I’m an entertainment, music and celebrity photographer based in Los Angeles and Nashville. My background is as a painter, and back in 2001 I was only using a camera to bring texture into my design work. It wasn’t until 2005 that I switched to being a full time photographer.
More recently I’ve been involved in humanitarian projects including Help-Portrait, a global movement of photographers who give free portraits to those in need. In the last 2 years, more than 150,000 photos have been given in 42 countries. I hope that Help-Portrait continues to encourage you photographers to use your platform to make a difference with your cameras!
In June 2014 I founded a new social network called OKDOTHIS which I hope will encourage our growth as photographers and inspire us all to DO more. if you’d like to join the growing global community, head over to iTunes and download it for free.
I’ve always said that it’s not about the gear, and I still stand by that. Any great photographer should be able to create great images without fancy gear, lighting or post-production.
Having said that, I do love my gear! I still get giddy every time I get any new piece of equipment— because new gear means new opportunities to learn, new means to create, new reasons to shoot. Anytime I mention gear on social media, it’s like opening Pandora’s box. People want to know the details, and the questions keep coming. I totally understand that sharing our ideas and the tools we use to make our art inspires us all to continue to create, which is why I’m sharing this list with you now.
This is just a small selection of my gear for Shotkit. If you’d like to see a complete list of my camera gear, head over to my homepage where you can download my Photographer’s Toolkit.
Mac Book Pro – Duh, who doesn’t use a Mac? It’s so obvious, I almost didn’t include it. I no longer use a desktop Mac cause my Macbook Pro is powerful enough to do all my image processing, even on the run.
Hasselblad H5D-50C Medium Format – I don’t own this camera but I rent these medium format cameras and digital backs on my larger TV and advertising shoots. Shooting with the Hasselblad H5D-50C is kind of like shooting with a Lamborghini in your hands. Legit.
Canon 5D Mark III – This is my main, go-to camera for the majority of my photoshoots. I’ve been a Canon shooter since the day my first camera in high school.q So I’m usually using Canon’s latest and greatest camera bodies, such as this Canon 5D Mark III.
Fujifilm X-T1 – These FujiFilm cameras are insane! I especially love their tones. They handle dark light and bright sunlight better than my Canon could ever imagine. And my favorite feature on the X-T1 is the wi-fi capability. I beam images to my iPhone from it all the time.
Fujifilm X 100S – This little camera is just dead sexy. I think Zack Arias once called the X100S the best digital camera of all-time. I use this thing all the time, especially when I want something super small and portable, but better than my iPhone.
Fujifilm X-Pro 1 – This was my first intro to FujiFilm cameras with interchangeable lenses. I fell in love with this camera and nearly used it for all family and personal purposes until I got a hold of the X100S and X-T1. Great camera though and each firmware update has greatly improved it.
Polaroid SX-70 – This thing is a classic! The Polaroid SX-70 Original Camera is the first camera Polaroid produced for integral film, and is still revered as one of the most beautiful creations ever.
Polaroid SLR 680 – This is a professional folding instant SLR camera with sonar auto-focus and a built-in electronic flash that automatically tilts depending on focus distance.
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 – I shoot a lot of bands and big groups
so this wide angle lens really comes in handy. Just don’t use it for up-close por- traits unless you’re aiming for the most unflattering portraits of all-time.
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II – This lens is a work of art. It’s crazy sharp and is just the perfect all-around zoom lens. I use it VERY regularly. I’ll never forget the first time I used a 24-70. I just knew it would become my go-to lens and it has been ever since.
Canon 50mm f/1.2 – This is obviously a great, fast portrait lens. And crazy sharp. I don’t use it for headshots but it’s great for 3/4 portrait shots or full body. I also take advantage of those f/1.2 capabilities pretty often, especially in low light.
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 – I love this lens and use it all the time. I mostly use it for family purposes. I love documenting my son’s baseball and basketball games with it. And I also love using it on my humanitarian trips to Africa, Haiti, etc.
