Over the years I have invested  a ton in gear for my portrait photography studio- some of it good, some of it bad. In the 11 plus years I have been in business I have learned how to whittle down to what I really need, and today I wanted to share some of the equipment that I just couldn’t live without.

Let’s start with my workhorses:

  1. My Nikon D850 has never let me down, creates beautiful images and the file size is bigger than I could ever want! My favorite part is the reticulating screen and it is just the best camera I have ever owned.
  2. I often use a tripod and the strongest I have ever owned is this Manfrotto 055. It folds up small and is carbon fiber so it is tough as nails. I use it for flatlay photography  because it has an arm that can hold my camera horizontally.
  3. The sharpest and prettiest lens I have used is the Sigma 85mm art lens 1.4. It creates beautiful imagery and have I said just how SHARP it is??’

collage of photography equipment

My next most useful gear choices are to do with studio lighting!

  1. I adore my Godox FV150  it is both a constant light (perfect for video) as well as a flash (for freezing motion). It has different effects built in for the more creative shooter, as well as a an easy temperature changer with a remote. It gets plenty bright for my needs and looks totally natural (maybe even better)
  2. To filter and diffuse the light, I use my Elinchrom deep umbrella as a beautiful soft light to photograph people and even products/flowers! It is pretty multipurpose, and I find that I keep reaching for it again and again! Don’t forget the white diffuser on the front- it helps soften the light even more.
  3. Next we have my light stand and boom arm. The light stand does exactly what it is called- holds my light. If I want to move my light into different positions with ease, I use an 86″ boom arm. The boom arm can go any direction- including parallel with the floor- which is perfect when I am trying to photograph something on a table or the floor. (make sure you use a sandbag on the end of the boom arm so that you keep your weight even and your stand doesn’t tip)

Finally, the items that I use regularly- they are very useful- but not totally integral to my everyday work.

  1. These clips don’t seem that exciting, but they hold everything from newborn blankets on my posing pillow, the cords to my backdrop holder, they weigh down my seamless paper, and just generally act like an extra pair of hands when I need them!
  2. I love this wall mounted background holder. It has chains that roll my backdrops up and down. Along with the matching poles (don’t forget to grab those too) each row holds two rolls of 53″ Savage seamless paper or one large roll of paper OR one hand painted backdrop (the one pictured here is made by Franklin backdrops and I adore it)
  3. My Savage seamless paper is pretty clutch in lots of situations. The colors I have pictured are (left to right, top to bottom): Ultramarine, Flamingo, MarmaladeTrue Blue.
  4. This tool chest is made for tools (obviously) but my secret hack is that it ALSO is great for photography and craft supplies! I liked the white of this cart for my studio, but it comes in lots of fun colors too. It fits everything I need with room to add more (since we always need more equipment) and the solid wood top is just gorgeous.

So, that is it! These are my most trusted, well made, useful studio items. I hope this helps you on your journey of being a photographer.

All of the thoughts shared here today are my own and all of the products here have been purchased by me! If you happen to purchase something that is included in these links, I will receive a small commission for doing so.


a collection of studio gear photographed in studio