If you buy something through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.
Photography is one of the best career paths if you’re looking for something that lets you explore your creativity. With so many types of photography paths available, there is a lot of room to explore and find your niche. However, photography does require a fair bit of equipment, and it’s often challenging to find the best sources for photography supplies. This guide has been put together to help you figure out what supplies to get and the best places to source photography supplies.
The Photography Industry in 2022
The photography industry has seen significant growth, with many amateur photographers entering the field to start their own businesses. It’s a sign of the popularity of the area and the increasing demand for talented photographers. Many types of photography have gained popularity, such as weddings, business, and commercial photography, as well as portraits and events.
Top Places for Photography Supply for Your Business
There are many places where amateur photographers can explore new products and find information about photography equipment. Some of the top places for photography supplies include:
Amazon is one of the top choices for photography supplies because of the sheer amount of choices available. Photographers can find everything they need, including lighting equipment, tripods, backdrops, and more.
Another popular choice for supplies includes marketplaces such as Etsy. Etsy is useful if you’re looking for photography props, vintage cameras, Lightroom presets for lighting effects, and other types of unique supplies.
Lensbaby has photography tools such as lenses that can be more cost-effective for photographers without sacrificing creativity. With Lensbaby, photographers get to explore new angles and creative effects using their supplies, including tilt-shift and off-center focused photos.
Small Business Deals
4. B&H Photo and Video
If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for photography equipment, B&H Photo and Video is the perfect marketplace for photographers looking for the best products.
B&H offers all kinds of products for photographers, including lighting products, professional lenses, light modifiers, drones, and aerial cameras, and much more. They also provide information and news about photography that could be useful for amateur photographers and professionals.
Adorama is one of the leading stores for photography equipment and includes comprehensive information about the products to help photographers choose the right equipment for them. It also features high-tech products that are newer to the market to cater to both amateur and seasoned photographers.
Adorama offers products such as cameras, lenses, lighting equipment, tripods, and other staple photography equipment. It also carries a wide range of products for astronomy photography and other niche areas.
- READ MORE: How to Make Money with Photography
Essential Photography Supplies
If you’re looking for more information on what kind of photography supplies and equipment you’ll need as a photographer, we’ve made a list of the essential supplies every photographer needs to have.
DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) Cameras
DSLRs use a mirror mechanism to reflect light from the lens up into an optical viewfinder. What sets them apart is their versatility and the vast selection of interchangeable lenses available. They are favored for their optical viewfinder, which provides a clear and immediate view of the scene without any digital lag. They also tend to have longer battery life and robust build quality. Popular brands include Canon and Nikon.
Mirrorless cameras, as the name suggests, lack the mirror mechanism of DSLRs, allowing for a more compact design. They have electronic viewfinders (EVF) or use the main display for composing shots. Their advantage lies in their lighter weight, smaller size, and usually faster shooting speeds. They’re also known for having more advanced video features compared to DSLRs. Sony and Fujifilm are well-known manufacturers of mirrorless cameras.
Medium Format Cameras
Medium format cameras have larger sensors than full-frame DSLRs or mirrorless cameras, providing superior image quality, greater dynamic range, and better low-light performance. They are particularly favored in high-end fashion, portrait, and landscape photography. However, they are significantly more expensive and larger in size. Hasselblad and Phase One are prominent brands in this category.
Large Format Cameras
Used primarily for fine art and architectural photography, large format cameras use sheet film and offer movements such as tilt, shift, and swing, allowing for precise control over focus and perspective. They’re distinct for their exceptional image quality with an unrivaled level of detail and sharpness, but they require a slow and methodical approach to photography. Brands like Linhof and Intrepid are notable in this field.
Rangefinder cameras offer a different focusing system from SLRs, using a dual-image ranging method that is manual and mechanical. They are compact, discreet, and typically have high-quality lenses. They’re especially popular among street and documentary photographers for their unobtrusive nature. Leica is the most renowned manufacturer of rangefinder cameras.
