When I was younger, I was a Boy Scout (of America) and the idea to “always be prepared” has stayed with me for years and paid off many times. I have since earned the reputation amongst friends of “Oh, I bet Ryan has that!”
As a photographer, I keep a few items in my hard case that go to every shoot. Some of my favorites are quick strips of gaffers tape, a multi-tool, spare AA batteries, safety pins, chewing gum, a small folding reflector, small clamps, 1/8 to 1/8 stereo cord, and my favorite; a Photoflex Extra Small OctoDome soft box. I do love all of these items but let me hone in on the last and explain why it’s m favorite.
A few weeks ago I was asked to cover a golf outing. The assignment involved just basic candids so I grabbed my regular hard case and my 300mm 2.8 lens and walked out the door. I met one of our team members at the check-in and they said, “Henry Winkler” is here! So I promptly talked to the person in charge and she said “Henry has agreed to have you shoot some images with some of our guests”. So I grabbed my emergency Photoflex softbox, clamped it to the top of the tent and launched into action. Henry Winkler was an amazing guy and was super excited about his upcoming show “Better Late Than Never” coming soon to NBC.
I shot a few images and he leaned over and said “I am concerned about the wind blowing my hair, can I see what these look like?” So I said sure and asked him to look at me and smile and then showed him the image. He replied with great enthusiasm, “Wow! I look great!” and then proceeded to ask if I could email him the images. I agreed and it has since started a wonderful relationship.
But here is the best part. This isn’t the first time this has happened. In the last few years I have had the privilege of shooting unexpected head shots of Mike Ditka, Jordy Nelson, Aaron Rodgers, and many others. It has earned me such a reputation that many of my friends and professional acquaintances can’t wait when they see me to ask who I have photographed recently.
So why is the Photoflex Extra Small OctoDome my favorite piece of emergency gear? Because it was easy to carry and keeps me always professionally prepared. It is the one piece of lighting gear that I never leave the home or office without.
Ryan Bensheimer studied photography at the world renowned Art Institute in Chicago. He works hard to establish a relationship with couples to truly understand their styles and personalities and uniquely capture the moments of the most important day of their lives. Ryan works with a team of photographers and editors to deliver cutting edge wedding images to Wisconsin and many great destination locations around the world. He has received several awards and is one of three Album Epoca Signature Photographers in the US. His work is regularly published by the Knot and Premiere Bride and he is the leading instructor for the Ideal Art Tours.