Antonio Cuellar

The answer to the first question that comes to mind if you see this image is “Yes”, at some point I did get tendinitis from carrying all this gear around in inevitably heavy pelican bags. I have to carry my gear around as I am a commercial / Architectural photographer that photographs hotels around the world.

I also want to add that going through the process of meticulously removing all this gear out of its cases, in order to photograph it for Shotkit, helped me find small items I thought I had lost for years.

If we start with the back row you will find seven Bowens Gemini 750Pro strobes and their Bowens Travelpaks. I use Gemini Monolights as I need the flexibility of moving them around without cables getting in the way. These strobes are used when shooting interiors during the day in conjunction with smaller Canon 580EX ii and Nikon SB-80 speedlights pictured bellow.

I don’t like tying Monolights to electric outlets for many reasons, plus finding a power outlet could get tricky at times. This is when the battery packs (left of the strobes) come in handy. The Sanyo Eneloop rechargable batteries are the best for speedlights.

The second row from the back consists of eight Lowel DP (tungsten) continuous lighting heads. I use my Lowel DP heads with 500 watt or even 1000 watt bulbs for night exterior shots in conjunction with 2 amazing Yamaha EF2000iS Inverter Generators which I just sadly realize, as I am writing this, I didn’t include in this image. I also use four Lowel Omni head’s and four Lowel ViP pro head’s with less wattage for night interior shots. These lights get extremely hot and this is why a set of gloves is always necessary.

Bellow the gloves and slightly to the left you can find a set of gels and a Sekonic Prodigi Color C-500R. “Yes” I still use a color meter. This device is crucial in order not to go insane in post production. Most hotels are using energy efficient bulbs that have an unpredictable +1 or even +2 green cast that must be gelled with magenta or balance with green gels in supplemental lighting. The color meter is the only tool there is to do it accurately and I personally don’t know any other interior photographers that use it. Maybe they all have super powers that I don’t have.

As you can see I have 2 tripods, the Manfrotto 058B which is extremely heavy and the Manfrotto 161MK2B which is ridiculously heavy. They both are also very tall and sturdy and sometimes they need to be raised so much that they must be used in conjunction with a ladder. Both of the tripods have a Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head which allow precision movements and fine tuning with a bubble level.

At the opposite end of the image you can find two Westcott Scrim Jim Extra Large Reflector Kits. These are used to diffuse blasting sunlight coming through a window at tricky times of the day.

I use two sets of camera bodies. Two Hasselblad H4D 60’s which I use for bigger jobs and two Canon 1Dx mk iii’s for smaller and more dynamic jobs. The Hasselbad files not only take longer to load into my computer, as I am always shooting tethered, but also slows down post production process.

My “go to” lens in the Hasselbald is the Hasselblad 35mm f/3.5 (24mm equivalent on a canon full frame SLR) or the Hasselblad 24mm f/4.8 in conjunction with the Hasselblad HTS 1.5 (which converts the 24 mm focal length in to 35mm but allows me to shift).

My “go to” lens with the Canon setup is the Canon 24mm TS-E f/3.5. This is a superb lens for the price and I use this focal length 90% of the time for interiors. Occasionally I also use the Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L for tight spaces. The longer lenses in both systems are used for lifestyle and food photography.

Another item that is worth mentioning is my recent purchase of a supplemental battery pack for my laptop. I am not ready to endorse a brand as I only received it last week but a battery power is a must have if a photographer is shooting tethered. Now that I have it I don’t know how I managed without it for all these years.

The walkie talkies (pictured top right) are used in order to be able to communicate with assistants in cases when we are lighting exterior that cover a lot of distance. The toolkit above the ladder is always necessary to fix and adjust things like tripods and lighting gear.


  1. Chip on October 11, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Very inspiring, Antonio!
    When one thinks, “why would a photog want to shoot interiors?” Then we these “sexy” photos!! Wow. Very inspiring…!

  2. Kent Johnson on September 19, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Have to say I really enjoyed this write up and I did laugh out loud about finding lost items ansd the colour meter comment “they must have special powered” love it! And of course one of the things I love about this site and seeing the kit and the work of Antonio is the photography is so good you cannot see what goes into it, just the great result. Thanks for sharing, simply wonderful. Now I am heading over to your website. Cheers!

  3. David Eichler on June 4, 2015 at 6:24 am

    I wonder at the choice of the Lowel VIP Pro lights. I would think that mini fresnel lights such as Arris or Mole inkies, would be preferable. Yes the VIP Pro lights are somewhat less expensive than good mini fresnels, but it doesn’t seem as though cost is an issue here.

  4. George Laase on May 13, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    With all that extensive gear, it makes me wonder, if he doesn’t actually own piece of the hotels, too?

  5. Guillermo on January 8, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Think you got the wrong website for Antonio… the one on the post is for a construction company…

    Think this is the correct website:

    • Mark on January 8, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks for the heads up Guillermo! Fixed it now :-)

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