With a career spanning 20 years, Derek Swalwell is one of the most sought-after photographers in the business. Known first and foremost for his architectural photography work, Derek’s practice encompasses lifestyle, advertising, and automotive work, as well as a slick folio of personal creative projects.
Getting his foot-in-the-door early on as an assistant to several busy car photographers, Derek spent his weekends as a young photographer immersed in books about American and European architects, as well as the photographs of greats like Ezra Stoller, Balthazar Korab and Julius Shulman, which cultivated a passion for architecture and design. These days his high-profile clients include Kennedy Nolan, Jetstar, Hyundai and many more, as well as pretty much every major Australian design and architecture magazine! It’s safe to say that Derek knows his stuff.
Today, the shooter becomes the subject, and gives us a rare glimpse inside his finely-tuned camera kit!
The tools i use · Derek Swalwell
1. Canon EOS 1D x Mk2
This is my go-to camera for its versatility and high-quality files. It’s easily adaptable to lifestyle work and super agile.
2. DJI Mavic Pro Drone
This drone is small, super simple and easy to fly, and great for architectural work where elevated views are needed. It’s quick to set up and the video quality is really incredible!
3. Lacie Rugged 2TB Hard Drive
If there’s one simple thing that every photographer uses across all shoots, it’s the Lacie Rugged Hard Drive. This robust storage unit is perfect for fast, efficient onsite file backup.
4. Mini Video Dolly
Literally a metal plate with rollerblade wheels – kind of like a skateboard for a camera! When shooting for large automotive clients I put my camera on it, allowing it to roll along surfaces smoothly it for mini-tracking clips.
5. Cambo WRS Large Format
Essentially this is a large format camera for architectural and landscape work, with shiftable film plane and digital back. Specifically, the camera to lens relationship versatility keeps parallels straight and not converge (aka it allows me to shoot a wider frame with less distortion). It takes on some of the principles of the 5.x4” cameras (older large-format cameras), but designed for modern workflow and software.
Largely it defines a lot of the character of my architectural work. It’s SUPERBLY engineered, robust and has completely transformed my workflow over the last 15 years. I use it for pretty much ALL of my architectural work, as well as my recent WEST series of landscapes in LA and Las Vegas, and my HIKEY TOKYO series.
6. Fuji XT-1
I use this mostly for personal work, and love it! It’s a small lightweight but high quality files camera to accompany my larger camera when I’m out on location shooting my own projects. I use it to pick up street shots and vignettes – the kind of stuff you need to be quick and agile for. Several years back I used it to create my Hotel Okura series – it’s beautifully designed and easy to use
Shot on Fuji XT-1: Hotel Okura