Canon 85mm f/1.2 – This is my go-to portrait lens, especially for tight headshots, etc. It’s fast, sharp crazy good in low light. I’m in love with this Canon 85mm. And let’s be honest, it’s a beefy piece of equipment and makes you really look like you know what you’re doing. So if nothing else, it will make you look fantastic. Oh, and your images too.
Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro – This lens doesn’t stay in my main camera bag but I still use it fairly frequently when I have macro needs. It gets the job done.
Lensbaby Composer Pro – This lens is just plain fun. Normal lenses can get boring. But Lensbabies truly bring back the fun and experimentation in photography. I love the results I get out of this lens.
Fujifilm 18mm f/2 – Designed specifically for the Fujifilm X-series of interchangeable lens cameras with APS-C sensors, this Fujifilm 18mm f/2 XF R lens is a lightweight, compact wide-angle “pancake” lens equivalent to 27mm in 35mm format.
Fujifilm 18-55mm f/2.8-4 – this is Fujifilm’s first zoom lens for the X mount on their X-series interchangeable lens digital cameras.
Fujifilm 60mm f/2.8 – this is a short telephoto lens equivalent to 90mm in 35mm format.
Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 – this is a prime portrait-length lens that pro- vides a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 85mm when used with Fujifilm APS-C-sized mirrorless digital cameras.
Profoto B1 500 AIRTTL – I don’t own these lights (yet) but this is basically THE perfect light. I’ve rented them several times. No battery packs or wires attached. Just throw a couple in your backpack and go. If you’re considering getting into strobes, look no further.
Profoto AcuteB2 600 AirS/R Power pack with PocketWizard – This little kit has traveled the world with me to over 20 countries and I’m blown away that it’s even still firing. The consistency and reliability of Profoto lights is crazy. I’ve been a Profoto user since day one.
Profoto 5 foot Octabank – Go big or go home. Seriously, I’ve never met anyone that didn’t like the way they looked after being lit with a massive, soft light. You simply can’t go wrong with this diffuser or any brand of large octabanks for that matter.
Profoto Beauty Dish – This diffuser is perfect for up-close beauty lighting and headshots. And be- cause it’s circular, it makes for a great catchlight in your subject’s eyes.
Profoto Beauty Dish Softlight Kit & Grid – I love putting the grid on my beauty dish. It really focuses the light and gives my subject a lot more mood. I use the grid pretty much every time I use the beauty dish.
Profoto Grids – You have to have grids laying around when working with strobes. They’re perfect for focusing light. I use them often to create rim lights on the sides of my subjects.
As for triggers, I use the PocketWizard Plus II Transceiver and the PocketWizard Multimax 32 Channel Transceiver.
Gaffer tape, apple boxes, fog machine, sandbags, color gels and music – You have to have music on sets. Otherwise it gets really awkward. I love my Bose bluetooth speaker cause I can throw it in my backpack and take it on location with me as well. And it’s plenty loud enough for a large photoshoot.
G-Technology 8TB G-Raid with Thunderbolt – This is my main “workhorse” drive that I use most frequently on a daily basis. It is screaming fast and reliable. I’ve nev- er had a G-Tech drive go bad on me. I keep a backup copy at home and a 3rd in a secured location.
G-Technology 12TB with G-Speed – This drive is obviously not as fast as my thunderbolt but I use it to store older work. It’s great for transmitting the large amounts of data demanded by video files. It features four 3TB hot-swappable drives.
G-Technology 1TB Mobile HD with Thunderbolt – I keep a couple of these drives in my backpack and download to these as backups when I’m traveling or doing shoots on location.
G-Technology 500GB Mobile USB Hard Drive – Most of my clients require that I deliver RAW files and JPEGs to them on a hard drive and these are the drives I use for that.
Tether Tools Jerkstopper Tethering Kit – The JerkStopper Tethering Kit (RJ11 Telephone Jack), exclusively from Tether Tools, is the complete tethered setup that secures the cables of both your camera and computer.
Tether Tools Tether Cable – It sounds silly but I love this orange cable. There’s lots of cables on any shoot and it’s VERY important that you don’t trip over this one since it’s connected to your camera and computer. So orange is a very important colour.
