I often get asked what gear I use when creating the images for Mutley’s Snaps, so I thought I make a wee blog post about it.
I’m currently shooting with a Sony A7R III and a Sony A7 III. I shot Canon before but felt that there was so many innovations going on in the camera world around then, that they just felt a bit stale.
What I really like about the Sony’s is the amazing dynamic range. This really comes into play on location, you can really pull the shadows up in post by a good 2 or 3 stops without losing detail or introducing lots of nastiness… it’s just super clean. I also love that you don’t need to do micro-adjustments for the lenses with mirrorless. Both of the Sonys have great auto-focus features and that’s really important for a pet photographer, even doing portraits the subject is rarely still. Eye-af is such an amazing feature, with people I’d trust it 100% of the time. However animal eye-af isn’t quite there, it still occasionally grabs random parts of the face especially if they move – I don’t use it with client images but I will use it when playing around.
Sony Zeiss 16-35mm f4
Sigma 35mm Art f1.2
Sigma 50mm Art f1.4
Sony 70-200mm GM f2.8
Sigma 105mm Art f1.4
In the studio I mainly use the Sigma 35mm and the Sony 16-35mm when working with coloured or white backgrounds. I use the Sony 70-200mm for the black background. I like my light to be closer when doing colours as I like my key light to light my background as well as the subject, I’m not really keen on how seamless paper looks when you light it separately – I feel you lose that pastel look that I like. With black background I pull my subjects further away from the background, so the 70-200mm is the natural choice.
I really must get a 24-70mm for the studio as I feel that this along with the 70-200mm are the two ideal lenses for studio work – at least for the way I work.
On location I love the Sigma 35mm and Sigma 105mm. The 105mm gives the most dreamy bokeh and who doesn’t love a 35mm. The 16-35mm is great when doing off camera flash with epic scenery.
I have a pair of Profoto D2 and a Profoto B10 Plus.
Why D2? They are built for speed and consistency. Short flash duration and quick recycling time – this is top of my concerns when picking studio lights. Absolute workhorses.
The B10 Plus is for both the studio and out on location. It’s not much larger than a 70-200mm lens, so fits easily in my bag. Has the same output as the D2 for in the studio, really short flash duration. Recycle time is a little slower but it is running from a battery. Plus you can plug it into the mains in the studio so you will never run out of power.
Other Studio Equipment
I have multiple c-stands, these are the most versatile things in the world. Need your lights floor level… no problem, try doing that with a standard black stand. I also have one on wheels with a heavy boom arm. Don’t forget those sandbags to keep everything weighed down.
For light modifiers my main two are a Profoto RFi Softbox 5′ Octa (150cm) and a 120cm deep parabolic. I also have two strip softboxes for rim light when using black.
I don’t use a light meter or tripod in the studio. I know where the power should be for my lights in my studio and dogs move too much for a tripod to be useful.
I mainly use seamless paper but I have recently got a white vinyl.
In the studio I just hand hold the cameras without a strap – living dangerously. On location I use both bodies so I don’t need to change lenses as often – my strap of choice is a Hold Fast Money Maker. Not only do they look extremely cool they are also super comfortable – I could wear it all day with two bodies with heavy lens attached without an issue.
I have a Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L which I can fit a crazy about of gear in. It’s super versatile.
A Profoto OCF Beauty Dish for location lighting.
Hotdogs! Forget organic dog biscuits, smelly cheap hotdogs will cast a spell on dogs.
I edit on a gaming PC that I built myself, runs Lightroom and Photoshop like a dream and I can also spend far too much playing Borderlands 3 as well!
My Wacom Intuos Pro Medium was game changing, I simply can’t edit without it. Working with layer masks in Photoshop is so much easier with the pressure sensitive pen.
I have an 27″ iMac but I’m a card carrying Apple hater so less said about that the better.