Designed for adventure and sports photography, action cameras are compact, rugged, and waterproof. They can be mounted on various surfaces and equipment, capturing images and videos from unique perspectives. Their standout feature is their durability and ability to withstand extreme conditions. GoPro is a leading brand in this category.
These cameras capture a full 360-degree view of the surroundings in either still or video format. They are unique for creating immersive experiences, particularly in virtual reality applications. They can be used for virtual tours, action sports, and creative photography. Brands like Insta360 and Ricoh are at the forefront of 360-degree camera technology.
In an age dominated by digital, film cameras have a nostalgic appeal and offer a unique look due to the characteristics of film. Many professionals enjoy the tactile experience and the deliberate pace that film photography demands. There’s also a wide variety of film types and formats available, from 35mm to medium and large formats. Nikon, Canon, and Pentax still have revered film camera models sought after by professionals.
|Camera Type||Key Features||Advantages||Popular Uses||Notable Brands|
|DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex)||Mirror mechanism, optical viewfinder, interchangeable lenses.||Versatility, robust build, longer battery life.||General, sports, wildlife, portrait photography.||Canon, Nikon.|
|Mirrorless||No mirror mechanism, electronic viewfinder, compact design.||Lightweight, faster shooting speeds, advanced video features.||Travel, street, video production.||Sony, Fujifilm.|
|Medium Format||Larger sensors, superior image quality.||Greater dynamic range, better low-light performance.||High-end fashion, portrait, landscape photography.||Hasselblad, Phase One.|
|Large Format||Sheet film, camera movements (tilt, shift, swing).||Exceptional image quality, detail, and sharpness.||Fine art, architectural photography.||Linhof, Intrepid.|
|Rangefinder||Dual-image ranging focusing system, compact design.||Discreet, manual focus, high-quality lenses.||Street, documentary photography.||Leica.|
|Action Cameras||Compact, rugged, waterproof, mountable.||Durability, extreme condition resilience.||Adventure, sports, point-of-view photography.||GoPro.|
|360-Degree Cameras||Captures 360-degree view, still or video format.||Immersive experiences, VR applications.||Virtual tours, action sports, creative photography.||Insta360, Ricoh.|
|Film Cameras||Uses film, various formats and types.||Tactile experience, unique film characteristics.||Artistic, street, portrait photography.||Nikon, Canon, Pentax.|
A prime lens has a fixed focal length, meaning you can’t zoom in or out. What sets them apart is their usually wider apertures, which allow more light to enter, making them ideal for low-light situations and creating a shallow depth of field for portraits. They are also known for their sharpness and lighter weight compared to zoom lenses. Examples include the 50mm f/1.8 and the 85mm f/1.4.
Zoom lenses offer a range of focal lengths in one package, making them versatile for different shooting situations. They can range from wide-angle to telephoto, like a 24-70mm f/2.8 or a 70-200mm f/2.8. While they might not be as fast or sharp as prime lenses, their flexibility makes them a favorite for events, travel, and wildlife photography where changing lenses frequently isn’t practical.
Wide-angle lenses, such as a 16-35mm f/4, are characterized by their ability to capture a broad field of view. They are essential for landscape, architectural, and interior photography. They can also create an exaggerated perspective, making them interesting for creative and dramatic compositions.
Macro lenses are designed for extreme close-up photography, allowing the photographer to capture small subjects at life-size or greater magnifications. They typically have focal lengths ranging from 60mm to 180mm. These lenses are indispensable for detailed shots in nature photography, product photography, and scientific applications.
Tilt-shift lenses provide movements that allow photographers to control the plane of focus and correct perspective distortions. This makes them especially useful for architectural and product photography. By tilting the lens, one can achieve selective focus; by shifting, one can straighten lines that appear curved or angled because of the camera’s position.
