What's in the bag

What’s in the bag?

Photographers are gear geeks.  We’re often looking at each others stuff and comparing notes.   Here’s a list of my current favorites.   


Q: What camera, lens, flash, etc do you shoot with? 

A: I’m addicted to things Canon. Cameras, lenses + accessories.


Canon Cameras 

5D mkII, 5D, Xsi back-up, 20D back-up
Although the 5D’s are too slow a frame per second burst for for sports type action shots, it yields amazing colors and is used for portrait sessions. I prefer to shoot everything raw but will shoot some stuff straight jpg depending on the event. 


Canon Lenses 


Canon 85mm f1.2 L 
This lens is amazing for portraits of all types.  Shot about f2 it yields tack sharpness on the focal points yet fades quickly to the most beautiful bokeh. Granted it cost more than most of the cars I’ve ever owned.   


Canon 50mm f1.4
This is a very unassuming, crispy lens. Great for street shooting due to itd diminutive profile.  In super low light conditions I’ll use this with no flash. 


Canon 50mm f1.8 
OK so this one isn’t in the bag anymore – I donated to my graphic designer friend over at DDFL.  For new photographers the “nifty fifty” is the absolute best lens value there is.  At under $100 it’s tack sharp and great for a wide variety of uses.  


Canon 85mm f1.8
Tack sharp prime lens for portraits + details, with awesome bokeh.   While I use the 1.2 much more often now I still have this around for some uses since it focuses much faster and is great for keeping on one of the backup cameras.  


Canon 24-105mm f4 L.
This lens is pressed into service quite a bit. I use it for the majority of group portraits, and throw an extension tube on it for close up details. 


Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L IS.
I love this lens. If your a canon portrait or wedding photographer I consider this your true “must have” purchase.  Typically shot wide open or closed down a few stops this killer telephoto yields superb color and tack sharp images with a stunning background blur. The image stabilizer, essential triples your shutter speed.

In studio I love to use this lens mounted directly to the camera stand with the barrel mount.  


Canon 16-35mm f2.8 L.
Wider is better.   Used primarily for larger group portraits and for scene setting shoots + landscapes, this is a quick focusing lens.  


Canon 15mm Extension Tube + 25mm Extension Tube:
Snap on to the 24-105 f4 L, your have an image stabilized macro zoom lens for amazing close up details of rings, invitations + any other detail you can think of. 


Canon Extender EF x2 II:
This handy accessory turns the 70-200 f2.8 L IS into a 400+ mm lens for super tight close-ups or when you are cordoned off to the back of the church. Note: You will only be able to open up to f5.6 once you’ve snapped on this puppy.  


Canon EF 100mm f 2.8 Macro:
This marco is razor sharp and a stunning lens for super closeup work. The 100mm F2.8 also makes an effective portrait lens as well.  


Flashes +  Radio Slaves 


Canon 580 EX Speedlights:
I have two and use them for bounce only and sometimes as master / slave units. Use with the ST-E2 remote transmitter they are great for off camera use indoors.  


For indoor event use I love to use the Gary Fong lightsphere.  



Pocket Wizards:
These radio slaves are phenomenal and never fail to perform.  I use them in studio and bring them out on location for off camera flash use.  



The Studio Gear 


Studio Flash:  For strobes I use a variety of Alien Bees.  For constant lighting I love my Westcott SpiderLites


Purchasing: Most my camera gear is purchased from B&H photo video.  


Web Site: my current website at www.mhp-studio.com is a custom built showit site.  I also have various blu domain templates I use from time to time for special events.  


Custom Blog: Designed by Jaz at Cats-Cradle Design.   She took my input about what I loved about certain blogs and hated about others and created something wonderful and unique.  


On Line Proofing and Print fulfillment : Pictage.


Siganture Prints:
For out studio signature prints we use three main vendors.  WHCC, Millers Lab, and Simply Canvas.  For books and albums we use Pictage, Zookbinders, and Couture Books.  




Hello, I’m a Mac

And before your go assuming I’m a life long Mac fanboy keep in mind I was a network administrator for Novell and Windows networks for almost two decades.  I’ve upgraded DOS machines to Windows 3.1 , to Windows 95, and then Windows 98, Windows 2000, who could forget XP and I even got to play with Vista a bit.  I bought my first Mac in 2007 and haven’t looked back since.  


Apple iMac 2.8GHz Intel COre 2 Duo  with 24″ apple display 4 GB ram 

Apple 13″ Macbook laptop.
with 2 Terrabytes of backup and storage.  


Amazing Images: The recipe starts with a great capture. Years of commercial shooting taught me that “I’ll fix it in photoshop” is something often said by people who simply don’t understand exposure or their gear well enough.  A great image starts with a great capture.  I use color calibrated monitors and tweak the files in Adobe Light Room and apply our Signature looks in Photoshop. 


Words to live by:

We all start at the same place.