Gary Sheppard

My name’s Gary Sheppard and I’m an advertising photographer based in Sydney.
I originally trained as an ecologist but I got my start in photography via a random conversation with a work colleague.

Life often works like that. A chance encounter can change your future.

Anyway, I’ve been shooting advertising photography for over 30 years now. I don’t specialise in anything in particular.

Just so long as it’s a good brief and lets me get my teeth into something challenging I’m up for it.

I do, however, particularly enjoy shooting automotive, aviation and portraiture.

I mostly use medium format but drop down to 35mm if the job requires it. I’ve got a Pentax 645z setup which I love.

For travel, and jobs that require 35mm, I’m transitioning from Canon to Sony. I’ve been a Canon user for decades, but I feel the time has come to swap. Compared to Sony, Canon has superior ergonomics and general ‘feel’ but to me the bottom line is image quality, and in my experience, Sony leads the way.

I’ll be adding Sony lenses in the future, but as I have been a Canon user for many years, I still have lots of Canon glass. I’m using an adapter until the transition is complete but to be honest, the auto-focus on every adapter I’ve tried is pretty uninspiring. It works fine for portraits, still-life, or anything not moving rapidly, but for the time-being, I’ll keep my Canon 5D Mark III as a backup.

I was a bit hesitant about the longevity of Sony mirrorless cameras but over the last few years they’ve taken a beating and have never let me down. Of course, I always have backup cameras on every job so if one drops out it wouldn’t be a deal breaker.And after all, these days most cameras are outdated and due for replacement after around three years so super-longevity isn’t one of my concerns. Not like back in the old days where a ‘Blad or Sinar would be expected to last a lifetime.

Like a lot of photographers, I’ve also been getting into video over the last few years. I use Sony for that too. I was using the a7RII but have just picked up an a6300 with a Moza Aircross stabiliser, SmallHD monitor and Rode Videomicro microphone.

What a great combination.

I use that for smaller scale jobs if it’s just me and an assistant. But if it’s a proper TVC with a crew I’ll hire in a DOP with a Red camera, plus a soundie, etc. – but that’s another story.

The gear I use:
I’ve used Broncolor flash gear most of my career but have recently supplemented that with Godox flashes. Godox equipment seems to be well made and has performed faultlessly over the last few years. I love their lightweight and portable nature. Have to say I’m a bit over lugging around huge floor packs unless I really need the output.

Godox also have the advantage of using Bowens adapters so light formers like soft boxes, dishes, honeycombs, paras etc are plentiful and cheap. So whatever the job requires, it’s easy to stock up on them.

I brought several Yongnuo speed lights for a particular job recently and I use them as little fill-ins (but not often).

The flash gear I currently have is as follows:

Broncolor Pulso 8. An oldie but a goodie.
Enormous power and just goes year after year. I rarely use it now though as it weighs a ton and is overpowered for most of my work.

Broncolor Pulso 4. Same as above.

Broncolor Scoro 1600S. An adaptable, capable, all-purpose flash pack.

Broncolor Graffit A2 (x2). Getting on a bit as well but still functioning well and does the job.

Broncolor Compuls (x2). Again, these packs are old but they do the job and just keep working and working.

Broncolor Pulso flash heads (x10). Models 2, 4 and 8.
Plus shed loads of light shapers. stands etc.

Godox Wistro AD360 (x5). Super portable, long lasting battery powered flashes with lots of light forming adapters. Very handy when huge amounts of light aren’t required. Great for portraiture. Especially on location.

Godox AD600 (x2). Useful when more power is required on location.
I also join two of these together via the dual adapter into the one AD-H1200 watt head. Especially useful when combined with a para.

Yongnuo YN-560 IV speed lights (x7). Handy for putting into tight spaces or getting ultra-fast flash duration.

Godox X1 and Cactus Transceiver V6: When combined they allow flash sync up to 1/4000 on medium format and 1/8000 on 35mm.

Medium format gear:
Pentax 645z. What a great camera. I’ve used ‘Blads and Phases but prefer the Pentax.
Such silky smooth files. Rock solid reliability. 3FPS. Snappy focus. Weatherproof. And with a huge range of lenses (both current and legacy).

Pentax FA 80-160mm f/4.5
Pentax FA 35mm f/2
Pentax FA 75mm f/2.8
Pentax FA 45-85mm f/4.5
Pentax FA 120mm f/4
Pentax DFA 50mm f/1.4
Pentax FA 150mm f/2.8
Pentax 75mm f/2.8 LS
Pentax A SMC 300mm f/4
Pentax 1.4X converter A
Pentax 2X converter A

Sony a7R II. Solid and reliable. Battery life isn’t great so I got the power grip to get around that.

Canon 5D Mark III. This camera is getting bit old but I keep it around as it works with the Camranger remote control via an iPad. It’s useful in some situations. Or if I need very fast focus with my Canon lenses.

Canon 1Ds Mark III. Again, a rather old camera but handy for timelapses paired with a Promote Systems controller.

As I’m transitioning from Canon to Sony, I’m using an adapter with the flowing lenses. I’m also keeping them around in case Canon decides to come up with something up to date and I’ll consider buying that.
Metabones adapter T mk iv Canon to Sony
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS ii
Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS ii
Canon 24-70mm f/4.0L ii USM
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L ii USM
Canon 24mm f/1.4L ii USM
Canon 50mm f/1.2L USM
Canon 85mm f/1.2L USM

Sony a6300. What a great little camera. 4K @ 25FPS and 1080P at 100FPS.
Sony OSS 50mm f/1.8
Sigma 16mm f/1.4
Sony E18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS
Sony E35mm f/1.8
Moza Aircross stabiliser with cross arm supports and wifi remote controller. Perfect parter for the a6300
Small HD 5 inch Focus Monitor. Great daylight-viewable monitor to attach to the gimbal.
Rode Videomicro microphone. Lightweight and great sound quality to attach to the stabiliser cross arm for run-and-gun.
For more involved video productions:
Audio Technica ATR 3350 lavalier microphones (x2)
Rode NTG3 Shotgun Mike
2 X Audio Technica AT899 Condenser Lavalier Microphones
Zoom H6 Sound Recorder
Zoom H6 Bi-directional mic attachment
Tascam DR100 recorder
Sony MDR7508 Headphones

Miscellaneous gear:
Go Pro Hero 5 black
Sony RX100 iv
DJI Mavic drone
Apple Mac Pro with Dell 30- and 24-inch displays
Apple MacBook pro 15-inch laptop
Apple iPad
Apple iPad Pro
Camranger remote control via iPad
Miops remote trigger for camera and/or flashes
Promote Systems controller
C-stands, Manfrotto stands and booms, reflectors, light shapers: Literally a truck load. Too many to mention.

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