protect the lens, especially the higher end ones.
Greetings, I was just wondering, if you know any good quality, not too pricy Sony Alpha lenses. I’m getting sick of my one, it was a cheap 15-55mm and 55-200mm. Thanks.
Sorry, I don’t shoot with that system so I can’t recommend a lens.
Hi! My name is Holly too, haha. I’m a 28 year-old girl looking for some good cameras for a beginner. I’ve only used a few cameras, and want to upgrade.
Just wondering what filter you use on the vsocam app? Do you and your sister both use the same one? And what notch on the filter do you turn it to? I think I heard somewhere that you use T1, but it seems so dark and your photos are so bright 😀
Hi Renee, I used to shoot with a Sony Alpha, get the 50mm prime lens DEFINITELY. It’s a lovely lens and captures beautiful bokeh.
We use different filters. I think our style is slightly different. I have filters that are my favs, and I know them well enough now to have an idea of what to try based on the images. But too many to list here, really depends on the image. 🙂
Hi Holly! It really depends on what you want to shoot. In some cases you might be better off buying a used model, higher then entry level, which will give you more capabilities. Generally the kit lens that comes with entry level cameras are not great, so if you can buy the body on its own and then decide on lenses, you might be better off. Good luck!
Thank you so much Pamela! 🙂
Hi! I am looking for a new camera for beginers. I will take pics of my dogs. They’re sometimes too fast for my old camera ? do you have a tip for me? ? my instagram is @themixtrio
Thank you and hope you can help me ?
I use high end professional Canon equipment, but I recently read a great review of the Canon Rebel SL1 (but you would need to get a better lens than the kit lens that comes with that body). HTH! Good luck!
Hi! I’m a 13 year old girl who loves taking photos of my cats. And because I’m so young I don’t have that much money to buy good cameras and all that. For the time I use my moms camera that is a Nikon. It’s not that good camera and I really want to buy myself a own camera. I wondered if you know about a camera that I could buy. I want a camera that is pretty good. (Don’t worry about the price. I have already a little bit of money and my parents can sure help me buy it). Hope you can help me!
Please see my reply to Anna.
I’m getting a camera for Christmas, and I, thinking about getting a Nikon D5100.
Could you tell me a little about it if you have used it before? Also, is there any lens that I need to buy to make it more high quality or do better bokeh?
First of all I would like to say that I love your pictures ! Can I ask you something.. I would like to know what type of filters that you use. I have lightroom but it’s not exactly what im searching for. I like vintage colors and I can see that in your style of photography:)
Thank you! I don’t use filters in Lightroom, I just do basic processing, exposure correction, etc., then I use the VSCOcam app to apply a processing effect before I post the image on IG.
Hope that helps!
I shoot with professional Canon gear, so I’m not familiar with Nikon. The only thing I can recommend is purchasing a bright prime (fixed focal length) lens, like a 50mm f1.4 (if available for Nikon). Good luck and have fun with it!
Hi. Can you explain what you mean by the processing effect in VSCO?
Just stumbled across your IG! I love how you capture such expressions from the cats and my gosh they have the biggest personalities!!!! My husband is buying me my first dslr. It’s a Canon rebel t5. We are both wondering if the kits that come with 3 lens are gonna be worth it? I’m new to dslrs and I’m wanting to learn to take great pictures of our 9 month old son and our 2 rescued norweign Forrest cats!!! I’d love any advise!!!
Thank you! I’m not really familiar with the kits (3 lenses) you are referring to, but my guess would be no, they probably aren’t good lenses. You are better off purchasing a bright prime lens, least expensive is the 50 f1.8, then the 50 f1.4/85 f1.8. These will allow you to achieve the best image quality in lower light as it allows much more light in to expose the image. There’s lots of information to be found online, good luck and have fun!
The VSCOcam app (iOS) lets you apply a filter effect to your images, that’s what I mean. It’s free to download, and contains a few free filters, check it out!
Would it be ok to maybe email you and ask more questions? That way I don’t fill up the board with questions lol
Hello again! i just wanted to say i looked at you photos, and my,are they incredible! i love how you capture so much emotion in a single photo. I also have a question. My husband got me a Canon Rebel T5 (comes with 2 lenses) and since I’ve only been used to simple canon things, i need help! does the dvd that it comes with explains the camera and have you used it before? thank you for all your help!
Your work is beautiful! Thank you for putting together this FAQ.
