Software & Hardware for the Social Media Photographer

While I shoot for a living I am not your typical photographer. I must compromise between high-quality stills and video while maintaining a small footprint. If I were shooting for broadcast or print, this would pose a serious dilemma. But since the content I shoot is targeted to the internet, and with improvements in technology in photo and video - I have found the right products that fit my particular situation where I can carry several days' worth of gear with me in a single shoulder bag. 

In the past I owned and maintained several computers (Mac Pro, Macbook Pros, iMacs) and storage systems (4 Drobo arrays!) because I thought the needs of the job required it. I also carried huge bags of Canon equipment including four camera bodies, upto 9 lenses and all kinds of accessories and tripods along with hard-shell Pelican cases full of GoPro action cameras and a drone. Today I am thrilled that I can do my job, and do it well with the small amount of very specialized gear I use now. It has only taken me 20 years to figure it out! 

STILL PHOTOGRAPHY

I shoot with the Fujifilm X-T1 the Apple iPhone 7. I primarily use two lenses on the X-T1: the Fujifilm 14mm Prime & 50-140mm zoom but I also use Zeiss Touit Lenses the the LensBaby Optics System. The Fuji glass is used for 90% of all my X-T1 photography. On the iPhone 7 I use the super wide, wide, tele, and macro lenses from Moment Lenses.

VIDEO

After I abandoned Canon DSLR cameras, I switched to the Panasonic Lumix GH4 mirrorless with Rokinon Prime Cinema lenses as my preferred video camera for a short time. I loved this camera but with my never-ending quest to reduce the gear I travel with I also abandoned the GH4 and now shoot all my cinematic-themed projects with Fujifilm X-T1 cameras and my iPhones. I previously used Samsung Galaxy Note 4 in the rain or when the conditions are otherwise hazardous but I've switched to the iPhone 7 in those situations as well. I love the treatment of the video that is applied to the footage using Fuji's Classic Chrome LUT. For video podcasting, I am using the iPhone 7 with a ProPrompter/1st Generation iPad set up. This has meant less cameras, chargers and batteries to be packed and carried. More with less is good! 

So, the iPhones are my go-to cameras in all situations now unless otherwise requested by the client and provided for in the project budget. All the video I have produced since mid 2015 has been shot on either the iPhone (6s/6sPlus/7) or the Fujifilm X-T1. As an experiment, I started using the iPhone as my only video cameras in the summer of 2016. I use Moment Lenses with the iPhones to increase their flexibility. I also use sliders, tripods, gimbals and jibs to get the best movement out of the devices. Let's see how far I get into this little journey. 

360/VR VIDEO

After several months testing several cameras for 360 Video solutions including the 360Heros 6 camera GoPro rigs, Ricoh Theta S, Kodak Dual Pro Sp3604K, 360fly, the GoPro Stereoscopic 2 camera rig, and some mirrorless rigs for shooting 180-degree video. I have settled on using the Ricoh Theta S camera for now. VR video camera technology is fast moving and I am always on the lookout for a rig that will give me the best combination of video quality, small footprint, and efficient post production workflow.

AERIAL/DRONE VIDEO

For drone photography/video, I currently use DJI Phantom quadcopters with DJI stock cameras. My current favorite drone is the DJI Mavic - we're working on a theme here - small foot print, excellent quality. the Mavic fits the bill perfectly for what I need in a flying camera. 

As you can see, I shoot with and have access to several different in-house cameras for different scenarios. With that said, I am using small footprint, consumer level devices by design. This helps me travel light and keep my rates competitive while offering a healthy array of media solutions for my clients. If the client prefers, other cameras or equipment can easily be rented from rental partners.

Beyond The Gear

While the right tools of the trade are critical, the most vital ingredient to a successful project is thorough planning. During pre-production planning and concept development I meet with each client and map out a project concept and proposal addressing the unique elements necessary for the success of the project. During this pre–production planning period I address the following areas:

  • Goal – What is your goal for the project? ( e.g. fundraising, promotion, etc. )
  • Message – What information do you want your audience to walk away with?
  • Audience – Who is your primary audience? (e.g. funders, prospective clients, general audience)
  • Length – What are your length restrictions? (e.g. most effective web video is 3-5 minutes)
  • Venue/format – How will people see your film or video? (the web, DVD, broadcast)

After these primary questions are answered I can focus on style, content, timeline, budget, and logistics. Although I always begin with a very clear idea of the look, feel, and effect of your final cut, I allow room for projects to grow, change, and develop organically.

