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Gear & Apps

Shoot Like The Pros With Basic Gear | Patrick Demarchelier

By Kishore Sawh on August 1st 2015


A few weeks back we shared with you a video from that aimed to re-create the look typically found with and associated with Annie Leibovitz. Her name is synonymous to the level of metaphoric status, and with a list of projects and accomplishments as long as the Orient Express, it’s easy to see why. But make no mistake, for those of you who may or may not be photo historians, or at least not in beauty and fashion, there are others at or above her level.  Sid Vasandani of StyleMyPic wants to show you how to shoot in similar styles of these greats, with rather basic gear.

Patrick Demarchelier is one such great, and a name you may not be familiar with. You likely have seen his work that will no doubt go down as history the French can actually be proud of…


Jokes aside, Demarchelier is a photographer whose education in our field is the stuff of lust, since he has learned from those of legend, like Henri Cartier-Bresson. He began as a wedding shooter and quickly developed his method and craft into a career that would span all genres of photography. His name is one associated with Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Dior, Chanel…I could go on, but you get the idea.

But how on Earth could you, a humble mortal, think of shooting like him without his bank balance or that of his clients? Well, Vasandani helps you out. He mentions that Demarchelier has tended to favor the use of an Elinchrom Octabox 135cm, and to show you how he would control that light modifier has set-up a shoot in that fashion. He goes on to explain that the stand is often used on the left side, and light positioned at will.

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[REWIND: Shoot Like Famous Photographers With Entry Level Gear | Annie Leibovitz]

For this shoot, Vasandani uses a generic octabox and a speed light, a black V-flat to add depth and drama to shadows. After the initial image is shot, he goes deeply into how to retouch the image to get as close as possible to Patrick’s style, and the result is impressive when you consider the gear used is what you’ll find below:

Camera: Nikon D5100
Lens: Sigma 18-35mm f1.8
Settings: 1/60, f5.6, ISO-100
1 Yongnuo 560 III
Generic 120cm Octabox – close and left to the model.

I think this was a very good tutorial actually, and perhaps better than the previous. If you like this stuff, let us know and give some love over at

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Frank Capri

    A History they can be proud of, you mean like wiping natives off the map and forcing colored people in the back of the bus? Jokes aside, I don’t see the point of this article.

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  2. satnam singh

    sigma 18-35 f1.8 is not a basic lens do it with the kit lens then it will be a basic gear.

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    • Alexander Europa

      Satnam, the lens was at f/5.6 at 35mm. I’m fairly certain that all kit lenses are capable of matching those settings, and that all current kit lenses are sharp enough at 5.6 to recreate this look.

      That being said, I don’t think that 35mm was the right focal length choice to recreate this shot, since it exaggerates that size of parts of the body closer to the camera. But, all in all, I think this an interesting exercise for photographers interested in fashion.

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  3. Trevor Dayley

    Dig these article Kish.

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  4. James Moxley

    I used to shoot with almost exact setup d5100, with a sigma 30mm 1.4 or nikkor 50mm 1.8 with a yongnuo 560 III with the 560 TX controller, and a 80cm octabox from After using the d5100 for three years, I upgraded to the a d600 bought it for under $1000 CDN, and the reason for that was that I wanted the 85mm, on the crop sensor the 85 feels a bit too long. The other thing I liked about the d600 is the actual view coverage is much better, going back to the d5100 it just feels weird, its so small in comparison. My point is the results might be very close between the two but the d600 is so much easier to use, especially when it comes hit rate, the auto focusing I feel is way better, fewer missed shots.

    Shot with the d5100

    Shot with the d600

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