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.
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.
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.
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.
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?