Daniel Bender is a Seattle-based photographer and cinematographer who made the jump to full-time freelancing at the start of 2018. In that time, he’s become an ambassador for Glazer’s Camera, shot events for Amazon, and built up a sizable Instagram following.
Logical Cameras recently caught up with Daniel to see what he’s been shooting on. Read on for our Q&A.
Logical Cameras: How do you describe the type of photography you do?
Daniel: I specialize in primarily lifestyle/portraiture and wedding photography. But like many photographers, I have experience shooting many different genres — sports, events, product photography, real estate, et cetera.
LC: What’s your camera (or cameras) of choice right now?
LC: Why those cameras? What do you like about them?
Daniel: The color in both are beyond incredible. If you can afford the lenses to accompany the GFX 50S, it is probably my favorite camera to shoot on. The Fujifilm internal color, RAW conversion and autofocus produce some of the most beautiful images I’ve ever shot.
If you need fast shutter speed matched with lightning-fast autofocus and a camera built like a tank, the 1D X Mark II is the best camera on the market. There’s a reason it’s used by most sports and wildlife photographers. If you miss a shot, it probably isn’t the camera’s fault.
LC: What was your first camera when you got started?
Daniel: The first “real” camera I ever used was a Canon 5D Mark II. I was asked to run boom for a series of interviews and ended up helping film and shoot behind-the-scenes. For years after, I would only have my iPhone to take photos, or I’d borrow friends’ cameras here and there until we finally bought my mom a Canon T3i and I started finding every excuse to use it.
LC: So how did you go from having to borrow your mom’s T3i to becoming a professional photographer?
Daniel: I actually didn’t become a full-time freelancer until this year. In January, I quit my job and said “I’m just going to do this.” I spent a bunch of money I had saved up on my 1DX Mark II and a bunch of other gear, and I just hustled. It’s been great. Right now, weddings and events make up most of my stills work.
LC: I see you’ve also been using the Canon EOS R lately. What do you think of it?
Daniel: I actually love that camera, though only for stills. The video looks good, but probably not good enough for professional use. It can basically autofocus in the dark. I’m actually planning to buy two of them. I’ve used the [RF mount] 24-105mm f/4, as well as my [EF mount] 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II and 50mm f/1.2 with the adapter. The [EF to EOS R] adapter works flawlessly.
LC: What are some of your most-used lenses?
Daniel: The number one lens I think everyone should have is a 70-200mm f/2.8. I use my 70-200mm in literally every shoot. You really can’t take a bad photo with it.
The other lens I use almost religiously is my Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4. I actually didn’t use it for the first 4 months I had it. A buddy of mine challenged me to only use that lens for a week straight and now it’s one of my favorite lenses I have.
LC: Any other essential gear in your kit, aside from your camera and lenses?
Daniel: Another piece of gear I never leave to a shoot without is my Bose portable speaker. Having music with you when you’re working with clients is vital to creating a fun relaxed atmosphere.
LC: Where can we see more of your work?
Daniel: Instagram has become my main platform for sharing content on a regular basis.