Simplicity Photography bio picture
  • I'm Angie Monson, a portrait photographer located in Salt Lake City, UT. Just a gal trying to make a living while pursuing her dream. I am a mother of three sweet babies that keep me on my toes. I started Simplicity Photography in 2005 and this is my journey, it's all here on this good ol' blog. Hope you enjoy what you see! Pull up a chair and stay a while...

Let’s talk lenses…

Ok, I get asked all the time what my preferred lens choices are… so here we go, I am about to put into simple terms why I use the lenses that I do.

After shooting for over 15 years, I have used pretty much every Nikon lens out there (besides the crazy sports type zooms- 300-400mm lenses). Over time I found my style of shooting through a lot of trial and error. I am a hands on learner, so I had to try each lens for myself and have those ah-hah moments while shooting instead of reading every article on the internet- I have no attention span for that… so here I am writing one for you;)

I have found that I really LOVE fixed lenses, so I got rid of all the rest and have stuck with the following:

Nikon 35mm 1.4

Nikon 50mm 1.4

Nikon 85mm 1.4

The reason I really love prime lenses is because they focus quickly, they are made from quality glass, amazing bokeh, and I have to work harder for my shot (forces me to move around my subject more and work for the shot instead of just zooming in and out and praying I got something amazing;)).

I use each lens for different purposes…

The 35mm is amazing for wide shots and backlit images. I use the 35mm often when the sun is setting behind my client. I place the sun behind them so I cannot see the sun through my lens but I get a perfect wrap of sunlight around my subject… makes it much easier to focus and voila you get images like this:

For wide shots of families playing I also use my 35mm… and this is the result:

Just remember to not shoot directly into the sun (unless the sun is behind your subject and not coming directly into your lens)… makes it really hard to focus and creates washed out images.

Onto the 50mm… I use this one mostly for head-shots. It has a beautiful bokeh and does not distort your subject when you going in for that close up.

I tend to use this lens for a close up family shot as well, but not very often. If you are just starting out, this is the perfect lens to learn on! Highly recommend and it’s affordable…

Ok, last but not least… the 85mm!

I have a special love affair with this lens. It was my favorite for years… but I really only use this lens every once in a while now because I have learned to love my 35mm even more because of the settings I am shooting in, I really want to include the backdrop as much as possible and paint a beautiful photo with the surroundings. I will say however that the 85mm is truly a gorgeous lens for portraits. It’s creamy bokeh is like no other, so I will continue to use this lens forever! It’s perfect to fade out your backdrop, especially if the backdrop isn’t very interesting. I love this lens for a great posed shot in open shade. I tend to not use it in backlit situations because it really doesn’t seem to perform as well (produces a lot of haze and makes it hard to focus).

Example from my 85mm (notice the sun is coming in from the right, I am not shooting directly into the sun which makes it a lot easier to get a sharp image without haze):

Another example using open shade:

The 85mm really hones in your subject and background becomes secondary, which is great for portraits.


What is most important is that you find lenses that fit your style and that takes time and effort to figure it out! I highly recommend renting lenses before you make the investment. Good luck out there!


You can watch me shoot 3 entirely different sessions HERE with my lens choices and settings and right now it’s on sale! ENJOY:)

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How to style your upcoming family session…

Planning a family photo shoot is full of…

Stress? Overwhelming anxiety? Countless hours of Pinterest surfing;)?

Well, it doesn’t have to be! Don’t overthink it. The goal is to look like your outfits all “go” together, but not look too matchy-matchy, right?

My biggest tip is this:

Mom’s, pick what you feel beautiful in… what fits you best. To me it’s all about the fit, not what is trendy right now. If something compliments your figure, it will photograph well. Notice the photo below; this dress on mom is very figure flattering and has a beautiful patterns with gorgeous colors to pull from. Use your outfit as the “inspiration piece” and then build around it.

Remember to mix patterns (polka dots, plaid, stripes) to shake things up! Just stay within your color scheme and you will be good! Also, remember texture photographs really well (embroidery, knits, etc), so have fun with that as well.

If you look closely at this photo above you will see that all the outfits compliment mom’s dress, but it doesn’t feel like she was trying too hard matching everyone. Mixing patterns, solids, and texture will really help.

If you are still feeling lost and need some inspiration, my instagram is a great place to visit my most recent sessions. My clients really have the best style, so go and check it out!

Hope this helps with your upcoming fall sessions!

Don’t forget to go check out my newest video that teaches you tips and tricks on how to get families interacting and looking natural during family sessions… HERE

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Top 3 ways to capture natural moments…

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NEW! Lightroom presets + video tutorial



Watch Angie fully edit images from start to finish! Watch her cull her images, edit in Lightroom (using her new presets that are INCLUDED with the tutorial), and end her editing in Photoshop (skin touch ups, liquify, and one action that she highly recommends).

Angie has created these Lightroom presets after trying them all! She wanted to cut down time on editing, so she picks the preset that works for the session she is editing and keeps editing with that consistent look to save time (Angie will walk you through all of this in the videos!). She edits 40-50 images in 1.5 hours (including culling her images). GET EXCITED! It’s all covered in the tutorials.


  • 4 videos to make it easy to come back to each section of the tutorials
  • 4 Lightroom presets (Basic, Creamy, Pearl, B&W)
  • Great to get a glimpse of Angie’s editing style
  • Length: 45 minutes (includes all 4 videos)
  • Angie talks about shooting in back light, tips and tools are provided
  • Refer back whenever you need from the comfort of your own home

*Lightroom presets are included with video. Please remember that presets are created to enhance images, not fix images. There will be adjustments you will need to make that are basic to fine tune each image.

***Lightroom presets work with the most current versions of Lightroom only (Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC 2015)


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I have started something new (are you surprised? ;))

Life in the last two years has shaken me up to my core. Taught me a LOT of lessons, and has made me realize what’s important. It’s important to be happy, to do what we are passionate about, to love the life we live. We have ONE life, so I am going to make the best of it.  When you get a wild idea, act on it and act on it I did. I am so passionate about clothing that makes you feel beautiful when you wear it, so I have started an online boutique. People are always asking me what to wear in photos… so here you go! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Presenting… NOMAD LOVE

A boho way of living, for the free spirited woman!

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