When Cassandra Casley was expecting her son in 2010, her family surprised her with her first piece of Canon gear: a suitably blue PowerShot point-and-shoot. She admits to becoming a bit obsessed with her new-found ability to capture her own beautiful baby pictures.

Eventually, she upgraded to an EOS Rebel T3i, quickly expanding past the kit lens to include a 50mm f/1.8 EF in her growing gear bag. “I still remember making my sisters pose for me as soon as I took it out of the box, and being so impressed with the bokeh and clarity of this lens,” she says. “I shot with this body and lens combo every single day for almost two years, and I credit a lot of my growth as a photographer to that time.”

the adventure begins mug with hot chocolate in it by Cassandra Casley

Getting serious.

Last summer, Cassandra dug in and brought her full focus to developing her photography skills, from lighting and composition to the technical details. She upgraded once more to the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the 35mm f/1.4L USM EF lens, what she likes to call her new “dream team.” Cassandra says she likes to include a lot of scenery in her shots, making the addition of the 35mm f/1.4L lens a match made in heaven. “This lens focuses quickly, which is important when you’re chasing after kids, or trying to capture an emotional moment before it’s gone,” she says. “If I had to pick one lens for an entire day of shooting, it would be this one.”

babys breath in a jar by Cassandra Casley

photo of woman in a field by Cassandra Casley

Upgrading to the 5D Mark III forced Cassandra to push herself even further to create images she loves, “even outside of perfect lighting conditions and golden hour.” Key to her increasing confidence are the ISO capabilities of the EOS Mark III, which she says have been game-changing for her work. “I already love and embrace the darker, moodier photos and grain, so being about to shoot above ISO 2000 without much worry has been wonderful,” she says. “Now, shooting after the sun has gone down is one of my favorite times to capture images.”

picture of boy touching plant by Cassandra Casley

Zooming with her feet.

Cassandra sticks mostly with her 35mm and 50mm prime lenses, preferring to zoom with her feet, which in turn helped her refine her eye for composition and capturing expression. And because both lenses are so light, she soon found her way into free-lensing, further expanding her creative boundaries. “By detaching the lens from the camera body and tilting it slightly, really interesting effects and blur can be added to images to create a dreamy look,” she says. “The 50mm f/1.8 is perfect for free-lensing because it is so lightweight!” She became so enamored with the technique that she’s got her eye on the TS-E 24mm f/3.5L tilt-shift lens. “It would be incredible for enhancing the beauty of Vancouver Island in portraits,” she says.

photo of dad and boy holding hands and walking by Cassandra Casley

black and white photo of boy with a flower chain by Cassandra Casley

All images by Cassandra Casley.

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When Cassandra Casley was expecting her son in 2010, her family surprised her with her first piece of Canon gear: a suitably blue PowerShot point-and-shoot. She admits to becoming a bit obsessed with her new-found ability to capture her own beautiful baby pictures. Eventually she upgraded...

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