Telephoto lenses, such as a 300mm f/2.8 or a 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6, have long focal lengths that bring distant subjects closer. They are indispensable for wildlife, sports, and action photography. The longer focal lengths can also compress and blur the background, creating a pleasing effect for portraits.
A tripod is essential for stabilizing the camera in low-light conditions, long exposures, or when using telephoto lenses. They vary in material, size, and stability, with carbon fiber options being lightweight and sturdy, albeit more expensive.
Camera Bags and Cases
Professional photographers need reliable camera bags and cases to protect and organize their gear. Options range from backpacks and shoulder bags to hard cases. Weather-sealed and padded options offer extra protection for valuable equipment.
External flashes, studio lights, softboxes, and reflectors are used to control lighting conditions. These are crucial for portrait, product, and studio photography, where the quality of light can make a significant difference.
Filters attach to the front of a lens for various effects. UV filters protect the lens, polarizing filters reduce glare and enhance colors, and neutral density filters allow for longer exposures in bright light. These can be critical for achieving specific photographic effects.
Memory Cards and Storage
Reliable, high-capacity memory cards are essential for storing images and videos, especially when shooting in high resolution or RAW format. Additionally, professionals often use external hard drives or cloud services for backup and archiving.
Tools like monitor calibrators and color checkers ensure accurate color reproduction in the shooting and editing process, which is vital for professional work where color accuracy is paramount.
|Equipment||Purpose||Key Features||Best Used For|
|Prime Lenses||Capturing images with a fixed focal length.||Wider apertures, sharpness, lightweight.||Low-light situations, portraits, where shallow depth of field is desired.|
|Zoom Lenses||Offering a range of focal lengths.||Versatile; covers wide-angle to telephoto.||Events, travel, wildlife where lens changes are impractical.|
|Wide-Angle Lenses||Capturing a broad field of view.||Can create exaggerated perspectives.||Landscape, architectural, interior photography.|
|Macro Lenses||Extreme close-up photography.||Allows life-size or greater magnifications.||Nature, product photography, scientific applications.|
|Tilt-Shift Lenses||Controlling plane of focus and correcting perspective distortions.||Tilt for selective focus; shift for straightening lines.||Architectural, product photography.|
|Telephoto Lenses||Bringing distant subjects closer.||Long focal lengths; can compress and blur the background.||Wildlife, sports, action photography, portraits.|
|Tripods||Stabilizing the camera.||Vary in material, size, stability; carbon fiber options available.||Low-light conditions, long exposures, telephoto lens use.|
|Camera Bags and Cases||Protecting and organizing gear.||Options include backpacks, shoulder bags, hard cases.||Transporting gear, especially in rugged or variable conditions.|
|External Flashes||Controlling lighting conditions.||Used in conjunction with studio lights, softboxes, reflectors.||Portrait, product, and studio photography.|
|Filters||Attaching to the front of a lens for various effects.||UV, polarizing, and neutral density filters available.||Protecting lens, reducing glare, enhancing colors, longer exposures.|
|Memory Cards and Storage||Storing images and videos.||High-capacity, reliable for high resolution or RAW format.||All types of photography, especially professional work with high data needs.|
|Calibration Tools||Ensuring accurate color reproduction.||Monitor calibrators, color checkers.||Professional work where color accuracy is paramount.|
- READ MORE: Where to Sell Wholesale Craft Supplies
Photography Equipment for Business
There are many products out there, including photography equipment such as lighting tools, lenses, and tripods, that help your photography be more effective. There are also tools and equipment that could help you run your photography business with ease, some of which include:
Softboxes are attached to studio lights or external flashes to diffuse the light, creating a soft and even illumination that is flattering for portraits and product photography. They come in various shapes and sizes, each creating a different quality and direction of light. The larger the softbox, the softer the light.
Umbrellas are one of the simplest and most affordable lighting modifiers. They can either reflect light (bounce umbrella) or diffuse it (shoot-through umbrella). They spread light over a wider area and are less directional than softboxes, which can be advantageous for a softer, more natural look.
