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. Specializing in social media photography, I must compromise between achieving high-quality results while maintaining a small footprint. If I were still 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 a relatively small amount of very specialized gear. 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!” It was during this time period that I started shopping for a smaller replacement for my Scion xB. We'll talk about my decision to go with the Smart Fortwo as my daily vehicle in a later post. 

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

Since January 1, 2017, I have been shooting 100% of ALL my still photography and video with a set of iPhone 7's and 6s's. I am using the super wide, wide, tele, and macro lenses from Moment lenses along with the DXO One on the iPhones when appropriate.

For the 6s iPhones I am using the Helium Cine Core Pro cinema cage to attach mics, lights, stands, etc. As soon as Helium Cine releases the iPhone7 compatible cage, I'll use that for my iPhone 7's as well. 

With the help of the BeastGrip Pro and DOF Adapter, I'm also using Canon FD mount manual focus prime 28mm, 35mm and 50mm lenses with the iPhones for video shoots. With the 7.21 crop factor of the iPhone 7's 1/3" sensor, these lenses will effectively provide a reach of 200mm, 250mm, & 360mm respectively as compared to a full-frame 35mm DSLR. 

The iPhone 7 is now my go-to camera in all situations unless otherwise requested by the client and provided for in the project budget. Since mid 2015 I have produced hours of b-roll footage and thousands of stills on either the iPhone 6, 6S, 6SPlus, or 7 so I knew what I was getting into when I started this project. As a proof of concept for this current phase of my photo/video career, 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 and the results have been amazing. Like with any working photo or video setup, I also use sliders, tripods, gimbals and jibs to get the best movement out of the devices. 

Fast-forward to today. All of my Canon and Fujifilm cameras and lenses have been completely retired and sold. Yes, I know: SHOCK-HORROR. I know myself. It's best that I simply don't have access to the other gear at all if I'm going to be successful at this. I plan to see this project through and the easiest way to do that was to eliminate all access to my FujiFilm and Canon gear by getting rid of it altogether. I've been accused of being "Mr. Extreme" by those who claim to love me. You get a pass if you have the same impression of what I'm doing here. 

And so it is done. 100% of ALL the work I produce in 2017 will be created using iPhones and perhaps a DJI Mavic every now and then.


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Hardware & Software TOOLS I AM CURRENTLY USING ON PROJECTS

This is the current 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 couple 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, 64GB, 2TB, 3.3 GHz Intel Core i5) with Das Keyboard 4 Professional For Mac (The best keyboard in the world) & Apple Magic Mouse 2
  • Lenovo ideacenter 700 (4k, 24", 64GB, 1TB, 2.9 GHz Intel Pentium) w/ Das Keyboard Prime 13 (The other best keyboard in the world) & Microsoft Surface mouse
  • Apple iPad Pros 12.9, (256GB, WiFi Only)
  • Apple iPad Pros 9.7, (256GB, WiFi Only)
  • Apple iPhone 7, 256GB

Cameras

  • Apple iPhone 7 & 6s Phones
  • DJI MaVic Pro Flying Camera
  • DXO One Camera 
  • Insta360 nano

Yes, something is strange here. Among with getting rid of my DSLR/Mirrorless cameras, I am also no longer using a laptop. I tried the iPad Pro 12.9 for several months, but in the end, the size of the tablet forced me to use larger bags than I wanted to use. I loved the huge screen, but I'd rather be able to run around with a small Domke shoulder bag than a proper laptop bag or a backpack. So I gave up the larger iPad for the 9.7" Pro version. Essentially, all the specs are the same, but with a smaller foot print. 


Gear & Accessories

  • Aviator Travel Jib
  • BeastGrip Pro Universal Smart Phone Camera Rig
  • Bose Quiet Comfort Headphones
  • Cinetics Cinemoco Rail System
  • Contour ShuttleXpress
  • Domke Camera Bags
  • Drobo 5D Personal Storage Array
  • Edelkrone Sliders and Dollys
  • Evo SP Handheld 3-Axis Gimbal
  • Giottos MH-1002 Ball Heads
  • Helium Cine Pro Core iPhone Camera Rig
  • LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 2, 4TB External Hard Drive (dedicated to Time Machine backups)
  • Manfrotto 492 Ball Heads
  • Manfrotto 1052BAC Light Stands
  • Manfrotto Manfrotto Lumimuse LED Lights

 

  • Manfrotto 561BHVD-1 Monopods
  • Manfrotto 680B Monopods With MVA50A Fluid Pan Feet
  • Manfrotto 055XPROB 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

macOS platform

  • Audio Production  - Apple Garage Band, Audacity, SoundSoap
  • Development - Dash, FileMaker Pro 15 Advanced, Visual Studio For Mac, Xcode, Xojo
  • Marketing - Later.com, MailChimp.com, moz.com, Spyfu.com
  • 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, Final Cut Pro, Motion, Screenflow, Wirecast

WINDOWS platform

  • Development - FileMaker Pro 15 Advanced, Visual Studio Professional, Xojo
  • Marketing - BuzzBundle, Later.com, Link Assistant, Rank Tracker, SEO Spyglass, Website Auditor
  • Productivity - Microsoft Office
  • Utilities - Chrome, WhatsApp

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, 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