This post comes from our Sales Team Member and Creative Photo Academy Educator, Peter Khauo. We asked Peter to share about what's in his Video+Photo bag.
Feel free to ask questions or share thoughts in the comments.

What camera bag do you use?
Lowe Pro 170AW

What do you use it for?
Everything from video to stills.


Tell us about your set up and how you use it.
I have the LowPro Backpack and it has three compartments for lens. The top section is stuff with my H6, 580EXII Flash, ipad mini 3, lighting to sd dongle, continuous LED light, Gary Fong Light Sphere, 6 batteries, 2 chargers, 4 rechargeable AA batteries, scissors, multi-tool, receipt book, gorilla tape, metallic sharpies, and of course my watch.

The tools where added to my bag when I encounter issues that I needed to fix on the fly.

I use the ipad for reference when shooting video and also to display images for client after shoots are done.


What cameras, lenses and flashes do you bring?
Canon 6D
17-40mm F4L
70-200 F2.8L

Why is it awesome for what you do?
This setup is awesome because it covers most focal range. When I'm shooting video, I had a preplan set up of what I need when I plan to edit.

What's one piece of gear you think people should have?
First Aid Kit, I have one in my car.  But seriously, extra memory cards, extra pre-charged batteries.


What's one thing you carry with you that you wish you didn't have to bring?
Laptop/iPad since I like to review my work at home but many times clients what to see images/video right away.

Is there anything you would change for this to be your dream bag?
More prime lens. I would love to add Tamron 35mm F1.8, Tamron 85mm F1.8, Canon 24-70F2.8 Mark II, and Canon 70-200 F2.8 Mark II, and 5D Mark IV, and Rode Video Pro Mic/Rode Wireless Lav.

You can see more of his work facebook, instagram or youtube.
Questions or comments for Peter? Share them below...

John is our student of the month for August, 2016. He has a great sense of composition. I really enjoy how he uses scale to build interest and create relationships in his photographs. The project he shares this month is a series of black and white photographs across America. They are bright, strong and immaculate in editing. Don't miss John Peterson's project on America in our gallery this month.

We had an interview by Creative Photo Academy's Ryan Chambers with John Peterson to hear about his work and what inspires him:

© John Peterson

If you could sum up this work in one word what would it be?

Which photograph has meant the most to you?
The White House ruins. When I first saw the image that Ansel Adams made of the ruins, I loved the patterns on the rock and wanted to make my own version from a different angle. Canyon de Chelly is a peaceful, beautiful place--one where I actually enjoyed the driving around from venue to venue.

Where have you found inspiration photographically?
Everywhere I go. I'm always seeing photographic opportunities and love to make photographs with whatever I have available, even if it's just my iPhone.

Who do you feel like you were making this work for?
Initially, myself. But, when someone likes one of my images and tells me they do, it gives me great pleasure, so I share them on my website and on Facebook. I'm really shooting for everyone.

DSC_0281 sep024blue lc 10x15 print sharp

Was there anything about yourself or something else that you discovered making these pictures?
I'm not particularly creative by nature, so photography brings out my inner creativity. There is an excitement to the process that makes it all a huge amount of fun.

Was there a class, instructor, pro talk or trip that really helped you connect with photography?
Photo Boot Camp was called Beginning Photography when I took the class. Mark Comon provided the inspiration in that class that drove me to Intermediate classes and then Advanced classes. The trips are also very helpful. I have seen and photographed sites that I might not have seen had it not been for photography.

Is there a piece of equipment that you really love?
My D800. It's a fabulous camera, that, properly used, makes fabulous images that become fabulous prints.

_JP39613 sep024blue lc 10x15 print sharp

What thread do you feel ties these pictures together besides you taking them?
They're all scenes of America, from coast to coast and in between.

What is your advice to someone starting in photography?
Enroll in Photo Boot Camp and take the assignments seriously. Do the homework. Once you graduate, take Intermediate classes for several years to strengthen your skills. When you buy equipment, spend the most you can afford on good lenses - the glass is more important than anything else. (You can use the best camera in the world but if you attach a crummy lens to it, you will get a crummy image).

Do you have any projects you're planning to do next?
I'm currently working on a series involving classic cars and details of those cars. It's the most photographic fun I've had in a long time.

What's your favorite color?