Beauty dishes are a type of light modifier that creates a soft, yet contrasty light. They are often used in fashion and beauty photography because they produce a natural, flattering light that accentuates facial features and skin tones.
Ring lights provide even, radial illumination that helps reduce shadows and is especially popular for beauty shots, macro photography, and vlogging. The unique catchlights in the subject’s eyes produced by ring lights are also a desirable effect.
Light stands are essential for positioning lights at various heights and angles. They range from lightweight and portable to heavy-duty stands that can hold larger, heavier lights and modifiers.
Backdrops come in various materials, such as muslin, canvas, paper, or vinyl, and can be plain or patterned. They set the scene for the photograph and can be easily switched to match the mood or theme of the shoot. Seamless paper backdrops provide a smooth, uncluttered background that is particularly popular for fashion and portrait photography.
Backdrop Support Systems
Backdrop support systems hold up the backdrops and are adjustable in height and width. They are essential for studio photography, allowing for quick changes between different backdrop materials.
Reflectors are used to bounce light onto a subject, filling in shadows and balancing the light. They come in different colors for various effects: white for neutral fill, silver for cooler tones, gold for a warm glow, and black to absorb light and deepen shadows.
Props can be anything from furniture to clothing, accessories, or thematic objects that help tell a story, convey a mood, or add context to a photograph. The right prop can make a significant difference in the narrative of the image.
Flags and Gobos
Flags are used to block or shape light, preventing it from hitting certain areas of the scene. Gobos (go-betweens) can be placed in front of lights to cast patterns or shapes, adding texture and interest to the background or subject.
Diffusion panels soften and scatter light, reducing harsh shadows and contrast. They can be used both indoors and outdoors to modify natural or artificial light.
Clamps and Grips
Clamps and grips are essential for securing lights, modifiers, backdrops, and other equipment in place. They come in various sizes and strengths for different applications.
Sandbags are used to stabilize light stands and backdrop supports, ensuring they don’t tip over under the weight of heavy equipment or in windy conditions.
Boom arms allow for overhead lighting and are particularly useful for hair lights in portrait photography or for achieving specific lighting angles that regular stands can’t provide.
Photo editing software
Good photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop is crucial for photography businesses. Photoshop is helpful for post-shooting editing and touch-ups to create high-quality photographs. It can also be used with software such as Lightroom, with presets to add creative lighting effects if needed.
|Equipment||Purpose||Key Features||Best Used For|
|Softboxes||Diffusing light to create even illumination.||Comes in various shapes and sizes; attached to studio lights or flashes.||Portraits, product photography, situations where soft, flattering light is desired.|
|Umbrellas||Spreading light over a wider area; can reflect or diffuse light.||Simple and affordable; available as bounce or shoot-through.||Softer, more natural light for portraits, group shots, or when mobility is needed.|
|Beauty Dishes||Creating soft, yet contrasty light.||Produces natural, flattering light; accentuates facial features.||Fashion and beauty photography, close-up portraits.|
|Ring Lights||Providing even, radial illumination; reducing shadows.||Unique catchlights in the eyes; popular for beauty shots and vlogging.||Beauty shots, macro photography, video content creation.|
|Light Stands||Positioning lights at various heights and angles.||Ranges from lightweight to heavy-duty; portable.||Essential for any studio setup to hold lights and modifiers.|
|Backdrops||Setting the scene for the photograph.||Various materials and patterns; can change the mood or theme of the shoot.||Fashion, portrait photography, any scenario requiring a controlled background.|
|Backdrop Support Systems||Holding up backdrops; adjustable in height and width.||Essential for quick changes between different backdrop materials.||Studio photography where versatility in backgrounds is needed.|
