An assistant for Sports Illustrated gets to the arena early in the morning, sets up lights, places the remotes in impossible to reach catwalks, adjusts the exposures, focuses the lenses, and then when the game begins, is responsible for firing the remotes, pulling the cards, captioning the pictures, and transmitting the files.  Three hard hours later, when the game is over, he strikes the lights, packs up the cameras and ships the gear to the next site. Somewhere along the line he is also babysitter, father confessor, and travel agent.

Off the field, Shawn is a master lighting assistant having worked with all the top editorial photographers on the West Coast.  His attention to detail and his eye for proper exposures makes him an invaluable member of the photo crew. His strength in constructing sets, whether it is in the studio or on site, is unsurpassed.

This is an unforgiving job and has to be done with precision, skill and patience (especially with a diva photographer in tow).  Shawn Cullen has excelled at this job for 13 years.  The photo department, and the magazine’s readers, depends on him to help produce the iconic images you see every week.  He is a legend in the business.

Steve Fine
New York, NY
Former Director of Photography Sports Illustrated

Working with Shawn Cullen for more than a dozen years with Sports Illustrated has been like working with a mind-reader; who knows exactly what you need for the assignment the same moment you’re thinking about it. Conscientious, always hard-working, Shawn knows how to make things happen even if it seems like it’s “Mission Impossible.” One phone call and everything will be taken care of, from portrait setups to sports arena lighting, from multiple remotes to backdrops and props. Shawn has mastered the technical side of the assignment, putting the photographer at ease, while also understanding the creative challenge. He is the ultimate professional assistant and team player.

John McDonough
Carlsbad, CA
Former Sports Illustrated Staff Photographer

“Shawn Cullen is a hoss.  Need something hauled?  He packs it.  Set up?  Done. Need that gaffers tape or another A clamp?  He’s got it in his pocket.  Rentals? Taken care of.  Locations?  Scouted.  Need that mocha latte?  He pees one. Shawn Cullen is the one man stop.  For the last hundred years I have had to shoot Vanity Fair Features for Sports Illustrated on a Weekly Reader budget…..that means getting the most out of what I’ve got.  If you want the most out of an assistant…..get Shawn.  Done deal.”

Robert Beck
Carlsbad, CA
Former Sports Illustrated Staff Photographer

He shows up to the assignment early, we discuss the shots I’m looking to get, shoot the assignment, packs up and we go our separate ways right away.  Just the way I like it.  He’ll say he’s gonna go for a training run after the job but to be honest, I’ve never seen him run.  Ever.

Kohjiro Kinno
Orange County, CA

In almost two decades as a professional photographer I have worked with many assistants on a myriad of jobs.  To put it simply – Shawn Cullen is the best of them, by a long shot.  He is a true professional with an inextinguishable work ethic.  He is a joy to have on set, makes the images better, and has become a crucial part of my team.

Gary Copeland
Los Angeles, CA

I’ve been working with Shawn Cullen for over 7 years.  He is my first call when I need an assistant.  He is very knowledgeable, can solve problems, has a solid working knowledge of todays cameras and grip equipment.  But most important, Shawn is dependable! He is always on time and comes prepared for the day. As an added bonus he’s easy to work with.  Clients love him and so do I.

Ken West
San Diego, CA

I’ve been with PocketWizard for 20 years, and I’ve worked with Shawn for 13 years.  Shawn Cullen is truly a Knight in the PocketWizard Order.  He knows our gear all the way from our original 16 channel knobby Classics, through early FlashWizard II days, and right up to the present with our latest gear.

Shawn is one of the most brilliant techno-improvisers I’ve ever known.  He’s level-headed in a crisis and keeps the bottom line in mind: getting a photographer shooting again ASAP.  When a cable goes bad, or a tricky bit of timing needs to take place, he’s able to make magic with what’s at hand or from his own box of tricks.  He’s not intimidated by even our most sophisticated gear, and finds clever ways to use it we’ve never thought of.

I’ve sought his help just as often as he’s sought mine.  He uses our stuff in some of the most difficult environments our radios and cables have ever experienced.  He’s a valuable resource with a broad knowledge of the sports industry and photography in general.  His presence at the 2012 Olympic Games in London was part of our success at one of the most strenuous events for our radios ever.

I’ve never written a personal testimonial before, but I am honored to write one for Shawn.  All of PocketWizard wishes him the best successes on his adventures!

Patrick Clow
Former Technical Support Manager

Shawn and I have worked together for years on possibly 100s of shoots all over the country.  He’s my first call every time, and I will adjust shooting dates if necessary to be sure he’s working with me.  “A” team, “A” level work. Never seen him lose his temper (although I suspect he has), never late, never let me down.  Wish I had five Shawn Cullens.  A whole army! All at my command!

Paul Bowers
San Diego, CA