"My two Favorites Lenses"

“Great imagery resides in glass not the body” In my honest opinion, The Canon 70-200mm IS f/2.8L II USM is arguably one of Canon’s flagship lenses. The sheer quality you get in build quality, image quality, and performance is second to none. Whenever I am shooting any beauty or editorial looks this is lens is mounted on my camera 90% of the time. What I enjoy most about the 70-200mm is its versatility you get so much in this one package, exceptional image quality, great range, image stabilization, and weather sealing. I previously owned the 1st version and quickly upgraded when the 2nd vision released. The difference I noticed between the two models, the 2nd is slightly larger, the focusing rings are buttery smooth, focusing is quicker and overall sharper. The 1st version cost me roughly $1,500 and the 2nd came in at $2,000 that is steal considering its initial release the lens debuted roughly at $2,400 I dropped the funds and never look back. I can go on about reasons why I love this particular lens, but here is what I dislike about it, this lens is super heavy coming at (2.9lb) this lens is nothing to play with. Paired with a full frame camera battery grip with 2 batteries you are looking at approximately (9lb). Can you imagine being on a long days shoot with this thing hanging from your neck? Fortunately, when I am using this lens it is primarily stationed on a tripod. Being that it is so long and heavy it can be a bit cumbersome. I am also worried about keeping it protected There is no way you can be incognito with this considering the dimension on are 8 x 15 x 8, without the lens hood. Anytime I pull out this baby out it is an instant attention grabber. You will most definitely attract a host of onlookers and occasionally they will come up to inquire about it. 

I can not say that this is Sigma’s flagship lens, however this is by far my absolute favorite. I owned 4 different types of the “50mm” it was actually the 2nd lens I’ve ever owned. Coined the “Nifty Fifty” because of its versatility you are bound to produce great imagery with this lens. In, April 11, 2014, when this lens first released It had been totally redesigned and re-engineered to set a new standard for Sigma’s Art line. It literally changed the landscape of the 50mm everywhere. Prior to the release, I have only used Canon lenses. I’ve been utterly impressed with this lens the moment I laid hands on it. It actually lived up to the hype, It is a remarkable piece of glass and a jewel of a lens. This is all you need if you are into everyday shooting. Aside from it being a wonderful piece of glass, the overall aesthetics this lens produces is simply breathtaking. It is super sharp even at f1.4, fast at focusing, it’s bokelicious, and performs exceptionally well in low light.  Paired with a full-frame body and ND filter you have yourself a nice piece of photographing machinery. The street value on this lens is between $750-$800 I was lucky enough to get it for a flat rate of $700. Being that it was redesigned this is not your typical 50mm, the dimension is much larger, weighing in at (1.80 lb), (3.35″) in diameter,  (3.94″) in length, and 77mm filter thread. Translation, this baby is no joke because it is not designed like your conventional 50mm but with all the great stuff to be mentioned there is one minor thing I dislike about the lens, It does not have any weather sealing, Sigma what's up with that? 

Enclosing, I am not here to state which lens is better or which lens I prefer over the other, I just enjoy using the two lenses primarily because of their versatility. You can do so much with just these two lenses for an example,  playing with bokeh and depth of field or zooming in close to a subject without being super close to them. As mentioned in the first paragraph, the 70-200mm is mounted on my camera 90% of the time. Now when it comes to everyday photography or videography this is where the Sigma 50mm shines, it handles well in low light and I admire the contrast and color rendition it produces. In comparison, the 50mm is half the price, size, weight, a 3rd of the length and it is also easier to handle in between shoots. On the other hand, the 70-200mm offers features such as, two mode Image Stabilization, this is where the actual lens compensates for movement to keep the image stable.  Let’s not forget about the range, and nicely compressed images it creates. Both of these lenses produce aesthetically pleasing imagery and performs exceptionally well in their respected fields. In regards to the price tag, sure you can complain about the prices on these lenses with the 70-200mm coming at $1800 and 50mm at $800, a consumer or semi-pro 50mm usually runs about $350. My outlook on things is this, it’s an investment. Smart buyers will always purchase an inexpensive body and go all out on the glass. Keep in mind great imagery resides in glass, not the body. Good lenses will last you a lifetime, and if they are well kept retain their resale value.  

