What’s In My Studio?




Updated: January 31, 2015

I remember when I first started out in Photography and wanted to get serious about it, I had lots of questions about what to buy? No one wants to make a  large investment in the “wrong gear”. I often get questions from New Photographers or Photographers looking to set up their 1st studio, asking what equipment should they get? That’s a hard question to answer without knowing what you plan on shooting the most, your space and your budget. My primary focus is Portrait – (Beauty, Fashion & Glamour). Rather than trying to address every single situation individually I thought it would be easier to share with you the equipment I use and then you can take it from there. I have a 4,800 sq foot studio space and yes I LOVE IT! If you see something you think you’d like to have in your studio then you can just go ahead and get it.




Nikon D810 DSLR Digital Camera (Body Only) –  – My primary studio camera

Nikon D600 DSLR Camera (Body Only) – My travel Camera and backup body

Nikon WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter – For shooting wirelessly to my iPad or remote triggering from my iPhone.

Meike D600 Battery Grip – I love battery grips when doing portrait or extended location shoots.

Camera Straps

Your DSLR most likely came with a camera strap and in big bold print it advertises the brand and model of your camera. It’s like saying to the world, “hey, I’ve got an expensive camera right here. Come steal it!” I prefer something a little less flashy and more versatile.

Up Strap – I like this one for travel and photo walks as it will NOT slip off your shoulder.

Black Rapid R-Strap – I like this one for photo walks and when I’m using longer lenses, heavier bodies.

OP Tech Super Classic 3/8 – I also like this one for travel.

Point & Shoot Cameras

Canon S95 – My point & shoot primarily used for concerts where DLSRs are prohibited (I’d either get the Nikon Nikon 1 V1 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 10-30mm and 30-110mm Lenses (Black) or Canon PowerShot S100 Digital Camera (Black) now)

iPhone 6 Plus – Yep, I use this one almost as much as my DSLRs because it’s always with me. While the S95/S100 is a better P&S camera, the iPhone is ALWAYS with me. I even created an “iPhone Photography Portfolio” here.



Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens My primary lens

Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 – An older lens I got off eBay a few years back. The current Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Autofocus Lens (Black) replaces it.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Zoom Lens – My main travel lens

Nikon Telephoto AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF Autofocus Lens  Mine is the older version, today I’d get this version. – I use this mostly in natural or low light situations and portraits

Nikon AF-S Zoom Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF Lens – My wide angle lens mostly used for landscape shoots.

Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8G ED DX Fisheye Nikkor Lens – Mostly used when I travel and do landscape shoots

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens – I use this for those rare occasions when I shoot closeups on products, hands/nails and jewelry.

Mamiya 72mm Rubber Lens Hood – for my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII Lens.


Lighting & Light Modifiers

I use Elinchrom for my strobes and Westcott for my continuous lighting. I use Nikon speedlights for air travel or my Elinchrom Quadra kit for local on location shoots. With each lighting system I use a variety of modifiers. My favorite is the Octa softbox.

2 Elinchrom Digital Style Combo 600RX Two Monolight Kit with EL Skyport (120VAC) – Portrait lighting <- I want 2 more of these

1 Elinchrom Style BX 500 Ri Compact MonoLight (90-260VAC) – Portrait lighting <-but I’ll probably just go with 2 more of these instead since they’re so much cheaper.

1 Elinchrom Midi Octa Light Bank for Flash Softbox

1 Elinchrom 39″ Mini Octa Lite Bank Softbox Softbox for on location shoots

1 Elinchrom 27.5″ Rotalux Deep Octa Softbox – great for quick falloff of light

1 Elinchrom Rotalux Softbox 27 x 27″ (69 x 69 cm) Softbox

1 Elinchrom 17″ White Minisoft Reflector for Elinchrom Beauty Dish and Impact 18″ Diffuser Sock

2 Elinchrom Rotalux Softbox for Flash

1 Lastolite Kickerlite Floor Level Softbox – 3×4′ (91x122cm)

Elinchrom Ranger Quadra Head S Pro Set – For my on location shoots.

Elinchrom Skyport SPEED Transmitter to trigger the Elinchrom strobes

2 Westcott Spiderlite TD6 2 Light Perfect Portrait Kit Deluxe (110V) – For Portrait and Product shots – Continuous Lighting

I still have some Westcott Spiderlite TD5’s that I primarily use for video or backup.

1 Westcott SkyLux – used for portraits, product shots and video shoots

Westcott Ice Light – used for portraits and creative lighting.

