Meghan Stewart Photography » Jacksonville Florida Award Winning Wedding and Portrait Photographer

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I think if you asked any seasoned photographer what their favorite lens was it wouldn’t take them a second to answer you. We all have that one lens that just speaks to us. For me it’s my Canon 50mm 1.2 baby.

I’m a saver and I can proudly say my business has never lost money in a year. I shoot and make sure I have enough to buy what I want. That’s how I got this lens. I saved and dreamed of the day I would click “buy” on this little treasure of mine. When it arrived I remember taking it from it’s safe packaging and hugging it. I was so proud to own it and honestly I kind of felt like I had arrived as a photographer. Well, that wasn’t true but you see that red ring around it? That means it’s really nice glass and more of a professional lens. It is my baby.

The red ring isn’t the only reason I love it. I love it’s size and focal length. It’s not too wide and not too close up. It allows me to get in close to my subject without getting too uncomfortably close. At the same time I can step back and get a wider scene to tell the story more fully.

Another thing I love about this baby is the 1.2 aperture. For those of you who don’t know what that means it has to do with the depth of field that I can shoot in. I love those shots were just an eye is in focus and the rest of the photo just falls away into a dream. The bokeh, or blur in the back ground, is also wonderful with this lens. The bokeh allows me to viewer to focus on the important part of the image while the rest fades away. This lens just gets me the look I love.

You can tell by the following “behind the scenes” images that it’s the lens that stays on my camera most of the time. Here I’m making sure I’m not going to fall into the pool getting those dancing shots.
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Meanwhile, it also goes on all of our fun family outings!
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My 50mm sure has brought me so much joy. Next I’d like to add a 35mm to my arsenal.
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Photographers, what’s your favorite lens or do you have any questions about what’s in my bag?

Since you’ve made it this far you might want to check out this funny post.

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As a kid I never thought I’d be one to love travel but I caught the bug after my sister and I went to Scotland and Ireland in 2013. Consequently, I’ll travel just about anywhere at any time. I dream of going a lot more than we do and seeing this beautiful country of ours. So, when my husband suggested a trip to New Mexico to visit his family over the summer I was in like Flynn.

Of course a road trip to NM means we get to make some stops along the way and see some national monuments. First, we stopped in Abilene, TX to see my sister-in-law and her family. My favorite part was watching everyone pitch in to make a delicious dinner. Let’s talk about Texas heat here for a minute. Okay, it’s dry but I swear even dry at 102 degrees is HOT. I felt like the sun was burning me alive! I’ll take humidity over that any day.
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Then, we arrived in Lovington, NM to see some more family and explore the state a bit. Side note, I didn’t always have my “big” camera with me so a bunch of great photos are on our phones. Anyway, I think spending time in Lovington was my favorite. While there, I met some of Gabe’s mother’s sisters and boy was that a hoot. They kept speaking Spanish, which I don’t know, and the oldest sister kept reminding them I didn’t understand. I loved them. You know how you can have “aunts” and “uncles” that aren’t really aunts and uncles but rather friends but they feel like family? Gabe has a lot of that going on in New Mexico. I fell in love with all of them. They are so kind, authentic, generous, and so full of love. . . my kind of people.
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Third, we headed to The White Sands National Park  to begin our exploration of the state. As with any road trip, if you see something cool you gotta pull over. Well, we have a thing for cemeteries. Violet likes to read the names and see who was born the earliest. We stumbled upon this grave yard in the middle of nowhere and rather than rush on we stopped. I think we found some people born as early as the 1800s there.
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The tiniest little grave stone.
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Fourth, we pulled off to take in this breathe taking view.
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and do a little climbing.
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We finally arrived at White Sands and oh my word! It was hot but so beautiful. I just can’t get over the creation God has placed on this Earth for us to enjoy. There’s so much variety in one state. We got a GoPro for this trip so we did a lot of fun “sledding” pictures with that but I haven’t downloaded those yet.
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Fortunately, Gabe booked us a hotel in this quiet little town. We made it just in time to get some ice cream for the girls who could have sugar. Gabe and I just watched. When we got back home everyone crashed for the night but I had to go see the sunset.
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As a result of staying up I was able to witness this spectacular view.
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Then, the following day we got up and made our way to Carlsbad Caverns. All I can say about that is…wow! I walked through there and couldn’t help but keep asking God why He made such a thing. The only thing I heard was for us to enjoy and wonder at His power and creativity.
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It gets chilly and dark down there so that results in sweatshirts and grainy pictures.
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We finished up our trip back in Lovington taking in some of Gabe’s favorite places and spending time with family. Of course we had to get borderline pictures!
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Certainly, if you ever happen to be in Lovington you have to check out Cornerstone Coffee Shop. They have great food and the Earl Grey lattes are amazing! You’ll probably have the best posole or thai soup around! The atmosphere is so full of love and joy which pours out from everyone who works there…my family.
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Let me explain this photo. Lovington is a very small town with one theater. When we arrived it was showing Antman and the Wasp which Gabe worked on. The night before we left we saw that The Meg was coming next so we had to get a pic. I know, we’re silly.
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On our way home we spotted this abandoned house on the side of the road and my hubby quickly pulled over so we could have some camera fun. I love these shots!
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This picture on the left, of Fiona the Highlander, is when I truly fell in love with my new car. She was good to us on our trip.
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Finally, a quick stop at the Mississippi boarder and then on to home. Above all else, meeting and being with family was what filled my heart the most. I can’t wait to see them all again.

