The Chicago Moment-Driven Photojournalism Workshop  (limited to only 10 students) September 13-14 is designed to recharge your photography.  If you’re shooting the same thing each week, the same way … I can help.

We’ll take an in-depth look at your images and help you step outside your comfort zone, try new things, and produce stronger images that your clients will absolutely love. This isn’t a wedding photographer workshop with hundreds of attendees, this is learning environment where you will get plenty of one on one time with me and we will shoot together each day. You can see the workshop schedule here!

Visiting Chicago?  We have amazing specials on rooms in the same building as our Workshop on Chicago’s Michigan Ave., with killer views of the city, for as low as $70 a night!

Workshop attendees ALSO receive a 2-hour Mentor Session after the workshop, to make sure you’re still on the right path.  We can edit your website portfolio, your latest wedding or blog post, anything you like!  I love following up with my students after the Workshop to continue to help you see things differently… plus I miss your faces!

Want to call me and talk about where you are with your photography and what you would like to work on?  Request a FREE strategy session to see if you’re a good fit for the Moment-Driven Photojournalism Workshop!

Are you a Fearless Photographer?  You’ll receive 10% off!

Want to watch my LIVE Critique of Erika and Lanny Mann for Fearless Photographers?  For a small donation of $30 to the Canadian Red Cross, you will get the video password.  If you’re already a Fearless member, the video is here.

Thanks so much and I hope to see you in Chicago!

Chicago_Wedding_Photography_by_Candice_CusicI have been a photographer for most of my life. I’ve used multiple cameras, lenses and gimmicks, spent loads of money, and had my heart broken a few times by photography equipment that didn’t live up its promises. After posting a recent photo of my camera equipment on Facebook, I started thinking about my love affairs with certain lenses and how photography is like relationships. Some lenses are dear friends, and some cameras I desperately try to avoid like an ex-boyfriend.

I started taking photographs at age six, which means I have dated everyone.  I have switched from Nikon to Canon and back to Nikon.  Each new piece of equipment was like going on a very expensive date.  After wine and candles, we would become lovers, besties, or we would silently ignore each other until newer, younger models moved in. Have you ever broken up with a lens because it was freeloading for years? 🙂 I have.

To summarize who I am currently dating, here is my Little Black Book of photography equipment.

The Ladies:

Two ladies dominate my camera bag. They’re twins (who doesn’t want twins??) that aren’t passive-aggressive with each other and are both named Nikon D750. I have romanced Nikon for years. I remember gripping my D4 with excitement, until she became a drag (literally and physically) to carry all day. Enter the sexy coupe of cameras, the Nikon D750. She is full frame, won’t order anything but a salad on a date, and will steal your fries when you aren’t looking. My kind of charmer.

Not pictured is the Olympus OMD EM1 with a 17mm lens, which is the equivalent of a 35mm on this mirrorless baby. She’s strong, lightweight and has a tilt screen which allows me to shoot from my waist. She’s super sexy and wears thigh-high boots on weekends. Game changer.

The Gentlemen:

I broke up with my arrogant zoom lenses the 24-70mm f/2.8 and the 70-200mm f/2.8. These two lenses are Photojournalism staples. They think they own the room, drink expensive scotch and are constantly comparing their size to other lenses. I carried them every day for over a decade as a Photojournalist with the Chicago Tribune. Since leaving daily photojournalism and starting my own business, we stopped texting each other. I started ignoring them, as they made me a sloppy photographer. It was a slow, sometimes painful breakup, but I have a new lineup of Nikon prime suiters to entertain me and shooting is fun again without these heavy Debbie Downers.

The Nikon 24mm f/2.8: This lens reminds me of the chubby kid down the street much younger than you who always wanted to hang out. We have yet to make a meaningful memory together. I only bought him because of peer pressure, so I went the cheaper route and got the f/2.8. He might not stay in rotation long, but that’s okay, he was a terrible kisser.

The Nikon 28mm f/1.8: I fell madly in love with the 28mm in college. I destroyed our relationship by cheating on him with the Nikon 35mm. We had a disastrous breakup, and only recently got back together. We haven’t officially dated yet, but we’ve checked each other out a couple of times. He reminds me of a prom date who spilled his iced tea on my dress during dinner but turned out to be a fun dancer. Awkward at first, but awesome if you take him to the right place.

