Photo credit: Bre Hearsum

It's an interesting thing to think about how many wonderful people there in the world. I've moved around a lot, having lived in five provinces and one state, yet in every new place I've met friendly, kind, gracious, helpful, supportive and loving friends. People who go out of their way to give me a hand, cheer me up, invite me places, share their stories and make me feel at home.

Winnipeg felt more like "home" to me these past two years than it ever has before, and it's because of my CreComm family. A wonderful, funny, inspiring and smart group of people, many of whom I know will be in my life for a long time. Lifelong friends, I hope.

There's a reason I'm feeling sentimental today. I attended my last official class in the Creative Communications program. All that's left before I graduate is a three-week work-placement and a few loose ends.

As this marks the end of CreComm for me, it also marks the end of this blog. I've created a new site that I hope you will agree is much more sleek and professional. I will be blogging on this new site as well as using it as an online portfolio to promote my freelance business, Meghan Franklin Communications.

Thank you for reading and please follow me at my new site:

Product shots


The most important element when setting up a product shot is actually not the product at all, it's lighting.

You can have the most delicious-looking hamburger, beautiful dress, or in my case, sparkly necklace, but if the lighting isn't perfect the shot is not going to turn out. And I'm not talking about natural light from a window. Product shots that you see in magazines, commercials and on billboards are carefully  lit, often with three-point lighting that makes use of a key, fill and back light. The key light shines directly on the subject, while the fill light shines on the product from a side angle and the back light from behind to highlight contours. 

Jewellery, like the necklace I shot below, can be difficult to get a great shot of because the diamonds are so small and even if they look sparkly to the eye, the sparkle doesn't always show up on camera. In this case, I used a fill and key light to light the product and bounced a third light off a white poster board for a softer effect.

The diamonds are still not as sparkly as I would have liked them to look on camera. If I were to do the shot again I would try using a dark backdrop instead of white to see if that helps them pop. 

What do you think?

Unpaid Internships: Smart or Slave Labour?


In recent years, colleges and universities have been placing more students in unpaid internship or work placement positions at businesses, governments and organizations as part of students' education. Everywhere from non-profits to banks, law firms and big corporations take interns and the global discussion about the value of unpaid internships in general has picked up — for good reason.

News articles about students and new college and university graduates working 18-hour days, sleeping in their offices and experiencing health problems due to stress and overwork are popping up everywhere. There has even been cases where interns have died on the job, allegedly from working extreme hours and going without sleep for several days or weeks.

These are undoubtedly horrific stories and the businesses and organizations where such incidents occurred should be held accountable. But these cases are exactly that: individual cases. Tragic, horrific, exceptions to what the vast majority of unpaid internships are like in Canada, especially those organized by post-secondary institutions.

Many colleges and universities throughout Canada now require students to complete an internship as part of their education. During these internships, students receive on-the-job training, have opportunities to learn what they like and don't like about certain sectors and meet people who can be mentors to them. The majority of interns work normal, 8-hour days, receive feedback on their work and some are even hired by the company/organizations where they are interning. Above all, these types of internships are organized by educational institutions and businesses/organizations. Instructors and/or professors remain in close contact with students while they complete their internships, and businesses are required to complete an evaluation about their experience as well.

I think these types of unpaid internships continue to be worthwhile, despite the recent buzz about the value of internships as a whole. Many private internships are also excellent, however, they are less regulated and because of this there seems to be more potential for problems.

For example, some students who are eager to start paying off their student debt and gain work experience will see a private, unpaid internship as a foot in the door — and often it is — but they don't ask the right questions and soon, they have accepted an internship with no end-date and a vague job description. In other cases, law and accounting students under pressure to excel as interns due to fierce competition among their peers will push themselves much further than should be allowed. Personally, I don't think anyone should be pulling all-nighters on a regular basis to keep up with their workload.

These are tricky cases and there is no clear answer to preventing private internships from crossing the line. Likely, more regulations are needed and supports for interns who find themselves in bad situations.

But as for unpaid internships organized by post-secondary institutions, I remain convinced that they are the best way for students to apply their education and take that first step into the working world.



There are many advantages to shooting and editing photos using Camera RAW.

Unlike JPEGs, RAW files are uncompressed and contain a high dynamic range (ability to display highlights and shadows). They also contain loads more information than JPEGs, which means you have more room to manipulate the image in post and experiment with exposure, colour and bringing out detail.

