Since starting my professional photography business nearly 12 years ago I have purchased many pieces of gear and software to enhance my efficiency and effectiveness. I wanted to pull together a few things that are my tried and true favorites. If you run a creative business then you might find these helpful too!
Affiliate links are used in this blog post. This means that if an item is purchased I receive a small commission.
Lighting System: Flashpoint
The best deal of the year on this lighting system is now. I have been using the Flashpoint Xplor 600 PRO TTL for many years now and picked up a second light last year. I use this light for all my portrait and branding sessions. This lighting system is an Adorama exclusive product but B&H Photo carries the Godox system which is essentially the same light. Here are a few reasons why I love this light.
- Wireless connectivity– I can use this light anywhere my photography projects lead me. In the middle of a field, in an old barn or workshop, I know I can set up this light exactly where I want it.
- Power– The range and strength of power is much greater than using a speedlight. This is the light I jumped to when I was ready to upgrade my lighting system.
- Transmitter control– I love being able to control the light from the transmitter that sits on top of my camera. I no longer have to walk back and forth from the light and lose the camaraderie I have with my client.
Client Management System: Dubsado
For many years I managed all my client communications via my business email and lots of print outs and folders. Once my business grew to the point that I needed to streamline my process and make it easier to setup discovery calls and send out proposals and invoices, I started researching all the options. Honeybooks, 17hats and Dubsado were the most popular sites that came up in my research and after reviewing all the features and how I could streamline my process I decided to sign up for a free trial of Dubsado. I haven’t turned back since and actually purchased a full year before my triall period was over. Here is your free trial and 20% off your first month or year. Some of my favorite features are:
- Packages– I can build my packages easily into the system and when I need to create a proposal I can just pick from my list. The same is true if I need to create invoices to email to clients. This is a huge time saver and looks professional upon delivery.
- Form builder– My proposals definitely got an upgrade once I started designing proposals with Dubsado. For the first time I could send a proposal with package options that a client could choose from and a contract and invoice were automatically generated. In just a few clicks my client could choose, sign and pay their deposit. Another great time saver and easy for the client to use.
- Contact form– In the past my contact form on my website was pretty basic. With this system I was able to design my own form easily and embed it to my website seamlessly. I can also add this form anywhere, not just my website.
- Email templates– Being able to craft an email directing through the site is another feature I use all the time. I love using a template to start and then editing it to fit the client. Having the ability to add in buttons to invoices, contracts, proposals and more make the email more professional and easy to navigate.
Gear Transportation: Rock N Roller R12 Multi-cart
My creative business requires a lot of gear and my R12 Rock N Roller Multi-cart has been a true time (and back) saver. I use this multi-cart for any photography or videography job that require multiple bags, light stands, modifiers and more. I purchased this cart back in 2019 and since then I no longer have to take multiple trips to my car to grab gear and burn valuable time during my day. Here are a few of my favorite features:
- Adjustable cart size– The cart can expand to hold my biggest or smallest gear kit depending on my project, but no matter how much gear I’m bringing with me, this cart can close up and easily fit in my car (34″-52″). Rock N Roller makes a variety of sizes as well. So if you don’t need an 8-1 folding cart like my R12, you can easily find a model that fits your needs.
- Wheels– The R12 has a 500 pound weight capacity and although I might never get close to 500 pounds, I like knowing it can handle anything I load onto it. This also means that the wheels need to be able to handle the load and the R-Trac no-flat wheels are perfect so I don’t have to worry about the wheels breaking down or having to inflate the tires.
Mini Tripod For All My Behind The Scenes: Manfrotto Tripod
Many people ask how I capture all the behind the scenes content that I post on social media and this Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod plus the Joby GripTight Pro 2 phone grip is my secret. I always have this tripod and grip with me ready to go. It’s small enough to set it up anywhere. Here are some favorite features:
- The Manfrotto tripod is well crafted and sturdy. I don’t have to worry about it not sitting straight, but if I did want to adjust the angle of the phone I can easily move the ball head that sits on top of the tripod.
- The Joby grip can hold your phone both vertically and horizontally based on your video needs. The best part is that you don’t have to remove the phone to change the orientation. I also own the first generation of this grip and have been using it for years. The big differences with the Pro 2 is the hot-shoe option at the top, which is great to add a small light, and the additional points on the sides to attach to a tripod. This adds to the versatility of the grip.
Light for Product Photography: Aputure MC
This is a new product that I added to my kit this year and although I purchased for video projects I quickly realized how great it is for product photography. This small but mighty Aputure MC light has many great features that any photographer could appreciate. I loved this light so much that I made the below video sharing three ways to use it for your product photography. Here are a few features I enjoy for photography projects:
- The size– This small compact size provides so much versatility to any project. As you will see in the video below I was able to tuck the light into small areas and this made for a stronger image at the end.
- Day light + Color– Lighting and color temperature are key components of product photography. You want to show the product as it truly is so your customers know exactly what to expect. Being able to set this light to 5600k day light and adjust its intensity is pretty amazing. It also provides 0-360 full color RGB which comes in handy when you need a specific color for your project too.
- The removable diffuser– As a photographer, controlling the light while creating an image is key. That’s why I love having a diffuser on this light. It’s just another tool I can use to capture the images that I need.
Have any questions on any of my favorite photography items? Leave a comment below!