It’s been wonderful to practice lighting that’s better for showing off design, as I’m not a huge fan of photographing with high-key lighting.
I love those dark, sultry shadows, which don’t always go hand in hand with studio photography meant to inspire sales. Practice is paying off, so it’s nice to see a little more detail in those darker costumes like the one in this photo set.
Sometimes we, as photographers and creators and models, need to practice letting our designs stand out and not fade into the shadows, literally and figuratively.
So much has changed here in the studio. Not only in workflow and equipment changes, but how I’ve learned to see myself and my work.
I have found self-portraiture as a way to learn self-love. Not only has it helped me with my dysphoria, it’s allowed me to learn to see myself as a piece of art. It’s helped me better comes to terms with the skin I’ve been given.
Along with the grander scheme of not feeling at home in my body, I’m no longer so embarrassed by my hands. My hands are often a very bright red, presumably because of a thyroid issue and my very low blood pressure. It’s been a pain to edit out or otherwise try to prevent, but I’ve learned to accept that that’s just how they are.
Instead of seeing an embarrassing bright red, I see it as a blush that fits well with my style of portraiture, especially in this photoset.
Self-portrature can help us to not only learn about who we are, but how we are all pieces of artwork.
This sultry red and gold shoot was such a glamorous blast!
With the floral headdress from the Blessed Shadows Shop and this chain harness from Charlie’s Revamps coming together so perfectly with the backdrop and faux floral, this was a joy to photograph.
This backdrop is one of my favorites, a thrifted blanket that’s quite literally a bed of flowers.
These 1/2-1/2 shoots, where half the photoshoot is taken with an iPod and the other half is photographed with a DSLR have been wonderful. These photo sessions have given an opportunity to better utilize the studio space (with the bed serving as a second backdrop) as well as practice with different equipment.
Gorgeous portraits come from each setup, and it’s been a joy to continue practicing without entirely taking over the studio.
In this list you’re going to find my favorite additions to the photography studio over the last ten years, big and small.
Everyone’s favorite tools and equipment and accessories for their work are personal, here’s mine:
DSLR body: Start out with a basic body. I still love my kit camera from 10 years ago, it’s a Nikon D3100 with my upgrade being a D3300.
Glass: I’ve become a sucker for fast prime lenses in this small studio. My favorites are 85mm f/1.8 and my 50mm lens.
Ring light: Perfect for smaller studio spaces.
ContinuousLighting: I love lightweight floor lamps with daylight LED bulbs.
Flashgunsand umbrellas: These have given me my most luscious lighting, but not my favorite option in a cramped studio.
Remote TriggerRelease: This has been indispensable. I almost always use this one but I also have a few other versions depending on the shooting situation. It prevents a LOT of running back and forth.
Polarizing Filters: Remember to choose quality so you’re not degrading the quality of your images. Not only will these handy filters boost colors and reduce glare, they’ll help keep your lenses safe from scratches.
RechargeableBatteries: Extra points if you use a solar panel to charge these.
PS and Lightroom: I bought PS CS5 for my computer back when Adobe wasn’t subscription based. I use the free Lightroom app on my IPod to edit my mobile shots.
Computer: Editing photography on a laptop isn’t ideal (depending who you ask) but it frees up a lot of space in the studio. If buying a computer, research ahead to see if it’s a good option for photography.
Monitor Color Calibrator: Calibrate your monitor and, in your editing program, use the best color space when editing and saving. Plenty of great tutorials for this online.
Backdrops: aka: Blankets, curtains, etc outfitted with safety pins to hang from nails on the wall. Check out your local thrift shop to see what colors, textures, patterns and prints you can find.
Mobile Camera: Gorgeous shots are absolutely possible on a smartphone and other devices. A growing number of my portraits are taken with my IPod. It’s a great way to experiment and get different shots before shooting the same look with a DSLR, or to do an entire shoot.
Mobile Camera Accessories: Tripods, selfie sticks, and clip on polarizing filters and other accessories are available for mobile devices.
Flash Drives: You’ve worked hard to create your work, be sure to save copies somewhere off your computer.
There you have it!
My favorite tools and equipment that I’ve adored the most over the past decade in the photography studio.
What are your own favorite tools and pieces of equipment?
Share with your friends and trade your own list of must-haves!
A gorgeous fantasy shoot is sometimes as simple as a blanket hanging on the wall, a caplet made from thrifted curtains strung on a ribbon, and a touch-light.
With custom PS brushes (from a picture of an orchid taken a few years ago) and a fave DSLR, of course.
The studio keeps getting smaller and smaller as Blessed Shadows expands and inventory continues to build, so it’s great to remember that beautiful photography doesn’t require a fancy studio.
My laptop is a decade old (if not older), the DSLR is a decade old, as well as my version of PS. The newest piece of equipment I use for photography is my iPod 4th generation, used in some of the more selfie-style portraits.
We don’t need huge studios, expensive equipment, and the latest gadgets to create great work.
Let’s upgrade as needed, and not sell ourselves short with a self-imposed expectation of needing all these other things to create. It’s great to treat ourselves and improve what we’ve claimed as a studio, but there is no shortcut for just creating.
A $200 isn’t going to be a game-changer, $19 ones can be amazing.
Expensive equipment isn’t going to sell our work, we are.
Let’s keep creating with what we have, treat ourselves responsibly and accordingly, and do our best to think and act big on a small budget when we need.