I started my business in 2009, but I’m still fairly new to the studio life. Before I moved into my studio space in 2013 I was mostly a natural light photographer; I had been building up my studio portfolio and gear since 2011. Back then I was acquiring gear as needed for specific shoots and storing it in an extra room at home. The studio space I’m currently in is a collaborative shared space between a few local artists. We have one big studio space that we share while we have our own offices that we work and meet clients in. It’s a great setup and I highly suggest partnering up with other photographers or creatives if you’re looking to venture into your first studio space.
When I signed my lease I really had no idea of what I needed and it took me a little while to figure out what was a smart purchase for the studio over something that would become expensive clutter. Aside from backdrops, backdrop stands and lighting rigs, I’ve outlined other items that I wish someone told me to buy when I moved into my studio!
Backdrop Storage System
Finding a home to properly store your seamless paper upright will help make them last! Storing them on the ground or laying flat can lead to warping of your paper. I don’t want to spend hours fixing wrinkled, ripped or dirty backdrops in post. When I moved into my studio we already had a backdrop hanging and storage system in place, but if we hadn’t, the Seamless Paper Storage Clip would have been one of my first purchases for the studio.
For me, gaffer tape is like chapstick, I can never have enough rolls and being without gaffer tape on a shoot is that same sinking feeling I have when I lose all my chapsticks! I’ve had to get creative on some shoots, but quickly learned my lesson! I have a roll of gaffer tape that I keep at home just in case and at the studio I have a couple rolls in stock for black and white. In addition to standard black, Savage offers white, gray and chroma green options which is helpful for different needs.
Having posing equipment is so helpful for any portrait photographer and brings an awesome value to your client sessions. I like to create variety in my poses between standing and seated. Over the years I have collected posing equipment; between photography gear and unique items I’ve found at thrift shops, vintage stores and stores like Homegoods I have a nice selection of posing equipment. Posing tables are a great way to comfortably and effectively pose your clients in seated shots. You can easily add a small reflector board underneath it or use the table for small still light and product photos.
Tethered Shooting Gear
If you haven’t started shooting tethered, you may want to consider starting now that you’re in your studio space. Since I started shooting tethered it has improved my workflow and turnaround time tremendously. Having a Tech Table in your studio will make your life of shooting tethered so much easier because you have a dedicated table just for your computer and tethering gear. The Mobile Air Flow Tech Table Kit is amazing for photographers (like me) who love to move around a lot while they’re shooting in the studio!
Clamps & Clips
When I first moved in, I only had a couple of clamps that I used for backdrops on location. After a couple weeks of taking clients in the studio, I tripled my collection of clamps. I have these in a couple different sizes for various uses. I use really tiny clamps and an assortment of hair clips to help adjust clothing fits and larger clamps for securing backdrops and holding reflectors.
Moving in and setting up your own studio space can get expensive so it’s important to be mindful of what gear will be helpful to your studio and what gear will just be expensive clutter. I hope that my experience in moving into a studio space has helped you figure out the best items you need for your new studio space!