Professional Photography Equipment List – What You Should Have

When you’re out photographing, it’s important to have the right equipment. Any photographer will tell you that photography is part art and part science, but the science relies heavily on the equipment you use. A professional photographer should have a solid arsenal of lenses, flashes and other camera accessories in order to capture any situation.

  • Camera: You’ll need a professional camera and lenses that capture the best photos. Each photographer has their own preferences when it comes to cameras, so you may want to check with them before purchasing one.
  • Tripod: Tripods are great for long exposures and shots in low light. They can also be used as a monopod with an attached ball head if you’re out on the go and don’t have time to set up your tripod (this is something I do a lot).

On top of this you’ll want to have other essentials like a reflector and a speed light. And if you’re falling more into the category of an editing wizard – you will need an editing program. Often even if you’re only shooting analog, dusting off your images needs to be done if you want to properly deliver high quality images.

I like to use Adobe Photoshop for most of what I do; you can edit images or design your layouts but also Bridge is amazing for selecting multiple images and seeing how they work together.

This professional photography studio equipment is what I use, but a cheaper model of Canon will easily do too. My first camera was a Canon 500D, worked perfectly well for what I was doing at that time.

Something I have not mentioned on the list since its an analog one is Mamiya RZ67. What a beauty I must say. If you’re into analog quality and truly exploring the process of the film.

Professional Photography Equipment List
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

Elinchrom D-Lite Studio Lighting Set

professional photography equipment list

There are many types of studio lighting kits you can purchase.

  • The first type is a “one-light” kit, which includes one softbox and one flash head. This is the most basic kind of kit and is great for beginners who may not know how to set up their own lights yet.
  • Another option is a two-light system that has two softboxes, two flash heads and stands. This system gives you more flexibility when lighting scenes than the one-light system would allow for; however, it requires more equipment to set up and use effectively.
  • Finally, there are three-light kits that include three softboxes as well as an assortment of other accessories such as stands and umbrellas which further expands your capabilities when using this type of equipment

I’ve had this set for ages. I bought mine in 2009. It has been with me when I moved abroad, and truly served me anywhere where I needed it. With this set you do need to have a power supply, so photographing outside was only possible if it was near one. This contains two softboxes and I also bought an extra transparent umbrella to go with this.

Usually sets might cost you over 1000$, so this is an inexpensive one when looking at the lifespan of it. In the beginning, using just construction lighting might be sufficient, but once you want to control and manipulate the light, you will need to have a softbox set.

Neewer 110cm Reflector in Silver

professional photography equipment list

Having a reflector that you can easily pack into small space to have with you in outdoor shoots has been essential to me. Especially when shooting outdoors has its downsides; not knowing how the weather and light will change.

Reflector can greatly add light to your images without using a filler light at all. You’ll want to decide on the size of the reflector you’ll need. If you’re mainly shooting individual portraits, a smaller reflector might work better for you than a larger one.

After deciding what size you want to use, you can then decide on the shape and material of your reflector. The simpler the reflector, the easier it is to carry and use.

Personally, I use a white / silver one in my portraiture. Silver might be too reflective, so that it looks a clearly as a reflected light, and gold might bring too much warmth to the image.

Canon Speedlite 430EX Flash

professional photography equipment list

An external flash is a device that helps you to add light to your scene. It also helps to reduce the amount of light that bounces off the walls, ceiling or other surfaces in your room. External flashes have many features and benefits, so it’s important to know how they work before you buy one.

This Canon Speedlite can be used instead of a full studio lighting set, especially if the surroundings are challenging.

However, using just the speedlite directed straight onto your subject will look exposed and might feel invading for them. I always have my speedlite softbox to diffuse the light and build a natural light kind of feel.

Finally, an external flash that can both be mounted and triggered wirelessly is the best way to go if you want great quality lighting that you can manipulate more than if you connect it straight to your camera.

Canon 6D EOS Mark II

professional photography equipment list

The camera is the most important piece of equipment you will buy. It’s the only thing that captures the image, and therefore it is the only thing you need to focus on when buying a new camera.