RAW files are also not ready to print right from your camera like JPEGs are. They must be processed in Adobe Camera RAW, which is a program that looks like this:

In Adobe Camera RAW you can make changes to your image by moving the many different sliders in the panel on the right-hand side of the screen. If you want to give the image a warmer look for example, simply move the temperature slider to the right. If you want to soften the overall look of the image (good for wedding and baby photography) you can move the clarity slider to the left.

I recently took photos of Winnipeg's Exchange District in both JPEG and RAW. The original, untouched JPEG images are on the left, and the enhanced photos using Adobe Camera RAW are on the right.

For more information about editing photos in Adobe Camera RAW, watch this free tutorial 

Seniors' Stories


I go to school with some pretty amazing people.

One of them, my good friend Larissa Peck, just finished writing a book. It's called Decaf Coffee Dates and it features the life stories of eleven seniors in Winnipeg.

I'll admit when Larissa first told me about her idea to write the book, I wasn't completely sold. I knew she was a great writer, but I wasn't sure about her success in making the book accessible to an audience other than the featured seniors' families, let alone young people.

But she did it, and she did it extremely well.

Her book launch at McNally Robinson this past Wednesday saw a turnout of 140 people. I had the pleasure taking photos throughout the evening and it was an incredible experience to capture the excitement on all the seniors' faces and the happiness on Larissa's.

Check out some photos from the launch below and to purchase a copy of Decaf Coffee Dates, visit

You are someone great


Five years ago,  I walked out of the New Realities Eating Disorder Recovery Centre for the last time. My weight was healthy, my mind stable and my eating habits "normal" — I was officially in recovery.

I remember those last few days in therapy being some of the most positive moments of my life. A calmness I hadn't felt since I was a kid had settled in my mind. I no longer cared about counting calories, taking one bite too many, or the number on the scale. I didn't think of food as my enemy, the way I had thought of it for years. I now considered it a source of nutrients that my body needed to function properly. A simple and obvious fact for many people, but not something I believed in the depths of my illness.

There was also something else profound I started believing in those final days. 

That I could be someone great.

I had kicked, screamed, cried and fought this ugly disease, and had won! And now, I was free to be the strong, intelligent, loving person I always knew I was inside. I was going to be able to finish university, have an awesome career that I loved and be happy — nothing was going to stop me from reaching my goals.

My therapist was beyond ecstatic with my progress. She reminded me again and again of how proud she was of me for working so hard to beat the odds. Many of her other patients were not successful. Many of the other girls and women had been there much longer than me. Some were in the same bad shape as they were when they first arrived, and some were worse. A few didn't make it.

My therapist suggested I consider pursuing a career in psychology so I could eventually help others struggling with eating disorders. She said when I was a certified therapist, I was welcome to join the New Realities team. She herself had struggled with anorexia and had recovered, which was why she was so effective at helping me through my issues. I remember considering her suggestion, but in the end deciding that becoming a therapist wasn't for me. I knew in my heart that my career aspirations lied elsewhere, but I still had a sense that one day, I would have another opportunity to give back.

A year ago, that opportunity came. I had to come up with an idea for a major project as part of my diploma in Creative Communications. I decided to try and increase mental health awareness at Red River College and created an initiative called Mind it!

Mind it! was the perfect project for me to take on. It allowed me to blend my passion for mental health with my love for communications. I was able to take my personal experience with a mental illness, and channel it into creating positive conversations about mental health. In the process, I met people from all walks of life, from those who live with a mental illness to people who simply believe mental health is important, as well as a few who don't, but I think I may have convinced them otherwise.

This project was far more than a project to me, and I'm so thankful to everyone who helped me along the way.

To anyone reading this who is struggling with a mental health issue...

You are someone great.

Shooting in natural light


The best lighting for photography is often soft, natural sunlight. In my photography class today, we practiced taking photos with the natural light available at different locations throughout the college. My Canon 6D actually didn’t come with a flash and since good quality external flashes run upwards of $150, I’ve been making good use of natural light ever since I bought it!

My gorgeous friend Megan was my subject today and I had so much fun taking photos of her. My favourite photos are where her face is lit more on one side than the other. Here are just a few of the best shots!

Shutter speed


Have you ever wondered how a photographer was able to capture a crisp image of a moving object or person?

Like a perfect, clear shot of a basketball player just as he jumps up to dunk the ball through the net, or a swimmer mid-stroke as they come up for a gulp of air? 

Or what about photos that capture motion in a way that portrays multiple frames in a single image?

These types of effects are made possible by changing the shutter speed on your camera. If you want a focused and sharp image of something that is moving — say in sports — you will want to use a fast shutter speed. If you want to achieve a blurry look, you will need to use a slow shutter speed.

