Other than “How’d you do that?” the most oft-asked question for professionals is, “What gear do you use?” As many of my students would predict, I’ll begin with a story.
Charles Guildner, an acquaintance of mine, is a large-format, silver-gelatin print photographer who focuses on portraits of ranchers. Great stuff. He has a great story about a show he was doing a few years back; after admiring his photos for a spell, a woman approached him and said, “Wow, these are really great. You must have a really nice camera.”
Taken aback, Chuck asked, “Are you a good cook, ma’am?”
“Yes,” she answered.
“Gosh, I guess that means you must have a really nice stove,” he replied.
My point is this: gear can only help improve photos which are already shot with good knowledge of technical fundamentals (including aperture, shutter speed, ISO, depth of field, hyperfocal length, polarization, types of light, etc.) and good compositional techniques. I have had students who were recognized as national news and sports champions, all the while shooting with cheap Rebel DSLRs and $100 lenses. That doesn’t mean gear doesn’t matter; it does. You’ll get more keepers, more color, more clarity, and more diversity with better gear. But remember: gear is just gear. The photographer’s skill and vision are most important.
That said, here’s what I’m currently using:
- Epson 3880
- Red River Papers
- Moab Papers
- Epson Velvet Paper
- Canson Infinity Arches Aquarelle Rag Paper
- Sony Alpha A7R
- Canon 5D Mark II
- Lenses: Canon 17-40mm F/4 L, 24-105mm F/4 L IS, 70-200mm F/4 L, 100-400 F/4.5-5.6mm L IS, 24mm F/3.5 L TS-E II, Canon F/2.8 28mm FD, Canon F/1.8 50mm FD, Canon F/3.5 135mm FD, Canon F/4 100mm Macro S.C., Zeiss Planar M F/2 50mm, Zeiss Loxia F/2 35mm
- Lighting: Canon 550 EX II, Canon 430EX II, Canon MR-14 II Ring Light, LED Spotlights, Westcott TD5 & TD6 Spiderlites, Elinchrom BRX 250 & 500 moonlights, all other sortsa cards, fingers, gobos, flags, reclaimed windows and modifier-y things
- Canon 25mm Extension Tube
- Canon cable release
- Canon intervalometer
- Sony cable release
- Sony PlayMemories iPad app
- Apple iPad Mini and iPad 2
- Tripod: Manfrotto 055XB Pro with Mini Ball head
- Filters: B+W 3.0 ND, Slim Circular Polarizers, UV 0, Deep Red
- Software: Adobe Photoshop, Apple Aperture, NIK Complete Collection