© John Peterson

See his work at our main gallery through the month of August, 2016.


This post comes from our Creative Director at Creative Photo Academy. We asked Ryan to share about what's in his camera bag. Feel free to ask questions or share thoughts in the comments.


What camera bag do you use?
Think Tank

What do you use it for?
Hiking, bike tours, anything where there's risk of injury... :]

Olympic Peninsula, Wa
Olympic Peninsula, Wa

Tell us about your set up and how you use it.
I have a couple full frame cameras with a bunch of lenses and flashes but I realized I really didn't enjoy traveling with all of them when we were going out for fun and adventures. So I picked up a Fuji XT1 and a couple lenses. This little bag is actually designed to fit a single DLSR body but it's perfect for my whole kit with a ton of pockets, adjustable dividers and a waterproof cover! I can fit everything I need for making awesome pictures and everything I want personally... snacks, sunglasses, phone and notebook. It also integrates with my other Think Tank bags so when I'm on a shoot I can use it too...

What cameras, lenses and flashes do you bring?
Fuji XT1
35mm 1.4
18-55mm 2.8-4
EF-X8 Flash


Why is it awesome for what you do?
This set up is incredible because it attaches to my belt. I can jump, climb and run without it getting in the way. When I want to grab gear it's already being supported at waist level so it's easy to move and change anything I need. And with the waterproof cover if I get stuck in the rain or am getting too close to the surf, I can just throw it on and not worry.

What's one piece of gear you think people should have?
I think the LenSpen and a lens cloth is really underestimated. That combination will clean just about anything off my lens from dust to finger prints to oil spots. It's not a sexy piece of equipment but lets you keep shooting and there's something to be said for that.

Big Sur, Ca
Big Sur, Ca

What's one thing you carry with you that you wish you didn't have to bring?
Honestly this little set up is about as paired down as it gets. I feel great. Now, when I share my pro set up... then we'll talk.

Is there anything you would change for this to be your dream bag?
I'd add polarizers for my lenses and a certain pancake lens from Fuji that doesn't exist yet. But as far as the bag goes I wish it had more hefty strap attachment points for when I want to throw it over my shoulder. Carrying it on my belt is way more ergonomic but it's kind of dorky at times. I also wish the materials were more vintage/classy and less techie/tactical.

Death Valley, Ca
Death Valley, Ca
You can see more photographs with this set up on his website or instagram.
Questions or comments for Ryan? Share them below...


There are a lots of reasons for taking pictures. One of the most important is to remember. Not just for you to remember but for your children to remember and your children's children to remember.

We recently had a friend of Paul's Photo, Stephanie, come by with some old negatives. She was cleaning out a shoe box of photos she had stowed away during college 30 years ago. As she flipped through the pictures she found some old Brownie negatives. She couldn't remember how they got in there and she couldn't tell what was on them.

Stephanie brought her negatives by The Lab at Paul's Photo and asked us what she should do. Of course we thought she should scan them (negatives hold so much information even if it looks like they're too clear, too dark, too scratched, too dusty; there's probably something there). Well, it turns out there sure was something there. The negatives were family pictures from 1930 to 1936. There were pictures of her mother at three years old with her grandma, pictures of her uncles playing together and family pictures of the family during Easter. Stephanie told us about how her mom was always the princess of the family and now she actually has proof. And she shared about how her uncles have always been best friends, even today when they're in their 80's and living a continent apart.


The pictures also brought up new stories about her family. When she showed the prints to her aunt and uncles they started tearing up. They shared about their neighbors. She found out they where living in East LA in a Japanese neighborhood as the only Mexican family. She learned that her aunt ,who had a career in the fashion industry, was a tomboy growing up and hated cats.

What strikes me about Stephanie's experience is that these pictures weren't really for her. They were made by relatives two generations before Stephanie. But the pictures her grandparents made have become a part of her story and they inform the stories that her kids learn about who they are. These pictures have power, a kind of power that I don't normally think about when I'm photographing my family: we are writing the history of our family.


I asked Stephanie about her experience at The Lab at Paul's Photo. She said the staff were kind and interested in her negatives. They were more than willing to put the pictures on a flash drive and made two sets of prints (her aunts and uncles took all of the prints so it's a good thing she has that flash drive). I'm was glad to hear that because we feel like we're doing something pretty special at Paul's Photo and we want you to know we will care for your families' photographs.

