If you’re seriously thinking about kickstarting a photography business in 2023, investing in the right photography equipment is essential to get started. One thing beginner shutterbugs can also note is that each photography company and niche will have distinct requirements. Therefore, there are several fundamental categories of photography equipment that most aspiring photographers will need to contemplate. This comprehensive list of professional photography supplies provides insights into several categories you’ll need to consider as you set up and grow your business.
The Photography Industry in 2023
Professional photography is in high demand in several industries in 2023. Businesses require professional photos for everything from product pages to social media content. Photographers also produce content for real estate agents and special events, and some even sell images or provide direct services to consumers. There is a steady demand for these services. And many photographers can even take advantage of multiple income streams at once.
Why You Should Consider a Photography Business
If you’re thinking of starting a business in 2023, here are some reasons to consider photography:
- Multiple ways to make money with photography: Sell photos, offer paid sessions, or cover special events. There are tons of ways to use your skills in different niches.
- Low barrier to entry: Though you can get a degree in photography, it’s not required. Consider just taking a photography business course online or at a local community college instead.
- Express your creativity: Photography involves artistic expression. So it can be an ideal business for creatives.
- Time and location flexibility: Many photographers set their own hours and can take jobs and edit from the locations of their choice.
- Sustained demand: There’s a high demand for professional photographers in a variety of industries, from event planning to product photography.
Kevin Raposo’s video “How to Start a PHOTOGRAPHY Business in 2023” is an excellent resource for anyone interested in starting a photography business. This video offers actionable steps to successfully set up your venture, complementing the technical equipment insights provided in this article.
Essential Professional Photography Equipment List
Before you can launch your new photo venture, it’s time to invest in quality materials. The exact items you need may depend on your niche. For example, product photography equipment often differs from the items used to shoot portraits. If you’re ready to kick off your photo business, here are some photography supplies to add to your list.
A quality camera is the backbone of any photo business. Some photographers use just one device with multiple accessories. And others have multiple cameras, like a DSLR and compact digital camera, to use for different occasions. Here are some types you may use:
Once you have the camera, you may also need some hardware to complete your setup. Here are some common types of camera hardware to consider:
The right tripod can stabilize your camera and make it easier to get smooth shots. There are also specialized versions for specific types of shots or videos, like 360 product photography equipment. Here are some different types to consider:
If you’re shooting indoors or in low-light conditions, you may need additional lighting equipment to supplement your shots. Here are some of the best studio lights for photography and other lighting accessories to consider:
Camera lenses attach to DSLR and mirrorless cameras to provide a certain look for each shoot. Many photographers use different lenses for various types of shoots, since you want a different look for food photos than you would for landscape shots. It’s also important to ensure that each lens matches your camera. Here are some popular varieties to consider:
Filters change the appearance of images by slightly distorting what colors or visuals are captured. For example, some create the illusion of a light flare, while others change the color. Here are some popular types:
These smaller photo accessories may also come in handy in some niche situations:
Backdrops provide a steady base for studio portrait photography or product photos. These products vary widely by size, color, and material. But here are some popular products:
Photo props add interest to a variety of photos. Simple cubes are often used to enhance product photography. And silly photo booth props can
Studio space can be useful for photographers that take portraits, product photos, or staged photo shoots. This isn’t really a product to purchase, but rather a service to book as needed or to rent on an ongoing basis. Check your local community for lease or on-demand rental options if you don’t have enough space in your home or office.
Many photography businesses also require reliable transportation to get to and from events or photo shoots. This can include your own personal vehicle or public transit options. However, secure transit is often preferred when carrying bulky and/or valuable photography equipment.