So there really isn’t one answer for this question since every photographer has their own style which means each person will want something different depending on what they’re shooting.

I also strongly believe there is no one way to start photographing and needing the best equipment in the beginning is simply not the case. Photography is about the narrative and once you know hoe to narrate your images, you will also be able to know which elements you want to improve.

If you’ve already photographed for some time and know you want to dive deeper into the field, acquiring a quality camera should be on your to-do list.

Not going to go too deep into the qualities of this camera but can say it serves it’s purpose well. You can use it for videos and images, shooting RAW-files for better photo manipulation and later edit. The camera can be connected to CaptureOne, which lets you shoot images and immediately view them on your laptop.

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is a full-frame DSLR aimed at advanced amateurs and enthusiasts, and even professionals looking for a [second] Canon DSLR body. Resolution, autofocus performance, video shooting and even battery life are all great in this camera.

Canon EF 24-70mm Lens f/2.8L

professional photography equipment list

Lenses are the most important piece of equipment you can have. They control how much light enters into your camera and shape the way the image looks afterward.

The two main types of lenses are fixed lenses and zoom lenses. A fixed lens is one that doesn’t change its focal length (the distance from the object being photographed to where it will appear in focus on film), while a zoom lens does change its focal length depending on how far away you move it from your camera body.

Zoom lenses come with variable focal lengths, so they’re not always a 1:1 ratio between what you see through the viewfinder and what comes out on film; some zooms can go as high as 10x or even more!

Zoom lenses typically range from 15mm on one end to 135mm at another end—this means that if you have an 18-200mm zoom lens, then when zoomed all the way out, it’ll show about 18mm worth of viewable area through your viewfinder…but if you zoom all the way in then it’ll show about 200mm worth of viewable area through your viewfinder…and this would only be half as much if we were talking about just having an 18-135mm lens instead.

So something like this Canon EF 24-70mm is perfect for starters, and works perfectly even amongst the professionals too.

Memory Card SanDisk 128GB

When it comes to memory cards and batteries, the best advice is to buy more than you think you’ll need. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a shoot and having your camera run out of battery power or space on the card.

I’ve purchased multiple Sandisks and can say they work perfectly and have more space than I even need for my images. My latest purchase was this Sandisk 128GB Memorycard.

You’ll want one or two cards for each camera body, plus an extra SD card reader (in case one malfunctions) and a few spare batteries for each camera body and flash unit. You should also have some spares in case of emergencies; if you’re shooting wedding photos, there are often last-minute changes that require additional equipment—like when someone decides last minute they want photos with their grandparents—and it’s always better safe than sorry when it comes to having extra gear at your disposal!

Memory cards can be stored safely by keeping them in cases like this Kiorafoto Holders:

Background Stand Set AQIRUI

If you’re looking to start with your own product or portrait photography studio, you’ll want to have versatile set of different material and size backdrops. They all have different pros and cons, but they’re affordable, some might require steaming and you’ll only need to have enough space to create some great images without taking over your whole house.

Once you’re working remotely in different locations, having a backdrop stand kit will solve most of your background problems. Otherwise you’d have to be taping all your backdrops with the most innovative mechanisms – trust me I’ve been there!

This will not only look more professional but also feel so; you can rely on a clean background without any surprises. Easy to build and easy to have with you.

This background stand set from AQIRUI is inexpensive and easy to set up.

Manfrotto Aluminum Tripod

manfrotto tripod equipment photography

A tripod is a necessity for any professional photographer. You can’t expect your clients to pose as you try to hold your camera still, and you certainly can’t set up lights or reflectors without one.

The best option for a tripod is an aluminum model that’s lightweight and easy to carry around, but sturdy enough to hold the weight of your camera. You might also consider purchasing a fluid head, which will make it much easier to make smooth movements with your camera while using it on a tripod.

Manfrotto tripods have the best reviews amongst the top photographers, and they don’t weight tons. This Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminum 5-Section Tripod is my personal favourite.

We know learning the basics of photography can take some time and practice, and that’s OK.

You don’t have to be perfect or have the most expensive camera in order to be a good photographer. As long as you enjoy what you do!

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