Top 10 accessories for studio photography
Whether you’re a professional product photographer or still practicing your portrait photography, there are a few photography accessories that are useful to have around the studio.
These are my top 10 studio photography accessories that I keep around the studio (plus a bonus one at the end), and many of them are more basic than you might expect!
I have a variety of clamps in all different shapes and sizes that I use for everything from holding backgrounds up to securing lights. While some of the clamps I have are professional grips, others are basic plastic clamps that you can pick up at most DIY stores or even online (the most basic of these are clothes pegs, which you could probably take from home without anyone noticing).
See also: Grips and clamps
2. Lighting gels
I have a great selection of gels in the studio in a variety of colours and sizes. From product to fashion photography, gels are a handy accessory that you can use for creating coloured effects and controlling the light. In addition to coloured gels, I also have ND and polarising gels, which I use for product photography. You can see how I used an ND and polarising gel in our headphones product shoot live show.
3. Acrylic rods
Clear acrylic rods are incredibly useful to have around the studio, particularly for product photography. I use them for suspending items in mid air or elevating them off the ground. Because they’re clear, it also makes it much easier when it comes to the post production stages. You can get these from your local sign makers, who should also be able to cut them to the width and length you need.
4. Hot glue gun
5. Compressed air cans
6. Mirrors and card
Whether I’m photographing watches or glasses, I’ll often use mirrors or card to control the light. Acrylic mirrors are particularly useful for reflecting light back into products. Because they’re so lightweight, it makes attaching them to stands fairly easy, which is ideal when I’m doing focus stacking. I also have a selection of reflective and coloured card. From reflective gold card to matte black card, having different colours will allow you to get some very creative results simply and easily.
I have a variety of coloured card in the studio that is useful for different types of product photography.
Many of the accessories up until now have been fairly inexpensive and while
c-stands unfortunately don’t classify as ‘budget’ accessories, they’re well worth the money! C-stands are much stronger than normal lighting stands and are adjustable too. Grip arms and mini boom arm attachments also mean they can be used to get lights into difficult positions.
See also: Lighting stands and supports
8. Diffusion material
This is one of the accessories I use most in the studio — it’s what I use to achieve that beautiful gradient light on products. The diffusion material I use comes in rolls, which I then use to also create scrims for when I’m shooting products that need gradient lighting from above. Although this is an accessory I most commonly use for product photography, it can also be very useful for diffusing natural light when shooting portraits too (as you can see in this portrait photography class).
9. Electrical tape
Small but mighty, electrical tape has a number of uses in the studio. I use it for holding products in place or marking their positions and even marking where I want my subjects to stand when I’m doing portrait or fashion shoots. Other useful tape to have around is duct tape and gaffer tape.
Electrical tape may be a small item, but don't underestimate its value.
10. Foam board
Lightweight and versatile, foam board is ideal for creating positive and negative fill. I’ve used foamboard for everything from food photography to business portraits and always have a few sheets around the studio.
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