RESOURCES

These are the resources I use in my photogaphy and to run this web site. I selected everything on this page to run my business and I can honestly recommend them as reliable choices. You may want to bookmark this page and return occasionally, as I'll update it with new items when I find resources to recommend.

Disclosure:

Some of the items below are affiliate links. You won't pay any additional cost, but I may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase. I have experience with everything on this page and I stand behind the products that I recommend. If you need help with something that you purchsed through one of my affiliate links, I'll help you. Keep in mind that my goal in providing links to these resources is to provide you with something that may help you with your own photography or online marketing goals.

TOP FAVORITE RESOURCES

WP Engine

I use WP Engine as my web host. It's the best service I've found for hosting a fast and secure WordPress web site. You get daily backups, security, ultra fast performance and a CDN as part of your base price. The service and support is outstanding, too!

LeadPages

If you're running a business on your web site, you need to build an e-mail list. LeadPages is the best way I've found to collect those e-mail addresses using landing pages, forms and SMS text messages.

PHOTOSHOP/LIGHTROOM CC

The Creative Cloud Photographer's plan is an extraordinary deal. For $9.99/month, you get two of the most powerful and supported programs in the industry. It's practically a no-brainer and that's why it's on my Top 5 list.

Luminar

Luminar is a RAW engine from Macphun. It's exceptionally easy to use and produces great results. It has a ton of filters and effects built-in, along with plenty of presets. From now until May 3rd, 2017, you can get it combined with a FREE month of KelbyOne access and a collection of presets built by Scott Kelby. Use code BEEM to save $10 when you checkout.

Aurora HDR

This program by Trey Ratcliff and Macphun is an outstanding post processing software tool. The results are far better than any other HDR software I've used and I can get a great result in just a few minutes. It's improved my results and saved me time. Use code BEEM to save $10 when you checkout.

DEALS FOR YOU

ON1 20% DISCOUNT

You can use my ON1 coupon code to get a 20% discount on ON1 Photo 10 and other products. Visit my affiliate link at http://williambeem.com/on1 and use the coupon code WBEEM16.

TOPAZ LABS 15% DISCOUNT

You can use my Topaz Labs coupon code to get a 15% discount on any of their products. Visit my affiliate link at http://williambeem.com/topazlabs and use the coupon code WBEEMPHOTO.

GET LUMINAR + FREE KELBYONE

Luminar is a RAW engine from Macphun. It's exceptionally easy to use and produces great results. It has a ton of filters and effects built-in, along with plenty of presets. From now until May 3rd, 2017, you can get it combined with a FREE month of KelbyOne access and a collection of presets built by Scott Kelby. Use code BEEM to save $10 when you checkout.

WEBSITE HOSTING / BLOGGING TOOLS

WP Engine

I use WP Engine as my web host. It's the best service I've found for hosting a fast and secure WordPress web site. You get daily backups, security, ultra fast performance and a CDN as part of your base price. The service and support is outstanding, too!

LeadPages

If you're running a business on your web site, you need to build an e-mail list. LeadPages is the best way I've found to collect those e-mail addresses using landing pages, forms and SMS text messages.

AWeber

I use AWeber to handle my e-mail list management and delivery services. You can use campaigns to seperate your audience to deliver the your messages to the right person on your list based upon their interests.

CAMERAS

NIKON D800/D810

My main body these days is the Nikon D800 (now replaced with the Nikon D810). It’s a 36 mexapixel camera that creates wonderfully large images with excellent detail. It’s a remarkable portrait, travel, landscape and detail camera. The sensor does a great job in low light and picks up a greater dynamic range than any other camera I’ve used.

NIKON MB-D12 BATTERY GRIP

The battery grip solves a few problems for me.It provides longer battery life for shooting. A battery grip also improves your frame rate for burst mode shooting. Where it helps is due to the additional controls allow me to keep a better body posture when shooting vertically.

