Always Learning

March 19, 2018

I recently met up with Patrick Marcigliano at Starbucks near Marietta Square to talk shop. It’s not often I have the opportunity to sit down and talk with another working photographer. Patrick came in after a two hour client shoot in and around downtown Marietta. The first thing I noticed was the medium sized camera bag hung over his shoulder. We ordered our drinks and after a brief round of decision making of where to sit, the conversation began.

We talked pricing, contracts and general business stuff. Everything was moving along. Then it reared its ugly head, the gear discussion. You see, I am an admirer of Patrick’s work. So, since the moment he entered Starbucks, I was dying to know if that was the only gear he brought on his shoots. His answer was for the most part yes. I was half amazed and the other half jealous.  Let me explain.

I bring a lot of gear on location. As a professional photographer, some of it is a given. There is a healthy level of redundancy. The backup camera, a couple of lenses, and batteries. Also, there are the nice options to augment light if needed….reflector, speedlight etc.  The problem I have is I bring several studio strobes, c-stands, large umbrellas, softboxes , battery packs, and sand bags to safely weigh stands down.  Now, on a commercial shoot this might be too little. On a portrait or headshot session this is just overkill. For the most part I have been bringing a lot of stuff to shoots for just in case insurance. There are quite a few cons to this.  Here are two. It’s a pain to drag around and I am realizing it can become an unnecessary security blanket.

So, I quietly made the decision to try Patrick’s minimalist approach to photography, within reason of course. My kit for the portrait session was kept small. It was manageable. Not only was I able to walk around Marietta, but I had enough power and flexibility to make  almost any scenario I came across work. I actually found myself trying more locations and lighting conditions. Why?  Because it wasn’t a hassle moving from spot to spot. I spent more time interacting with Lauren instead of packing gear to move.

I took chances based on my ability and not the gear present. I had fun. It didn’t feel like work. I actually felt like the first year of my photography career…..excited! It was so refreshing to walk around and explore. This is not new to a lot of photographers, but it is when you have become slightly regimented with your work. Walking past a tree in front of a judicial building, observing the sunlight striking the leaves and immediately staking my territory for the next shot. It was so refreshing.

 In full disclosure, I did not do this shoot with as minimalist approach as Patrick. I had two small lights on stands to add light where I needed it to help my vision along. I didn’t want the natural light to dictate what I did completely. Still, it was a lot less than I usually bring and did not hinder me in anyway.

Gear used:

Canon 5dmiii

Canon 85mm 1.8

Canon 70-200mm 2.8is

Falshpoint AD360 streaklight as main light

Canon 600 ex-rt w/flashpoint receiver as rim light

2 small collapsible 7ft lightstands

43in umbrella softbox 

24 inch softbox

xpro remote transmitter for light

Lowepro x100 roller bag:

5dmii (backup body)

24-105mm f4

50mm 1.4

16-35mm f4

spare batteries

This is truly a great kit to get most any portrait session done. I had help the day of the shoot, but this setup could be moved from one spot to another easily by a lone photographer. On a windy day this would prove difficult without the help of others holding the stands. 

I owe Patrick for taking the time to talk shop and share ideas. Most importantly, I appreciate the inspiration I gained during our coffee meet. The last time we spoke, I told him I was going to try and lessen the load for my next shoot. He said ” That’s funny that you say that. My last shoot after talking to you, I took my whole kit and kaboodle.”