Nine Volt Digiplate system – This system is as legit and well-built as they get. My friend Dana Neibert created this gear and nailed it. I use my Nine Volt gear on every shoot now, in addition to my Tether Tools gear. Different gear for different needs.
Nine Volt Digishade – The Digishade is another great way to protect your laptop from the harsh sunlight when shooting outdoors. It’s extremely heavy duty… highly recommended.
ThinkTank Pixel Sunscreen – This little foldable thing is brilliant! It also shields your laptop from the sun but is far more lightweight for quick on the run shoots. I use this one all the time too.
I also use Tether Table Aero Master, Aero Hooks, Tether Tools Aero Propad, Tether Tools Aero XDC, Tether Tools Securestrap for Aero System, Tether Tools Organization Case, and the Tether Tools Aero ProPad Aero Standard.
Epson Stylus Pro 4900 – Any printer comes with a load of issues. I don’t think the perfect printer has ever been made. But when this printer gets it right, it NAILS it. I love printing huge 17×22 prints in my studio. I sell prints on my website and print them all myself with this printer.
Epson Stylus Photo R3000 – Ditto to everything I said about the 4900. This printer is the exact same thing as above but smaller. It prints at 13×19 inches and I mostly use it at home.
Epson Hot Press Bright – This is my favorite, most used Epson paper. It’s got a gorgeous matte finish. It’s archival and museum-quality. Love it.
Epson Exhibition Fiber – My 2nd favorite, this paper has a beautiful gloss finish. I don’t use it often, but when I do, I’m super pleased with it.
Epson Velvet Fine Art – This is a super thick watercolor type paper. I don’t use it often but if you’re into that kind of thing, then you should check it out.
Epson Cold Press Bright – Similar to the Hot Press Bright but not as warm and inviting. I mainly use this when I’m out of Hot Press Bright paper. :)
ThinkTank Airport Roller 2.0 – This is my main, go-to camera bag. This thing has traveled to 20+ countries with me. I keep my cameras, lenses and even a Profoto travel light and bat- tery pack in there. I love that it’s a back- pack but can roll too. I mostly roll it. :)
Mono Flyby Backpack – This has been my main backpack for my laptop and external hard drives
for years now. It’s a great bag. MONO is known for making musician’s bags but they’re starting to dabble in photography bags.
ThinkTank Mirrorless Bags – I basically own all of these bags… The City Walker 10, the Mover 20, Mover 10, Mover 30i, Mover 5, etc. I’m constantly rotating these bags when I’m shooting with my FujiFilm cameras on the run. They’re great for family outings too.
I also use the ThinkTank Retrospective 40 Bag and the ONA Brixton Bag.
Wacom Cintiq 24HD – This is an incredibly powerful tool. I love drawing tablets but being able to draw directly on the monitor always trumps a tablet. The Cintiq takes me back to my art classes and I love it.
Wacom Inkling Digital Sketch Pen – This is what the future looks like. You draw or write on paper and it digitally scans it so you can open on your computer?! Way too cool and way too fun. This is definitely a toy for grown-ups.
72′ Updesk – Love my UpDesk! These desks electronically raise and lower at the touch of a button. So I can easily go from a standup desk to a sit-down desk any time. Basically I stand it up when I’m feeling healthy and motivated (or want to dance), then I sit back down when the healthy phase passes.
Whiteboard Updesk – Ditto to everything I said above. But with the whiteboard desk, I can draw on it and take notes. And my favorite thing is when my kids raid my office and draw pictures and love notes for Dad all over it.
Narrative Clip – This little gadget is awesome! It takes a photo every 30 seconds. You can attach it to your shirt or anything for that matter. It automatically turns off when you put it in you pocket. It’s great for time-lapse behind the scenes on photoshoots.
Google Glass – I don’t use them much, yet. But there are some pretty cool uses for them, such as filming behind the scenes on a shoot and narrating as I go. My friend Trey Ratcliff uses them a lot for that purpose.