NIKON D700/D750

The Nikon D700 (now replaced with the D750) is my action camera. It's a full-frame body with a fast shutter speed to capture action. The D750 has double the image resolution of the D700 and also has an articulated Live View display on the back

NIKON MB-D16 BATTERY GRIP

The Nikon MB-D16 adds life to the D750 by providing longer battery life, better ergonomics and a faster high-speed frame rate for the shutter.

NIKON COOLPIX P7100

The Nikon P7100 is a very compact point & shoot camera, but it retains many capabilities found in DSLR cameras.  It writes RAW files, so I retain all of the information captured. The auto-exposure bracketing captures up to 5 exposures, which is perfect for HDR.  The focal length ranges from an equivalent of 28-300mm of a full frame camera. It has manual controls.  This thing even has a built-in neutral density filter! The hotshoe on top of the camera fits my Nikon flashes, and works fine with the Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS).

LENSES

NIKON 70-200mm f/2.8G

This is my favorite portrait lens, but it does so much more. It's wicked sharp. VR keeps images sharp at slow shutter speeds. The bokeh is so outstanding that you want to lick the pictures. It has a constant f/2.8 aperture and fast autofocus. Every Nikon photographer should have this lens. MY REVIEW

NIKON 24-70mm f/2.8G

The Nikon 24-70mm lens is my most used lens for general photography. It’s outstanding for travel due to its range from wide angle to mid-telephoto focal length. It’s fantastic for environmental portraits and low-light photography. MY REVIEW

NIKON 14-24mm f/2.8G

This isn't an every-day lens for most, but it offers a spectacular ultra-wide angle view that most photographers never get. Its fast aperture and short focal length make it ideal for low light photography. The image quality is outstanding and it's built tough. I love this lens.  MY REVIEW

NIKON 85mm f/1.4G

This is one of my favorite prime lenses. It has a razor thin depth of field with phenomenal bokeh. While that's great for portraits, I also found it works wonders as a low-light lens due to the f/1.4 aperture. People love the images from this lens due to its combination of sharpness in focus and creamy bokeh. It really isolates your subject.

LIGHTING

NIKON SB-910 SPEEDLIGHT

I have a handful of these flashes and they work very well. You can get other flashes and they all deliver a burst of light, so the reason to choose a brand is because of the benefits it provides. The Nikon CLS system allows the flashes to communicate with each other, giving you a system to measure light and adjust flash output on the fly. 

POCKETWIZARD MINITT1

The disadvantage of CLS is that your flashes must have a line of sight. The PocketWizard MiniTT1 & FlexTT5 allows you to keep using CLS control without the need to maintain line of sight. Go ahead, flash around a corner with these little puppies!

POCKETWIZARD FLEXTT5

The PocketWizard FlexTT5 is a different beast. As a transceiver, you attach these puppies to each flash. It catches the radio signal and translates the CLS information to tell the flash how much power to use.

POCKETWIZARD AC3 ZONE CONTROLLER

The last piece of the puzzle is the AC3 Zone Controller. This little device allows you to separate your lights into three different zones, each with different flash power output. You can use CLS to drive your flash in TTL or Manual power, giving you complete creative control for the situation.

ELINCHROM BRX STUDIO KIT

My Elinchrom kit contains two 500 watt studio lights, stands and softboxes in convenient carry bags. I brought Elinchrom in part for the consistent light temperature, so each shot is consistent. The other reason I bought Elinchrom is for the fantastic array of light modifiers available. This kit also comes with a radio transmitter that allows you to control the power of the lights from your camera.

LIGHT MODIFIERS

ELINCHROM 17" BEAUTY DISH

I love my beauty dish. It's perfect for head & shoulders portraits. It has a rapid light fall-off to carve out the features of your subject's face. This one includes deflectors to place in front of the flash, bounce it back into the beauty dish and provide even lighting on your subject.