"Strobe Lighting"

What's in my Lighting

I have a host of lighting in my arsenal utilizing both strobe and constant lights.  These are the very tools I use to shape my work. In this post, I am going to focus particularly on the strobes aspect. Below is a list of the strobes I own and have used over the years. Just recently I released a video in regards to “Lighting Modifiers” I felt it was only right to do a follow up discussing the actual strobe lighting that I use. I hope you all find this post encouraging, I urge you to explore!


Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4

Elinchrom Style 600 RX

Fotodiox Pro M-400A (2)

Alien Bee B800

Mettle 600w AC/DC 

Studio Pro 400w SD

Canon 580 EXII (2)

Power & Punch

Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4

Elinchrom Style 600 RX

Mettle 600 AD Battery Powered

Compact & Portability

Canon 580 EXII (2)

Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4

Alien Bee B800

Fast Recycle Time

Fotodiox Pro M-400A (2)


Studio Pro 400w SD $196

Fotodiox Pro M-400A $200

Alien Bee B800 $200

Mettle 600w AC/DC (Power Pack) $322

Elinchrom Style 600 RX $400

Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4 $407

Canon 580 EXII $480




How to achieve amazing catchlights in the eyes PT4

How to Achieve Amazing Catchlights in the Eyes PT4

Triangular Lights

This is essentially a 3 light setup, but it actually took a total of 5 lights to construct this particular setup. In the middle we have the beautiful Eliza Lugo, she is the very model who starred in the first series of how to achieve amazing catchlights in the eyes. As you can see in the image Eliza is highlighted by (2) 4ft, Fluorescent lighting banks that are equivalent to 128watts each. The two side lights act as a rim light accentuating the contour of her body as well as creating some separation between the talent and the background. Moving along here’s where things get a little interesting, Lighting banksBecause Joe adamant did such a flawless job at constructing these lighting banks I told myself I would not make a video doing such however, because of the amount of inquiries I received in regards to constructing these lighting banks I figured I'll make a quick video.

DIY Fluorescent Lighting Banks

Lithonia Lighting hanging fixture

1/2"  Conduit hanger

1/4-20 wing nut

Flat washer #8

machine Screws #8-32x3/4"

machine Screws 5 1/4" 20x1/2"

#0 conduit hanger with speed thread

5’ Conduit pipe cut down to 4'

Satin white spray paint

Impact KCP-240

40" Extension Arm

KCP- 200

2.5" Grip Head

8" Baby Pin


I captured Eliza doing her makeup

This is the Impact 40" Extension Pole with the 8" baby pin held by the Super "C" clamp.

"Night Cap"

Created in March 2015, shooting with Kaylah Raquel was an absolutely pleasure. I have to say this shoot had the perfect chemistry for some super awesome imagery. Sometime ago my good friend and MUA Robert Porcelain suggested that we shoot with Kaylah, prior to this i have not heard of her, but he went on and on how gorgeous and spontaneous she was, when I saw her picture I thought she would make a great subject. Any who we all chatted via text to set a date and the rest was history. I was very fortunate, because another a really good friend of mine allowed me to use his luxury condo in Hoboken, N.J. to do the shoot in and I must say man oh man, I can not thank him enough. On the day of the shoot  I arrived a little early to set up and scale out where I wanted to shoot, Kaylah and Rob arrived 45min after. Upon formally meeting Kaylah she was a really sweet down to earth girl, after we exchanged some small convo it was time to get busy. As Rob was setting up  I casually made my way around the condo filming the "BTS" They pretty much had creative control over the shoot and I was completely fine with that, and because of the whole sexual ambiance of things hence the name "Night Cap"  When it was all said and done we were all blown away by the images.  As a disclaimer, please be advised this shoot is more on the sexual/provocative side and is not suitable for the younger eyes,  enjoy!!   

What Should I Buy!!!???????

Curious on what to buy? I was once in your shoes in search of what to buy I nearly reviewed and investigated many items when it comes down to photography. Along my journey I own, have owned, reviewed or used the items referenced in this post. Time after time, I get asked for recommendations and suggestions on what gear to buy, so I hope this hits the spot for some of you. As a disclaimer I am far from an expert and I am not super "techy", although I may not know all of the specifications of each product, what I can attribute is that they work incredibly well.