The Nikon 35mm f/1.8: The Jake Ryan. This lens is a John Hughes movie. He always offers to pay for the meal on dates and I don’t even notice any other wide angles in the room when I’m with him. Did I mention his hot red Porsche? I own the f/1.8 version AND the f/2 because I just can’t bear to sell anything I’ve loved for this long. I love you, Jake Ryan.

The Nikon 50mm f/1.8: The 50mm reminds me of dating a super tall guy. I would get a crick in my neck every time we kissed. So, when I use my 50mm, I shoot a vertical. This basketball player is quiet, non-demanding, will allow you to push him around and will make you really focus on what you’re focusing on with very few distractions. He doesn’t have a lot of flash, but he will love you forever.

The Nikon 55mm f/2.8 Micro: The grandfather of my lenses. This Manual focus lens wears huge coke bottle glasses, can only see the world from up close and will always tell me I’m pretty before pulling a quarter from my ear.

The Nikon 85mm f/1.8: TheBradley Cooper of lenses. Super smart, sharp, fast, and consistent. Can talk to anyone, go do anything, will delight your parents and still hold the door open for you. You won’t mind wearing heels for this one. He’s a keeper and will charm the pants right off of you.

The Nikon 135mm f/2: This guy lied about his age, covered his grey hair and is on Tinder. He is crystal clear with his needs but lives at his parent’s house and collects disability from his freaky defocusing ring. Don’t touch his ring. Ever.

The Think Tank Airstream: I just downsized from the Think Tank Airport Security and I’m ready to move in. Carrying the Security up several flights of stairs at the end of a 15-hour shoot was enough to make me consider switching careers. I’m so happy with the Airstream, I’m ready to take up permanent residence in an actual airstream, park it beside a lake and decorate it with fairy lights.

Want to learn more about how I shoot? Request a FREE Strategy Session and let’s talk about my Moment-Driven Workshop this September 13-14.

Thanks for reading about my photographic love life. Happy dating to you all!

  • Veronica Rodriguez-Branson - You are amazing Candice. I love how you compare you lenses to humans. I feel like I am so lucky I met you before I made crazy decisions and started to date other, less promising, lenses.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Gillett - Love this!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda Bynum - This is an amazing blog post. I love your writing and analogies. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Erika Jensen-Mann - You are so creative! Love this post!ReplyCancel

  • Scott Sharpe - Glad you still have a soft spot in your heart for tall men (and the 50 1.8)ReplyCancel

  • Tim - How can you shoot a wedding without a lens longer than a 135?ReplyCancel

  • Luiz Lucasi - awesome post!!! 🙂ReplyCancel

I am so pleased to be named among the Top 100 Wedding Photographers of 2015 by the Wedding Photojournalist Association!  This organization is truly committed to moment-driven wedding photojournalism, and I’m so proud to be a part of it, along with many of my talented friends!  Thanks so much, WPJA!

EXCELLENCE IN WEDDING PHOTOJOURNALISM

Since 2002 the WPJA has been helping couples capture the story of their wedding.

The Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA) is a professional organization composed of photojournalists and wedding photographers from around the world. What sets our members apart in the industry is their candid, documentary approach – a distinctly artistic vision toward wedding photography.

The Wedding Photojournalist Association puts the world’s best wedding photography at your fingertips. We offer a new perspective on wedding photography – quietly capturing the real moments as they happen for the bride and groom. It is our goal to use photography to tell the story of your wedding day, not dictate it for you.Chicago wedding photography workshop by Candice CusicPHOTOGRAPHERS: I have spots available for my 2-day photojournalism workshop September 13-14 in downtown Chicago!  The Moment-Driven Photojournalism Workshop is designed to recharge your photography. If you’re shooting the same thing each week, the same way … I can help. We’ll take an in depth look at your images and help you step outside your comfort zone, try new things, and produce stronger images that your clients will absolutely love.

YOU’LL LEARN

how to make stronger images, how to capture moments during a portrait session, and how to overcome any anxiety you may experience in documenting and interacting with strangers

YOU’LL RECEIVE

a thorough critique of your website images and will leave with an edited portfolio selection of your strongest photographs.

YOU’LL PARTICIPATE

in shooting assignments in downtown Chicago documenting strangers. This is not a “stand around, watching Candice photograph models” session. This is a hands-on workshop – the best way to learn something is to do it yourself!

Thanks much and I hope to see you September 13-14!