Providing a full range of production and post-production services, I can take your projects from concept to final cut, because I offer all of these services in-house using small, highly qualified professionals, I can keep these services affordable.


Hardware & Software TOOLS I AM CURRENTLY USING ON PROJECTS

This is the gear I use on a day-to-day basis. The items on this list have been tested in real-world situations on real jobs. This is the gear and the software I use to deliver award-winning results to my clients.  If it's not obvious yet, everything on this list is highly-recommended by me personally. 

Yes, something is strange here. I am no longer using a laptop at all.

While there are a few critical things I am still missing in my new mobile-based workflow, I have found that overall it is possible to do the majority of my day to day administrative and photography work now on iOS. I use the iMac video editing, file storage, audio/music production, media archiving, and software development. 

I use 2TB of Apple iCloud Drive Storage via Apple's iCloud Desktop & Documents Sync Services to access files for all devices in my Apple ecosystem.  I use 1TB of Dropbox storage to transfer and share files with clients. 

Computers & Mobile Devices

  • Apple iMac 27"
  • Apple iPad Pro, 12.9"
  • Apple iPhone 7

Cameras

  • Apple iPhone 7 & 6s Phones
    • Moment Lenses (Superwide, Wide, Tele, Macro)
  • FujiFIlm X-T1 Cameras
    • FujiFIlm 14mm & 50-140mm Lenses
    • LensBaby Composer Pro II Lenses w/ Edge 50mm, & Edge 80mm, Sweet 35mm, & Sweet 50mmOptics
    • Zeiss Touit 12mm, 35mm & 50mm Lenses

Gear & Accessories

  • Alpine Labs Radian Timlapse Motion Device
  • Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones
  • Cinetics Cinemoco System
  • Contour ShuttleXpress
  • Domke Camera Bags
  • Drobo 5S NAS (photo and video storage)
  • enloop Rechargeable Batteries
  • Evo SP Handheld 3-Axis Gimbal
  • eye.fi MobiPro SD Memory Cards
  • Fotodiox FlapJack LEDs

 

  • LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 2, 4TB External Hard Drive (Time Machine)
  • M-Audio Oxygen 49 Keyboard Controller
  • Manfrotto Ball Heads, Light Stands, Lights, Monopods & Tripods
  • Mophie Powerstation XL Portable Batteries
  • Pelican Cases
  • Sennheiser Wireless Lavalier Microphones
  • Sure iPhone Lightning Microphones
  • Wasabi Rechargeable Batteries
  • Zoom H4n Audio Recorders

Software

macOS platform

  • Audio Production  - Apple Garage Band, Apple Speech, Audacity, ISRC_Editor, SoundSoap
  • Development - BBEdit, Coda, Dash, Eclipse, FileMaker Pro 15, MAMP PRO, MySQLWorkbench, Navicat for MySQL, Postgres, Tower, Transmit, Visual Studio Code, Visual Studio For Mac, Xamarin Profiler, Xamarin Studio, Xamarin Workbooks, Xcode, Xojo
  • Photo Editing - Afterfocus, Apple Photos, CameraBag2, Circular Studio, GIF Brewery 3, JPEGmini, Focus 2 Pro, FX Studio Pro, Intensify Pro, Pixelmator, Portrait Studio Pro, Snapheal Pro, Snapselect, Tonality Pro
  • Productivity - Apple Calendar, Apple iCloud Disk, Apple Keynote, Apple Mail, Apple Notes, Apple Numbers, Apple Pages, Apple Reminders, Apple Safari, Apple TextEdit, Atom, iA Writer, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word
  • Utilities - A Better Finder Rename 9, Apple Maps, Apple Time Machine, Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, Carbon Copy Cloner, CleanMyMac, Cocktail, Data Rescue 4, DiskWarrior, Dropbox, Duplicate Detective, Google Chrome, HMA! Pro VPN, Kaleidoscope, Monity, Noun Project, OnyX, PDFpenPro, Radar Live pro, Skype, Slack, SuperDuper!, VectorIconBox, VLC, WhatsApp, Zond 265
  • Video Editing - Apple Final Cut Pro, Apple Motion, Cinemagraph Pro, Kolor Autopano Giga, Kolor Autopano Video Pro, MPEG Streamclip, PTGui Pro, Screenflow, Spatial Media Metadata Injector, VideoStitch Studio, Wirecast

iOS Platform

  • Coming Soon