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Tuesday Talk: a Q+A with Me!

Hey you! Welcome back to my blog--- or if you're new around here, HELLO, I'm glad you stopped in to check it out.


Life has been pretty crazy these past few weeks and big changes have been happening in my life. (For now, I have to keep some things a secret, but be patient!) To update you all from my last blog post, my roommates and I did end up getting an apartment together, and I couldn't be more excited about this new chapter in my life. School has been consuming my life lately, but I did allow myself a break (or two) to do some thrifting, DIY's, and photoshoots... so stay on the lookout for some of that fun stuff!

Now to get around to what you came here for: I recently posted on both of my Instagram accounts (@melanie.cisler and @melcisler.photography) to collect a few questions from my followers, so I'm coming to you now to do a little Q&A session. Most of these questions are pretty random, so I promise to do separate, more structured post one of these days specific to photography, school, my relationship, and myself. For those of you who follow me only through Facebook and have questions of your own, feel free to drop them in the comments below, and I'll answer them at a later time. With that being said, let's get this party started!


Q: Did you ever consider Physical Therapy? What made you decide to do OT?

A: I LOVE this question! I am definitely going to do a whole blog post in the future that is dedicated specifically to what OT is, how I chose the best college for me, what setting I want to work in, etc. But for now, let's find a short answer to why I chose OT. Long story short, my mother is a kindergarten teacher (God bless her heart), and I occasionally volunteered in her classroom throughout middle school and high school. She would often have me help her out by having me walk her kids down to the OT room, and one of our family friends is actually the OTA at her school. (#SmallTownProblems am I right?) I always was so intrigued by what that "fun" room was in the school with the swings, scooters, and ball pit. When I found out what the room was used for and how the "fun" things were used to help children, I knew I wanted to learn more. I had a very hard time deciding what I wanted to do after high school because I knew I wanted to stay close to home. I started looking up programs at local tech colleges and scanned through to see what interested me. Photography? Dental Hygienist? Ultrasound Tech? OTA? I remember the moment I saw the OTA program listing. It just clicked. I knew that OT was what I wanted to do. (More detailed post to come.) I have always had a special place in my heart for kids. Education and Special Education were two other professions I heavily considered, and I think that they both are closely related to OT. I honestly have never considered PT for three main reasons:


1) You usually have to take physics and/or chemistry... YUCK. Now don't ever let some scary and tough classes hold you back from your dreams. If I would have done this, I would've changed my major after day one of A&P 191. Crush those tough classes and chase your dreams, babe!


2) You get a doctorate, which means more schooling..... again, YUCK. OT's are not required to have a doctorate, and I actually had a professor tell me that a DOT is pointless unless you want to do research. I believe that this requirement will be changing if it hasn't already. But, since I'm in an accelerated program, I'm getting a Bachelor's and a Master's in 4.5 years, so I'm not really in any favor of doing more schooling than I need to.


3) I liked the goals of OT over the goals of PT. "The main difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy is that OT focuses on improving a client’s ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL) and PT focuses on improving a client’s ability to perform movement of the human body." Don't get me wrong, both professions are equally important and they are interdependent on one another. But I absolutely LOVE that OT focuses on the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. I love that I will get to help people thrive in their daily living activities and the things that they love. OT just seemed so much more personal to me and I loved that. And honestly, I've never job shadowed a PT... so I could be completely wrong, and maybe I'm missing out on something great, but I personally think I found my passion. And I'm taking that as an opportunity to chase my dreams.


Q: Tell us the places you shop for your cute outfits! Online and in-stores.

A: Honestly, I'm a HUGE thrifter. I love Plato's closet, rummage sales, Style Exchange (RIP lol), goodwill, etc! But, for those of you who are grossed out by second-hand shops some of my other favorites are Pretty Please Boutique, Tillys, American Eagle, Target, Charlotte Russe (They're making a comeback, fingers crossed!), Marshalls + TJ Maxx, and Ross Dress for Less. I love boutiques as well! I usually don't shop online because my sizes change so much from brand to brand, and I am someone who NEEDS to try clothes on before I buy them... because let's be real, an outfit that looks bomb on a mannequin/model can make you look like a potato! You'll usually find me browsing the clearance racks; my mama would only let us get stuff if it was "on sale" as kids, so that's usually the rule I (try to) follow. I love to find deals, and if you compliment my outfit, I'll be quick to tell you the awesome deal I probably got on it. OKAY, one of my new favorites is a place that I never knew existed until recently. I have not bought anything here yet, but when I'm not a broke college girl this store will be my go-to: The Heel in Green Bay is heaven for any of my fellow shoe-addicts. It's seriously a fantasy and could make me go broke in like 0.0003 seconds. Warning: It's dangerous.


Q: How do you keep such a good relationship? and make it last? Tips!

