Brooke Shaden

I am a great believer in imagination, and once someone taps into theirs, it is only a matter of time before they search for a way to make it come to life. The gear that I shoot my photographs with is integral to that process, and pictured above are a few items that I use on a fairly regular basis.

The first week I started photography I knew absolutely nothing about it except for one thing: I didn’t like it. I had always seen photography as a highly technical genre of art and I am not a highly technical person, so I was intimidated. I didn’t want to carry around lights or sand bags or monitors, and I wanted to keep it as simple as possible.

The first images I created I either used window light or bare bulbs with paper lanterns around them. I shot with a Nikon D80 and a zoom lens that my cousin had given me and, after I got past the initial brainstorming session of how to work everything, I fell in love.

Months went by where I was creating every single day. I had found a tripod at a local thrift store, got myself a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens, and had found my bliss.

A couple of years later the autofocus on my lens broke, my tripod leg fell off, and I was in need of some upgrades. At that point I had quit my 9-5 and started creating photographs full time, showing in galleries, teaching workshops, and licensing my images.

That was the first time that I understood the need to be more mindful of how I created, both shooting and editing.

I upgraded to the Canon 5D MK ii in order to have a full frame sensor and video capabilities. I also got a Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens (and a Canon RC-4 wireless remote, alternative Opteka RC-6 remote) at that time and my pictures became a little bit clearer. This was paramount for my images because I was printing them at large sizes for the gallery shows. I had more clarity and could print larger without stretching as much.

I also got a Wacom Intuos Pro Small Digital Tablet, which ended up saving me a lot of money because I could edit in a much tighter way so I didn’t have to re-print images when I found editing mistakes.

Eventually my gear changed a little bit more when I got a 3 Legged Thing Evolution 3 Pro Brian Carbon Fiber Tripod. The legs of my tripod stopped falling off, which was a very nice change of pace, and the tripod was lighter and could achieve higher and lower angles than my previous so I could travel easier, which was something I was doing a lot more. I began craving photo adventures and started to make that happen.

This past year I got a Zeiss 50mm f1.4 lens and learned how to shoot with manual focus. I also got a Panasonic Lumix Tough underwater camera that I started using for my underwater work.

Not pictured here is an Ikelite underwater housing (for the Canon 5D Mark II) which I use on a lot of underwater shoots, but if I need a no-fuss technique I use my point and shoot.

I took my new gear with me on adventures to France, Dubai, Iceland, Australia, India, and England where I met a community of people who have changed my life more than any gear could.

I still prefer not to work with a lot of gear. I don’t use lights, though on the couple of occasions that I have I’ve used continuous SweetLight Systems.

I greatly admire photographers who utilize more gear than I do, and am often drawn to work like that. I admittedly don’t know how to put a soft-box together and am generally useless on a photo production, but I love my way of creating.

If nothing else, I know what makes me happiest, and using easy-to-setup equipment with lots of imagination is my favorite way to create.

Inside Brooke Shaden’s Camera bag:

1 Comment

  1. Achraf Baznani on March 18, 2019 at 4:16 am

    Good Work!

Leave a Comment



I'm Mark, photographer and chief Shotkit gear nerd! Join me and over 47,000 other photography fanatics to discover new camera gear, improve your photography, and get inspired!

Enter your email below to be sent 19 useful photography tools... for FREE!