For the past few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a week with some of my favorite people in the world.  With such a large group of wedding photographers, we can rent an incredible house in Nags Head, NC and get away from deadlines.  We named our retreats “Potluck” as a reminder that this is not only a group of people who love spending time together, but we are also committed to helping each other with our businesses, and there’s a lot to learn with this incredibly talented crew!

I’ve never shot any images at any of these gatherings, only a few iPhone photographs, I’ve just spent the week with my friends.  This year, I pushed myself to shoot with my Olympus OMD EM1 as I’m still inspired from shooting in Madrid last month after the Fearless Photographers Conference, and am making a commitment to myself to shoot regularly throughout the week, not just on weekends.  🙂  I also set the Olympus viewfinder to black and white, which was a wonderful game changer for me.  To simply focus on light and contrast was so much fun, something I need to do more of in my regular work.

It’s a bit strange shooting something personal, my friends, during our fun week together after years and years of shooting daily photojournalism for the Chicago Tribune.  For the first time, I felt I could document the scene and still be a part of it, instead of being truly separated and protected by my shield of a camera.  I photographed my friends, waited for moments during our portrait sessions and kept my camera in my hand instead of stowing it away.  It felt great.

I’m so thankful to have these people in my life.  Thank you Kate McElwee, Kari Herer, Mike Garrard, Jenny DeMarco, Joe Appel, Derrick Rice, Sherry Pickerell, Jennifer Tai, Mark JenzenJenny Wohrle, Katherine EmeryJulie Lowry, Nadine Latief, Verna Pitts, James Collier, Cliff Brunk, Jeremy MinnerickGenevieve and James Nisly, GulnaraBen Godkin, and Katrina Wallace.  Can’t wait to see you all again!

  • Krissy Hunter McCabe - So much fun!!! Great memories, Great images!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Shepard - Absolutely beautiful images Candice!ReplyCancel

I just returned home from a week in Europe, where I was surrounded by pure love.  Everyone on the streets is in love.  Europeans do love very well, it’s in the architecture, sunlight and the couples slowly walking on cobblestones.

I attended the Fearless Photographers conference for wedding photographers, and because we photograph love for a living, when we get together, we love and we love hard.  This is usually accompanied by lots of food and drink, belly laughs and dancing to “Livin’ On A Prayer.”  Though I’m not sure why that song is our anthem.  🙂 

It takes a few days to recover from such a love fest.  Then we return to the next conference and fall in love all over again.

I can’t say no to this life.  I can only work harder to make my dreams come true, which they are, and travel as often as I can, which I am thankful for.

I purchased an Olympus OMD-EM1 for my trip to Bucharest, Romania last year, where I spoke at the Fearless Conference.  For the better part of the year this camera has mocked me from the shelf.  I slip into the habit of not recording, just living, and while that is perfectly acceptable, I attend wedding photographer conferences to reaffirm my life as a photographer, not just someone who leaves a camera on a shelf and only shoots when I am paid.

Which brings me to this documentation of love.  Hey, it’s my blog, I can be gushy here (like I am in most every other facet of my life.)  I pulled out my neglected camera and pushed myself to document strangers while I was in Porto and Madrid. 

I had forgotten how wonderful it was to walk the streets and just follow the sunlight.  I had no plans, no map, no full knowledge of the area.  I allowed my camera to be my compass, and this was a simple luxury I intend to make use of more often.  Studying faces, body language, color, and most of all, glorious sunlight in one of the most romantic cities I have ever visited. 

I sang karaoke at 4AM in a Madrid dive bar.  I walked miles and miles chasing a sunbeam.  I smiled at people on the street (well, I do that in Chicago) and they smiled back (they don’t always do that.)  I hugged and kissed and laughed until my sides hurt.  And I loved.  I really can’t ask for more than that.

Thank you for listening, please enjoy these photographs and follow your own love and light.   

European Street Photography by Candice C. CusicEuropean Street Photography by Candice C. Cusic

European Street Photography by Candice C. CusicEuropean Street Photography by Candice C. CusicEuropean Street Photography by Candice C. CusicEuropean Street Photography by Candice C. CusicEuropean Street Photography by Candice C. CusicEuropean Street Photography by Candice C. CusicEuropean Street Photography by Candice C. CusicEuropean Street Photography by Candice C. CusicEuropean Street Photography by Candice C. CusicEuropean Street Photography by Candice C. Cusic

European Street Photography by Candice C. Cusic

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