light modifier

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!!!