Portrait Photography Must-Haves| Best Additions to the Photography Studio

In this list you’re going to find my favorite additions to the photography studio over the last ten years, big and small.

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Before I get started on my favorite photography equipment, I highly encourage you to start small! You get get started with some basic photography equipment listed here!

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Everyone’s favorite tools and equipment and accessories for their work are personal, here’s mine:

Photography Equipment

  • 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.
  • Continuous Lighting: I love lightweight floor lamps with daylight LED bulbs.
  • Flashguns and umbrellas: These have given me my most luscious lighting, but not my favorite option in a cramped studio.
  • Remote Trigger Release: 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.
  • Rechargeable Batteries: 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. Many of my portraits have been taken with my iPod, and I now almost exclusively take photos with my camera phone. 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/lenses 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!

Getting Started in Self Portrait Photography | What I Would do if I was Starting Over

What advice would I give to those starting self portrait photography?

What would I do different if I was starting over today?

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Advice for New Photographers

  • You don’t need the newest DSLR. In fact, the best camera to start with is a camera phone. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a DSLR and different portrait lenses to get great portraits. Most of my self portraits these days are taken on my smartphone.
  • If you want to experiment with different lenses, you can buy inexpensive clip-on lenses for your smartphone camera.
  • You don’t need fancy lights or flashguns either. Cheap room lights work well, as well as inexpensive ring lights. Experiment with different angles and distance in relation to you.
  • You don’t need a backdrop rig with expensive backdrops. Easy backdrops can be made by lying on a blanket on the floor of tacking a blanket/curtain to your studio wall.
  • Invest in a selfie stick, tripod, and Bluetooth camera release remote. These tools will get you far.
  • Focus on building your skills, not spending money on equipment. There’s no shortcut to great portraits.
  • Get comfortable in front of the camera by practicing a LOT. Get comfortable doing your own hair, makeup, and wardrobe styling by practicing a LOT.
  • Source backdrops (blankets/curtains), wardrobe and props from thrift shops. You’ll find something unique and save money.
  • Find a solid group of apps to use. My most essential apps for editing self portraits are Lightroom and Facetune with occasional use of Mextures and Procreate Pocket.
  • Get your own website to share your art. If you do more risqué portraits, upload teasers on Facebook and IG so you don’t get reported. You want a portfolio where people can find your work where YOU are in control.
  • Back up your portraits. Get yourself a thumb drive that attaches to your phone. Then backup your photography work both on a computer and a hard drive.

If I Was Starting my Photography Career Over

Honestly, if I was starting over I would do it more from a financial perspective.

I spent so much money on DSLR bodies, different lenses, backdrops, umbrellas, lighting and more to try and be more professional, but all this equipment ran up my credit card bill and slowed down my creation process.

And when it’s harder to create, the less we create.

The more time it takes to create, the less we can create.

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I would keep down to the basics:

  • Camera phone will cheap plan
  • Selfie stick
  • Clip on portrait lens
  • Tripod
  • Bluetooth remote
  • Thrifted wardrobe and blankets for backdrops

We truly don’t need to spend so much money to look professional.

We need to spend our time creating, practicing, and upgrading our equipment when necessary instead of when we think we can get a shortcut.

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I hope this helps!

Self portrait photography is one of my greatest passions in life!

Let’s get creative and make some art.

Photography Studio Essential | Faux Floral |Forest Spirit Photoshoot

Faux florals are so essential for a photography studio.

If your set or photoshoot feels a little plain or stale: add florals.

Florals add life to a shoot. Yes, even dead flowers add a special touch.

One of the best things about florals in the photography studio is that they give something for hands to do.

Tired of models not knowing what to do with their hands?

Given them a bouquet of flowers to hold. Let them run their hands through vines. Have them cup petals.

Head out to the thrift store or your local art supply store and grab some florals for your studio!

Fantasy Portrait Photography | Forest Spirit

This stunning set features a beautiful Yule inspired horned headdress.

Pick out your favorite fantasy headdress from the BlessedShadows Etsy shop and make your next photoshoot extra special.

What’s your favorite accessory for your fantasy photoshoots? What adds that’s extra touch of magic for you?

I adore making horns and horned headdresses, so it’s easy to see what my favorite adornment for fantasy photography is!

What’s yours?

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina | Sabrina Spellman Cosplay Photoshoot

Sabrina Spellman Dark Baltism Cosplay photoshoot
Sabrina Spellman Dark Baltism Cosplay photoshoot
Sabrina Spellman Dark Baltism Cosplay photoshoot

This cosplay of Sabrina from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was such a great way to spend the afternoon!

This wedding dress from the photography wardrobe was perfect for a Dark Baptism and was a great fit for a Sabrina Spellman cosplay

This shoot was also the perfect time to shoot with the old Nikon DSLR and test out the studio’s new SD card reader, which transfers raw images from the DSLR right into my phone for editing!

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What photo shoots have you been dying to do lately? Any cosplays in the works?

Flapper Demon | Boudoir Photoshoot

Lux fantasy  boudoir teaser for the BlessedShadows OnlyFans
Flapper demon cosplay portrait
Blessed Shadows boudoir  portrait for an OnlyFans photoshoot

🌙This flapper demon set is all wrapped up, and is still available on the Blessed Shadows OnlyFans 🌙

These huge portrait photoshoots are such a joy. There are so many costumes and and props and lingerie still to shoot in the Blessed Shadows studio wardrobe.

What’s your favorite shot from the teasers of this set?

There are so many extras from this shoot!

What are your favorite kinds of teasers? Do you like to see more or leave it to the imagination?