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Chris: Commercial Photographer

This is Chris.

Meet Chris Whonsetler. (Not your average photographer.) He’s not going to pose your newborn on a pillow or follow you around frolicking in the snow. What will he do?

Well he’ll make you darn hungry for a hamburger, contemplate vacationing to South America, convinced that you just have to buy a new pair of shoes, and ready to sign up for cycling classes. All with a couple photographs and some great candor.

Always ready for a new challenge, and constantly on the look out for cool new products to photograph, Chris truly does a fantastic job at showcasing the very things many other photographers shy away from. And he’s got this uncanny ability to breathe life into pictures of inanimate objects and energy and movement to his models.

If you want to showcase your products or are looking for a truly unique way to capture your personality for your company picture–you’ve got to give this guy a call.

Also check out Chris’ rockin’ commercial photography business (WhonPhoto) on Facebook and Twitter as well!

Now, let’s see what he has with him on an average day of commercial shooting:


1. Camera! – Personally I shoot with the Nikon D3 and a D800. No I didn’t tape over the brand because I’m ashamed.. I do a lot of traveling and I tape over the shiny bits to make the camera look older and less appealing to thieves.

2. Back up camera – Depends on the job, whichever body I’m not using. Having a backup is always a must.

3. Wide Lens – My Nikkor 24 – 77 is a workhorse! 24 mm is wide enough to capture just about everything you would need in your shot without crazy amounts of distortion, and the 70 mm is just about what human vision equates to so it’s a very natural looking focal length.

4. Telephoto Lens – Zooming compresses the scene giving you that awesome blurry background everyone loves. Also very handy when I’m shooting portraits in a distracting venue or just don’t feel like being that close to my subject.

5. Strobe Battery Pack – I love flash! This Elinchrom ranger Quadra is one of the best buys when you compare price/flash output/weight. Battery powered means I can shoot anywhere. So portable, so awesome.

6. Strobe Head – freakishly tiny these guys are nothing for my assistants to hold out on monopod. Only downside is they need to be tethered to the battery.. Can’t have it all. Or can I??

7. Speed Light – sometimes you just need the bare essentials. Speed lights are that. Versatile, small, light, why not have a couple around?! Too bad they can’t kick out the power of the ranger or last as long.

8. Speed Light backup – always got to have a backup, or a second or third light to toss up 🙂

9. Radio Transmitters – off camera flash, need I say more? I choose Cybersync because they are cheaper than some other transmitters you see out there and they are super cute!

10. Extra Memory Cards – I shoot a lot. Both my bodies have 2 card slots and I set the camera to copy every image to both at the same time, so I’m filling two cards at once. Gotta have some spares laying around.

11. Extra Batteries – no one likes a dead battery. Especially paying clients, and my landlord.

12. Tripod – a must to get razor sharp images. Do I always use it? No, but I should..

13. Light Stands – when I can’t afford an assistant to be my personal light stand

14. Light Meter – No matter if you want to overpower ambient light, fill in a bit, or match seamlessly a light meter is a must to test the light before you shoot, save your shutter! Cameras do have a life expectancy.

15. Energy Bar – some shoots include a lunch break, some don’t. Either way I’m eating!

16. Gels – one thing I despise in flash photography is when two or more light sources don’t balance. These little guys make me happy.

17. Coffee! – caffeine addict, keeps the shakes away.

18. Gaff Tape – real mans duct tape. Great for quick fixes, keeping cords and people out of danger, or for removing hair from your body.

19. iPhone – permanently attached to my hand. A must for emails, phone calls, social networking and you know, angry birds.. Mostly business?

20. Lens Cleaning Solution – dirty glass is nasty, using your T to clean a lens is worse

21. USB Battery – life is sad when you kill your mobile device.. And it always happens when you least expect it! This sucker from Mophie will fully charge two iPhones, or one iPad.

22. Monopod – dual purpose, assistants use it with my ranger set and I use it when I want stable shots but am too lazy for a tripod, or need a good thumping stick.

23. iPad – digital portfolio, larger screen for surfing/emails, tethering for client viewing during a shoot, digital clipboard. The uses are almost infinite on a shoot.

24. AA Batteries – lots of things need them, I should buy stock.

25. Sensor Cleaning Kit – those black specks you see in your photos aren’t from the dust on the front of your lens, they are on your sensor, and they are the worst thing in the world. This saves me from editing them out of every single photo I take.

26. Business Cards! – More business is always a good thing, what kind of a business owner am I if I can’t keep a couple cards on me. You never know who you will see on a shoot and what business you can drum up out on a shoot! Just don’t ignore your current client to try and land another one..

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