1 Lastolite Triflector MkII Kit – White/Silver – used a lot in my portrait work

1 Westcott Shallow Softbox 54 x 72″ (137 x 183 cm)

1 Westcott Shallow Softbox 36 x 48″ (91 x 122 cm)

1 Nikon SB900 Speedlight – For travel (get the Nikon SB-910 AF Speedlight i-TTL Shoe Mount Flash now)

1 Nikon SB800 Speedlight – For travel (get the Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Shoe Mount Flash now)

2 PocketWizard Plus II Transceiver / Radio Slave for the Nikon Speedlights


1 Westcott Terry White Travel Portrait Lighting Kit <- Yes it’s named after me! Woot!

1 Lastolite Ezybox Hot Shoe Softbox Kit – 24×24″ for Travel <- my old travel kit

1 Westcott Rapid Box 26″ Octa for Travel

1 Zumbrella shoot thru umbrella for Travel

2 sets of ExpoImaging Rogue FlashBender Kit for Travel

2 Matthews 24×36″ Flags

1 Westcott 7′ Parabolic Umbrella (White Diffusion)

1 Westcott Reflector – 48×72″ – Gold, White (white on one side, gold on the other)

1 Lastolite HiLite Illuminated White Background (6 x 7′) – for high-key fashion work. I put the cheapest strobe that I could find in it and set it to slave.

2 Lastolite TriGrip Diffuser, Two Stops – 48″ (1.2m)

A variety of different light stands, but I did invest in a couple of good ones on wheels: Avenger A5033 Folding Base Wheeled Studio Stand

and a great 40″ Boom Arm



Manfrotto Tripod (mine is discontinued, this one is the closest to what I have – Manfrotto 055CXPRO4 4-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs (Black)) – This one stays in the studio, but I rarely shoot portraits with a tripod.

Gitzo GT1542T Series 1 Traveler 6x Carbon Fiber 4-Section Tripod w/ G-Lock – This is the one that I travel with for landscape shoots/long exposures. It also doubles as my light stand in a pinch.

Manfrotto 131DDB Tripod Accessory Arm for Four Heads (Black) and Gitzo G065 Laptop Platform – Laptop stand/support on the road when shooting tethered.

Kirk BH-1 Ballhead with Quick Release – Supports 50 lbs (22.6kg) – the one I use in studio (Although the Kirk Ballheads are top notch, today I’d probably go with The Really Right Stuff ballheads because most of my friends use these and therefore it would be easier to use a buddy’s tripod that’s standing next to me.)

Kirk BH-3 Ballhead with Quick Release – Supports 15 lbs (6.8kg) – the one I use for travel

iStabilizer Mount for Smartphones – iPhone photography and video work

 RAM-B-121 UN9U iPad mount for my tripod.


Westcott 5501 Modern Vintage Background (9 x 12′, Onyx) I have all 6 designs, but I use Onyx the most.

Westcott Masterpiece Collapsible Reversible Background – 6×7′ – Black / White

4 Westcott X-Drop Backdrops and Stand

Mist X-Drop Kit, Quarry X-Drop, Saffron X-Drop and Slate X-Drop

My custom scenic backdrops like this one below come from Vision Bedding


6 Rolls of Savage Seamless Paper  (Fashion Gray, Canary Yellow, Blue, Coral-Pink, Black & Cocoa) Savage Seamless Background Paper (107″ x 12yds, #56 Fashion Gray), Savage Seamless Background Paper (107″ x 12yds, #38 Canary), Savage Seamless Background Paper (107″ x 12yds, #31 Blue Jay), Savage Seamless Background Paper (107″ x 12yds, #3 Coral), Savage Seamless Background Paper (107″ x 12yds, #20 Super Black), Savage Seamless Background Paper (107″ x 12yds, #80 Cocoa)) – these are permanently mounted on the walls of my studio



Camera Bags

ThinkTank International Airporter – my main on location travel bag

ThinkTank Streetwalker Hard Drive Backpack – my larger backpack for air travel to hold my camera gear and computer gear as a carry-on

Kata R-103 – My smaller backpack when I don’t need to travel with as much gear.

I have a variety of smaller bags, but the 3 above are the ones I use the most.


Studio Music System

Music is a very important part of my shoots therefore the sound has to be good (sometimes loud) and able to be heard throughout the building. Therefore I stream the same music to via AirPlay to 4 different speaker systems located throughout the building. I’m using an older MacBook Pro for this task that either plays Pandora Radio or music from my iTunes Library)

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air – speaker in the main studio area

3 Bose Soundocks with AirPort Express Base Stations (1 in the green room, 1 in the reception area and 1 in my office). Now that the iHome iW1 has shipped I would go with 3 of those instead of the Sounddocks if I had it to do over again.


Misc. Gear

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 – I couldn’t imagine doing photography without it!

Adobe Photoshop CC for all my retouching and compositing needs.

Long USB Cables for Tethering – When I shoot my D4 I’m usually tethered via Ethernet, but I also use USB tethering on other bodies.

Parrot AR.Drone 2 – for aerial photography/HD Video and behind the scenes shots

HyperDrive ColorSpace – multi-media backup device for backing up memory cards while in the field on those occasions that I don’t have my laptop and my iPad doesn’t have enough room.

NIK Plugins.

3 Apple TV 2 Set-top boxes – My photography is on display throughout the studio both in print and electronically via HDTVs and Apple TVs driving them.

Apple The New iPad 64GB WiFi+4G Verizon – I use it for portfolio display, image review, model releases and variety of other tasks. See how it fits into my workflow here.

Apple 15.4″ MacBook Pro Retina Display Notebook Computer

Dell U2412M 24″ FLAT WIDESCREEN LCD MONITOR – used when I tether and it rotates to either portrait or landscape orientation.

Wacom Cintiq 24HD My main display/tablet for retouching.

Wacom Intuos5 Wireless Digital Tablet

AV Cart on Wheels – My studio tethering setup is on this cart with a long enough extension cord to reach any of my shooting areas.

AirPort Extreme Base Station – this one access point has been amazing as it provides WiFi for the entire building.

2 BlowIt Fans – great because they mount on light stands

Fog Machine – Do I need to explain this? :-)

Mac Mini Mac OS X Server with a Drobo 5D attached. There’s also a Drobo FS on the network for additional backups of the main Drobo – Network backups for every shoot I do before I leave the building

ExpoImaging 72mm ExpoDisc Digital Warm Balance Filter (Portrait)

Solmeta N3 – GPS for geotagging integrated with my Nikon DSLRs

Trampoline for those high jump shots

Zacuto Z-Finder 3 – Great for shooting DSLR video and keeping things in focus by giving you a great view finder.

X-Rite ColorChecker Passport

Sekonic Light Meter – I rarely use it, but I have one just in case. Today I’d probably buy the Gossen DIGISKY Flash and Ambient Light Meter because it can trigger the Eincrhom strobes

Iron, Ironing board,  & a steamer.

A variety of props and furniture.


The Bottom Line

The list above represents equipment that I’ve acquired over the past 4 years. By no means do you “need” all of it, especially if you’re just starting out. Take from it what you will and keep in mind that I didn’t start with it all on day one! That’s the thing about photography, “there’s always something to buy!” No one ever told you to get into photography because it would be a “cheap” hobby! 😉

See more of my photography here.

So What’d You Get?


photo compliments of iStockphoto.com

It's that time of year again. My annual "So what'd you get?" I've been reviewing my favorite gadgets, services and photo gear all year long. Now it's your turn! Tell us what you got this holiday season (tech wise) that you're excited about? Use the comments section below. Tell us what it is, why you like it and provide links if you can? Did you get or give anything from my holiday gadget gift guide?


Hey! If you got an iDevice as a gift, check out 20 Must Have Apps here.

Continue Reading »

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All My Readers!

I just wanted to take a moment to not only wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season, but also to thank you for all your support and encouragement throughout the year! Looking forward to a great 2012!

May all your tech holiday wishes come true!





Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

Last minute gifts

You forgot _______________. It happens. That relative or friend walks through the door that you totally forgot to get a gift for and you feel bad. Yep, it happens. Personally, I wouldn't sweat it. However, for those of you who do (you know who you are) here are a couple of things you can do to save the day.

First off it may not be too late to get overnight shipping! Be sure to check out my Holiday Gadget Gift Guide here.



iTunes Printable Gift Certificates


When you go to hang up their coat, head to your computer and fire up iTunes. Then go to the iTunes Store and buy a "Printable" gift certificate. You can print it (quietly) on your printer, fold it and stick it in one of those emergency cards that you keep around. Oh yeah, you forgot those too. OK, a handwritten envelope will do. You can then explain to them that with this they can download music, books, movies, apps and more. Whew!


Amazon Printable Gift Certificates


OK, so the person that just walked in is not into digital entertainment. I get it! No problem. Head over to Amazon.com (here's the link to get you directly to the gift certificates. This way you won't be out of the room any longer than you have to be) and buy a gift certificate and print it out. Now they can go order whatever they want since Amazon sells just about everything.


Lastly pride yourself on avoiding the mall :)


Happy Holidays, Merry Christmast and get back to your guests :)



You might want to avoid shipping those big gadgets anyway :)


My Top 20 Picks for the Photographer On Your Holiday List

While I've already published my massive 2011 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide, I realize that I have quite a few photographers following me here. Therefore, I thought I'd share my Top 20 Picks for Photography Gift Ideas. These are among my favorite and most used products. 



So here they are in no particular order:


Westcott 7' Parabolic Umbrella (White Diffusion)


Nikon D7000 DSLR Camera (Body Only)


Westcott 5501 Modern Vintage Background (9 x 12', Onyx)


X-Rite ColorChecker Passport


ExpoImaging Rogue 3-in-1 Honeycomb Grid


Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Zoom Lens


Wacom Intuos4 Digital Tablet (Medium)


Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Shoe Mount Flash


Nikon SB-910 AF Speedlight i-TTL Shoe Mount Flash


Westcott Spiderlite TD6 2 Light Perfect Portrait Kit Deluxe (110V)


Elinchrom BX-Ri 500/500 To Go Set – 2 Monolight Kit (90-260VAC)


Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Software for Mac & Windows


Canon EOS 7D SLR Digital Camera (Body Only)


Nikon Nikon 1 V1 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 10mm and 10-30mm Lenses (Black)


Canon PowerShot S100 Digital Camera (Black)


Lastolite EZYBox Softbox – 24 x 24"


Lastolite TriFlip 8 in 1 Grip Reflector Kit – 30" (76 cm)


Lastolite Kickerlite Floor Level Softbox – 3×4' (91x122cm)


Lastolite Triflector MkII Kit – White/Silver


ExpoImaging Rogue FlashBender Kit



A Rewarding Experience At Help Portrait on Saturday


This past Saturday I got to participate in the world-wide Help-Portrait event! Although I knew that Help-Portrait would be worthwhile event to participate in and donate my time, I didn't realize just how special it would be. While it's easy to say we should help the needy, the help usually comes in the form of the basics, food, shelter, etc. Of course food and shelter are MOST IMPORTANT, but there is very little done to replace the other/smaller things that people lose or in some cases would otherwise never have. I saw families that lost EVERYTHING due to the tragedies in their lives. I saw mothers that never had any pictures of their children. 

photo by TV News Reporter/Host/Anchor – Iris Pérez


I was thinking about hosting my own Help-Portrait event at my studio, but then I got an email from Miriam Olsen asking if I wanted to participate in their event taking place in Lansing Michigan. I figured since this was my 1st official Help-Portrait event that it would be best to go to one that was already established.


Miriam did an EXCELLENT job coordinating all the volunteers and the event went off perfectly. We photographed 196 guests! There were 20 photographers, 62 volunteers, 63 families and over 50 CDs provided in addition to the prints there were done on the spot.


It was very rewarding photographing families that were in many cases having their photos professionally captured for the 1st time. Seeing their faces light up when they saw their images and knowing that these photos would be cherished for years to come.

I definitely plan to host my own event next year and I encourage you to host one, participate in one or simply photograph someone in need! I want to also thank Jeremy Cowart for not only coming up with this great idea but also growing it into a world-wide event.

photo by TV News Reporter/Host/Anchor – Iris Pérez

Looking Forward to Volunteering at Help-Portrait This Saturday




If you're a photographer and you want to give back to your community. You should definitely check out the Help-Portrait opportunities in your area this Saturday. I'll be volunteering/shooting in Lansing Michigan on Saturday. If you're local I hope to see you there shooting with me. If not, I hope you take the time to participate where you are. Last year I wasn't able to participate due to work travel, this year I plan to make up for it!

Portrait Retouching: How To Use The Photoshop CS5 Patch Tool To Enhance Your Portraits



In this episode of the Adobe Creative Suite Podcast I'll show you How To Use the Photoshop CS5 Patch Tool to Enhance Your Portrait Retouching. 

Also don't forget that Lightroom 3 is currently ON SALE for HALF OFF here.

See more of my Adobe Creative Suite Videos on my Adobe Creative Suite Podcast and get the App here. It features EXCLUSIVE CONTENT that no one else gets to see. This episode has a BONUS CLIP that is available only in the App:

Learn Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White - Wizzard Media

PS. My iOS App just got an update that fixes the iOS 5 video playback problem and adds the following features:

  • Retina Display Graphics
  • A new tab bar interface
  • Swiping to the left and right from the episode detail page will go to the next or previous episode
  • UI enhancements
  • Faster show loading
  • Minor bug fixes


Review: Kindle Fire – A great tablet for the price!


When I reached out on my social media channels for ideas of what gadgets you'd like to see me take a look at, overwhelmingly the response was "Kindle Fire". People also wanted a comparison of the Kindle Fire and Color Nook. I'll say more on that in a minute. First of all, as many of you already know, this is not a general review site. The guys over at Engadget do a great job of reviewing ALL things tech. My goal has always been to talk about the products I actually use. Luckily I do have a use for the Kindle Fire and it's actually more to do with my day job at Adobe. We are bringing the Kindle Fire into our list of supported devices for the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. With that in mind I figured it would good to have a Kindle Fire to test on and while I've got it, it couldn't hurt to review it.


People really want to compare it to the iPad

While it's easy to want to draw comparisons to the iPad (and I will), I look at the two as aimed at two totally different markets. To keep it simple I would say that if you are primarily looking for a general purpose tablet to run lots of Apps on and possibly use instead of a laptop/desktop computer then the iPad is probably going to suit you better. If you're looking primarily for a digital book/magazine reader that can also run Apps/play content and you don't want to spend a lot of money, then the Kindle Fire is a PERFECT choice!

What about the Nook? I don't have one, have never held one and therefore have no comparison to give you. I have no plans to get one at this time, but if I do then I'l compare it with the Kindle Fire.


How do I like it?

Now that I got the iPad vs. Kindle Fire piece out of the way, let's concentrate on the goodness of the Kindle Fire. It's a 7" color Wi-Fi tablet. The display is very vivid and easy on my eyes. The design is a bit on the thick side (7.5" x 4.7" x 0.45"), but still very comfortable to hold and use (14.6 ounces).

It has 8GB's of storage (not a lot) and only 6GB of that is available to you for content. You can expect to get about 7-8 hours of continuous use out of it. I was impressed with the out of the box experience. What I didn't notice during the ordering process is that Amazon knows me! Therefore when my Kindle Fire arrived it was already configured to my Kindle/Amazon account and all my books were already there. That gave me a definite "aha" moment, because I then realized that since Amazon knows me that my Amazon Cloud music was also there for streaming/download. Don't worry, if you're buying one as a gift then you can specify that it's NOT for you during the ordering process and it will ship unregistered. Navigation seems pretty straight forward and out of the box there really wasn't anything that I struggled with not knowing how to do or having to refer to a manual. It asked me to log on to my WiFi network and I was off and running. The battery had enough charge in it out of the box for me to set it up and play. 

More than books and magazines! While the Kindle line has been traditionally targeted at only those interested in reading, the Kindle Fire breaks away from this mold nicely. It can browse the web, do email, run Apps (yes games too), play music, play movies, and play TV shows. Amazon is giving away free cloud storage for your digital content this helps combat the limited storage on the device. Also Amazon offers up their Kindle Lending Library so that you can actually borrow free books with no due dates.  


What could be better?

The Kindle Fire can run Android Apps and that's a great thing! However, there is one small problem and that is that there is no built-in way to access the Android Market. That's right! No Android Market. If you want to buy or download free Apps you have to do it from the Amazon App Store. To a new Kindle Fire/Android user this won't be a big deal at all, but in my case I have a few Android Apps that I've paid for and unless I do some hacks, I'd have to buy them again from Amazon. It's not the end of the world because I don't have that many, but it kinda blows! While WiFi is great I would have loved to have seen a 3G offering too even if it costs more. 

The built-in stuff – This will likely be another source of disappointment for anyone who has looked at or used an iPad. The quality of the built-in Apps vary. For example, the email App, while not stellar is functional. The web browser is OK too, but when I tapped on the Facebook "app" it merely took me to the Facebook mobile page. In other words what appear to be Apps in some cases are merely bookmarks. 


The Bottom Line

The Kindle Fire is an excellent choice for those of you that kinda want a tablet, but don't want to spend $500 on one. At $199 the Kindle Fire is priced right and will definitely keep the guys in Cupertino on their toes. Best Buy recently announced that the Kindle Fire was the first and only tablet they've sold to outsell the iPad and at that price it's a no brainer. However, for the heavy tablet user you will probably be disappointed in the Kindle Fire App selection at this point. This will hopefully only be a temporary problem. I've already bought a second one as a gift for an immediate family member who has never wanted an iPad and who has an older Kindle. 

You can get the Kindle Fire for $199 here.

Page 50 of 155« First...102030...4849505152...607080...Last »