I’m currently looking into purchasing some new lenses for my camera and seem to be facing a dilemma in determining which ones are worth the money. I’m interested in investing in a prime lens, most likely the 50mm, and have compared reviews of the f1.8, f1.4, and f1.2. Judging by the immense pricing differences between the three, I wanted to receive your direct feedback on the 50mm f1.4. I’m wanting a lens that offers pleasing background blur on portraits and subjects. Would this lens be your suggestion, or do you prefer a different lens in your equipment list? Such as: the Macro or 24-70mm lenses?
Eventually, I’d like to purchase the 70-200mm f2.8 lens. But would greatly appreciate another opinion before laying down that amount of cash. I’ve read that it is worth the investment and have been swamped with varying reviews online. Feedback from a direct lens user would be most valuable.
Any such input would be greatly appreciated, seeing as you are familiar with both lenses.
Thanks so much for your time!
I use the VSCOcam app too but for Android. I’m curious what filter effects are your favorite? Which ones do you use most?
I would just like to start off by saying I absolutely love you work. Your photos are astonishing, breath-taking. And I was wondering do you have a favorite lens that you use? And which lens do you think is the best for Bokeh? I have an Instagram account for my dog, and I’m currently using a Nikon D5000, but I think I want to get a new Canon instead, so what are your favorite Canon lenses that you use? Top three possibly? Thanks!
Thank you Emily! Usually prime lenses are best for bokeh, one of my favorites is my 85 f1.2L lens (before that I had the 85 f1.8, which was a great lens too). A longer longer length lens, for example a 70–200 f2.8 is also great for bokeh, especially when shot at the longer focal length. I love the bokeh on the 85, but it’s not that fast to focus, so not ideal for action. The 70–200 is my go to lens for action (horses, dogs, etc.). A macro lens is always a great option too. It really depends on your shooting style, some people like to shoot wide, so that should factor in. Hope that helps!
It really depends on the photo, I have all the VSCOcam filters, I go through and try different options to decide which best suits the photo and the look I’m going for. I usually have an idea as to which filters to try, and there are some that I usually don’t try at all, but occasionally they’ll turn out to be a good option. I don’t have any that are favorites, that I always use, as I use quite a selection of them.
Thank you! Sorry for the late reply. For image quality, the 85 1.8 is much better then the 50 1.4, but it’s a longer focal length, which can be tricky in tighter situations. I definitely recommend having at least one bright prime (50 1.4 or 85 1.8), as they are so handy in lower light situations, and the bokeh blur is wonderful.
The 70–200 f2.8 is a fantastic lens! It’s my go to lens whenever I do a day trip to the country, and while I’ll often bring other lenses with it, it’s often the only lens I end up shooting with. It’s sharp, fast and have wonderful bokeh, especially at 200mm 2.8.
Hope that helps!
Thank you! I own pro equipment, so I’m not familiar with the T5 or the DVD that comes with it. There are lots of resources online, just spend the time to really learn how your camera works, it will pay off.
Sorry for the late reply! Better just to ask here, as it’s likely someone else may have the same question. I’ll try and be a bit more timely in my responses. 🙂
How do you load videos from your camera to your phone?
So I think Im sold on the 85 f1.2L lens, (is that a good decision?) so next, what is the best body for this lens?
Hi, I was just wondering what breed of cat Alice and Finnegan were?
They are Siberian Lynx Point.
I love my 85 f1.2L lens! Don’t buy it if you don’t plan to shoot it at 1.2, as that would be a waste, lol! It’s a heavy lens (not as much of a beast as the 70–200 f2.8 IS L lens though), and it’s not super fast at focusing, but I’ve captured skateboarders and the cats (being active) with it, so it is possible, but not really meant for that action. Enjoy!
See my instructions above, you need a dropbox account (see my referral code if you’re not signed up yet!), all the info is there, see above.
Okay, I’m a bit new to all of this so I don’t quite know what 1.2 means. You don’t need to follow me or anything, but I was wondering if maybe you could check out my account (@tobyrhino) and take a look at my type of pictures and see if the 85 f1.2L would be good for the kind of photos that I currently take. You don’t need to follow me, I’m not asking for a follow, but I just want to knee if that is the right lens 🙂
So does the 85 f1.2L not have a far zoom, is that what you’re saying?
