I posted a Tricks of the Trade article about consistency in styling to LinkedIn recently and was asked about my lenses and lighting.

Here’s my response...


Nick Farbacher • Dean:: What do you find to be your most versatile lens and what or how many fill lights do you use and what type. I viewed your web site and enjoyed the professionalism.
Hi Nick,

Thanks for asking.

When I was shooting with my 4x5 camera my most versatile lens was the 90mm today shooting with a digital Nikon my most versatile lens is my 12-24mm Zoom. I shoot with it more often than any other lens combined because of it’s extremely wide angle view, the quality is right up there with the best 4x5 lens I’ve ever owned and with it I can get the perfect angle of view for almost any given shot - if I need a 15.3mm Lens for a shot of a foyer I’ve got it with no cropping of the image required. It’s angular distortion and barreling are almost non-existent and what little barreling it does have is easily corrected with my software as an automatic function.

Lighting is not explained as easily. I use however many fill lights I need for a shot. And I’ll use any type of light that works, strobe, hot light or ambient (table lamps, shop lights, etc.)

I can use up to twelve supplemental lights, strobe or hot lights. I’ve only needed all twelve on a single shot a few times in my career. I used to use Speedotron lights but am currently replacing them with Elincrom monolights. I like the monolights because they are very versatile, light weight, well built and are not connected to a centralized power pack with heavy cables the way my Speedotron system was. The monolights only need to be plugged in to a convenient outlet so we don’t have to spend time and energy trying to find a safe path for the cables.

However for the past four years I have been working with available light exclusively. I’ve been using the HDR tomemapping technique and it’s worked out quite well. Now I am transitioning back to the use of supplemental lights, I will continue to use the HDR technique when the situation calls for it, but supplemental lighting provides advantages that simply aren’t available when using only available light.