Sharing all the things I can't shoot without!
When it comes to product photography, it's all about the props. Diffusion paper? Check. Step ladder? Check. Skewers? You know it. After all, it’s the small things that make shoots a little easier! And who doesn’t want that? For me, there are a few product photographer studio essentials that I can’t live without. We’ll get into those below.
Similar to peeking into other people’s camera bags, I love seeing what people store in their studios. It’s like a glimpse into their creative process. And it’s always interesting to see what other product photographers need to get the shot. My home studio is set up in the spare bedroom of my apartment, so I use that closet as storage. What’s in there? Camera gear, risers, florals, and lots of pieces that come in handy when I’m shooting. Just to name a few!
Also, I use this Kallax Shelf from IKEA to store most of my gear and props. I added some of their drawer inserts to keep my cameras, lenses, and chords organized. For my Moodelier risers and blocks, I use the open shelving. And I use a variety of their bins and baskets to store florals, linens, and other “knick knacks” too. In other words, IKEA is a storage saviour. Trust me.
Now, let’s get into my top 10 product photographer studio essentials. These are the things that help my shoots go smoothly and successfully!
The 10 Best Product Photographer Studio Essentials:
- Diffusion Paper
- Bounce Boards and Reflectors
- Blue Tac or Gallery Tape
- Fishing Wire
- Tethering Cable
- Mouse and Remote Shutter
- Step Ladder
- Gobos and Florals
- Spring Clamps
I love using diffusion paper! Even when I have a softbox attached to my light. This helps create that sought-after natural light look that a lot of my clients ask for. It also just improves the light quality in general. I bought a large roll off Amazon! It was worth every dollar.
Blu Tack & Gallery Tape
If you need to suspend something in the air, fishing wire is exactly what you need. It’s so strong! It’ll hold up surprisingly well with heavier items as well as lightweight ones. An added bonus? It’s super easy to edit out. Especially if you choose the clear kind. There are different tints of fishing line, but why make things harder on yourself? Clear is the way to go!
I learned the hard way not to cheap out on this item. I absolutely need to shoot tethered so I can see my images on the big screen as I capture them and make any adjustments as I go. Initially I got a cheap cable off Amazon. However, I’m sharing the real deal here so you don’t make the same mistake I did. Get your tethering cable from a photography store!
Wireless Mouse or Remote Shutter
As the only person on set, I rely heavily on my wireless mouse and remote shutter to capture images when I need to be close to the set and can’t reach the camera or my laptop keyboard. They’re also super handy when I need my hand in the shot. Or if I need to make sure there’s absolutely no camera shake. I’ve linked my exact mouse and remote, but get whatever works for you!
This goes hand-in-hand with the previous item. I need it when I’m alone on set and have to reach certain areas. Or look into the camera screen when it's on a C-Stand. I won’t lie, this step ladder also serves a few other purposes, such as a makeshift chair, a table to put extra props on, and more! It’s working hard for its spot on the product photographer studio essentials list.
GOBO’s and Florals
GOBOs, also known as Go Between Optics, and Florals are what I use to create shadows in my photos. I place these between my light source and the scene. This could be anything that would naturally cast a shadow, such as a window frame, a plant, or the appearance of other items in the scene nearby. My current GOBOs are all DIY, but I’ve linked the one on my shopping list from Godox.
These are great in food photography! Essential, really. And as a product photographer with a background in food photography, I tend to combine these worlds. Skewers are super handy for keeping food items held together. For example, lemons stacked on top of each other. Or any elements that need to stay together. You can get any old skewers from your grocery store! I use both BBQ skewers and regular toothpicks in my kit. Linking skewers from Amazon since a few other items from this post are already from there!
Spring clamps of various sizes are extremely useful to clip larger items in place. For example: bounce boards to stands, backdrops on their holder, fabric in place on the scene, and more! After all, is anything worse than having your set fall apart because it’s not properly held together? Not really. Spring clamps help keep everything perfectly in place. I got a variety pack of these clamps from The Home Depot and they still serve me well.
There you have it. My top 10 studio essentials! What helps you feel prepared for a shoot? Do you have things in your studio that you can’t live without? What are they? Let me know on Instagram! Also, if you have utility cart recommendations, please let me know.
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