Joel Grimes

My name is Joel Grimes, and have been working full time as a commercial advertising photographer for over thirty years. At the very core, I am a portrait shooter making my subject look larger than life.

Over the past seven or so years have concentrated on primarily on working with composites. At first I got all sorts of grief from other photographers because I was looked at as “cheating” or manipulating my images outside the so call traditional photographic approach. But in the end, I view myself as a artist with a set of tools.

For my formal education, I received a BFA in Photography from the University of Arizona in 1984. It has been my passion for the creative process, my unending exploration of experimenting and trying new things, and a hard work ethic that has giving me the ability to compete in today marketplace.

Nearly every portrait I take, I am incorporating some kind of artificial light. I do this for two main reasons. Most obvious, is the control I have on how light strikes the face. Second and most important, I want to create an image that is not an exact representation of the real world we live in. Because first of all, it is impossible. And second, the real world is something we see everyday.

Most of us what to be taken into a world of make believe or might I dare say, a world of fantasy.

I believe we are in the greatest age of photography since its inception. This is because we have more tools to create today than ever before. In the end, it is all about he creative process.


I have all sorts of equipment, but here is a basic list.


I am currently using a Canon 5D Mark III and the new Pentax 645Z.

The Pentax 645Z operates just like any 35mm type DSL camera.  All the bells and whistles are there with a few new features added.  Going from a smaller digital camera to the Pentax 645Z was just a matter of learning the basic functions.  Within an hour after I opened up the box, I was cranking away creating images.  That’s with no hired service tech standing over my shoulder. Try that with a Hasselblad medium camera system!


Canon – Canon 17mm f/4 Tilt Shift, Canon 24mm f/3.5 Tilt Shift, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8, Canon 50mm f/1.4, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8.

Pentax – Pentax 25mm f/4, Pentax 35mm f/2.4, Pentax 55mm f/1.4, Pentax 90mm f/2.8,



I use three 150mm Neutral Density filters, 3 stop, 6 stop, 10 stop.


I have a Really Right Stuff TVC-33 with BH-40 Ball Head


Paul C Buff Einsteins.


RadioPopper Jr2 Transmitter and RadioPopper Einstein Receivers


Pretty much exclusively Westcott products; I primarily use the Westcott 36×48″ Soft boxes with Grids, Westcott 36″ Rapid Box, the Westcott 5ft Octabank and Westcott 7ft Octabank, the Westcott 7ft White Parabolic Umbrellas with diffusion.


All Apple products and keep them current as much as possible. I have three 27″ iMac’s all with 32 megs of ram.  For my laptop I have the latest 15″ Macbook Pro with 16 megs of ram.

Digital Storage:

I have a 32 TB Synology Raid system


  1. Stephen Shiller on April 22, 2016 at 6:33 am

    Hi Joel,

    What color management software/devices do you recommend? I too, have a 27″ iMac.

  2. Jason Nguyen on March 17, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    can you show me how to mount Pentax 55mm f/1.4 on the 645z ? I would love to do it.

  3. Joel Grimes on March 22, 2015 at 7:27 am

    I have collection of camera bags but have lately stuck with ThinkTank. The one showing in the picture of my gear is the ThinkTank Streetwalker. I also have the ThinkTank Airport Roller. Here are the links at BH Photo:

  4. Matthew Sperzel on March 13, 2015 at 7:00 am

    Thanks for sharing Joel, huge fan of your work! quick question, what’s the bag you’re using (pictured)?

  5. Allister Freeman on March 13, 2015 at 1:42 am

    Great post and info, love the look of that Pentax.

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