ELINCHROM 39" DEEP OCTA

The Deep Octa is useful for waist-up portraits. It combines the best features of a beauty dish and a soft box. The light is softer than the beauty dish, but it still has a rapid light falloff to carve out shadows and features.

ELINCHROM 53" OCTA

This is great for full lenght or even group photos.  It's large, beautiful, soft light that makes everything look great. You can get a larger 74" octa, but the cost is 3 or 4 times more expensive. This one gives me great bang for the buck when I need the softest light for a subject.

ELINCHROM 31.5" STRIP LIGHT

A pair of strip lights can provide some creative possibilities, both for products and portraits. They do a good job for rim lighting your subject and controlling the light spread.

LASTOLITE 24x24 EZYBOX

I have two versions of this softbox for small flash, but the one I recommend is the Joe McNally signature version. The difference is the liner. It has a soft white interior lining instead of a harsh silver lining. I can see the difference in the portraits and the white interior definitely creates a softer and more pleasing result.

LIGHTING ACCESSORIES

SEKONIC L-758 LIGHT METER

I shot for a long time without a light meter, and I wish I bought one of these devices much sooner. You can quickly measure available light or meter your flash with this model, set your camera and then shoot with a great baseline exposure. It just makes like much easier for photographers.

X-RITE COLORCHECKER PASSPORT

When color accuracy is imperative, you need a tool like the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport. It's a must-have for commercial work where businesses rely upon their brand colors. Even for amateur work, it gives you a credible starting place before you begin making any artistic changes. 

LASTOLITE TRI-GRIP DIFFLECTOR

If you're working alone, sometimes the small things matter the most. I like the TriGrip series of reflectors and diffusers because of the extremely useful grip handle. You can use it to provide some bounce while holding your camera to take the shot.

POST PROCESSING

ADOBE LIGHTROOM

Before you get any other software, get Lightroom CC to handle your needs for digital asset management and RAW processing. As the most popular tool on the market, it has plenty of 3rd party support for software extensions and training. Get it combined with Photoshop for $9.99/month.

ADOBE PHOTOSHOP

Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard editing tool for graphics and photographers. Combined with Lightroom CC for the Photographer's combo at $9.99/month, it's one of the most powerful and economical software tools on the market.

PLUGINS

ON1 PHOTO 10

ON1 Photo 10 is post processing software that's both powerful and easy to use. It can work as a plugin for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture, yet it also works well as a stand-alone tool. It's great for portraits, landscapes, B&W and much more. You can save 20%. Visit my affiliate link at http://williambeem.com/on1 and use the coupon code WBEEM16.

TOPAZ LABS

Topaz Labs makes a suite of great post processing apps. I'm a particularly happy with DeNoise and Lens Effects. You can also find tools to provide more detail, clarity, B&W and other photo effects. You can save 15%. Visit my affiliate link at http://williambeem.com/topazlabs and use the coupon code WBEEMPHOTO.

LUMINAR

Luminar is a RAW engine from Macphun. It's exceptionallu easy to use and produces great results. It has a ton of filters and effects built-in, along with plenty of presets. From now until May 3rd, 2017, you can get it combined with a FREE month of KelbyOne access and a collection of presets built by Scott Kelby. Use code BEEM to save $10 when you checkout.

AURORA HDR

This is my favorite new HDR program from Trey Ratcliff and Macphun. It's currently only for Mac computers, but I hear that a Windows version is coming in 2016. It's fast and delivers stunning results. If you like HDR, you really want to check out this program. You can save 10%. Visit my affiliate link at http://williambeem.com/macphun and use the coupon code BEEM.

CAMERA BAGS

THINK TANK AIRPORT TAKEOFF

My main bag is the Think Tank Airport Takeoff. I’ve tried a lot of different camera bags and nothing else compares to ThinkTank for quality and durability. You get a plethora of velcro dividers to create whatever compartments you want for your gear. There are two see-through zipper pouches inside the cover. There’s room for a 15″ MacBook Pro on the outside pouch.