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I’m ready to go again. Where should we go next? I’d love to go to Ashville, NC. Then a bit further to The Redwood Forest, Yosemite, The Grande Canyon, Joshua Tree, Oregon, Colorado, the list goes on… Where would you go in the US?

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Traditions are great. I love that I’m the 4th generation to wear my grandmother’s engagement ring. Digging into mom’s egg bake on Christmas morning sets the stage for a perfect day. I’m falling in love with our Saturday morning tradition of my husband making breakfast. . .maybe I really like breakfast. I digress. There is one tradition I’m okay with not following. It’s seeing the bride for the first time as she walks down the aisle.

Did you know that the tradition began when arranged marriages were still in fashion? The couple didn’t see each other before the ceremony so the groom wouldn’t bolt if he didn’t find her “pleasing”. Sure it makes for great anticipation but believe me, the anticipation is still there.

My thoughts on this tradition come from both the bride and wedding photographer stand point. Let’s begin with the photographer in me.

  • It’s one of my jobs to keep the day running as smoothly as possible and getting as many pictures done before saves so much time. It’s seems to always be a concern of couples to not keep their guests waiting while they take pictures. Here’s your solution…first look.
  • Doing a first look also allows your photographer the ability to get your genuine expressions when you first see each other. The joy, hugs, tears, laughter, googly eyes you may not be able express when you’re standing before your friends and family.
  • Let’s be honest ladies, your makeup only goods great for so long. Getting your pictures done as early possible keeps you looking fresh for your photos.

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Now for the bride in me to share my thoughts. I knew I wanted to save the time and get as much done before the ceremony but what I didn’t know was how I would feel the day of.

  • Once I was all dressed all I wanted was to see Gabe. I missed him. I wanted to connect before the rest of the day rushed in on us and we had no time to take in the magnitude of the moment.
  • Being in his presence put me at ease. Another thing that grooms and brides worry about is the “down the aisle moment”. My husband said our first look didn’t take away from seeing me walk down the aisle to him on our wedding day. He said, “Everything faded away and all I saw was you.”
  • I felt like I could really be present during the ceremony. Girls, after you get married you realize that the big day was nothing compared to the daily life of marriage. The daily life is what really matters. I’m so thankful I was present during our ceremony and not wanting to talk to Gabe. I’ve been able to go back to moments in our ceremony when times have been tough and keep moving forward.
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So, don’t be afraid to break with tradition. I feel like either way it’s a win. Of course you decide for yourself but I don’t think there’s been a single couple who regretted doing a first look.

And because pics of us are always fun to share here’s our first look taken by the fabulous wesley and emma.

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  • Heather - I definitely agree with the photographer perspective – a first look makes the day much more manageable and simple. From my own perspective, I loved waiting and seeing the look on my groom’s face when he first saw me walking down the aisle – it’s a moment I will never forget. Either can be beautiful & it’s pretty great we have the option to do either 🙂ReplyCancel

    • meghan - You are absolutely right! I love the option and that neither is right or wrong. You definitely have to do what best fits you as a couple and will mean more to you.ReplyCancel

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I know, I know. . .school has started and pumpkin spice everything is in the air so why am I posting summer pics of slip and slides. Well, simply because I love the spirit of childhood and the freedom of summer days. Do you remembering being a kid and complaining to your mom that you were board over the summer? Do you get the, “What now?” questions from your kids over the summer months. Now, do you wish you could go back to those days of no responsibility and nothing to do? Who’s virtually raising their hand.

