Connie Zhou

Architecture | Last Updated: December 8, 2020

My name is Connie Zhou, I’m an architecture, interiors, and landscape photographer based in New York City. Traveling and exploring is where I draw most of my inspirations from. I’m obsessed with modern architecture and finding the latest structures that looks like something from outer space. Anything larger than life that looks like a spaceship!

I’m always on location so I like to keep my gear light. When shooting interiors I have a separate pelican with my lighting kit. The image shown displays the contents I travel with in my camera bag.

My first camera was a Minolta film camera that my uncle gave me. I learned how to shoot on black and white and chrome film. It wasn’t until much later when I worked with digital.

As an Architectural Photographer, people are always surprised when they find out that I don’t use a medium format camera or a tilt shift lens. When I first started shooting architecture, I was using a view camera which was hard lugging around, especially at my size. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 lens really changed everything for me. I felt like I could fit anything into the frame and it was light enough for me to carry around everywhere.

The 5D Mark II is also extremely versatile and it allows me to shoot video when I need it. Below is a list of all my basic camera needs.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II – My main camera body that I use on all my photo shoots. It never fails me and can do pretty much anything.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens – This is my favorite lens, because I love how wide it is. It can fit everything in frame and great for shooting tall structures.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – This is my second go-to lens. Perfect for detail and landscapes. I love the range it gives me, especially when I’m on location and in a rush.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM – I rarely use this lens, but it’s great for environmental portraits and the lens goes to F/1.2 which is unreal!

Manfrotto 055 Carbon Fibre 4-Section Tripod, with horizontal column and with a Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head – I recently purchased this tripod, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted. It’s carbon fiber, which makes it super lightweight, the 90 degree middle column extends vertically or horizontally which allows tons of flexibility. Overall super useful. The 410 gear head is extremely precise and allows for small movements.

Macbook Air 13” – I carry it with me everywhere, to tether and to edit on the road.

Canon batteries and chargers – It’s always good to have spare batteries, especially when you’re out all day on location.

Compact flash cards (16GB/8GB) – These are usually enough memory for me, if not I always backup files on my hard drive.

Buffalo MiniStation 1TB Thunderbolt / USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive – Fits all my recent photo shoots, incase my clients need anything while I’m away. Also great for backing up while shooting. The thunderbolt connection is necessary, because its quick and efficient.

Black Gaffer tape – I always use it to tape up unwanted signs or lights when shooting interiors. Also great for styling purposes, like taping the perfect shape of a pillow or fixing a curtain. Great for anything!

LED Flashlight – Sometimes I’ll shoot in dark spaces, it’s good to have on hand to focus on a specific area. Occasionally, I use it to light, you’d be surprised what this flash light can do.

Giottos AA1920 Rocket Air Blaster Small (in black) – Used for censor cleaning and with me everywhere because this ones perfectly compact for hands.

Tether Cord 10ft – Having a long cord allows me more mobility to move around anywhere. Two Pocket Wizard Plus IIIs – For when I use my Profoto lighting kit (not shown) – Profoto Acute 1200R with one Profoto Acute D4 head.

Kingston Card Reader – For reading multiple cards. This is the basic one with the USB attached so its simple to travel with.

Fujifilm X100S – Best little camera I can ask for. I use this when I’m not carrying around my 5D. Amazing quality and most importantly produces RAW files. Perfect for traveling!

Retrosuperfuture Sunglasses (aka “Super”) – To shield my eyes from the sun or shade.. or anything. :)

Lucas Papaw – The ANYTHING balm.

iPhone 5 – It’s my phone, I can’t live without it. Duh. You can follow me on Instagram: @connyay

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