Even if you use a larger professional camera for most of your photos, a smartphone is essential for sharing images and marketing your business. Additionally, many modern smartphones include quality cameras that you can use for a variety of purposes. Some of the best smartphones for photography include:
Photo Editing Software
Once you take photos, the right editing software can help you polish them. There are a variety of options at different price points and skill levels. Here are some top options:
A computer can provide storage space, editing capabilities, and options for marketing your photography business. Here are some popular options for photographers:
You may also need a photo printer to provide physical copies of your work to clients or in marketing materials. The following devices provide a high level of quality:
- Kodak Dock Plus Instant Photo Printer
- HP Smart Tank 7602
- Canon Selphy Wireless Compact Photo Printer
- Canon PIXMA Pro-200
Camera Bag and Storage
Once you have all of your photography gear in place, you’ll need a camera bag or storage solution to keep everything safe. Here are some main options for getting your cameras and accessories where they need to go safely:
It’s also important to keep your professional photography equipment clean. The following camera cleaning supplies can provide a thorough clean or help you while you’re out on shoots:
Here is the Essential Professional Photography Equipment List in a comprehensive and handy format. It allows you to quickly and easily scan through a range of gear across various categories, facilitating informed decisions about the tools you need to kick-start your photography business:
|Cameras||DSLR camera, Compact digital camera, Video camera, Drone camera|
|Camera Hardware||Batteries, External hard drive, Memory cards, Camera strap|
|Tripods||DSLR tripod, Smartphone tripod, Camera stand, 360 product photography equipment|
|Photography Lighting||Studio lights, External flash, Reflector, Ring light|
|Camera Lenses||DSLR lenses, Mirrorless lenses, Wide angle lens, Special effects lenses|
|Filters||Polarizing filters, Color filters, UV filters, Flare filters|
|Photo Accessories||Rain cover, Waterproof case, Remote, Composition tool|
|Backdrops||White backdrop, Backdrop stand with clips, Light box, Collapsible backdrops|
|Props||Cube photo props set, Photo booth accessories, Geometric photo props, Newborn photo props|
|Studio Space||Lease or on-demand rental options|
|Transportation||Personal vehicle, Public transit|
|Smartphone||Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, Google Pixel 7 Pro, Sony Xperia 1 III|
|Photo Editing Software||Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, Skylum Luminar Ai, Canva|
|Computer||Apple Mac Studio, Apple Macbook Pro, Lenovo ThinkPad, Microsoft Surface Book|
|Photo Printer||Kodak Dock Plus Instant Photo Printer, HP Smart Tank 7602, Canon Selphy Wireless Compact Photo Printer, Canon PIXMA Pro-200|
|Camera Bag and Storage||Camera bag, Camera backpack, Waterproof case, Bag for camera and lenses|
|Cleaning Supplies||Camera cleaning kit, Sensor cleaning swabs, Lens cleaning pen brush, Screen cleaning kit|
Save with Quality Used Photography Equipment
Used photography equipment can help you save money when getting your business off the ground. Certain items, like photo accessories, backdrops, and camera equipment can all be purchased new. Just look for sellers with high ratings and clear images of the products you’re purchasing.
What type of camera do most professional photographers use?
Most professional photographers use DSLR or mirrorless cameras from the brands Nikon, Canon, and Sony. Popular models in 2023 include the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Sony a7III, and Nikon D850.
What is a professional photographer’s most important piece of equipment?
The core of a professional photographer’s toolkit is undoubtedly a high-quality camera and lens. The optimal products vary significantly based on your specific niche. However, these critical photography equipment pieces should be among the first you purchase. Let’s delve deeper:
- DSLR Camera: The DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) camera has been a staple of professionals for years, providing high-quality images, excellent manual controls, and the flexibility of interchangeable lenses. Versatile and capable, DSLR cameras enable photographers to tackle a multitude of photography scenarios – from fast-paced sports to intricate macro shots. They’re especially favored for their impeccable performance in low light conditions and their ability to produce a pleasing depth of field effect.
- Mirrorless Camera: As a lighter, more compact alternative to DSLRs, mirrorless cameras have gained popularity among professionals and amateurs alike. They offer an electronic viewfinder that presents a live, accurate preview of your shot, faster shooting rates, and enhanced video performance. For photographers focusing on wildlife, action, or travel, the lower weight and higher speed of mirrorless cameras are major advantages.
- Camera Lenses: The lens can sometimes be more significant than the camera body itself. The vast array of available lenses caters to various shooting scenarios – wide-angle lenses for capturing stunning landscapes, telephoto lenses for distant subjects in sports or wildlife photography, prime lenses for portraiture with soft, blurred backgrounds, and macro lenses for up-close details. Concert photographers, for instance, might opt for faster lenses and shutter speeds to capture crisp, dynamic images amidst fluctuating lighting and fast-paced action.
- Medium Format Camera: For photographers who demand the utmost in image quality, medium format cameras offer larger sensors that deliver unparalleled resolution, dynamic range, and color depth. These cameras are typically more expensive and less versatile than DSLRs or mirrorless cameras, but for professionals working in high-end fashion, portraiture, or landscape photography, the superior image quality can be worth the investment. With every detail captured with breathtaking clarity, medium format cameras serve as an indispensable tool for photographers aiming to exceed the usual boundaries of image quality.
The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens performance will be. These lenses will be more expensive, but they’ll also be well worth it. Consider for a moment how much easier your job will be when more light hits the camera’s sensor.
Lastly, choosing a camera and lens should be tailored to your specific needs and style as a photographer. It’s not always about having the most expensive gear; rather, it’s about finding the equipment that enables you to bring your artistic vision to life.
Image: Envato Elements
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