Shawn is the most dependable assistant that I’ve ever worked alongside. He’s deeply knowledgeable and thoroughly professional, and because of that, I can completely focus on what I need to do as a photographer all the while knowing that he has everything else taken care of.

So often, I will turn to grab a meter or a lens and Shawn will be holding it already. That kind of presence of mind and anticipation is what makes Shawn indispensable to have on any project.

Not only is he a brilliant assistant, but he’s also terrific company—to both me and my clients. A long day of shooting often includes air travel, car rides, or restaurant meals. Shawn is a pleasure to be with on and off the set—and that’s critical to me when working on a long project with valuable clients.

Joey Terrill
Los Angeles, CA

“I’ve used hundreds of different assistants over the years, all over North America, and Shawn is one of the best assistants I’ve ever worked with: hard working, thoughtful, prepared, professional, and strong as an ox.  He’s thought of things you haven’t, and he has the vast technical knowhow on often obscure topics like flash duration and the inner workings of multimax radio triggers.  If you need a weird problem solved, this is your guy.  Often while I’m still formulating the words to ask for a specific piece of gear, he’s already putting it into my hands.   Unlike a lot of assistants these days, he shows up looking very professional:  dressed appropriately for the job, no tattoos or other weirdness that would embarrass you in front of a more conservative corporate client.  If you’re scheduling a photo shoot anywhere in southern California, you’d be an idiot not to have him on your team.”

Robert Seale
Houston commercial photographer

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
Technical Support Manager


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
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
Sports Illustrated Staff Photographer

A good assistant is like a good surgical nurse: They are knowledgeable, work efficiently, anticipate the photographer’s needs and thoughts, makes recommendations when needed and most importantly are focused on the goals of the shoot.

Shawn Cullen is all of that and much more.

I have been fortunate to have been able to work with Shawn on several photo assignments for USA TODAY, from a multimedia project at the U.S. Olympic Training Center to portrait shoots with some of the top celebrities in Hollywood. His experience, talents, hustle and good cheer helped insure that all of these assignments were very successful.

For the past 10 years I have held a series of photography workshops and Shawn has been an integral part of these programs. Shawn is a popular member of the workshop faculty, generous with not only his knowledge but most of all his time. It is not uncommon to see Shawn working one-on-one with a student out in the field or late at night evaluating their photographs. The workshop students could not have a better instructor and mentor.

But the most telling thing about Shawn is not just his stellar work with a wide range of photographers — sports, portrait, commercial and automotive — but he is a great father and husband. That is the true measure of a person … their family.

I cannot say or write enough good things about Shawn Cullen.

Robert Hanashiro
Los Angeles, CA
USA Today Staff Photographer

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
http://www.paulmbowers.com /

I have worked with Shawn Cullen for over 10 years on both commercial and Sports Illustrated shoots. His knowledge of camera gear, remotes, and lighting is encyclopedic and his work ethic is second to none. He has also been extremely gracious in sharing his knowledge with the students of my sports photography workshops.

Peter Read Miller
Los Angeles, CA

On a commercial shoot there are so many details to attend to. I have peace of mind when Shawn is on the set knowing that he can and usually does handle about anything that comes up from figuring out how to rig a light to ironing the curtains if necessary. He is a relentless worker and I always feel that Shawn cares as much about how the shot comes out as I do. Not only is he a top draw assistant, he is a great travel partner as well. We once spent 10 days on the road together covering a story on Route 66. Be sure to ask him about the Skyliner Motel in Stroud, OK.

Marshall Williams
San Diego, CA

I’ve known and worked with Shawn for many years on everything from local studio shoots to traveling across the country on complicated assignments. Shawn always brings his A game. He has wide-ranging knowledge in all facets of commercial photography and travel logistics and has been a key team member for me more times than I can remember. I highly recommend Shawn as an extraordinary professional photography assistant.

Vic Huber
Los Angeles, CA

While I’ve never had the pleasure to work with Shawn on a “real” job, I have worked with him many times at Rich Clarkson’s workshops. I was impressed how at ease and prepared he was doing extremely complex rigging and lighting set-ups. Whenever a question arose I’d prefer hearing from Shawn as he acquired all his knowledge from “doing” rather than learning from behind a desk reading an owner’s manual. One of these days I hope to be able to work with him at a NCAA game during the tournament. I’m sure Shawn would be able to handle the tournament pressure like he has done many times in the past.

Peter Poremba





Shawn has assisted me for many years and is always an amazing team player, trusted problem solver and hard worker.

Tim Mantoani
San Diego, CA