Thanks for everything Holly! <3
I can’t really answer that question. If you don’t know what 1.2 means, you probably shouldn’t be investing in an 85 f1.2L lens! lol! I think you might need to do a bit more learning, there’s tons of info online, and great podcasts (via iTunes) to learn about photography.
Best of luck!
Do you have any suggestions on YouTube clips to learn how to use your camera and different lenses??
Also who is more of a cuddler? Alice or Finn?
No, I’m sorry I don’t. I’m sure you can find some by doing a search. Alice and Finnegan both like to cuddle, during the colder months they are always appreciative of a warm human lap to cuddle into. 🙂
Hi! I always shoot in JPEG+RAW and I never know which one to edit and post. Do you always post the raw image?
I only shoot in RAW, never in jpeg. A jpeg is exported from lightroom for posting on Instagram, of course.
Adore your work, but that’s not a new info for you I think! 🙂 Everyone feels the same.
So my questions are:
1. Which of your camera body like you better?
CANON EOS 1D X
CANON EOS 5D Mark III?
2. And you know the Mark II body? I have money only for this type, and I’m courious about your opinion.
Thank you so so much,
Thank you so much! ???? That’s very sweet of you to say!
I definitely prefer the 1DX, it’s a lot faster than the 5DMkIII, and also its shutter life is rated for 400K actuations, which is much higher than the 5DMkIII (at 150K). So it’s my first choice. But, I shoot professionally, so I can’t show up at a photography job with only one camera body (in case the 1DX suddenly dies). Plus the 5DMkIII has a bit more resolution. So I use it for my time stack photography and also for headshot session when I need to preview the images on my iPad with the client (I use an SD Wifi card, which doesn’t work in the 1DX). And if I’m going on a photo walk, or just want to carry a lighter body than the 1DX.
I’ve never owned or shot with the 5DMkII body, so I can’t really comment on that. I would do research, and maybe check out the lower end Canon bodies (like the 6D). HTH!
I am looking to get a new lens for my Canon Rebel T3i. I would like to find a lens that is quick to focus, because I love taking action shots of my dogs. I typically shoot wide, but I would like to start getting closer captures. Also, is there a lens that would be better under dim light? My pictures currently turn out noisy or blurry if the lighting isn’t good, and I would like to reach a faster shutter speed.
Thank you so much!
You’re kind of talking about different lenses, there isn’t one lens that will cover all the bases. For action, and close up, I use the Canon 70–200 f2.8L IS lens. Or, if I really want to concentrate on close-up I’ll use my macro lens (Canon 100 f2.8L). For dim light, you need a bright prime lens, not that it will be able to focus well under those conditions (lenses need a good contrast point to lock focus), but it will allow you to achieve the best results in a low exposure situation (minimize your ISO while maximizing your shutter speed). The 50 1.8 is the cheapest, I believe, if you have a bit more $ go for the 50 1.4, or the 85 1.8.
Thank you for your reply! We love your images, and we are always looking to learn more to better our photography. I plan on getting the 70-200 f2.8L lens for action. Will pairing it with an external flash such as the canon speedlight help to increase my focus under dim light, or would you recommend looking into the different lens instead?
Thank you again! It’s so awesome that you have this FAQ page to help us all out!
Thank you Nicolette! I don’t think that the 70–200 will be a good option for indoor, low light situations. You’ll need to shoot at a minimal of the focal length (assume your body has a 1.6 crop?). So you’d have to aim for 1/250 of a second (even with the IS), and while a 2.8 is fairly bright, it doesn’t compare to a 1.8, or 1.4. While I do have a flash, I can’t remember the last time I’ve used it. With a bright prime, you’ll be able to shoot at a slower shutter in low exposure, and the lens will let in a lot more light. Low light situations just aren’t built for action, it’s the time to do quieter shots (assuming you’re talking animal photography here).
Very cool of you to post the knowledge and process behind your work. Thank you!
And thanks for the beautiful shots.
You’re welcome, and thank you!
Just came across your gallery on Instagram and fell in love with your work. These are exactly the kind of photos I would take if I knew how….the animals, the tiny toys, everything. I’m a fan 🙂
Thank you so much Terry! ????
hi holly!! Just wondering if you could perhaps go into more detail about how you do your time-lapse sunsets? They’re so beautiful and I’ve tried to make them on photoshot but it never turns out like yours ?
