Some of the Gear I Use for Photography, Painting and Digital Work

Howard Lyon

I recently taught a little workshop in my studio and the focus of it was generating stronger compositional studies. As a part of that, we focused a lot on taking better photos. After the workshop, I put together a list of the gear I used during the workshop and I thought I would share it here as well:


My camera has been updated to the Sony a6600 now but the model I have, which is older, is the Sony a6500. The a6400 is also a wonderful camera. The big advantage of the a6600 is that it has in-body image stabilization which will let you take better handheld shots in lower light when not using a tripod or a flash. It also has a better battery giving you twice as many shots.

Sony a6600

Sony a6400

Both of these cameras are crop sensors (APS-C) if you want to get recommendations on a full-frame camera I have some recommendations. Your price will start closer to $2000. I have mostly Sony gear, but I have shot with both Canon and Nikon. You can’t go wrong with either of those. Fujifilm and Pentax also make some nice cameras. I have found that the Sony system works really well for me and when I bought my camera the a6500 was the perfect combination of size and performance for the money. I have just upgraded to the Sony a7 IV but it hasn’t shipped yet. I will do a post/review of it when I receive it.


You’ll also want protective UV filters for any lens you get. They are cheap, by comparison with your lens, and can save your lens with a drop or from things damaging the lens itself and they are one more barrier to dust working its way into your lens.

Sony SEL5018 50mm 1.8 – This is a fantastic lens. Great, versatile focal length. You can use this for photoshoots, portrait, capturing artwork, photographing in museums and landscapes. It it very sharp. If you only bought one lens, I would get this one.

Filter – 49mm –

Sigma 24-70 f2.8 Art – This is the lens I had on my camera for most photoshoots. Excellent quality, fast focus and opens up to a large aperture handy for lower light. Very sharp all around. This link also comes with a LaCie 1TB external drive and SD card. Nice products and value.

Filter – 82 mm –

Sony SEL90M28G –  this is a great lens if you are wanting to take close-up photos of bugs, flowers or your art. Macro lenses are made to have a very small minimum focus distance. It can also take great portraits and really whatever you’re wanting to capture.

Filter – 62 mm filter –



Neweer 2 light kit – Includes reflectors, stands and softboxes. I haven’t used this exact kit, but I have used this brand and would give it a try. Also comes with trigger and remote

Neewer portable 2 light kit – This is the kit I have and this one comes with umbrellas and softboxes as well as the triggers and remote for your camera. Does not come with stands.

Stands for above kit

Color gels for the Neewer lights – I would recommend getting the Paul C Buff (link below) gel holders for these and cutting them to fit. It will prolong their lifespan.


Paul Buff Lighting setup (a little more rugged lights, more pro-level gear, albeit entry-level)



Additional gear


Trigger Grip Tripodhead  – – this looks just like the one I have, but a different brand name


5 in 1 photo reflector disc 

Small rig Magic Clamp and ball head – These are the clamps that I use to hold the wings and horns and whatever else I need to hold in place.

Dual camera mount tripod bracket for mounting the Magic Clamps –  ​ – You’ll also need a couple of wingnuts from the hardware store to go on the bottom of the bolts to secure them. Something like this:



Essential Set 

Companion Set


Paint Gear


Gamblin Varnish Brush 

Gamblin Gamvar Gloss – ​​

Winsor & Newton Giffen Alkyd White – Super fast drying white. I like this for when I need my painting dry the next day

Oleogel – fantastic medium for glazes and oiling out an area that is sunken in – 

Lead Alkyd Ground,rigid%20supports%2C%20such%20as%20hardboard.

Artefex – Beautiful painting panels –

BEVA Film for attaching linen

For the ACM panels, I have used OmegaBond, DiBond, Alumanate and Alumalite. The last one is the thicker, 6mm corrugated panel. The others are the solid core 3mm panels

ArtFix linen – I love the 84C. EXPENSIVE, but nothing else like it.

Programs I use

Blender – free and for Mac or Windows – 

Procreate – for iPad



Nomad Sculpt – for iPad – for sculpting 3D models. I use this with Blender. I make the simple model in Blender and then import it into Nomad to sculpt it.

Thank you! I hope that you found this useful and that it opens up some other tools for you to use in your own artistic efforts!

Howard Lyon

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