Scott Wyden Kivowitz
Hi, I’m Scott, a photographer from New Jersey in the United States. My work is divided into a few categories. Families, cakes smashes, businesses (headshots and brands), and then, my personal favorites, landscapes and street photography.
When going to college for photography, I knew immediately that I did not want to spend my day-to-day, full-time job, doing photography. I did not want to grow to hate it.
So instead, I surrounded myself with jobs in the photography industry that were not necessarily making photos. I assisted, then started working at Mack Worldwide Warranty.
I spent six years there, helping customers get their equipment repaired, then as social media grew, I worked my way into the marketing side of the company.
Fast forward a few years and I landed a job at Imagely, where I continue to work today.
With my history stated, know that I do make photos for clients as well. My most common client work is for families, doing sessions in their homes, or on location somewhere outside.
I also offer cake smash photo sessions for 1-year-olds which is either done in the client’s home or in my studio. I also offer headshots and personal brand photography to businesses.
In my little free time between full-time work, photography work and family, I try to get out and capture landscapes and street photos. That is what I love the most, as it helps me clear my head.
I also have a photography education business which includes courses, ebooks, presets and more. I promote the paid content with tons of free content through YouTube and my photo education blog.
As for gear, my go-to workhorse camera at this moment is the Nikon D850. The camera can handle anything I throw at it.
However, whenever I make video content for myself or clients, I capture it on the Nikon Z6. My hope in the future is to convert to a complete mirrorless system with whatever replaces the Nikon Z7.
When it comes to the lenses, I do have a handful of zoom lenses, but lean more towards primes for client work.
On the Nikon Z6, I tend to use the kit lens, which is the Nikon 24-70mm f/4, as it has fast autofocus and is sharp and quiet. The f/4 aperture has the appearance of an f/2.8 from other lenses. It is impressive. The lens is on the Nikon Z6 98% of the time.
Other zoom lenses I have and use occasionally are the Nikon 24-120mm f/4 and the Nikon 70-200mm f/4. I used to utilize the f/2.8 equivalents of those lenses from Nikon, but I found myself rarely ever going to f/2.8 with them and constantly between f/4 and f/11. So it made sense to stay lighter and save money.
I will dig into my prime lenses and uses starting from the widest to the longest.
The Nikon 20mm f/1.8 is my go-to for wide landscapes as well as large groups. The lens is small, light, and very sharp. The edge distortion is minimal as well.
The Nikon 35mm f/1.8 is also light, small, and sharp. I use it for full body portraits, small groups, and as my default street photography lens.
The Nikon 85mm f/1.8 is a little heavier, but not by much. This is my absolute favorite lens and is used for headshots, other single person portraits, as well as for street photography.
Last, but not least, is the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 lens which is a macro. I occasionally use the lens for headshots as needed, but for the most part, I use it for close-ups of products, for some video b-roll, and a few other things.
When it comes to lighting my scenes, I use a combination of monolights and small strobes.
I have a couple of Godox SB-600 Pro lights which are so portable and powerful. I typically use them manually with the wireless trigger, adjusting on the fly. But every now and then I need the benefit of the built-in high-speed sync.
I also have a bunch of the Nikon SB-800 Speedlight which are so compact and pack a punch.
I use all these lights through umbrellas, softboxes, gels, grids, and other light modifiers for the most flexibility I can achieve with minimal gear at any given time.
No matter what equipment I am using at any given time, I always have my camera ready to go on my Spider Holster.
In addition to the Spider Pro Holster and Spider Pro Plate, I also use the Spider Pro Clamp and even the Spider Pro Lens Collar Plate for the Nikon 70-200mm f/4.
My tripods of choice are from Really Right Stuff, which is also an Arca Swiss system. My go-to tripod is the Really Right Stuff TVC-24 MK2.
I am a big fan of Think Tank Photo and MindShift Gear bags, so I use them for my daily carry as well as for client work.
For daily use, I pack into the MindShift Gear UltraLight 25L or the MindShift Gear UltraLight 16L.
When traveling on a plane, I typically pack into the MindShift Gear BackLight 26L. But when commuting to a client’s home, or other location, I tend to use rolling bags.
I use the Think Tank Photo Airport Advantage for camera equipment, Think Tank Photo International for my lights, and the Think Tank Photo Video Tripod Manager 44 for light stands and modifiers.
I had the fortune of starting my photography industry career at a company that not only sold equipment in their retail store but also repaired equipment every day.
So I have seen what products are made well, not made well, and should or should not be purchased. I have also had the opportunity to try out a lot of equipment before considering a purchase.
So, my advice to anyone still reading this is to think carefully before purchasing equipment. You do not need the knickknacks. You do not need the latest, greatest thing. Spend more on quality equipment once, and treat it well. That way you won’t be buying a replacement a few years later.