Must-Have Equipment to Set Up a Photo Studio

From the location to the studio design, there are many ways to go about opening a photo studio. However, choosing the right photography studio equipment is non-negotiable. With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to know which gear to buy first. With that in mind, here are the ten must-have accessories to help set up a photo studio.

And did you know that your photo studio can earn you passive income? It’s true! Once your photo studio is up and running, you can list it on Peerspace to start earning money from your space. Start hosting for free and help your local shutterbugs create, thrive, and follow their artistic passions.


From clamping a sheet of foam core to a light stand to eliminate wrinkles on a model to hold up a background for the perfect shot, clamps are essential. You can find versatile pony clamps for one to two dollars at local home improvement stores. If all else fails, a bucket full of old-fashioned wooden clothespins will do the trick.

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To get started, you’ll need to invest in a sturdy tripod that can be versatile and handle trips outside of the studio. However, as you’re able to invest in your space, a small tabletop tripod is another piece of  photography studio equipment Especially, if you are trying to get a steady shot on a table.

Calibrated gray card

Whether you’re thinking of going with the Kodak 18 Percent Gray Card or the pro favorite of a Macbeth Color Checker, a grey card will do wonders. The trick is to shoot one reference shot for every lighting setup. Then remove the lighting card and shoot normally. When you go back to the post, you’ll be able to use these test shots to find the perfect color balance shots.

If you’re worried about the cost of all the equipment for your photo studio, we’ve got good news. You can recoup all your photography studio equipment investment by listing it on Peerspace.

Magic arms

Magic arms are designed to hold a camera in place. This gear consists of a simple “arm” with rotating wrists on each end. While not very complicated, magic arms help even the most novice photographer into someone who seems they can shoot for National Geographic next week.

Background light stands

In today’s age, you won’t find one photo studio without background light stands. For instance, AlienBees and Freedman’s both over some great background light stands that allow for simple and seamless background lighting for any sized studio. A great photographer will have the ability to throw light below seated subjects, behind industrial machines or even near the floor to produce a superb lighting effect that will make your subject pop.

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Monolights are another piece of photography studio equipment often overlooked. And yet, all professional photographers use them. We suggest matching any monolight purchase with an extra-long power cable to ensure you can move around your subject and get that desired shot with ease.  

Light meters

Many high-end camera bodies have some great ambient light settings, but any photo studio needs to have the ability to accurately measure a flash. This is essential when you’re using flash to fill backlit subjects. A solid light meter will allow you to be precise in flash exposures. Plus, who wants to measure the flash for half of the shoot anyways?

For inspiration, explore other photography studios on Peerspace.

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Focusing spotlight

Back in the ’80s and ’90s, photo studios could get by with just using natural window light. However, today’s photo studios must contain a wide assortment of lighting options. One, in particular, is a focusing spotlight that contains a strobe tube that offers a variable image circle. A true focusing has the ability to project everything from steel masks to actual transparencies onto a surface.  

Other soft and hard lighting equipment

An ample supply is lighting is key to the success of your photo studio. You may be a portrait, product, boudoir, or fine art photographer (or, you may host these types of professionals when you’re ready to list your studio on Peerspace!) Either way, having a variety of lighting equipment means your studio shoots will go off without a hitch.

Some of the must-have lighting equipment to create hard light and soft light effects include ring lights, softboxes, china balls, and lighting umbrellas. And don’t forget your scrims and diffusers to filter and soften harsh light!

Gaffer tape

If you only purchase one type of tape for your studio, we recommend gaffer tape. While a bit more expensive and heavier, gaffer tape sticks to everything magically leaving no residue behind. You can use the tape to cover any metal finishes that may reflect back on your images, or simply to secure a background. The uses are endless making the investment worth the upfront cost.

Centrally Located Photo, Video & Sound Studio austin rental
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Wireless remote triggers

When it comes to cables, the fewer on the floor the better. There are a number of great wireless remote triggers that will keep your floors cable-free, providing full functionality. Plus, some of the top-ranked triggers in the industry will allow you to work on multiple frequencies and coordinate your channel sections to trigger different groups of your own lights.

A final word on photography studio equipment

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From equipment to some essential accessories, the real key to setting up a studio is getting the right photography studio equipment. Test out your gear, and see what works best for you in your space.

As you design your studio, consider what type of clientele you’re looking to attract. Along with this list of top-notch, must-have gear, you should consider the aesthetics. Do you want to create a serious space that caters to professionals only? Or would you like to add some quirky props and backdrops and attract influencers as well? This is your space to experiment with, and if all else fails, just gaffer tape it down.  

We know purchasing quality studio equipment can be a lot of cash upfront. To get the most ROI, try listing your space on Peerspace. Peerspace makes it so anyone can earn extra money by renting out your space, for film and photoshoots, meetings, and events.

List your photo studio on Peerspace today

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