Personally, I love the Canon DSLR and Elinchrom system, but I am not at all bias to any particular brand I use what is comfortable and what works for me. I will suggest staying away from buying photography gear that states "Bundle Package" only invest in them if you seek the help of a professional or if you are fully knowledgeable on all of the products listed in its description. The majority of the times they throw in all these really cheap items that you will almost never use or will eventually end up replacing. I want you all to make the best investment you possibly can. Spending the money right the first time around will prevent you from spending it later, so do not be afraid to make the investment. If you are in the market of purchasing any type of gear, here are a few of my recommendations. These items address my over all things to look for when buying gear. These are the 3 essential elements for me when making my investment!!!! 

Affordable- It must be in my budget otherwise I wouldn't be able to afford it! Quality, has to be the best in its class for the price point. How Much are you willing to invest? 

Durability- The life and longevity is highly important because this determines how long you are able to hold onto your gear. Aside from some minor things most of my gear has lasted for 5 years plus. Can your gear take a licking and keep on ticking?

PortabilityFor me, this is highly essential because I love to shoot on location and I want to be light and nimble as possible. I had my days where I would lug all this crazy gear and let me tell you it wasn't fun. Yeah having a ton of gear on a location looks awesome but it can become a hassle when it is time to put it all away. Do you prefer a light travel or a heavy one?

Please note this is not the end all be all list, it is simply what I would recommend to people seeking to purchase or upgrade their gear. If you guys out there have any personal recommendations that you feel people can benefit from please email them to me so that I could add them to the list,!!!!   