I asked if there's anything she would tell herself or you for that matter. Stephanie said she feels lucky that her mother is the only one of that generations that's passed away but she said it's important to take the time to sit down with relatives and write the stories on the back of the pictures. And make sure to print an extra set for yourself.


There's a flood of pictures being made today like no other time in history. We hope you'll take the time to thinking about what they mean to you, to tell your story and to write your families history. If you need help, we're here for you.



This post comes from our Vice President of PAUL'S PHOTO and Founder of Creative Photo Academy, Mark Comon. We asked Mark to share about what's in his camera bag. Feel free to ask questions or share thoughts in the comments.


What camera bag do you use?
LowePro ProTrekker 450AW-II

What do you use it for?
Safaris, Wild Animals & Sports

Alaska, 2015
Alaska, 2015

Tell us about your set up and how you use it.
This is my action kit...
If I am on the sidelines of a soccer match, football field or in the dugout at a baseball game this is my go to kit.
When I am on safari in Africa, Alaska or Yellowstone this is the kit...
When I am at the Zoo or Bolsa Chica capturing wildlife this is the kit

What cameras, lenses and flashes do you bring?
Nikon D810 and D750 (for now)
400mm 2.8, 70-200mm 2.8, 24-70mm 2.8, 14-24mm 2.8 and 1.4 extender

Why is it awesome for what you do?
'Cause it capture the pictures the way I like it.

What's one piece of gear you think people should have?
For action... a 400mm lens! For remote adventures... I always carry one card and one battery for each day I'm on the trip. I use a separate card so if anything happens to my equipment or the card gets corrupted I don't lose everything I shot. And I bring a battery for each day because I can't be sure I'll always have access to power and it's the most frustrating thing in the world for me to have a battery being what's separating me from the shot of a lifetime! It's not worth the risk when I've spent big bucks to be out there.


What's one thing you carry with you that you wish you didn't have to bring?
A big lens... 400mm big!

Is there anything you would change for this to be your dream bag?
No, I love the gear and the pictures it produces.

Yellowstone, Wy
Yellowstone, Wy
You can see more of Mark's Photographs on his Facebook Page.
Questions or comments for Mark? Share them below...


MSNBC's selected us as their 'Entrepreneur of the week'! Check out the feature they put together about us. It really captures what we're about as a company, building a community. Come be a part of what's happening!




We've been selected as MSNBC's 'Entrepreneur of the week'! The fine folks at MSNBC came down to PAUL'S PHOTO for a day to hangout with our staff, meet our customers and even joined us for a Night Hawks photo walk. It's so fun to be recognized for what we're doing. We hope you'll check it out... We're pretty sure you won't be busy when it airs...

On MNSBC’s “Your Business” feature
Airing January 24th 2016 at 7:30am (EST), 4:30am (PST)

Discoveries of a Watercolorist

We’re a camera store and a photo academy. Through our doors walk teachers, astro physicists, doctors, architects, stay at home parents and adventurers; that is to say, we sit at a place of intersections. Today we’re excited to bring you a story about a special person in our midst. She’s special for a lot of reasons but one of them is that she’s not a photographer. Teri is a watercolorist. What feels really important about her story for me is that it builds the sort of connections that I dream of photography building. So let’s jump in…

Teri started watercoloring in college. She fell in love. It planted a seed. But painting didn’t last long. Her parents wanted her to have a better life. And they wanted her doing something more practical. So she did. She got an undergraduate degree. Then she went on grad school at USC. She graduated, got a great job. She started a family. Her family grew up. And 40 years later, the seed started to grow.

Teri began taking classes at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center. She moved on to take classes at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden in Arcadia. Now she’s also the American Society of Botanical Artists and the Botanical Artist Guild of Southern California where she learns from artists from around the world.

Teri Kuwahara (c) 2015

Teri started watercoloring because it scared her, "as you lay down each stroke you can’t remove them." There’s a precision involved. She was drawn to the structure of plants using tiny brushes, each one containing just a few hairs.

