NICK KOUDIS
NICK KOUDIS
Nick Koudis avatar.jpg

Shoot or get off the 'pod

shotkit wants to show you what’s in my bag


Reprinted from ShotKit’s feature of my MINI bag — 9/19.

I’m Nick Koudis, an advertising and celebrity photographer and full-blown strobist since the turn of the century. I cut my teeth shooting for NYC ad agencies for 20 years, then escaped to sunny LA in 2000 where I continue to shoot celebrity and advertising images. If my images have a thread, it's the irony of them or that “made you look” double-take quality. 

My claim to fame? I was founding Photographer at Getty Images. Some call it my claim to blame.

 


My message: It’s not about how much gear you have. It’s about how much the gear has for you.

I’ve definitely learned how to minimize — and maximize my equipment. Let’s just say I travel well. 

The MINI kit pictured above is an exercise in utility.

I’ve packed 4 lights (if you include the sun) into 8×10 inches of a Lowepro Pro Roller x100 AW that fits UNDER THE FLOOR of my Mini Cooper Clubman, totally out of sight, including three Manfrotto 5001B 74-Inch Nano Stands!

I can rock up and have the lights set up in 7 1/2 minutes. This HSS kit lets me get out and fight the sun!

All the images I’ve posted here and on ShotKit—I did armed with those three Canon 600EX-RT ii strobes.

I will say that I’ve tried less dependable strobes and I’ve found that the Canon system is well worth the price of not having burnouts and shutdowns. Try your luck at buying used Canon gear for the price of a cheap knockoff.

The exception to that rule right now seems to be the Godox X Series Lighting range. I’m using the Godox v860ii’s and a Flashpoint R2 Pro MarkII Transmitter with a lot of success. I’ll probably phase out the Canon system because the Godox ecosystem is reliable, feature-rich and expanding.

And speaking of expanding, I use a DIY version of TrekPack dividers to QUICKLY change-up my case from strobes to LEDs.

Inside that MINI case:

Canon EOS 5DS – That fifty megapixel Mofo.

Canon 24-105mm f/2.8 – My desert island lens. Can do it all, from landscapes to portraits.

Canon 17-40mm f/4 – When the desert Island is too big, I use this wide lens to capture it all.

Canon 50mm EF f/1.4 – Great for low light or really shallow depth of field.

Canon 50mm Macro f/2.5 plus Canon Extension Tube EF12 and Canon Extension Tube EF25 – I like to shoot miniatures sometimes. I also use the macro lens to copy film images with the Canon 5DS. A RAW film scan!

Canon 600EX-RT ii (x3) – These strobes are incredible. They have High Speed Sync, and can shoot flash at 1/8000 of a second. The Canon ST-E3-RT Radio trigger lets you adjust them all from the camera.

Manfrotto 5001B 74-Inch Nano Stands (x3)

Gepe CardSafe Extreme in ugly, loud NEON YELLOW, with a prominent ID label from a Brother P-touch Label Maker, which labels everything in the bag, too.

A couple of Press Badges.

A million dollar insurance policy for 10 bucks from the Verifly app.  I have an annual photo policy, but this app is great for on the fly coverage and drone insurance.

Not in the shot, in order of importance:

Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine powered by Intelligentsia Black Cat Classic Espresso.

Apple MacBook Pro 15” 2018 Touch Bar

Canon 6D MkII – Full Frame, WiFi and GPS! What a great camera for packing light and traveling.

Chimera Super Pro X Plus Stripbanks (x6) in three sizes. Even though my speedlights may look tiny, I like to use mods that look expensive.

As for my post production I live-view tether with Tether Tools cables into Canon EPS Utility into Adobe Lightroom Classic for organization or everything that doesn’t need layers, Adobe Photoshop CC when it does.

And I use the Foundry’s Modo 13 for all my CGI work building and rendering props like the ambulance in “ironic death” or the Smart car in “Jack”. Modo is a great solution for still photographers looking to add that element of impossibility to their images.

Nick Koudis