• Lex Lea

Photo studio checklist: Top 10 low cost must have items

1. Gaffer Tape

The most visible piece of gear on this checklist is gaff tape. Gafferx tape has all of the power of Duct Tape, without leaving a sticky residue. Popular in many film sets, gaff tape has become the industry standard for quickly taping things down (such as cables), without having to worry about creating a mess post shoot.

2. Mini clips

If you’ve ever seen a professional fashion shoot you may have seen that the backs of clothes are often lined with clothes pins. While it’d be nice to have all clothes fit your clients and subjects like a glove, that’s not usually the case, and clothes pins can always make for a failsafe way to tuck clothes and keeping it looking natural.

3. Short Light Stand

Often buying light stands and C-Stands, a studio will opt for the 12" or taller ones. However, the downside of having large light stands is that they do a poor job getting close to the ground. A boom arm on a light stand or C-Stand can correct this problem, but sometimes it’s just easier to find a small light stand to do the job that you never thought you’d need. Having a super short light stand is more valuable than you might think.

4. Cinefoil

Cinefoil is essentially aluminum foil that is matte black and has a lot of fantastic uses in a photography studio. It can even be used to black out a window.

5. Polyboards

Polyboards are polystyrene boards that usually measure 4 feet wide by 8 feet high and are normally 2 inches thick. One of the other defining characteristics is that they are often white on one side and black on the other. This dual colour is very important as this gives them two key uses.

The white side is used for bouncing light back into the shadows of an image. The black side is used for the opposite reason, to reduce the bounce of light.

6. Scissors

Scissors are an absolute necessity when you need to remove stray fiber from clothes, or need to quickly create some light shapers using cinefoil or paper.

7. Boom Arm Pivot Joint

These little brackets have a lot of practical use. Most notably, for reflector arms rather than for a boom set up.

8. Allen Keys

Most light stands and tripods are held together using small fasteners that are adjustable using an allen wrench or hex key. You can expect these joints to be tight and without much give, but the moment that pin loosens, you can expect the gear to immediately become frustrating and borderline unusable.

9. Sandbags

While sandbags are more often attributed for outdoor lighting, since you have Earth’s elements to deal with, but sandbags serve a huge purpose in the studio as well.

10. A Clamps

6” clamps have an incredible amount of uses in a studio, from holding colorama in place to various mounting options, to working as a light stand themselves.


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