I asked Teri why she felt drawn to doing watercolor paintings of plants. She paused for a long moment. She told me it makes sense of lives past. Her father was a nursery man. Her grandfather grew strawberries in Torrance after the war. Her husband’s family were florists. So when she lays down delicate brushstrokes, describing in minute detail the infinite beauty of a single stem; Teri is not just communicating her awe of the growing world, she is standing among generations of her family in a collective relationship with nature.

Teri Kuwahara (c) 2015

Teri’s painting are beautiful. She recently partnered with the Learning Garden at Torrance Memorial Hospital to make greeting cards from her paintings. That’s what brought her through our doors. Teri needed art reproduction photographs and a way to print the cards in a way that would honor the craftsmanship of the paintings. Teri worked with Jeff in The Lab at PAUL'S PHOTO to explore how to adjust the digitized images, what types of paper she could print on and how to best layout the cards. We had a representative from Moab in and he reproduced her painting on five different kinds of paper so she could feel the difference and see how each one had a slightly different look to it. Teri now has the tools to make her paintings accessible to more people.

Teri Kuwahara (c) 2015

I asked her if there’s anything she wanted to share after looking back at her experiences. Teri took another moment. She told me to use her as an example for why you should follow your passions. "It's never to late to start something new or tackle something from your past. But maybe your circle doesn’t need to be so wide."

Teri, thank you for sharing your story with us. It's incredible to see how following the the threads of our passions in life seem to connect us more deeply and more broadly to our history and those around us.

Stocking Stuffer Banner

Are you looking for some ideas to make your photographer's day? We've created a list of out favorite gear that belongs in our bag but we almost never buy for ourselves. If you have any other ideas add them to the comments.

Gifts for Under $25

Promaster Crystal Touch Screen Protector

Promaster Crystal Touch Screen Protector $24.99
Just like the case for your iPhone these protectors are meant to get scratched up so your screen doesn't have to. Getting a new clean screen protector almost feels as good as getting a brand new camera.

Promaster Contour Strap

Promaster Contour Strap $15.99
If you're carrying your camera all day there's nothing more important than feeling comfortable. And these straps have the added benefit of being a little more discrete than then camera brand's straps. Stay comfy and cool with the Promaster Contour Strap.

Delkin Devices Universal Card Reader

Delkin Reader 38 Multi-Card $14.99
As photographers we love shooting not downloading. Pick up a fast card reader to decrease your time waiting at the computer and increase your time doing what you love. With the multi card readers you can read any card even when you borrow a camera from uncle bob.

Lens Pen 1

If you don't have a LENSPEN you're missing out. These little guys make it simple and easy to clean the finest lenses without leaving a scratch. With a retractible dust removal brush on one side and a dry cleaning element on the other, you're ready to deal with all the finger print and cake smudges the holidays will bring.

Think Tank Pocket Rocket

Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket $16.99
Life if easy when you only have one memory card for your camera. But then you decide to go on a big trip or your daughter decides to get married or you get a puppy (also a good xmas present BTW) everything starts to get crazy. Stay organized and don't lose those precious memories with the Pixel Pocket Rocket

Promaster Super Giant Blower

Promaster Super Giant Blower $12.99
I know what you're thinking... My photographer already has a giant blower built in. But your mouth doesn't count! Whether you've got dust on your sensor, lens or anywhere in between, the giant blower is our first go to tool for getting rid of it. This little guy is among the most useful tools in a photographer bag because it doesn't fix one problem by creating another.


Gift for Under $50

Nikon Aculon T01 8x21 Binocular

Nikon  Aculon T01 8x21 Binocular $39.99
Whether your out on a hike in Joshua Tree, walking along the cliffs in PV or watching the Lakers game these binoculars will come in handy.  At less than 7 oz. these babies are meant to hide away until you need a better look at the whales swimming by.

lumiquest pocket bouncer starter kit1

Lumiquest Pocket Bouncer Starter Kit $39.99
A flash is just a flash until you start to learn how to use it. With the Lumiquest Pocket Bouncer Kit, you turn your flash into a light shaping, color changing device. If you haven't learned how to sculpt with light, there's a world of creativity waiting for you.

Storm jacket camera cover

Storm Jacket Camera Cover $25 - $45
You don't need it till you need it. The Storm Jacket Camera Cover is an essential piece of gear when the unexpected happens. And these aren't just handy when you're hiking Machu Picchu. They're great for spray when you're out on the boat or scrambling on the cliffs.


