Hi Shotkitters! We’re Amy & Tony Hoffer. We run a small studio outside of Philadelphia, PA. We have 3 other people in our business and have been going hard since 2007.
We travel a lot and try our best to customize everything we do. As such, we change our style up constantly and try to find consistency in our work no matter the gear or the process.
Because we prioritize our flexibility, we have a lot of gear and we’re constantly changing what we take. One wedding we might take just a few cameras and lenses and very minimal gear. Another we might take 6 lights. For a commercial gig we might only take 1 camera and two lenses, but take 150lbs of lighting gear.
We love new things. We love a challenge. Here’s a look at our most common set-up.
At the moment we use all Nikon gear. We spent our first 7-8 years shooting Canon but made the switch in 2015. You can read about why we switched here. We really love the image quality that Nikon is giving us.
I have to admit, though, that we’re currently involved in some very flirtatious talk with Fuji. Their petite figure has us curious and the first toe has been dipped. The Nikon days could be numbered…
We love playing with lighting toys and playing with natural light to make it look like we’re using lighting toys. Lately we’ve been using our stiff-frame reflector and our Yongnuo video a ton since they’re so easy and fast.
We also love the lights that Cheetah is producing nowadays. We use their Cheetah 860II speedlights with built in radios and their Cheetah 600X strobes. We also have a variety of modifiers, mostly from Paul C Buff.
Our favorite toys:
Nikon 58mm f/1.4 – When we switched to Nikon, the one thing I really missed was having interesting lenses. The Canon 135mm f/2 was (and still is) the best lens I’ve ever touched. When I discovered the Nikon 58mm f/1.4, I felt that tingle that the 135 used to give me. It’s a weird lens, but one that looks different from everything else that’s out there.
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 – This is our workhorse. I beat this thing to death and use it for everything. I love shooting 35mm because it makes me work harder than any other lens. Composition is the most difficult at 35mm, which makes it the most rewarding.
MagMods – I’m happy to name drop and say that my good friend Spencer started MagMod and was happy to be some of the first fingers that ever used magnets on my flash. Since then Magmod has taken over the world and the grips have never left my flashes.
Paul C Buff Strip Box (not pictured) – Although MagMods are awesome indoors and in tight spaces, I really love shooting strobes. If I only had 1 modifier it would be this strip box with a grid. It’s easy to set up, has amazing light control and is the most versatile modifier I know about.
Giant-A$$ reflector – One of our favorite things to do is make natural light look fake and make fake light look natural. On sunny days we prefer a reflector to any other kind of light. We use it as a key light and really soften up our portraits on bright and sunny days.
Yongnuo YN360 – Sometimes called the Chinese ice light, this little critter is amazing for night shots and allows for lots of flexibility through dimming and color changing. We keep this thing at our side at all times.
Cheetah 860X and 600X – I’ve been through every flash and strobe system known to man. The Cheetah system has the best batteries and is the first system that’s allowed us to seamlessly mix speedlights and strobes. We love it!
Thanks to everyone for reading! Gear is of course just a tool… but it’s awfully fun isn’t it?