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A picture of Aaron Puls

Aaron Puls

Photographer, designer

in designer, photographer, windows

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Aaron Puls, a creative/photographer/designer based in Melbourne, Australia. Recently I have been applying my craft in the field of architecture—a major highlight of which was representing Australia at the Venice Biennale or Architecture 2020 (well, 2021 as it turned out, thanks to COVID).

I have had photographs exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery of Australia, and won a few awards here and there, such as the 2008 AIPP Australian Student Photographer of the Year, a nice way to round out my time at Uni.

What hardware do you use?

Well I'm a PC guy, lots of time in architecture will do that to you. Plus I like to think I am into gaming, but in reality I never get around to it.

My PC is a self-built machine, geared towards performance in Lightroom and After Effects, those sort-of intensive programs. So a high clock speed CPU and as many cores as you can get your hands on. At the time of build it was an Intel Core i9-9900K. And the best video card at the time, GeForce RTX 2080 - still pretty solid.

I have some nice camera stuff. A Nikon SLR kit currently, but I am on the verge of upgrading, probably to a mirrorless system (maybe a Fuji, Nikon, maybe Sony... anything but a Canon). Current camera is a D800 which was, you know, revolutionary at the time for its dynamic range, light sensitivity and pixel count. It is still amazing, but getting on a bit now having been released in 2012, I think it was. When on shoots I typically hire a Nikon D850 for the extra grunt - one of the greatest cameras ever made. I have a couple of tilt shift lenses - specialty gear for architecture and landscape photographers. My Nikon lenses are the 24mm tilt, 45mm tilt, a 16-35mm and a 70-200. My favourite lens is my Sigma 85mm Art. It is insanely sharp, beautiful bokeh, perfect for portraits and tonnes of other uses. I also have the Sigma 50mm.

I have a BenQ SW270C colour correct and calibrated monitor, a sweet spot for performance and value for a professional photography monitor, which consistently and accurately displays 99% of Adobe RGB colour space.

Dabbling with the idea of VR work and world creation, I just got an Oculus Quest 2 VR headset - a pretty amazing piece of kit for the price and, so much fun. Also fun is my Mavic 2 Pro drone, but I do do some actual work with it!

My current favourite toy/work thing is a Luxceo LED light wand. An amazingly handy and easy to use bit of kit that has so many uses, and really very cheap for what it is.

Phonewise, I am stuck with my Samsung Note 10+ 5G (I think it was the first phone out with 5G) for a couple more months, but eager to jump over to the S21 or whatever is the most insane phone camera out when I am out of contract.

The gadget that helps the most with my work, maybe like in an abstract way, is the Fitbit because it is a great motivator to keep me fit and my brain sharp.

And what software?

Adobe. Pretty much the whole Adobe Suite, I mean Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, Premiere, Lightroom, Bridge, XD. I love XD - just getting into it now, but an amazing tool for designing digital experiences. I can't find any compelling reason to get out of the Adobe creative ecosystem, it is probably going to be a lifelong thing.

In an effort to get organized, I have used Trello, but now I am mainly focused on using Motion as a task management and planning system.

For photographers my hot tip is the Topaz Labs software suite. They have a series of AI-powered applications for photography which are amazing for enhancing photography. I would almost say mind-blowing. Gigapixel, DeNoise and Sharpen are the ones that get a good amount of use from me. Even if you start off with an amazing quality image, they will make it more amazing.

What would be your dream setup?

Good question. More space - space to lay things out, to have all the toys and equipment set up at the ready. A higher ceiling!

I would absolutely love a high end cinema camera and a set of Cine lenses. Yep... that is definitely the dream.

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