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This post was most recently updated on Feb 13th, 2022

If you are looking to take your photography to the next level, whether professionally or just for fun, then having the essentials for a photoshoot is a must.

It is important as a photographer to understand the concept of using the right equipment for a basic photoshoot, and also how to use it properly. Even so, it can be difficult to know what you may need, especially with so many options available to you.

Setting up a photoshoot does not have to be difficult either, and with the correct gear and knowhow, it will become second nature every time you head out for a ‘shoot.

So, whether you are planning to photograph outside or inside, this handy guide will have you clued up on both so you are never caught short of equipment when you get called in for a last minute photoshoot.

Before We Get Started

Whilst it might be tempting to go all out and buy lots of equipment that costs thousands of dollars, it really is not necessary. Whereas you will want to invest in studio lights and post-editing software, you will not need to buy so much equipment that it becomes a full-on photography studio.

Ultimately, the pictures will all depend on your skills as a photographer, though using the right equipment will help you to achieve professional results, especially when used correctly.
Studio lights and lenses can all add to the overall look and feel of a portrait, for example.

Outside On Location

Because some photoshoots are not in a studio and require natural lighting to light the subject.

Reflector

Whilst some people prefer to use a speedlight, a reflector is a cheaper and more simpler way to add in a supplementary light onto a subject within a frame. It also gives a photographer more light options so they can decide which one is best to use for a certain photoshoot and its location.

If you are new to using a reflector, you will notice that there are different colors to choose from. Each one creates a different effect upon the subject, for example, the white will produce a subtle and softer light, whilst the gold will appear much warmer.

The handy thing about a reflector is that they can be stored away in a bag with a twist movement. This makes them extra convenient and easier to store.

If you are not sure which one to choose, the Neewer 43 Inch is a good choice because it gives you different options to try out.

Speedlight

Whereas a novice photographer may use a built-in flash as a way to illuminate a subject, the professional photographer will alway choose a speedlight.

It will brighten a scene quickly, and you can also control the depth of light efficiently. It is synced alongside the camera’s shutter, and once triggered, it only lasts a fraction of a second.

The Meike MK430 is an inexpensive option for those who want to trial out using a speedlight as a beginner, or who have not used one in a while and would like to get back into using an external light source.

Tripod

A tripod is not just for portrait work, and is actually really useful for the majority of photography, especially if you are working under low light conditions and need to use a long exposure.

The tripod is a good option if you do not want camera shake, whether that is due to needing to use a slow shutter speed or because you generally have an unsteady hand. It is also great for product photography, or if you need the camera at a particular height consistently throughout a photo shoot.

These days they are lightweight and can be easily carried to where you need to use them, however, as much as they are useful, if you do not need one for the photo shoots that you do, then you can skip this one.

An inexpensive but good option is the UBeesize 67” tripod that allows a camera or phone to be attached to it, and it is height adjustable. It also has wireless capabilities so you can shoot pictures on your phone whilst you stand away from it.

Carry Case

If you are investing money into camera equipment, and that includes the camera itself, then you are going to want to protect it as you move around.

Something as simple as a camera bag should do the trick to keep it safe. Something like the Tarion backpack is not only convenient due to having it on the back, but it has a main camera compartment, as well as six lens compartments which can be used for other equipment too.

It also has extra pockets for accessories and is made of waterproof material that will protect your gear from the elements it may become exposed to.

Indoor Studio

Indoor Studio

A studio does not necessarily mean a professional place that you have hired out, or a room that you rent to work from. It can also mean the living room, or a friend’s garage. If there is space, you can turn it into a temporary studio.

Backdrop

A backdrop can make a photo look extra professional, but it can also be difficult to get right. It does not need to be though. You can acquire a cheap backdrop stand that will allow for material to be hung from it to use as a professional looking backdrop.

You can use something as easy as a bedsheet to create a colorful background.

An even simpler choice would be to use a plain white (or colorful) wall, but it can be difficult to find enough space to stand in front of it.

Another easy way is to photograph the subject amongst the surroundings you both find yourselves in, whether this is on a couch or in the kitchen. Some of the best photos are done by using the props they have available to them.

Lighting

Whilst it is always nice to opt for natural lighting, using a softbox light is the best way to go when you are indoors.

You can always place the subject in front of a window, such as if you are doing product photography or if you want to do a face portrait, but a softbox will give you extra control when it comes to how much light you want on the subject – shadow or no shadows.

There are two options, a softbox which is a type of light diffuser that creates a wonderfully soft light without the harshness, or a light that uses an umbrella which does a similar thing. Both are good options and easy to set up.

The Neewer 700W set includes two softbox lights and a carry case which is great for those who are just starting out on their photo shoot journey.

For Both Indoor and Outdoor

Whether shooting indoor or outdoor, there are some things that you may need for both scenarios.

The Correct Lens

When you buy a camera, most have a standard lens that comes with it. Over time, you may want to explore different lens options and what they can bring to your photography.

When it comes to a photo shoot, you may want to stray away from the ‘starter’ lens and opt for something that will give you better quality images.

Obviously it can all depend on budget, as the cost of lenses can be very high, but also it depends what you are looking to use it for. Whilst a lens may be suitable for fashion photography, it may not be good for up-close food work.

Do your research when it comes to lenses, but always opt for something better than a standard camera lens if you want optimum results.

Extra SD Cards (Memory Cards)

No doubt that whilst you are shooting you will run out of space. It is easy to take more pictures than you realised you would, so having an extra memory card will always come in handy, especially if you are on location and you do not have your computer nearby to transfer the photos on to.

An Extra Battery

Another easy mistake to make is running out of battery. Even though you might think that the battery is charged enough, it still might fail during the photoshoot. Having a few charged up spares means that this will never happen!

Post-editing software

Whilst not everyone likes to edit their pictures, every photographer should have the knowhow when it comes to enhancing their work.

Having some form of photo editing software is a great way to finalize professional photos, especially if you are doing a landscape photoshoot or portraits.

It does not mean you have to make the person look completely different to what they actually look like in real life, but it can help you to remove the odd blemish and correct colors within a photo.

Final Words

When it comes to taking your photography to the next level, knowing what to use for a photoshoot is pretty handy. Whether it is for fun or if you would like to make a business out of it, knowing how to set up a photoshoot can be a rewarding experience.