THINK TANK AIRPORT ROLLER DERBY

This bag is much like the Airport Takeoff, although not quite as wide. However, it has something that all the other Think Tank Airport bags lack - four wheels! Your camera gear just glides with you instead of having to tilt it back and lug it through the airport or hotel.

THINK TANK AIRPORT ACCELERATOR

Still smaller than the previous Think Tank bags, this one is a backpack and doesn't have any wheels. Technically, my Airport Takeoff has backpack straps, but I'd snap my spine if I had it full of gear. This gives me the quality and durability of Think Tank with the portability of a backpack.

ACCESSORIES

WACOM INTUOS 5

The Intuos 5 operates with a pen or as a multi-touch tablet. It allows a level of precision and pressure sensitivity that no mouse or touchpad can match. If you're re-touching your photos, you need an Intuos 5 tablet. The only question is which size to select. That depends upon how you like to move your arm to use the pen. If you move at the wrist, get the small. I move at my elbow, so I use the medium size. If you move at your shoulder like an artist, go with the large size.

X-RITE COLORMUNKI PHOTO

Every monitor needs color calibration. There are a lot of devices on the market, but I chose the ColorMunki Photo because it is a spectrophotometer, rather than a colorimeter, that can calibrate multiple devices accurately.

BOOKS

ALL ACCESS:  YOUR BACKSTAGE PASS TO CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY

This book by my friend Alan Hess is filled with stunning concert photos, but it’s not just a book about photography. The first question that almost everyone asks is, “How do you get access?” Alan covers this question with detail. He covers who are the various people you can ask. When is the best time to ask? What kind of pass do you want? Just as important, he covers why they should let you shoot the concert. MY REVIEW

SCOTT KELBY'S DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY BOXED SET

Scott Kelby really hit the mark with this series of books. Each uses a simple format. He provides a series of tips about common photography problems and describes the solution as if talking to a friend. It's easy to read and yet very informative.

PROFESSIONAL PORTRAIT RETOUCHING TECHNIQUES FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS USING PHOTOSHOP

One of my favorite books! Scott Kelby shows a number of great portrait retouching techniques and makes it easy to understand. I love my plugins, but sometimes you need to take matters into your own hands. This book shows you the things you need to address and gives you multiple ways to tackle the retouching problem at hand. Highly recommended for portrait photographers!

UNDERSTANDING EXPOSURE

I bought this classic book by Bryan Peterson years ago, and it is one of the most useful books around for anyone just getting into photography. It is full of photos to illustrate the changes that happen to your image when you adjust aperture, shutter speed and ISO. He also gives advice on metering, HDR and many other basics.

AUDIO RECORDING GEAR

YAMAHA MG12XU MIXER

I'm getting into podcasting and recording video tutorials. In either case, I need great sound from multiple sources. There are a lot of mixers, but the Yamaha MG12XU provided enough channels, a great mic pre-amp and USB connectivity to use my iOS devices.

SHURE SM58 MICROPHONE

There are a LOT of people on the Internet who think you need to buy an expensive broadcast microphone to get a good sound. The truth is that the Shure SM58 is an iconic microphone because it's so damn good. It's tough enough to fall off a building and still work, and it's very under-estimated by the podcast "elite." Save your money and get a workhorse mic. 

DBX 286S

This is where the magic happens. The DBX 286s is a microphone pre-amp with a compressor/limiter/gate & a de-esser. Using this rack mountable gear, I can get a better sound from my SM58 than some of the self-professed pros using a Heil PR40 or similar gear who aren't using this device.

ZOOM H4N

I record into a Zoom H4n Handy Recorder. It's safer than recording to a computer, as software sometimes crashes and you lose everything in that session. Also, it's much more portable than an iMac. I can take it with me and use the built-in mics on top or use the two XLR connections on the bottom to use my own external mics. It records in stereo and four-channel multitrack to keep different inputs on their own channel. You could record and mix a song on this device without using your computer.