Equipment/Software & Advice

I always get a lot of questions from people asking me what kind of equipment I use and how I do certain things. I also get several questions related to workflow. So I'm going to do my best on this page to explain how I do what I do. I'm always happy to answer questions for anyone about anything, so hit up the contact form and ask away!

Cameras

I've been a Canon guy since day one. That being said, I'm not a die hard person who thinks that Canon is just the "superior" brand of camera. Just about all of them will get the job done at the end of the day. Canon was just the first camera I had and I've stuck with the brand ever since. The Rebel T3i was the first DSLR I ever got, I still have it to this day. 

Cameras I'm currently using:

- Main: Canon EOS 7D Mark II

- Canon EOS-1D X Mark II (Disclaimer: I do not personally own any of these, the team I work for does. They are phenomenal work-horse cameras.)

Lenses

Lenses ("glass") will burn your budget a heck of a lot faster than cameras and computers combined ever will. Good glass often costs more than the camera. That being said, if you buy good high quality glass, they will retain their value and last you a lifetime if you take good care of them. In the Canon EF line, just about any of the L series lenses are like this.


*A quick note about Image Stabilization (IS): I typically do not buy lenses with IS, because with the shutter speeds that I'm typically using, it really doesn't make a difference. So I always tell people, that if it's a rare occasion that you shoot in low-light or shutter speeds below 1/60th, save your money and just buy the non IS one.

Lenses I'm currently using:

- My absolute favorite of all time: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L

- Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L

- Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L

- Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L

- Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L

- Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L

Computers/Storage & Archiving

I don't have a lot to say when it comes to computers. I am personally a Mac user and have had nothing but great experiences using them. They're dependable and ideal for the creative individual and the tools they use. That being said there are plenty of Windows options as well. My advice is don't be too cheap when it comes to processors and especially RAM.


Computer

- 2018 13" MacBook Pro w/ TouchBar (specced out)

- I also have an Apple Cinema Display (unfortunately no longer made)


Storage & Archiving

Here's my process for this:

1) When it comes to this aspect of the process there are several different things that I do. I have two 4TB external HDDs that I use to hold photos while I'm actively working on them.

2) All of my cloud storage and back up is done automatically by Amazon Photos. I highly recommend this because it has a great backend system and sync agent that can be run on the computer. Did I forget to mention that you get all of this included with your Amazon Prime account?! (*unlimited for image files only)

3) All of my "forward-facing" and client content gets uploaded to this website. This website is hosted by SmugMug. Think of this website as my storefront and Amazon Photos as my warehouse.

* I'm an IT guy, so I could talk about this stuff all day long. Reach out if you have questions or want to know more.

Software

The software is where a lot of the magic happens, but there's no real need to be intimidated by it. 100% of everything I learned about all of the software I use was either learned from YouTube or some other website or other photographers showing me. I use the photography plan of the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. I use the photography plan simply because I do not have a use for the other tools that come in the Suite and it costs a significant amount less.

Programs

- Photo Mechanic "PM" (This is where the whole selection and editing process starts for me. PM is an industry standard program used by most working professionals in the sports and journalism field. It is especially known for its speed (speed is everything) and feature rich capabilities when working with metadata. In the way Scott Kelby describes it, "If you walk into the photo workroom at any major sporting event and see 10 laptops, you'll find 10 copies of Photo Mechanic up and running." If you want to know more about this program, I highly suggest checking out some videos on YouTube about it.)

- Lightroom "LR" (Most all of my editing happens in Lightroom. It's a cataloging program with all of the editing features (Camera Raw) embedded in it. It's also non-destructive. Doesn't get much better than that.)

- Photoshop "PS" (Believe it or not, I actually do very little work inside of PS. Most of the tools I regularly use are already embedded directly into Lightroom. I view PS as more of a "photo manipulation" tool rather than an editing tool. Since so much of the work I do is in the realm of journalism and "capturing the moment", manipulating an image is a BIG NO NO. I do occasionally use the program to do more "heavy duty" edits on portraits and images that I use in my portfolio or am going to print.)          




Accessories 

Below, I've highlighted a few or my accessories and lighting. I haven't yet ventured into studio photography, so I don't have any of the big strobes and diffusers yet, but I do have a couple speed-lights.

Lighting

- Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT

- Yongnuo Speedlite YN600EX-RT II for Canon Cameras (I've had nothing but good experiences with this off-brand flash. It does the exact same thing as its Canon counterpart, and it's a fraction of the cost.)

- Set of rechargeable Ni-MH batteries. (Do yourself a favor and just go ahead and buy a set of about 8-10 of them. They recycle much faster than a normal AA battery and will save you a little money in the long run.)

Accessories

Canon Extender EF 1.4X III (When it comes to teleconverters, this little guy is "tack sharp.")

- BlackRapid Sport Breathe Camera Strap (* I get the slim version because that's what fits me the best.)

- BlackRapid Double Breathe Camera Harness (* I have the slim version of this as well)

Oben ACM-2400 4-Section Aluminum Monopod

MeFOTO BackPacker Travel Tripod

Think Tank Photo Airport Security V3.0 Carry On

- Small Tool Kit (I highly recomend carrying a small, but functional toolkit with your gear. You never know what you might have to have fix while out on a shoot.)

A Word About Memberships & Discounts


Memberships

I'm not really one of those guys who advocates going out and joining as many different societies and associations you can possibly find. In my opinion, you really need to ask yourself if there will be any professional or financial benefit to it.  If you believe there is, then go for it.


If you own any moderate amount of prosumer or professional camera equipment, then I do highly suggest becoming a member of the manufactures professional services programs. Most major camera manufactures have one. By being a member, you usually get expedited service and discounts on maintenance and repair work and some programs even offer equipment evaluation loans.

I personally am a member of Canon Professional Services (CPS).


Discounts

If you're a student, then "discount" is one of your favorite words. There are so many discounts available to students and there's no reason they shouldn't be taking advantage of them. All of the software programs I mentioned above have generous student discounts available. B&H, Adorama, & Amazon Prime all have student programs available as well. If you're a student, I urge you to look into these programs.

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