Equipment List

If you are contemplating opening a photography studio, use these guidelines to help you understand what equipment is needed to operate a photography business.

To start, spend a few minutes thinking about the type of photography you will be offering your clients.

Will you be photographing commercial work?

Are you in your studio, photographing portraiture?
Are you out on location photographing weddings, and traveling regularly?
Will you be offering your clients a combination of these services?

nikonOnce you have a goal in mind for your business, then you can begin gathering the proper equipment.

To give you an idea of what I consider to be the minimum amount of equipment needed, I’ve created the following list.

Equipment needed for a photography business

Camera Bodies
At all times, under any circumstance, you should  always have at least 2 camera bodies. Not only is it important to have an extra in case one shuts down or quits working, but it’s also nice to be able to have two cameras ready with different lenses – so you are ready to capture anything at any time.


I feel lenses are a personal choice, depending on the type of photography you will offering. Have a variety to use in many circumstances. Fast shutters are great for low light situations. Telephoto lenses are great for working event photography.

Some Ideas of Our Favorites:

  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
  • Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye
  • Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM
  • Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Flash Cards
Most photographers are now shooting with digital cameras. Having a compact_flash variety of flash cards handy is a must. I recommend having several available for each of your camera bodies. I don’t recommend buying large cards with capacity to do an entire shoot. If you have an error in your card (low chance, but you never now), you’re better off using a variety of cards for different portions of your shoot.

Laptop computer
Any shoot can be better managed if you have the ability to place your flash cards into your laptop at the time of the shoot, download the images, and save them to one or more sources. You can view the images, and begin organizing them immediately.

Flash units and Lighting Options
Depending on your photography specialization, you will need to have at least one on-camera flash unit, and at least one stand alone flash unit for a more controlled light source. You may also need lighting kits, including power sources, lights, softboxes, umbrellas, light stands, and reflectors.

Several Options:

Depending on the type of shooting you are doing, you may need additional items to help you perform.

  • A tripod for shooting formal portraiture and long exposures.
  • A monopod for quick movement.
  • Filters
  • Radio slaves
  • Backdrops
  • Props
  • Posing tools
  • Shooting tables
  • Printers

Cases and Storage
Storage cases are very important, especially for the photographer that shoots on location. Don’t skimp on storage and cases – they will protect your investment. And if you have cases with designated spots for everything, you can take a quick inventory before closing up and leaving a location.

Internet access
This is a must for any business, old or new. With Internet access, you should monitor your own website to market your business, and should have the ability to connect with your lab for quick results. Consider Internet access in your studio, and remote access for traveling.

With these basic pieces, your photography studio will be up and running in no time at all. The better prepared you are at the beginning, the easier it will be to grow along the way.

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