Hi. My name is Shane Anderson, and photography for me stemmed out of my love of the arts. I was a practising multimedia artist and classically trained musician who happened upon a camera one day; I found a few ways to compose and create.
A lot of my life was spent in Midwestern America shooting primarily lifestyle and family, but in the last few years, I have been all around the globe pursuing the (personally more fun) fashion and beauty side of things.
My whole philosophy stems from the basic thought of, “How can I create something out of nothing?” This is true for how I view my life as well as my photo kit!
I travel decently enough, so it is important for my main kit to be versatile and compact. Through my ventures, I have become very resourceful and I have become very aware of what I *need*.
With me is all I need to make a beautiful image, even in the most difficult moment (assuming we are chatting about daylight here; fashion/beauty creatives can require a wide range of equipment which is sometimes necessary for success).
Nikon D750: With great image quality, skin tone, and dynamic range, this body is my go-to for projects that don’t require billboard resolution. On top, the body is lightweight, has a nifty tilt screen (which has been a lifesaver for awkward angle shots), and has great memory capacity with dual SD ports.
Sigma Art 50mm f/1.4: This is my go-to prime lens. I have found that the glass of this lens gives the photos you take a special sort of glow.
Because this lens can go quite low in aperture, one of my favourite things to do is dial down to around f/2 – f/2.8 and play with distancing myself from the subject to simultaneously capture the dreamy quality lower aperture provides, while keeping more of everything in focus by stepping back.
Nikon 24-120mm f/4: This lens hardly ever leaves my body. With such a wide range of focal lengths and razor focus on each, this lens is the master of versatility. When I am shooting, I love to capture details.
With this on my body, I am able to capture a series of full-body fashion shots and then close in on a makeup detail.
Similarly, when I shoot reportage, this lens is marvellous to track subjects and capture the moment. It is worth noting though, that when using a lens with such a dynamic range of focal length, you must be very cognisant of what you are shooting.
It can be very easy to become lazy and not be aware of where in the focal plane you are shooting. Whenever I use this lens, I think of it as a prime — always checking in before I shoot, thinking, “I think this portrait would be good at 85mm,” rather than absentmindedly cranking the barrel.
Nikon Speedlight SB-700: I don’t use speedlight flash too often, but it is good to have on hand. I recall once I was photographing a Talent next to a marble fixture in a park. It was very sunny, a nice day light, but I wanted a bit of an unexpected highlight.
So, I swivelled the flash to face the marble, and the bounce gave me just the effect I was after.
Fotobestway Reflector/Diffuser: To be quite honest, I had never heard of this brand before, but this reflector is my favourite. I happened upon it in a photo store in Italy while I was looking for supplies for a shoot.
This kit comes with a diffuser disc as well as a reflector panel of white, black, grey, silver, gold, and a gold/silver mixture.
This is always by my side. If needed, I can fold the reflector bit and use it for a beauty highlight, or I can use it to create a larger pool of light. Great for both indoors and outdoors. It is nothing fancy, but does the job just fine!
Grandfather’s Strap: This strap is both emotionally and aesthetically important to me. The arts have always run through my family — painters, potters, and everything in-between.
Though I was never able to meet him, my grandfather was a photographer and this was his (very stylish!) piece. I am very honoured to shoot on such a beautiful strap and hope to bring it new life with each project I work on!
Hardware & Software
Apple MacBook Pro: This is what I use to do all of my editing when travelling and is my main hub for any of the business side of my career!
LaCie 4TB Hard Drive: I have had so many drives over the years, but I always make sure to have one on me at all times. As much as I can, I try and make them a bit more interesting; this one has a sticker of a Picasso-inspired self-portrait on it.
Adobe Suite: These apps are the main programs I use to make my edits. Lightroom is great and user-friendly for colour. Photoshop, of course, allows one to be a bit more precise and is used for any major or intense edits I create.
Premiere: This is my primary editing software for any video content I produce. InDesign is great to visualise layouts; when I make selects, I like to think of them visually as a spread or story. I also make any portfolios, creative decks, etc. with InDesign!
Presets: I have a general preset called “The New Cool” (based on an editorial for which I created the Preset) that is a base for most of my photos. I also have both sepia (guide) and normal black and white treatments which I’ve labelled “Durban” and “Goodbye” respectively.
Each photo I make goes through a workflow that goes way past what a preset can do, but this provides a good starting point for colouring and black/white balance!
I also make presets for photographers interested in learning fashion colouring and toning! My most recent creation, the WAYFINDER Preset Pack, is inspired by the energy, colours, and emotion of the world’s fashion capitals.
Wacom Intuos Pro: Retouching for me is like painting; this is my easel for any retouch I do.
Pocket LED Flashlight: This LED is great to give interesting spots of detail in photos. I do not use it too often, but I try and keep it with me in case there is an opportunity. In the past, I have used it to create a subtle backlight in the hair, a soft glow on a clothing detail, etc.
Inspirations Booklet: Sculpture is one of my biggest inspirations. For me, it is mind-blowing to be able to conceive a pose and emotion with such precision and then realise it from a large piece of rock. If such attention to detail can be achieved in this fashion, then there is so much to learn from this in photography!
I like to have a book filled with these kinds of inspirations: sculpture for form and how body positioning can convey emotion; paintings for mood; personal sketches and ideas; etc.
Extra Batteries: My worst nightmare is to run out of batteries on a shoot.
2x SanDisk 32GB Extreme PRO Card: I always have two cards with me. Usually, this is more than enough for a shoot, but I am constantly backing up to my drive. If I did fill it up, it would be no worries. These particular disks are fast as well, with a speed of 95 MB/s.
HOYA 4 Prong Star Filter: Again, this isn’t something I always use, but if the mood of the shoot could use a sparkle or two, I apply the star filter for a little something special. I like to use it if there is glitter involved or if the styling is particularly shimmery.
Every night on the way back to West Ham, I would look back down the tracks at blue electric sparks that cast a glow through the tunnel. I am not sure why, but the Jubilee line seemed to do this more than the District, or Central, or any other route of the London Underground.
Moments occur in life where after long periods of what seems like nothing we see a giant spark in front of our path. Perhaps we don’t exactly know what it is, or what it means, but it stirs something. Maybe we were comforted from its flame, or burned, or startled by its sudden existence.
Whatever it was that sparked in us we have to choose to act upon it, even if we do not exactly know the outcome. Most of the decisions we make are too finely based on the question “What will happen if I … ?”
We forget that there is beauty in sudden action and moving like a wave with what the world hurls at us. We view bad experiences and mistakes as “wrong.” I am not saying to do anything on a whim or be foolish, but to have a greater inner awareness.
This is where we learn to make art — out of acceptance and in the shades of grey that lie between the highs and lows that have happened.
I like to play with the concept of pouring every bit of emotion into a piece, and then in my next work removing myself completely and focusing on a more logic-based abstract sense of beauty.
Art is part of any sort of photography, even if your work documents the lives of others.
I advise: Learn how to see with any amount of gear you have and don’t be afraid to catch your heart on fire.
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