Max Thompson

In my relatively short career, I’ve been fortunate to work with some of today’s best names in the modeling industry. Whether it be magazine publications, or my photography exhibitions, I continue to find ways to push my craft full force in both the online community and in the field without taking any breaks.

I have a fascination with conveying imagery to viewers that says a lot using as little as possible. Though I admire high production, I tend to gravitate towards a more candid approach when shooting. Within the first year of my career, I taught myself that the best way to do this was with very little amounts of equipment. Less is more, as they say.

I bought my first DSLR in 2011 which was a Canon t2i. I quickly learned to utilize sites like Tumblr, Instagram which was new at the time, as well as a new website of my own for posting updates of my work as it progressed. Lots of my friends would see my pictures, asking me to help them build their modeling portfolios, and it took off from there. I work with mostly female models these days, which a lot of the time they’re moving around, switching poses. So it’s important to have tools that allow me to capture very spur of the moment shots that maintain clarity and quality. I went through a couple of 1.6 crop Canon bodies (the Canon Rebel t2i and Canon 7D) before I upgraded to a Canon 5D Mark ii. And I’ve just recently upgraded to the newer Canon 5D Mark iii. Ever since I went full-frame, I realized how serious I was getting with photography, and decided to burn a huge hole in my bank account, buying all L glass. I’m a firm believer in the idea that you can take a killer picture with the shittiest camera. But if you’ve got the money, there’s no reason not to get what you want to help things go smoother.

If I’m not using natural lighting, I mostly use a speedlight on the camera body or a bracket which hold the flash off to the side to reduce shadow on hard-lit shots. I have soft-boxes, umbrellas, and some Pocket Wizards in my studio which I also use sometimes if a client or company requests softer lighting.

Though I own a Canon flash which is used sometimes, I enjoy shooting most of my work with the more novelty-type Vivitar. I love the “toy” feeling of it and the fact that it’s all manual which forces me to set the exact exposure I want. These flashes are powerful workhorses and have never given me issues, which is bananas considering how cheap they are.

And finally I use a few smaller cameras for quick shots. I regularly use a Polaroid-style Fujifilm Instax Wide 210 for instant film shots. I also recently got a Fujifilm XF1 point and shoot which is amazing for candid shots. Most of the time I’m on the go, or shooting in different major cities. So it’s important for me to be mobile and fit everything into one bag when I can.

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In my bag:
Canon 5D Mark iii
Canon 5D Mark ii
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L
Canon 50mm f/1.2 L
Canon Speedlite 430EX
Vivitar 285HV Flash (2)
PocketWizard 801-130 Plus III Transceiver (3)
Apple MacBook Pro 13 inch
Fujifilm INSTAX 210
Lowepro Fastpack 250 Camera/Laptop Backpack

Inside Max’s camera bag: