FAQ: Equipment

What camera equipment do you use?

I shoot Nikon and use a Nikon D800 body, which is a full-frame professional body, with a variety of lenses.

Tell me about your lenses.

  • 50mm f/1.4: used primarily for newborn work
  • 24-70mm f/2.8: my workhorse, used for just about anything and everything
  • 105mm f/2.8 macro: my amazing macro for close-ups, and doubles as a beautiful portrait lens

I have additional lenses purchased for my old crop-sensor D7000 camera body, but typically don't use them in my professional work.

Do you use strobes, or artificial light?

I do, and I love them. All of my newborn sessions are done with studio strobes, specifically the Einstein from Paul C. Buff. They produce an amazingly consistent, beautiful light, that allows me to shoot no matter what hour or what the light is like outside. I also use a Nikon SB-910 speedlight, both indoors and outdoors. This is what you will see on top of my camera, especially if I'm shooting an event, or in a modifier.

What light modifiers do you use?

I have a huge 50"x50" Westcott Apollo softbox, a 64" PLM from Paul C. Buff, a stripbox, and a beauty dish. I want to increase my light modifier stash even further. They really allow you to get creative.

What about equipment for on-location work?

I use a diffuser/reflector as well as my speedlight either alone or in a modifier, depending on the situation. Plenty of on-location work is just done as-is, especially if there are natural reflectors such as sand or a sidewalk.

Any other accessories used while shooting?

Color is SO important, and I have a variety of tools that I use to ensure perfect, beautiful, consistent color. I use the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport (you may have seen me pull this multi-colored item out at your shoot or event, and I may have even asked you to hold it), which helps me ensure consistent white balance and color profile from one scene to the next. I also use an ExpoDisc to set a custom white balance in-camera. I use a Photovision target to help with exposure, although it can be used to help with color as well.

What kind of computer and monitor do you use for post-processing?

I do my post-processing on a desktop computer for which I not only customized every single component, but physically built myself. Yay for computer science and its many applications in my life! My monitor is a 27" NEC display with hardware-level color calibration. I use the X-Rite i1display Pro to color calibrate it. I cannot stress enough how important color is in photography. Trying to take shortcuts on equipment dealing with color will only lead to frustration and disappointment. Prints from my professional lab match the output on my monitor exactly.

What software do you use for post-processing?

All of my editing is done in either Lightroom or Photoshop. While I would love to complete all my editing in just Lightroom, I find I take almost every image into Photoshop. Newborn images especially always go through Photoshop, because newborn skin is notoriously difficult to edit and can be blotchy. Lightroom doesn't allow for the finesse needed to correct that.