A: I feel like it would not be fair to answer this question in one paragraph, especially because love is not always rainbows and sunshine. I solemnly swear to do a FULL blog post dedicated to my relationship (so if you have any other questions in regards to it, drop the questions in the comments below or DM me!) The greatest advice I have for you in a quick answer is:


1) Never stop loving. Never stop caring. Never stop doing "the little things". And as Lee Brice would say, "Love Like Crazy." If you love someone (or something), love it completely. Cherish it. Tell it. Show it. Your life could change in the blink of an eye, so never take that for granted. Say what you need to say, and then some. Say it too much. Show it too much. Love too much. In this world everything is temporary. Everything is constantly changing, except love. Love can outlive us all.


2) If the grass looks greener on the other side, stop staring. Stop complaining. Start watering the grass you're standing on. Relationships can only work if you're willing to put work in and never forget...relationships are a two-way street. If they are your person, you will know. Don't ask me how. If they are the right person YOU WILL KNOW.


3) Stop worrying about what the heck everyone else thinks. (This reminder goes beyond just relationships.) It doesn't matter if Susie doesn't think you're going to marry your high school sweetheart or if Brad gives your relationship a two-month expiration date. Because in case you were unaware, it is YOUR relationship. DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. If you love your significant other and want to marry that person then do whatever you can to make that happen. Do not let people on the outside rip apart your dreams because your life is not theirs. If you and your significant other are happy that's all that matters.


Q: Did you teach yourself photography?

A: Yes and no. Let me explain, a majority of my photography knowledge did, in fact, come from personal experience and A LOT of practice... and I mean A LOT. Youtube has been my guiding hand throughout my entire photography journey, and it is always my go-to whenever I want to learn something new or get inspiration. There are countless numbers of tutorials that range from learning to work your DSLR to posing your clients. I did take a darkroom photography class here at CUW my freshman year where we were taught some basic photography skills such as the different settings on a camera, but we primarily learned how to develop film. (Seriously the class gave me a whole new appreciation for photography... if you ever get the chance to develop your own images, DO IT!!!) I am seriously so proud of how far I have come; seeing my own growth is one of my favorite things. I hope to take some mentoring classes when I have the time (and extra cash, haha... college has this girl BROKE); I never want to stop learning.


Here's an example of my first sibling shot (April 2018) to a more recent (November 2018)




Q: What camera do you use?

A: I have a Nikon D3400. There are so many better + awesome camera bodies out there, but this is a great beginner camera. I will eventually want to upgrade, but for now, this camera does everything that I need it to. I bought it on Black Friday in 2017 for $450, which included the camera body, two lenses, and a camera bag. At the time, they were originally $1000, so it was a steal. A similar kit is on sale at Target right now for $499. Please note: there is more to photography than having a good camera. YES, it does play a huge role, but I have had the same camera body for nearly two years now, and my quality of work and images have changed drastically. Knowing how to use your camera, knowing how to pose your subject, and spending time editing your images makes a huge difference in the result of images. A camera can give you a photo, but a photographer will use his/her skills and knowledge to bring life to the images!


Here is a before and after of my most recent session. There is so much more to photography than having a good camera!




Q: What is your favorite lens for portraits?

A: It depends on the type of session and the type of situation I'm in, but my new go-to is my Nikon 85mm f/1.8! It is a great portrait lens that won't empty out your wallet. I love it for its ability to create a bokeh effect as it has a shallow depth of field, which also helps to create the perfect "blur" behind your subject; it's a fast lens that works decently in low light. I've seen images done using this lens on a better camera body and they are PHENOMENAL. Camera body + lens match up is also super important to consider, so always do your research. This lens barely leaves my camera, and I have used it for 90% of my sessions this year. Another lens I like is my Nikon 40mm f/2.8, which I use to capture portraits when I don't have a ton of room/space to work with. This is another lens with a great depth of field that can be used for macro shots if you don't want to spend the extra money for a real macro lens. I used this lens primarily for ring shots or newborn sessions. And last but not least, when I bought my camera it was a bundle/kit and it came with the Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 lens. Many professional photographers will shy away from using anything other than a fixed lens, but I think this is a great lens to have for beginners. I used this lens for nearly the whole season last year. I will typically only use this lens now when I'm on vacation or when I need to capture something that is far away.



Taken with my Nikon 85mm f/1.8



Taken with my Nikon 40mm f/2.8



Taken with my Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3


Some of the other questions/topic suggestions that I received that I plan to do full blog posts on are:

-All about me

-Future plans/goals

-Where I see myself after OT school

-Must have school supplies

-How I manage my time (B/w school, business, being a gf, etc.)

-How/when did I discover I wanted to go into photography.


So there you have it! We have completed our first Q+A. If any of you have additional questions or feedback, feel free to leave them below.


For those of you who stuck through and read that whole entry...Thank you; you are appreciated! You all are so appreciated. I hope you continue to follow me on this journey as we learn and grow together.


Until next time,


Never stop being great, and don't forget to LIVE WHAT YOU LOVE.


Xoxo, Mel.



April 30th, 2019