5DSR $3,700

5DMKIV $3,400

5DMKIII $2,500

5DMKII $2,000-$950Used

6D $1400


7DMKII $1,700

80D $1,600

70D $950



Canon 70-200mmIS F/2.8 USMII $2,100

Canon 70-200mmIS F/2.8 USMI $1350

Canon 70-300mm $639

Canon 24-70mm2.8 USMII $1,900

Canon 24-70mm F/2.8 EF-L $1,000

Canon 24-105mm $1,000

SIgma 24-105mm F/4 Art DG OS HSM $900

Canon 28-135mm $380


Canon 135mm EF F/2L $1,000

Rokinon 135mm F2.0 ED UMC $550

Canon 85mm F/1.2 II USM $2,000

Canon 85mm F/1.8 $350

Rokinon 85 F/1.4 $270

Canon 50mm F/1.2L $1,500

Sigma 50mm F/1.4Art $950

Canon 50mm F/1.4 $330

Canon 50mm F/1.8 II $125

Sigma 35mm F/1.4Art DG HSM

Sigma 24mm F/1.4Art DG HSM $700


Elinchrom BRX 500 $695

Einstein E640 $499

Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4 $407

Neewer 600w Dual Power AC/DC $330

AlienBees B800 $280

AlienBees B400 $225

Fotodiox Pro M400A $200


Canon 600EX-RT $500

Canon 430EX II Price Varies

Yongnuo YN568 EX II $104

Yongnuo YN560 III $66


PocketWizard Pluss III Transceiver (2) $289

Yongnuo YN622C ETTL Transceiver (2) $79

Yongnuo RF-603 II Transceiver (2) $32



28" Beauty Dish white interior+Grid $172 Without Grid $108

22" Beauty Dish white interior $90

Circular Umbrella style

EZ-Pro Octa 5' $97

EZ- Pro Octa 36in $82

Pro Parabolic Umbrella 16-rib 72in White interior $80

Neewer 43in 5 in 1 Collapsible Disk Reflector $18


WestScott 2334 28in Medium Apollo $136

EZ-Pro Strip Box 12x56in $87

EZ-Pro Softbox 32x48in $82



Heavy Duty

Avenger C-Stand A2033LKIT $225

Matthews 40" C-Stand $206

Kupo 40" C-Stand Turtle Base Kit $200

CowBoyStudio C-Stand $152

Linco Deluxe Heavy Duty Boom Stand $78

PBL Pro Heavy Duty SC Stand 10' set of 2 $72

Linco Pro Heavy Duty 8' set of 2 with Carrying Case $61


Gitzo G2220 Explorer 3 $350

Manfrotto MK190XPro3-BH3+ Q90 Ballhead $300

Vanguard Abeo Plus 323AB + BBH-200 Ballhead $297

Manfrotto MT055Pro3 055 $240

Mactrem Q666C Carbon Fiber Tripod+Monopod+Ballhead $160

Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT $150

Koolehaoda B-Q666c Carbon Firber Tripod+Monopod+Ballhead $149

Sirui T005KX 52in+C10x Ballhead $136

Neewer Carbon Fiber Lightweight Portable 66in+Ballhead $99

Induro Alloy 8M AT-013 $96


Full Size

Really Right Stuff BH55 $550

Acra-Swiss Mono Ball Z1 SP $389

Manfrotto MH0550-Q2 055 $200

Sirui K-40x 54mm $165


Sirui K20x 38mm $129  

Sirui K10x 33mm $118

Giottos MH1000-652 $95

Manfrotto 496RC2 $90

Fancierstudio 6664H $39

Xcsource BH $36


Wacom Intuos Pro Medium $350

Wacom Intuos5 Medium $350

Wacom Intuos4 Medium $225

Wacome Intuos Pen&Touch Medium CTH680 $200

Huion H610Pro $77

MonoPrice MP1060 HA60 $56

Camera Bags

Check out camera bags from the following companies

Case Logic  




Think Tank






"The Beauty Dish"

The Beauty Dish is one of the most versatile and essential lighting modifiers in my little arsenal. Using the "BD" has dramatically improved the quality of my images, It is used on 95% of my shoots. I acquired the Beauty Dish in 2011 after my good friend John David Pittman, who is an amazing and talented photographer ,highly recommended I immediately get one.  I was in limbo on making the investment so I called him up. He said to me, "Dude, don't think about it, just buy the 22" Beauty Dish...I promise you will not regret it!" I came to realization he was telling me to get one for some really beneficial reasons. I have to secretly admit I was not sold on it initially, I guess that can be contributed to my previous lack of knowledge on how to use it. I actually tucked it away for some time while I educated myself on its uses and functionalities. It was now time to experiment and put it to the test.

I had an up coming on location shoot I was preparing for and as I was loading my gear something just clicked. I scraped all of the soft boxes I packed and brought along a single Gridded Beauty Dish accompanied with a battery powered 600w Bowens strobe. My goodness, I was simply marveled at the quality of light I was able to produce with it. Not only did I have enough light to over power the sun, I had the perfect tool for sculpting it. I quickly caught on and now I'm using the "BD" on almost every shoot both on location and studio.

Mixed lighting became a thing of mine. Playing around with the "BD" I would mix and combine ambient, gelled, bare bulb, diffused, and gridded light to shape my subjects. I Once used only the modeling light from the "BD" at it's lowest power, to produce a dramatically lit low key image. Literally over night It became one of my "go to" lighting modifiers. The "BD" is infamously used throughout the fashion and beauty industry, hence the word "Beauty Dish." Some of the world's leading professional photographers such as Scott Kelby, Lindsay Adler, Joey L., Jeremy Cowart, Joel Grimes, and many more use the "BD" to create some absolutely stunning work. Your very own Kurt Von ,founder of the "Light Shapers" website and fellow photographer also uses the Beauty Dish.

The "Beauty Dish" can be summarized as to providing 3 type of light sources:

1.Bare Bulb- Which is very intense, punchy, and dramatic

2.Diffusion Sock - Produces very soft flattering yet sculpted light

3. Gridded- The grid can be wrapped up as being very controlled and tightly focused light that ultimately has a fast fall off with little to no spill

Here are a some images I produce with the beauty dish:

Model: Casey. S.

Model: Casey. S.

Model: Dalilah. 

Model: Dalilah. 

Model: Teriana.

Model: Teriana.

Model: Latrice. 

Model: Latrice. 

Model: Casey. S.

Model: Casey. S.

Model: Amarie. S.

Model: Amarie. S.

Model: Casey. S.

Model: Casey. S.

Model: Angie. T.

Model: Angie. T.

Model: Eliza. L. 

Model: Eliza. L. 

Rapper: Serious Jones 

Rapper: Serious Jones 

Selfie lol 

Selfie lol 

Here are some great "BTS" videos using the Beauty Dish

Lindsay Adler


Andrea Belluso


Now understand that I am not at all trying to advertise a product, or force anyone to go run out and purchase one, however if you are in the real estate of portrait and beauty photography I recommend taking the dive. I just wanted to share my experience and info on one of my favorite modifiers. Photographers who already own a Beauty Dish will concur with it's wonders. Hope you guys enjoyed!!!