We’re not big on the latest toys that come out in the camera world. What we are big on is taking great quality photos and having the proper gear to allow us to do the best job possible. Over the years, we’ve manged to gather the photo gear that doesn’t hold us back while we work.
The first digitial cameras that came out were, well… awful. As photographers, we bought some of those early digital cameras to keep on top of technology, knowing full well that the future was digital. The files were small and the skin tones horrible. You could look at a magazine and tell that it was not shot with film. Although it was great technology, it sadly lowered the standards to the point where “good enough” was acceptable. We have been shooting medium format cameras since we started in the business, Hasselblad cameras in particular. Why? Well, it was the best! We would shoot polaroids and wait the two minutes to see the lighting or composition, etc. It was a bit of along process compared to now but it was important to “see” what we were shooting. When we were satisfied with the polaroid, we shot rolls and rolls of film until we knew we got the shot.
When Hasseblad brought out their first digital camera (22 megapixel) we jumped on it. Great skin tones, big file size for the time, and the ability to shoot instantly to a laptop. We could see when we “got” the shot and so could the client. At the time, it was the best by far and although it cost a lot of money, we felt that being professionals we had to have what we felt was the best camera for the job. Over the years as the technology changed we’ve jumped from 22 to 39 to 50 to 60 megapixels. We recently downsized just a little. We still have our 60 megapixel but now we also have the new Hasselblad H5D (50 megapixel).
It cost more than some new vehicles but we felt it was worth the cost. What’s great about this camera is that it uses a new sensor that allows us to shoot in lower lighting situations, and although most of the time it’s not necessary, sometimes it’s critical. We have a Canon system that does an excellent job in low light, but the downside for us is it just doesn’t shoot to the laptop quick enough and the file size is smaller.
It all starts with a large-size sensor that allows us to capture incredible detail and range of colors. We especially prefer the skin tones that it delivers. With all that information, it just gives a smoother, more natural looking skin tone, compared to other smaller format cameras.
Since we almost always shoot tethered to our laptop, we use a piece of software called Phocus. What’s great about the Phocus software is it’s extremely quick, easy to use and allows layouts to be put overtop while shooting. Best of all, it can send low res jpegs to anyone on set who has an iPhone, or iPad. That means the art director, client, stylist and makeup artist can all watch the photos come in on their device at the same time and can view each photo as we shoot.
The nerds in us love the fact that we can change exposure and shoot right from our iPhone. This allows for easy and faster set up when needed.
So as far as “toys” go, we have quite a few. From lighting to cameras to computers, we prefer to get the best available products that allow us to do the best job possible, and after all, that’s what you want from a professional photographer.