Hi holly! Your work is amazing!!! I’m so glad you have this question section!!! I just got a canon rebel t5 for Mother’s Day!!! It came with the 18-55mm standard lens. I know canon just came out with a new 50 prime lens-do u think it’s worth getting or should I try to get an older model cheaper? Also ill need a zoom lens for birds, animals and children. Any recommendations??
Hello! Just wanted to say I love your photos. I am 12 years old and I was wondering what camera I should use to get started with taking photos? I really want to start taking pictures of my pets and the outside world.
Thank you! I use professional Canon equipment, so I’m not that familiar with the lower end Canon gear. It really depends on your budget, and whether you can afford an SLR…that’s the type of camera I shoot with.
Thank you so much! I’m not that familiar with the differences in the new 50 prime vs the previous model. I’m sure that there are a number of reviews out there that you could read to help you make your decision.
Your work is amazing, especially the photos you take of the animals! I do photography myself, but my Camera that I have isn’t the best. but most of all, I would like to say that you are a true inspiration!
Thank you so much!
Hi Holly! I have admired your photogtaphy for a while but I have some questions that have been bothering me. I shoot with the Sony alfa6000 and Nikon D3200 with various lenses on both ends but I am thinking of purchasing a Cannon (which I have never used) do you recommend any thats not extremely pricey and complicated because I dont want my first Impression of them to be difficult. Also I have been using Adobe lightroom to edit for a while now but have not got a complete handle on things. Would you mind sharing a few editing tips?
Just wondering what kind of lighting set up you work with. I only noticed the speedlite in your equipment list? Thanks
You can skip step with Dropbox as you can upload your images directly to VSCOcam through https://vsco.co/upload/
Hi Holly – love your work. You have quite a selection of equipment and I am wondering what you think of your Lensbaby lenses. Do you use them often? If yes,which do you use most often and in what types of photos? Or do you find that you use your regular lenses more? I am intrigued by them but wonder if I should opt for regular lenses first as I’ve got a few gaps to fill in still, I lean towards macro and nature shots.
Hi your pictures are beautiful…amazing photography. My daughter is really interested in photography and have gotten her a few cameras but i would really like to get her a nice one for advancing her pictures and learning-what is a good professional camera for her. I want to make a good investment on the right one. Also, i get varying opinions on whether canon and nikon are better. I have always been a canon fan, used to have a canon myself and got her two canons in past but some have said nikon is better including person i spoke with in a store that told me she is in photography school and teachers want nikons( says clarity of picture is better. Obviously you prefer canon as well as I but wondered your opinion on that as a professional. I have lookes at the t5i and t6i as well as the Sorry this is so long but would love your input and recommendation on a more professional camera for her. Love your work, wish you lived closer for senior portraits coming up. thank you so much!
Hi Holly! The new puppy you guys got is adorable!!! I wanted to thank you for all your help! I’m just now upgrading to a 7D(version 2). I look forward to many more pictures of Finn and Alice!
Thank you! I’ve heard good things about the t5i/t6i, I’ve never shot with them though. It’s always a good idea to invest in good glass, as you’ll upgrade the body but keep the lenses. Also, try not to purchase lenses that will only work with a cropped sensor, because your daughter won’t be able to use them if she ever upgrades to a full frame body. If you can purchase the body alone, without the lens, that would probably be best. Usually the lens bundled with the camera isn’t a very good lens. I’d suggest the Canon 50 1.8, or the 50 1.4 (little bit more money, but better quality then the 1.8 version). It’s a nice little lens, I have it myself, great for low light. Good luck!
Thank you! And you’re welcome! Good luck with your photography!
Thank you! The Lensbaby is a fun lens, but it’s for something very specific. I don’t use it that often, but it’s fun and creative. Every once and a while I pull it out to play with, but I definitely shoot with my normal lenses most of the time. I would fill our gaps first, as there are a lot of normal lenses that you can be creative with (i.e. macro lenses, or extremely shallow depth of field lenses, i.e. an f1.4 or f1.2 lens). Hope that helps!
I upload to dropbox as that is what works best for me. I have multiple folders, as they are organized by category. You can do what works best for you, but having dropbox is always helpful (I use my dropbox for multiple things).
Sometimes I bounce the flash off the wall to provide a bit more light. I use it on my corporate shoots for the same reason.
