Photography/Home Studio


Hello Akshay!

I am looking to start taking some photos in my home in a home studio. I am looking to buy the necessary equipment but am not sure where to start. I've been taking outdoor photos for sometime now, but would like to try out a studio.

I currently have a Canon Rebel XS, 18-55mm lens, 50mm lens, and an external flash/speedlight. I found this on Amazon and was wondering if it had all the necessary equipment I need to get started:

I saw that I need to buy clamps as well as maybe a few other backdrops or props, but other than that is there anything else I need? I'm going to be taking photos of my kids to start off practicing. What about things like a softbox or reflector disc, or wireless trigger? Or maybe another lens?

Thank you so much for your help!

Hey Erin!

It's great that you're looking to experiment with crafting light of your own.
In my opinion, the most necessary "equipment" to get started is an understanding of light and lighting, not specific accessories or modifiers. If you can afford the $100, then by all means, go for it; but before you invest in backgrounds, stands and light sources (whether flashes or continuous), I'd highly recommend picking up the following book:

I guarantee that the book will help you in pre-visualising lighting for your photos, rather than going through a lot of time spent on trial and error.

There are also plenty of online resources that you can use to learn about studio lighting.
David Hobby's is a great place to start- check out the "Lighting 101" section.

Personally, I think you'll have more control (and more light output) with the Speedlight you already own. You'll need a wireless trigger, stands and modifiers  of course. The most reliable and well-known wireless triggers are Pocket Wizards, but those are expensive. Luckily, there are some fairly decent cheaper options that you can use until you save up, such as this:

The downside is that the learning curve will be a tad steeper with the speedlight, since you can't 'see' the light until it fires. But hey, that's what reviewing on the camera LCD is for.

A reflector is always a good investment, whether you're shooting in a studio or outdoors. I'd say start with a circular reflector that's silver on one side and white on the other. They're fairly inexpensive anyway, so you can always pick up a gold reflector later if you want.

If you're looking to begin with portraits of your children, then the 50mm will suit you just fine, trust me. There's no need to get another lens. At least, not just yet. You might want to think about that if you're making some money off your photography. Unless you're rich, in which case, have at it, haha.

You can pick up other modifiers like softboxes and honycombs/grids in due time, but in my mind, the best (and arguably cheapest) option to start with is the humble umbrella.
Also, there are many DIY tricks that you can use to make your own lighting accessories. A snoot is really easy to make with some black chart paper, Scotch tape and aluminium foil, for example.
Check out DIY Photography for some cool tips and tricks. The "Home Studio" section will be of particular use to you.

So, in short, learn how to create your own light with what you (mostly) have before you spend a lot of money on things that you might not even use in the future.
Case in point, I have a light tent that I bought many years ago for product photography which I've used for only two shoots.

I hope that helps. Feel free to post a follow up or another question!

Happy shooting,



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Akshay Singh Jamwal


I'm a professional photographer and I can answer questions questions relating to SLRs (35mm or DSLRs) and general photographic technique. I'll be happy to share my knowledge with anybody who's looking to learn or is just plain confused about something. Questions about studio lighting, studio flashes, and flashguns are also welcome. Questions about theory (e.g. colour theory, guidelines behind composition, depth of field, etc.) are welcome as well. Digital photography also involves some amount of post-processing using an image editing application such as Adobe Photoshop; a program that I am proficient with. I cannot answer typical generic questions, viz. "Which is the best camera?," as the short and sweet answer to questions such as those is "There is no such thing." Furthermore, there is a lot of literature available on the web pertaining to the same. Also, please do not ask me for camera recommendations based on a budget.


I have been passionately taking photographs since I was 13 years old. In totality, I've been involved in photography in one way or another for over a decade. I've used various cameras (and lighting equipment) over the years, including but not limited to Minolta/Konica Minolta, Nikon, Canon, and Mamiya.

High school degree.

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