What Camera Gear Does Terry Richardson Use?

by Buffalo Bob on September 16, 2011

Photographer: Terry Richardson

Specialty: Fashion, Celebrity Portraiture, Pseudo-Porn, General Trashiness

Favored Brand: Nikon, Contax

Heeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Terry:

Terry Richardson is one of the most popular and most-controversial photographers working today. He has a very easy-to-identify style that’s made him one of the few people whose photos you can instantly identify at the magazine stand. If you see a celebrity standing directly in front of a white seamless background with a sharp shadow falling on it, you’re looking at a Terry Richardson photograph.

Terry is well-known for shooting fashion campaigns and other jobs with 35mm point & shoot film cameras like the Yashica T4 and Contax T3.

However, an examination of the EXIF Data on his blog shows that he uses or has used a variety of cameras including the following:

-Nikon D3X (though a new D810 is a better idea) with a 50mm lens.

Sony DSC-RX100 II

Panasonic DMC-GF1 with the 14-45mm zoom

On the equipment side, as long as you have a camera (click here if you don’t have a camera) with a flash, just get a $26 roll of white seamless paper. That’s your starting point. Terry’s look is about the lighting, the simple background, and expression, not some specific combination of camera and lens.

Now, stick a friend in front of the paper, have them make some type of lewd gesture, turn on your flash(whatever you have), and take a picture. You should be at least part of the way there.

If you don’t have a flash, I’d check out the Yongnuo YN-560 III, which runs for just $71 and works with every camera out there.

However, if you want to shoot rapid-fire style like Terry, you’ll need a beefier flash like the Canon 580 EXII or Nikon SB900, and their respective battery packs. Click here for Canon and here for Nikon.

If you shoot too much with an inexpensive flash, you have a pretty good chance of frying it.

But again, if you’re just starting out, just pick up the seamless paper and go from there. Make sure you get actual seamless paper, not plain old paper rolls from Staples. Those types of papers are too glossy and will reflect light back into your camera lens, which will ruin your pictures by killing contrast and color saturation.

And oh yeah, if you’re just taping the seamless paper to your wall, use gaffer’s tape. Gaffer’s tape isn’t cheap, but unlike other types of tape, it will not damage the paint or finish on your wall.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Wayan Palmieri March 25, 2012 at 8:16 pm

i heard from some fellow camera friends who met Terry that he was using a Panasonic Lumix with leica optics, anyone else hear or see this?


Motel K April 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm

looking at some of the pictures posted on his Terry Richardson Diary you can see that in some cases the model holds in her hands a mirrorless panasonic lumix gf1, therefore it is probable that he uses to work with that camera


Patrick October 15, 2012 at 11:07 am

he uses a Nikon D3X with a 50mm for work, and uses a Lumix GF1 for outtakes


Mike January 23, 2013 at 3:01 am

He uses the D3X for “serious” work such as editorial spreads and the GF1 or GX1 for his personal work.


Tenis Dimants March 19, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Looking at the Exifs on the blog, there is the GF1 + 14-45mm mostly and 14mm fixed one. Also D3X + 50mm F1.4 for the editorial and then comes the RICOH GR 3 and Canon G10 or G11 somthin 🙂



Gabriel May 7, 2013 at 6:22 pm

I have not seen in any videos Terry hold a pro Canon boby, hahahaha. Nikon all the way so far because his eyes are so so. Focusing with Canon is problematic for him


Deaunte Shugart October 12, 2013 at 4:14 am

Very informative

Like an American


Tobias W. March 11, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Actually, it’s super easy to see which cameras he uses as he shares images on his Tumblr blog with EXIF data intact. From that: Panasonic GF1 with the 20mm pancake lens, a Canon S100 Powershot, a Ricoh GR-III and sometimes a Nikon D3. So, mostly small, non-threatening, high quality compact cameras.


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