Backpacker Gear Guide Photography | New Work

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Backpacker gear guide photography magazine cover
(Above: final cover with layout, courtesy of

About the project

It is an honor to once again collaborate with the talented creative and editorial team at Backpacker magazine. Together we worked diligently to produce the annual Backpacker gear guide photography for this year’s big issue. Twice before I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with the magazine’s esteemed Photo Editor, Genny Wright Fullerton. It’s quite the monumental task! Each year, we scarcely see daylight for two straight weeks as we are buried under a mountain of gear in my Boulder, Colorado photo studio.

The studio lighting technique

For the cover image, you can see below that I used a ringflash around my lens to create a unique lighting effect. The dark halo around the edges of the subject are a dead giveaway. To pull this off you must place the subject fairly close to a backdrop for the dark outline to be pronounced. Moreover, the ringflash is very effective at filling in shadows because it casts light from the exact angle of the lens.


Genny and I make a well-oiled machine of organizing, steaming, prepping, styling, shooting and processing product photography. The result is dozens of custom new gear images. Featuring everything from the best new hiking boots, sleeping bags, camp stoves, tents to yes — an “A List” of backpacks.

backpacker gear guide photography screenshot of images
(Above: screenshot, several of the backpack product photographs that made the cut.)
behind the scenes photo of me getting ready for the sleeping bag product photography.
(Above: behind the scenes, me getting ready for the sleeping bag product photography.)


I’m happy to report that hard work and persistence pays off. In conclusion, we emerged with a fresh collection of professionally lit, Backpacker gear guide photography. This year’s issue is full of trail-tested product reviews. Moreover, don’t miss the scoops on improving your backpacking skills and other camping hacks.

I’d say it’s enough to make any wilderness backpacker swoon. Or at least double-take at the newsstand or grocery store check out line. This issue goes to print early next year. Stay tuned!

Click here for more recent editorial photography projects.

  • Except where otherwise noted, all photographs were created by me and are copyright protected. They are not to be used without explicit permission. © seth k hughes

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