SOFTWARE & HARDWARE FOR THE SOCIAL MEDIA PHOTOGRAPHER
PHOTO AND VIDEO GEAR
While I shoot photos and videos for a living I am not your typical photographer. I must compromise between achieving high-quality results 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 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 separate Drobo arrays!) because I thought the needs of the job required it. I also carried huge bags of Canon and Fujifilm equipment including four camera bodies, up to 9 lenses and all kinds of accessories and tripods. Add to that list hard-shell Pelican cases full of GoPro action cameras and a drone and you’re starting to get a picture of what I was putting myself through. 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!
After I abandoned Canon DSLRs in 2014, 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 began shooting all my cinematic-themed projects with Fujifilm X-T1 cameras and (gasp!) my iPhones. I love the treatment of the video that is applied to the footage using Fuji's Classic Chrome LUT and found the iPhones more than adequate for shooting b-roll.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was water resistant to I used it in the rain or when the conditions are otherwise hazardous for my iPhones. Once the iPhone 7, with its water resistance was released, I was able to switch to it and take the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 out of my camera bag for good.
For video podcasting, I started using the iPhone 6S with a ProPrompter/1st Generation iPad set up. This meant less cameras, chargers and batteries to be packed and carried. The theme of 2016 was “doing more with less is good!”
In 2016, I shot much of my still photography with the Fujifilm X-T1. I primarily used two lenses on the X-T1: the Fujifilm 14mm prime & 50-140mm zoom but I also used the full LensBaby optics system. The Lensbaby lenses are very specialized so the Fuji glass was used for 90% of all my X-T1 still photography.
That was in 2016...
PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEO
I have put the Fujifilm cameras and most of the associated lenses in storage. Beginning on January 1, 2017, I will be shooting 100% of ALL my still photography and video with a set of iPhones (7 & 6S). With the help of the BeastGrip Pro and DOF Adapter I'll still be using my Zeiss Touit lenses with the iPhones for video shoots. I will also be using the super wide, wide, tele, and macro lenses from Moment lenses along with the DXO One on the iPhones when appropriate.
The iPhone will be my go-to camera in all situations in 2017 unless otherwise requested by the client and provided for in the project budget. All the video I have produced since mid 2015 had already been shot on either the iPhone 6S, 6SPlus, or 7 so I know what I’m getting into here. As an experiment, I started using the iPhone as my only video camera in the summer of 2016. I used Moment Lenses with the iPhones to increase their flexibility with much success. Like with any photo or video setup, I also use sliders, tripods, gimbals and jibs to get the best movement out of the devices.
So, for 2017, all my Canon and Fujifilm cameras and all related lenses will be completely retired for the year and put into storage. 100% of ALL the work I produce in 2017 will be created using iPhones and perhaps a DJI Mavic every now and then.
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.
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 from shooting to post-production. 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 (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015)
- Apple iPad Pro 12.9
- Apple iPhone 7
- Apple iPhone 7 & 6s Phones
- DXO One Camera
- Insta360 nano
Yes, something is strange here. I am no longer using a laptop or a DSLR/Mirrorless camera at all.
Gear & Accessories
- Aviator Travel Jib
- BeastGrip Pro Universal Smart Phone Cage
- Bose Quiet Comfort Headphones
- Cinetics Cinemoco Rail System
- Contour ShuttleXpress
- Domke Camera Bags
- Drobo NAS
- Edelkrone Sliders and Dollys
- Evo SP Handheld 3-Axis Gimbal
- Giottos Ball Heads
- Helium Cine Core Pro iPhone Video Rig
- LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 2, 4TB External Hard Drive (scratch disk for video & photo editing)
- Manfrotto Ball Heads, Light Stands, Lights, Monopods & Tripods
- MeFoto Sidekick Smartphone Tripod Adapter
- Moment Lenses (Superwide, Wide, Tele, Macro)
- Moondog Labs Anamorphic Lenses
- Mophie Powerstation XL Portable Batteries
- Motiv Motorized Panaramic Tripod Heads
- Pelican Cases
- Rode VideoMic GO Microphones
- Sennheiser EW 100 G3 Wireless Lavalier Microphones
- Shoulderpod Smartphone Rig
- Shure MOTIV MV88 Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone for iOS
- Zoom H4n Audio Recorder
Software I USE ON A REGULAR BASIS
- Audio Production - Apple Garage Band, Audacity, SoundSoap
- Development - Dash, FileMaker Pro 15, Visual Studio For Mac, Xcode, Xojo
- Marketing - BuzzBundle, Later.com, Link Assistant, MailChimp.com, moz.com, Rank Tracker, SEO Spyglass, Website Auditor
- Photo Editing - Afterfocus, Apple Photos, CameraBag 2, Circular Studio, Focus CK, FX Photo Studio CK, Intensify CK, JPEGmini, Luminar, Noiseless CK, Pixelmator, Portrait Pro Studio, Snapheal CK, Snapselect, Tonality CK
- Productivity - Calendar, Dropbox, iCloud Disk, Keynote, Mail, Microsoft Office for Mac, Notes, Numbers, Pages, Reminders, TextEdit
- Utilities - Maps, Time Machine, Chrome, CleanMyMac, HMA! Pro VPN, PDFpenPro, Safari, Skype, WhatsApp
- Video Editing - Cinemagraph Pro, elgato turb0.264 HD, Final Cut Pro, Motion, MPEG Streamclip, Screenflow, Wirecast
iOS Platform (iPhone & iPad)
- Audio - Beatwave, boss jock, Channels, DM1, Ferrite, Figure, Funkbox, GarageBand, Hokusai 2, iELECTRIBE, iMPC, iMS-20, Motiv, ReBirth, SynthMaster, Thor, Virtuoso
- Photography - ABM, After Focus, Camera, CameraBag 2, DXO One, Filmborn, GoldenHour, Lens Distortions, LUCiD, Moment, Over, Photos, ProCam, ProShot, Rollworld, Skylab, Snapseed, TPE
- Productivity - Calendar, Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, Keynote, Mail, Notes, Numbers, Pages, Reminders
- Social - Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Medium, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube
- Utilities - 5-0 Radio HD, Chrome, Cube, Maps, MyRadar Pro, OmniStat, Safari, WhatsApp
- Video - 8mm, Adobe Clip, Cinemagraph Pro, Cinematic, Clipper, Cute CUT Pro, Filmic Pro, iMovie, Koji Go, LumaFusion, Mavis, Movie Looks, Quik, ReverseVid, Splice, Video Grade, VideoLab, VideoSpeed, VideoToolbox
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.