7 Crucial Things Every Freelance Photographer Needs

So, you want to start a photography business doing freelance photography. But where do you start? First, of course, you need a camera and lenses that match the type of photography you want to do. From there, you can play around with different photography styles and methods or contact freelance photographers in your area to ask for advice or possibly even work out an apprenticeship to help you learn the ropes.

What you’ll eventually need, however, is a kit of equipment and accessories to take your photography to the next level. Here are some things we highly recommend:

Camera Strap: Your camera very well may have come with a strap, but if it didn’t, grab one right away! You’ll find it difficult to set up photos and direct models or clients if you have to hold your camera in-hand or set it down every few minutes. You’ll especially be grateful for that strap the first time your camera slips out of your hand (and rest assured, it will not be the last time that happens, either!)

Cleaning kit: We’re already assuming you have the camera and lenses you’ll need, but a lot of people don’t consider how difficult it can be to keep this equipment in tip-top shape. There are lots of nooks and crannies in cameras and lenses that can capture dirt, dust, moisture and other destructive elements. If you plan to take your camera outside (like, ever) you MUST have a cleaning kit on-hand.

Tripod: A tripod is kind of a no-brainer. They’re fitting for every type of photography—whether you shoot primarily portrait, landscape, nighttime or wedding photography, you’re going to need a tripod. The stability of a tripod allows you get crisp shots with no movement. They also allow you to use a longer exposure when shooting in low light without your photos coming out fuzzy. If you’re just starting out, try something cheap and affordable that you can play with without worrying about it breaking or getting dirty. Once you get the hang of using a tripod, do your research to find a higher-end one that works for you.

Remote Shutter Release: These are typically used in conjunction with tripods. This accessory is stereotypically used for photography in which the photographer will actually appear themselves (like a high-tech selfie.) A remote shutter release is perfect for those occasions, but also just ensures there’s none of the shakiness that happens from touching the camera when you manually snap a photo.

Rechargeable AA Batteries + Charger: As a photographer, you’re going to start blowing through batteries left and right. Grabbing a set of rechargeables and a charger is going to save you from the dreaded “I’m out of new batteries and this one is dead!!” moment.

Memory cards: You may be inclined to grab one big ol’ SD card and conduct all your work on it. However, we recommend grabbing several smaller SD cards. This is for a few reasons. First, people lose SD cards all the time. Losing a smaller SD card specific to the project that you’re working on will still be frustrating, but not as life shattering as losing your ONE SD card that holds your whole life on it. Second, SD cards can become corrupted. Having a few backups will ensure you can continue shooting and worry about your corrupted card later. (Psst… make sure you grab a protective case, too!)

Good lighting: This is more of a category than a specific item because the kind of lighting you need really depends on the type of photography you’re doing. If you do a lot of outdoor photography, you need to understand natural lighting in a way that allows you to know when and where are the best times to shoot outside for optimal lighting. You may also need an external flash, even when shooting with natural ambient lighting. If you do a lot of studio photography, you’re going to want a ring light or some light tents. If you do a lot of product or tabletop photography, you’re going to need a lightbox. All of these items, lightboxes in particular, can be bulky and expensive. However, SHOTBOX has a solution for you! The SHOTBOX is a tabletop light box that is self-contained and collapsible. It’s easily transportable as it’s very light and compact, and it’s very simple to set up and use. You can shop the SHOTBOX on www.shotbox.me or Amazon Prime.

The last thing you need isn't necessarily a part of your kit, but probably the most important thing you need to have--passion. No matter how much fancy equipment you have, the greatest photographers all possess one thing—a love for photography. You won’t find the success you want unless you’re truly passionate about your craft. So, take some notes about tips and equipment, but the best advice we can give you is to get out there and fall in love with your camera!