Hope that helps,
If you are already shooting with Nikon, and have lenses for it, just stick with Nikon. I just originally started with Canon, and they have some nice glass that I’m not sure is matched on the Nikon side. But Nikon bodies often include things that Canon charges extra for, so I’d just stick with Nikon if you are already invested in it and used to shooting with it.
I would love to buy a copy of Winter Sheep! Please tell me where I should go to do that.
Thank you! Connie Cummings
Hi I was wondering if you are planning on setting up a shop? Like t shirts or something. You are my favourite photographer and I’d love to buy merch more than anything <3
Hi Holly. I am an amateur photographer. Just love taking pics of anything and everything. I currently have a regular 35mm lens that came with my rebel and have also purchased a zoom and a portrait lens in the past few years. The next lens I’m looking at getting is a wide angle lens for my canon. Do you have a beginners wide angle lens you can recommend btwn 300-500$ range or are there even wide angle lenses in that price range. Thanks for your feedback!!
I shoot with pro equipment, so I can’t really personally recommend a beginners wide angle. Whatever you get you’ll have to factor in the crop factor, 1.6, on the rebel, which means that your 35 mm is really a 56mm, so not wide at all. There are some cheaper third party lenses, sometimes those are manual focus, it really depends what you want to shoot and if that would work for you. I think Canon also sells wide angle lenses for their cropped bodies, you’ll have to do some research. You can check out bhphoto (click on one of my camera equipment links), and see what options there are. There’s usually a good amount of reviews, to help you decide, I usually gain some valuable intel from reading them. Good luck!
Thank you Noelle! You are so sweet to say so! I don’t have plans for a shop at the moment, but might have prints available in the near future… Keep watching my Instagram feed, if/when it will be announced there. 🙂
Hopefully prints will be available soon! Keep an eye on my Instagram feed for an announcement.
Nice discussion here. I love your photos. Just wondering what your outlook on gear is. As a student, I have a pretty tight budget. How important is it to have high-end gear? If I have limited options, which pieces of kit should I invest in and which do you think I can get away with a more economical option?
Absolutely love your work, I’m interested in buying some filter packages on VSCOCAM can you recommend which packages you feel are worthwhile purchasing? Love your processing. Kind regards Emma
Hey Holly…. where can I find your price list for sessions? Love your work and would lover to find out what it would cost to do some shots of my little one.
Thank you! You can find my photography session prices here.
Thank you so much for sharing such information. I love your work so much. I’m just an enthusiastic photographer & videographer and I don’t have costly kits – yet. But I’ll keep learning from your works, and looking forward to be as good as your are.
Thank you for the inspiration and information.
Hi holly! Between the 16-35 and 24-70, which one do you feel you use more? I have a mark 4. I shoot kids,families and pets.
Hi Holly, Love your work! I was wondering what filters you use for long exposures? I’m interested in getting a set of ND filters. Any recommendations? I’ve been looking at the Lee filters. I’ve heard great things, but they’re really expensive so thought I’d ask around before purchasing.
Hello. What software do you use to stitch the images together when creating the Brenizer method?
Kind regards, Ben
I usually try Lightroom first, otherwise Autopano Giga can work well, then I usually have to tweak, fix issues in Photoshop. Good luck!
Thank you! And sorry for the late reply. I haven’t actually heard great things about Lee filters, I’ve heard that they have a lot of colour cast. I have ND filters, but often it’s dark enough that I don’t need them. I’m waiting on a better system for my 17mm tilt shift, then maybe I’ll do more daytime long exposures. The ones I have are the Formatt Hitech Firecrest. HTH! Good luck!
Sorry for the late reply, catching on my comments! The 16–35 is great for that wide view, but the 24–70 will probably be more helpful for you and your subject matter. It’s nice to be able to zoom into a tighter crop, 70mm, gives more bokeh, and sometimes your subject is running away, or further away then you would like. They’d be very small and distance with at a wider angle. HTH!
Thank you so much Ezio! That is nice of you to say!
Sorry for the late reply! I use the iOS app, and it really depends on the photo as to which filter I might use. Now I do most of my processing in LR, but might use a bit of a VSCOcam filter just to tweak the look a little bit.
Sorry for the delayed response! I think it’s more important to invest in good glass, good lenses, as you will typically keep the lenses as you upgrade your body. A bright prime, i.e. a 50 f1.4 or 50 f1.8, is a great lens, it will allow you to shoot in lower light conditions plus it’s quite shallow so you can get some nice bokeh. Good luck!