|Reflectors||Bouncing light onto a subject to fill in shadows.||Comes in different colors for various effects.||Outdoor shoots, studio photography to balance light and add fill.|
|Props||Adding context or narrative to a photograph.||Can range from furniture to thematic objects.||Thematic shoots, portraits, product photography to enhance storytelling.|
|Flags and Gobos||Blocking or shaping light; casting patterns or shapes.||Adds texture and interest to the background or subject.||Creative lighting setups, adding drama or texture to a scene.|
|Diffusion Panels||Softening and scattering light.||Reduces harsh shadows and contrast.||Indoor and outdoor shoots where soft, diffused light is needed.|
|Clamps and Grips||Securing lights, modifiers, and equipment in place.||Various sizes and strengths for different applications.||Essential for ensuring all equipment is safely secured.|
|Sandbags||Stabilizing light stands and backdrop supports.||Prevents equipment from tipping over.||Any setup with heavy equipment or in windy conditions.|
|Boom Arms||Allowing for overhead lighting and specific angles.||Useful for hair lights in portraits or unique lighting angles.||Portrait photography, situations requiring light from above.|
|Photo Editing Software||Post-shooting editing and touch-ups.||Adobe Photoshop for detailed edits; Lightroom for workflow and presets.||Essential for all types of photography for final image polishing and creative effects.|
What Brands Are Most Popular with Professional Photographers?
There are many brands that photographers can explore for equipment and supplies. Some of the most popular brands for photography products include Nikon, Canon, and Sony. These are respected brands with a well-established history of creating high-quality cameras and accessories that are used by photographers worldwide.
What Do You Need for Studio Photography?
To set up a professional studio for photography, you would need various types of equipment and tools to handle different shooting scenarios and lighting conditions. Here’s an expanded list of what you might need:
- Camera and Lenses
- A high-resolution DSLR or mirrorless camera.
- A variety of lenses, including prime, zoom, macro, and tilt-shift lenses.
- Lighting Equipment
- Studio strobes or continuous lights.
- Softboxes, umbrellas, and beauty dishes for light diffusion.
- Reflectors and diffusion panels to manipulate light.
- Ring lights for even, direct illumination.
- Light stands and boom arms to position and angle your lights.
- Gels to color and modify the light.
- Backgrounds and Backdrop System
- Seamless paper rolls in various colors.
- Muslin or canvas backdrops for different textures.
- A portable or fixed backdrop support system.
- Clamps and tapes to secure backdrops.
- Props and Furniture
- Chairs, stools, or couches for posing.
- Various thematic props for different shoot concepts.
- Tables or surfaces for product photography.
- Grip and Rigging
- C-Stands and light stands to hold and position equipment.
- Sandbags to secure stands and prevent tipping.
- Clamps, arms, and hooks for additional support.
- Modifiers and Control Tools
- Flags, cutters, and gobos to block or shape light.
- Snoots and grids for directional light.
- Scrims to diffuse light.
- Tethering Equipment
- A computer or laptop for tethered shooting.
- Tethering cables and software.
- Power Solutions
- Extension cords and power strips.
- Portable battery packs for on-location shooting.
- Miscellaneous Tools
- Gaffer tape for securing cables and props.
- A toolkit with screwdrivers, pliers, and other essentials.
- A step ladder for high-angle shots.
- Post-Processing Setup
- A computer with high processing power.
- Calibration tools for monitor accuracy.
- Photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.
- External hard drives for backup storage.
- Cleaning Equipment
- Lens cleaning kits.
- Air blowers and microfiber cloths.
- Storage Solutions
- Shelving and cabinets to organize equipment.
- Padded cases for delicate gear.
- Safety Equipment
- First aid kit for emergencies.
- Fire extinguisher for fire safety.
Having the right equipment and tools is essential in setting up a professional photography studio. It ensures that you are prepared for various shooting scenarios and can achieve the desired lighting and effects for your photographs.
Qualify for discounts, special offers and more with a Business Prime account from Amazon. You can create a FREE account to get started today.
Image: Envato Elements
More in: Small Business Essentials