Six Pieces of Studio Kit I Use Every Day

Six Pieces of Studio Kit I Use Every Day

My studio has become a second home, and I invest a lot of time and money into it. Recently, I have been restocking a few essentials I can’t live without while trying to make my shooting more efficient.

Flags and Reflectors

Flags and reflectors play a massive role in my food and portrait photography. For years I had battles with the best way to build and store them. A few months back, I spotted a behind-the-scenes image of someone using bike racks to hold foam insulation boards. This allows me to store the boards flush against the wall, and these small brackets offer plenty of support to hold them upright.

Super Clamps

These are perhaps the most-used grip in my studio. I have about 10 of them, and I am always buying more. There aren’t many issues that can’t be fixed with a super clamp, whether it be hanging a prop, backdrop, light, or simply placing a camera in an obscure location that a tripod can’t reach. I always buy the Manfrotto ones because I like everything to look the same, but I am sure others work just as well.

USB Cables

I skimped on USB cables for years and I had constant issues with Lightroom's tether feature. Earlier this year I got my hands on some of those trendy-looking orange Tether Tools cables. I assumed it was a gimmick, but I didn’t pay for it myself, so I was happy to give it a go. Since then I have purchased loads of their cables, and all of my tether woes between Canon 5D-series cameras and Adobe Lightroom have vanished. It also means that my behind-the-scenes pics on Instagram have cool orange cables for added kudos. 

Tracing Paper Rolls

I am late to the tracing paper game, and I will be writing a dedicated article to this in the near future. A roll of tracing paper is invaluable in your studio. It can be used as a scrim to diffuse and soften light, or you can use it to build a giant softbox. This stuff comes out on pretty much every food and product shoot.

Compressed Air

I photograph a lot of watches, products, and food that often gets dusty. Having compressed air on hand has proved very time efficient when the image makes its way to post-production. I usually have a few cans of this kicking about the studio at any given time. However, I don’t use it to clean my cameras, as I prefer a less aggressive Air Rocket for that job.

Coat Hooks

Besides the obvious advantage of hanging coats on them, coat hooks are great for hanging soft boxes, cables, reflectors and beauty dishes. To save setup time and pulling modifiers out of storage, I now have hooks all over my studio to hang everything that I might need quick access to. I went for these super cheap ones that worked for Bowens S mount and Broncolor.

What do you all use in your studio?

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John Dawson's picture

I use Savage Translum plastic (medium-weight) instead of tracing paper. It's rugged, readily available, relatively inexpensive and, most importantly, it produces incredible diffuse light and beautiful gradients.


C Gentile's picture

Go to stuff for me grips stands and grips stands, flags cutters, tethered of course , studio stand , apple boxes sand bags , Trace paper is my go too , preferred look for me. Lots of homemade cutters and gobo's for mashing light up. Spring clips. H5D50c wifi D42400 Fav softbox strip box , Polarizer

John MacLean's picture

I'm partial to Rosco Tuff Rolux instead of tracing paper.

Rob Mynard's picture

It's funny, I talk to a lot of photographers who wont use any DIY stuff on a "professional" shoot and freak out at ideas like rolls of tracing paper to mock up a quick softbox and instead will spend a fortune one getting the "pro" versions of everything, thinking that they look more "pro" to the client. On the flip side I've seen clients more impressed by the ingenuity of a quick DIY fix to get a different take on their shots. I'm not saying turn up to a shoot with an iphone and a roll of gaff tape, but there is a middle ground.

C Gentile's picture

Most time I will use a soft box with both baffles then trace in front , so its super soft. Or a hard light with a slash or pieces of the trace missing in front of the light source