I’m in this exciting and scary place of dreaming. I’m dreaming about what I want my life and my family’s life to look like. I want there to be freedom. Sitting under the lights in the backyard with children’s laughter floating through the air sounds like heaven. Besides that we want to vacation together, for our home to be one of peace and laughter, and to experience this life and not just say “one day we’ll do X”.  I want my childhood hopes and dreams that anything is possible to still be there. I want my daughter and hopefully future children to know that their dreams are attainable. Yes, there’s work involved but we decide how we want our life to look.

I think I need to take that last sentence to heart and apply it to my own life. I feel like I work hard but am I moving towards my goals? It doesn’t really feel like it. I guess this is the scary part of dreaming. We actually have to do something, we can’t just hope it’ll happen one day. I’m gonna have to work hard, close the computer or the office at a certain time, and be fully present with my family when we’re together.

Finally, what are your dreams and are you moving towards them? If you are moving towards them please share how you’re getting there.
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Lifestyle sessions, story sessions, personal branding sessions. . . what are they and what does all that mumbo dumbo really mean?

First, let me start by sharing the heart behind what I do and have done for 12 years now. It’s always been about the client and telling their story for me. Whether it’s a family, wedding, engagement, senior, or business head shot I look for and want the raw moments. I want to capture the laughter, tears, and daily life moments to be told and frozen beautifully because those are the moments that make up your life. The ones your kids will remember. The ones that truly connect with others because they can say, “Me too!”. It’s not really the matching outfits and the beautiful scenery and all smiles. While I enjoy those sessions to photograph story sessions. For you to look at those images and see that you and your life are lovely just the way they are. You have a story to tell.

Second, if I’m being honest, I’ve gotten away from these types of sessions because most people want the picture perfect photo. Like I said, I love creating those for clients but my heart misses the rawness of life and it’s unique beauty. As a result, I miss hearing what makes everyone tick and documenting it. I miss capturing the moments with your kiddos that bring you so much joy.

Hence, let’s get back to telling the story of the beginnings of a business or the where you’ve been and where you’re going.
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Let’s tell the stories of waking up from naps, making dinner together, and putting our shoes on to go swing.
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Quiet snuggles, tickle time, baking, and bath time make up so much of your life as a family.
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Making your favorite guacamole in your home when life seems to pull you to and fro. It’s a safe calm that brings you back together.
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What about breakfast and play time and quiet moments with mom before naps?
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It can simply be a faithful friend who joins you on morning adventures to hear from God.
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A new baby in the house changes things a lot. It’s not all peaches and cream and smooth sailing but it’s a story to be told how this little one changed your lives.
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A shared birthday perhaps of two littles who I’m sure their parents hope will marry some day.
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Or your unique style as you head into your last year of high school and get ready to embark on a life all your own. Who are you? Where are you going? What do you dream of?
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As you can see, each story in itself is beautiful. It’s important and worthy of being told. Therefore, I want to be the one to tell your story. While I’ve been doing lifestyle type sessions for families and seniors I’m ready to offer it to more businesses. If you’re an entrepreneur, influencer, or buyer of things online you realize how important social media. You want to tell who you are outside of your business and people want to buy from someone they connect with. I’m so excited to begin offering these sessions soon BUT, I have something special to offer you.

To serve businesses better I’ll be taking a course to learn exactly what you need. I’m looking for two more entrepreneurs and influencers to partner with me to make me and what I offer the best I can. For a discounted price we’ll work together to create the perfect story session for you. You’ll have fun and walk away with 3 months worth of social media images to use all for just $499. I’ll be closing this special down the 31st of August and I only have 2 spots left so if you’re interested book now! Your story, your business, your life is beautiful.

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  • Molly - Thanks for sharing your story! Your work is beautiful. Sometimes you don’t realize how special small everyday moments are until you see them frozen in time, love how you capture that.ReplyCancel

    • meghan - Thank you so much! I feel that when those simple moments are so beautiful and mean so much. We rush by them all the time but if we slow down and taken them our perspective of the ordinary changes.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - I love your work! You have such an eye for your art!ReplyCancel

    • meghan - Thank you so much!!! That really means a lot!!!ReplyCancel

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