Shady Sam LCD Magnifier $29.99
The Shady Sam Magnifier is a durable, flexible little magnifier to help you fine tune focus on your screen. In bright sunlight or when fine detail is important there's nothing more helpful than this little guy for the price.


Gifts for Under $100

Instax Mini 8

Instax Mini 8 $69.99
If you have to ask...

Canon Selphy CP910

Canon Selphy CP910 $99.99
The handiest dandiest little printer in all the land. Print from your iPhone, most wifi capable cameras, SD cards or your computer (if you're still into that sort of thing).

Hoodman loupe 3.0

Hoodman Loupe 3.0 $79.99
For completely glare free viewing in the field pick up a Hoodman Loupe 3.0. With an adjustable diopter, strap and carrying case this loupe is the one you want when your serious about getting the picture.

Promaster Clamper

Promaster Pro Clamper $69.99
If MacGyver could give birth to a piece of photo equipment this would be it. It clamps to almost any surface: thin, round or square. And it works as a tripod. If you don't know about MacGyver I'm sorry, he's amazing.

Phottix TR-90 Intervalometer Remote

Phottix  TR-90 Intervalometer Remote $52.99
We love this remote for star trails, light painting, night photography and time lapse photography. If you're camera has a built in intervalometer it is likely much trickier to use and wastes much needed battery power during all night shoots. There's really no substitute.

Black Rapid RS-7 Curve Strap

Black Rapid  RS-7 Curve Strap $61.99
Did you really think we could make a gift guide without including a rapid strap? These straps are the most talked about accessory for photography since... well.. the lens. They're comfortable on your should and allow the camera to slide up the strap instead of the strap sliding down the back of your shoulder. They're fast, comfortable and allow the camera to sit just right.

So that's it for our list of gifts and stocking stuffers for photographers. If you see a piece of equipment that belongs on this list add it to the comments. You'r fellow photographers will thank you!

The Process of Becoming a Photographer

Reflections on Calvin Abe's
"The Process Behind Photographic Design"

One of our students, Calvin Abe, recently shared about how he's come to see photography on his firm's blog. Aside from being an incredible photographer, Calvin is an accomplished Landscape Architect. We wanted to share his story because he picks up on some themes that feel central to what it means to become a photographer.

Lets hear from Calvin first...

My photographic journey over the last couple of years has been transformative. What I’ve been discovering as I’ve taken my camera around the world and brought it along with me here in Los Angeles is that photography is an exploration similar to design. For example, whenever I design a new park, community garden, or urban street corner the process includes the fundamental ideas of composition, color and texture, rhythm and pattern. These concepts also drive me as I make photographs.

My experience in making photographs gives me a sense of creative focus akin to sitting over a drawing table and beginning to sketch out design ideas. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise, but the creative experience is almost the same. The major difference is I can come home and make a print to complete the photographic process, while the building of a garden can sometimes take years to complete.

What sticks out to me about Calvin's story is that he connects photography with his life's passion. He uses the medium as an extension of what has already captivated and driven him. This is what we hope for with our students, that they would bring their whole person to bear when making photographs. With Calvin it's a little easier, he's already thinking about compositional elements every day. What if you're a stay at home parent or a librarian? I believe it's no different. Bring your emotional capacity into your photography. Bring your layers of symbolism into the pictures you make. The secret to great photographs is specificity and connection. When Calvin says: "My experience in making photographs gives me a sense of creative focus akin to sitting over a drawing table..." That is exactly what we hope for you.

And just because I can, I want to share a little bit of what it was like for me to see his work...

The first piece I saw by Calvin was a grid of self portraits. His sense of composition did stand out to me. He had a dynamic sense of balance, rhythm and light. But that's not what struck me. In Calvin's work I felt like I was entering into his thought process. I was being invited into to look through his eyes at himself and his relationship to the world. I got the sense that there is no such thing as an inanimate object for Calvin. Everything has life. His sense of composition gives him the ability to articulate well with photography but it's his spirit coming through his photographs that cause me to pause. So though I appreciate how he speaks about his compositional connection with photography I feel there's an ocean of thought, emotion and creativity that he brings to bear in making the photographs that he does.

Thanks Calvin!

To read his full article and see more of his photographs head over to: And read his article on why red and green during the holidays! What?!?!?!