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On Hand

Everything’s down to the details in Alex Kapustin’s toolkit

“I came to the early realization that being organized is key to accomplishing almost anything and everything.”
  1. Apple 15” Computer
  2. Wacom Tablet + Stylus
  3. Western Digital My Passport
  4. iPhone 6 + Quad Lock Case
  5. iPad
  6. Deakin Devices Card Reader w/ Sandisk 16GB Card
  7. Global Art - Pencil Case
  8. General’s - Charcoal White Pencil, Pacific Arc H1304 Mechanical Pencil, Pentel P205 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil, Pantel Graph Gear 500 0.9 Mechanical Pencil, Princeton Art & Brush Co 4 3/8 Paint Brush, Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser
  9. Prisma Color Cool Gray 30 %
  10. Faber-Castell Artist Pen Variety Markers
  11. Notebook (Dot Grid Journal)
  12. Bose Speaker
  13. Sideshowtoy - GI JOE (Bruce Willis)
  14. Oberto Teriyaki Beef Jerkey
  15. Gerber Toolkit Knife
  16. Broncolor Transceiver RFS 2
  17. Broncolor Case for Transceiver RFS 2
  18. Broncolor Scoro S 3200 RFS 2
  19. Broncolor Unilite 3200
  20. Broncolor Flash Sync Cord’
  21. Broncolor P70 Reflector
  22. Pelican Camera Case (Green) + Pelican Camera Accessory Case (Black)
  23. Profoto Beauty Dish
  24. Vello FreeWave Plus Wireless Remote Shutter Release
  25. Hasselblad H5D 50c
  26. Hasselblad Battery
  27. Hasselblad Normal Lens 100mm f/2.2
  28. Hasselblad HC Macro Lens 120mm F/4.0
  29. Gitzo Mountaineer Series 2 Carbon Fiber
  30. Hama Air Dust Cleaner
  31. Sony RX 100 II
  32. SanDisk 32 GB Card
  33. Sony Battery
  34. Sony Charger w/ Battery
  35. Condor Case for Camera
  36. Honda Key Chain from Honda Fit

Who are you and what do you make?

My name is Alex Kapustin, a 27-year-old photographer and creative director based in Los Angeles. My career in photography evolved from working closely with creative directors for an advertising agency for the past six years.

I have been told that I am a bit insane, and I believe that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I have a tendency to be a perfectionist, and very detail oriented. I came to the early realization that being organized is key to accomplishing almost anything and everything, and for that reason, it’s become a big part of who I am. On any given day, my schedule can be a mixture of shooting an advertisement for a video game, to a full-blown lifestyle shoot, or sometimes still life photography for a product.

I have photographed for major clients such as Activision, Snail Games, Western Digital, and Turtle Beach. Call of Duty: Black Ops I was the first title that took my career as a part-time photographer into a full-time career. Since then, I have photographed the entire Call of Duty franchise including the most recent Call of Duty Black Ops III. I also had the amazing opportunity to work with talent like Ronda Rousey, the world renowned undefeated UFC fighter, for the video game Taichi Panda.

In my spare time, I like to buy interesting and unique products that I am inspired by, and draft some visual concepts on a piece of paper—then I finish it off with a full-scale photo shoot.

What’s one thing you can’t go a day without?

One thing I cannot go a day without is a form of exercise—cycling, rock climbing, or simply meditating. You have to learn how to step away from work to reset your creative juices. Exercising daily gets my head clear about all the projects I am involved with.

What could someone learn about you from your toolkit, or from watching you shoot BTS?

Probably how simple I keep my lighting set up. Coming from an illustration background, I usually light my subject flat with one source light bouncing against white or through a diffuser. Then I add a key light to grab attention on where I am focusing my vision. Last but not least, I add a rim light to give shape to my subject. Sometimes it can get a bit complex based on the creative direction, or when you have to use multiple lights to create a specific effect. Overall though, all I need really is three lights and bunch of reflectors.

I also like to work with very specific tools too. Broncolor and Hasselblad are my go to choices. Broncolor can freeze an image of a fast moving object, and Hasselblad provides 14 stops of dynamic range—making the image stand out beautifully.

A lot of your work revolves around the video game industry—what’s your favorite classic game?

Even though I do a lot of work for video games, I don’t play video games very much. I might take a stab at playing the Call of Duty Black Ops series, or Grand Theft Auto V. But, I do play a lot of arcade games on my iPhone. One game I recently became addicted to is Subway Surfer. There is no end to that game, so be careful how much time you spend on it!

alexkapustin.com
@alexkphoto

Alex Kapustin is the Grand Prize Winner of our 2015 On Hand contest.

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