Tamara Lackey

Hi, I’m Tamara Lackey, and I’ve been shooting professionally for 12 years now and run an associate-based studio in Durham, North Carolina. I focus on portrait, editorial and commercial work, am lucky to stay really busy – and I love, love, love this work.

In terms of gear – as much as I like to keep things as simple as possible, it’s extraordinarily helpful to have the right gear on hand when needed. I do most shoots with at least two different cameras and typically work through 3-4 lenses on each shoot, and that’s the least of what I’ll travel with for my shoots. I’m a big fan of letting the lenses help me vary things up a bit while I stay focused on the subjects and, specifically, the interaction. I reeeeally care about expression and authenticity in the images, so I try to “stay” with my subject and not get lost in the gear.

I’m also quite familiar with which lenses work best in which scenarios – and, since I vary scenarios frequently in a rather short amount of time, it’s useful to have a variety of them at hand.

The Nikon 85mm f/1.4 is my go-to portrait lens, the Nikon 35mm f/1.4 is a great, fast wide lens for groups and movement, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 enables me to make something out of any situation and is also very fast to focus, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lets me step back and give my subjects room and really enhance the bokeh, the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 is very crisp lens that also gives me macro capabilities and I love the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 for architectural, landscapes, and wide, center-composed portraits.

As for lighting, I’m usually rotating between natural light and reflectors, portable strobes (Profoto), constant light in the studio (Westcott) and speedlights (Nikon) when needed.

Gear listing:

Dasher – my Australian Shepherd/Boxer mix who likes to sits at my feet whenever possible. He loves editing time, is a very patient lighting model, and has never peed on any of my equipment, ever.

Nikon D4s

Nikon D4

Nikon D810

Nikon D800

Nikon D750

Nikon 1 V3

Nikon 85mm f/1.4

Nikon 35mm f/1.4

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8

Nikon 105mm f/2.8

Nikon 50mm f/1.4

Not pictured: Nikon 85mm f/1.8, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8

Nikon SB-910 x2

Reflector (quite a few – Glow and Westcott)

Profoto Portable Strobes

Westcott Ice Light

Light stand

Gepe Extreme card cases

G Drive 1TB thunderbolts

Macbook Pro 15 in retina display


Not pictured: Sirui T-2205X tripod & ballhead, Westcott Spiderlites in studio


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  1. Stan Bax on June 3, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Interesting profile, based in Warsaw Poland, but will be in NC some time this year – any good birding sites in NC ?

  2. Tamara Lackey on June 3, 2015 at 12:34 am

    Thanks for the profile! Great site : )

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