Here are some photos I took using two different shutter speeds.

Fast shutter speed

Slow shutter speed

Capturing dance


Every photographer has a favourite "type" of photography. For some, landscape, wildlife or still photography is where they feel most at home. For others, sports, architecture or micro photography of plants and insects is most interesting. 

For me, it's anything involving people. I love fashion shoots, portrait, family and baby photography, and photographing events where people's faces and interactions are the focus. This is why I was so excited to photograph my friend Breanne Hearsum's fundraising event in support of The Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Breanne’s event was a two-day dance-a-thon called Dance 4U that took place at two elementary schools in Winnipeg. More than 200 kids participated, collecting pledges from family and friends for The Heart and Stroke Foundation.

During the dance-a-thon, the kids learned jazz, hip hop and Zumba from volunteer dance teachers. All the kids had so much energy that I spent most of the time running from one side of the gym to the other to capture them laughing and smiling as they danced with their friends.

It was a successful event all around, with the kids learning that dance can be a fun, heart-healthy activity and the two schools raising more than $13,000! 

Well done Breanne!

Winter shoot


One of my favourite courses this semester is photography. I've been dabbling in photography for a couple of years now, but this course goes beyond the basics. I'm now starting to fully understand ISO, aperture, white balance and shutter speed, and able to get the most out of my Canon 6D.

For our first assignment, our instructor told us to take a head shot of a person in natural light and not to alter the photos in Photoshop. My good friend Bre and I headed to the Forks for our shoot on one of the coldest days this winter. Our hands were freezing and we had to run inside for warmth every few minutes, but it was worth it. We had some good laughs and captured some great photos.

Good Reads


Over the winter holidays, I got back into something I absolutely love to do — read.

When I was younger, in elementary, middle and high school, I spent a lot of my free time reading. I'd read in the car on the way to skating or dance lessons, or stay up way too late finishing "one more chapter". My favourite Sunday afternoons were spent reading next to my two siamese cats as they sunned themselves in the light streaming through my bedroom window.

I've been busy the last couple years, but I'm not complaining. I love the program I'm taking in school, the people I'm taking it with and what I'm working toward. But there's not a lot of time for reading books for pleasure when you're on the fast-paced track to graduating college and building your career. But, I'm fine with that. As I said, I picked up some books on my bucket list over the holidays and three of them were simply too good not too share.

You may remember the news coverage from 2008 about a young female journalist kidnapped in Somalia. That young woman was Amanda Lindhout from Calgary, Alberta.

Taken by anti-government Somali terrorists, Amanda was held hostage for 460 days along with a photojournalist from Australia. Amanda survived rape, torture and countless days on the edge of despair as her captors left her in complete darkness for days with hardly no food or water. Five years later, Amanda has written a memoir that is unbelievably riveting and inspiring all at once. She is truly one heck of a woman to write about her experience, and find forgiveness in her heart.

Alice Munro is simply a master-writer of the small things in life. She has a remarkable ability to make the details of any ordinary relationship interesting. Her latest collection of short stories, Dear Life shows us how the most seemingly small decisions can truly alter a person's life and the lives of those around them. 

I love this collection for bringing me back to my childhood with rich descriptions of what ice cream tastes like on a hot summer day and at the same time, propelling me into the lives of characters who I've never met anyone like in real life.  

The Giver meets The Hunger Games in this breakout novel by Veronica Roth. The first of a three-book series, Divergent takes place in dystopian Chicago, where society is divided into five factions. At 16-years-old the main character, Beatrice Prior is now considered an adult and forced to choose which faction she will live and work among for the rest of her life.

There's plenty of thrill and action in this page-turner as Beatrice navigates her way through this oddly organized world and negotiates her place among others in her faction. If you've never read dystopian fiction, I highly suggest reading this book as an introduction to the genre. 

Bell Let's Talk Day


If your New Year's resolution involved getting active, volunteering, or spending more time with family and friends, than I have the perfect opportunity for you to take that first step toward your goal.

On Jan. 28, the Canadian Mental Health Association Winnipeg is holding a community skate event in celebration of Bell Let's Talk Day — a day dedicated to breaking the silence around mental health. For every text message sent, long-distance call made, tweet using #BellLetsTalk and Facebook share of the Bell Let's Talk image, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives across Canada.

CMHA Winnipeg's local community skate event is a fantastic way to support this larger Bell Let's Talk initiative and there are many ways you can get involved. From joining in the skating activities to helping the younger kids tie their skates and make ice sculptures, the event will be a fun time and is in support of a great cause. 

Visit for more details.

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