The Rig
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The Rig: Patrick La Roque


Who are you and what’s your profession?

My name is Patrick La Roque and I’m a commercial, portrait and documentary photographer based in Montreal, Canada — Although we actually live in a little town called Otterburn Park, about 30 minutes away. We have three young kids: a boy and two little girls. Keeps us busy…

I switched to photography as a full-time gig about 7 years ago. Before that I was a musician, I worked in post, multimedia, I was a partner in a production company… Left it all behind to pursue a craft that quite suddenly gobbled me up after years of simply being a hobby. I realized one morning that I didn’t want to be doing anything else and moved on. No regrets.

What’s your rig?

I shoot an X-Pro1 and X100. The X100 is essentially my 35mm lens, with the X-Pro1 being my main workhorse. I use XF lenses exclusively and jump between the 35, 14, 60 or the two zooms depending on the job or the shot I’m looking for. I also have an F-Mount adapter that I mainly use with an old, original Lensbaby when I’m feeling experimental; I still love that thing. Lately I’ve started shooting with a Nikkor 50mm f2 as well, a lens I received as a gift.
When I’m out on the street or traveling I either have the X100 or the X-Pro1 with the XF 35mm f/1.4. One or the other. I like committing myself to a single focal length.

Now for the gear smorgasbord… I use a Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT tripod with an SBH–100 ballhead. My lighting kit consists of two SB–800s, two SB–900s and a pair of Elinchrom BX500ri strobes. For modifiers I have the 42 and 60 inch Photek Softlighters, two Portalite medium softboxes, a small Photoflex and a bunch of grids, barn doors and homemade makeshift gobos. I’ll soon have an Elinchrom Deep Throat Octa — Can’t wait to get my hands on it. I use an Elinchrom Skyport Transmitter to trigger the strobes (with the speedlights slaved in SU–4 if needed). I also have a Cactus V5 radio kit if I’m only working with the speedlights. These aren’t very sturdy but they do the job.

My bag is a Think Tank Retrospective 7. This thing holds both cameras, all the XF lenses, an SB–800, two Cactus V5 transceivers and all the cards/batteries/whatever small stuff I need. Plus an iPad Air in the back pocket. Great bag.

What hardware do you use?

In the studio I do everything on a 27’ iMac i7 hooked up to a second LG 20’ monitor. I use a Spyder 3 Elite for calibration. A bunch of drives for storage but my main one is a G-Technology G-RAID. All my files are mirrored to backup drives and I also use Crashplan to upload all my selects to the cloud.

I outsource most of my client prints but I do all my personal stuff (up to 13×19) on an Epson R2880 which I love; I still get a serious kick out of seeing an image, printed on great paper, coming out of this machine. The quality is amazing.

I’ve always had an iPad with me since day one but stuck with the first generation right up until the Air was released. This thing was worth the wait. Oh! And a set of ESI nEar 05 speakers on my desk — gotta have music.

What software do you use?

I was a longtime Aperture user but I now use Lightroom 5 as my main DAM. I own the (former) Nik suite as well as a few others but I moved away from plugins a few years ago and don’t really use them anymore. I do all my processing natively in LR5 with the help of the VSCO Film packs from which I’ve created many of my own recipes. I rarely use external editors: I lived in Aperture and now I live in Lightroom. When I do need to edit pixels I turn to… Pixelmator. I weaned myself from Photoshop two years ago as an experiment and I’ve never looked back. I’m the first one to be surprised about this but I don’t miss it at all; appearances be damned.

When I’m not shooting I’m usually writing and my main app for this is Byword: white screen, black letters, no distractions. Everything I write goes into a single Dropbox folder and I can move seamlessly from the Mac to the iOS version of the app without skipping a beat. I use Markdown to roughly format the text and then export to RTF via the Clipboard for use on the blog.

I use Pages and Numbers for all my business communications, invoicing and paperwork. Keynote for conferences and iBooks Author to create client and personal eBooks. Logic Pro is my music rig (I’ve been a Logic user since the days of Emagic). Video creation is done in Motion 5.

I use iCloud to sync various apps but Dropbox remains my main sharing/distribution system.
For my web presence, I moved to Squarespace two years ago and I’ve been very happy. We also use the platform for the Kage Collective website. They have a suite of iOS apps I use to manage some of the content, follow stats, do quick edits on posts, all from the iPad. And their Portfolio app allows me to keep my online/offline galleries in sync without needing to manage anything. Simplicity is always nice. All of this is essential in this day and age but we can so easily get bogged down by this stuff.

What would be your dream rig?

Honestly I tend to focus on making the best of what I own and not wait around for something potentially better. I find it’s the sort of thinking that can easily stop you dead in your tracks. But if I play the game… I’d say an X100S and two interchangeable lens X-series bodies, both wirelessly tethered to either a Mac (in the studio) or an iPad (on location). A Profoto B1 500 Air flash with an Air remote (I’d be using it in manual but who cares – it still looks spectacular). I’d be editing on a 4K display or a future Retina iMac — the iPad Air has spoiled me rotten when it comes to resolution.

And when I really dream — like, seriously — I add medium format to my kit. It’s a whole other world but something that in my mind would be a great complement, while still maintaining the deliberate approach of the Fuji systems. For some reason I feel there’s a shared philosophy there.

What’s your favorite photography quote?

I’ve mentioned this one many times before but it truly is my favourite quote. It’s from Richard Avedon:

If a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it’s as though I’ve neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up.

This entry was posted in: The Rig


  1. Pingback: The Rig: Patrick La Roque | Ledesma Photography

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