Ever wonder what equipment you need to run a photography business? As a photographer, I carry a lot in my camera bag. I have different lenses, back up cameras, back up memory cards, and even more backups. If you are a photographer, or just starting out in photography, this list will give you an idea of the collection of gear to help you run a successful business. *This post contains affiliate links and I may make a small commission on any purchases made through them.
What do I need to run a photography business?
First of all, let’s talk about the bag! I use the Brevite Jumper bag. It comes in lots of colors and has different pockets for carrying all the photography equipment I need. The front zipper opens up to a section that has removable and moveable padded walls, so I can place my camera, back up camera, and lens in a way that best fits my equipment. It also has a compartment for my laptop, a place for my water bottle, tripod straps, and a front pocket to carry all the rest.
My main shooting camera is a Nikon Z6ii mirrorless. I also carry my Nikon Z6 mirrorless as a backup camera, just in case. I’ve never had to pull it out, but I feel better knowing that I have a second camera in case anything does happen to my Z6ii during a session.
My favorite lens is my Sigma Art 35mm 1.4. I love this focal length for indoors, especially when nurseries are on the smaller side and I need a wider view. I also carry my Nikon 50mm 1.8, which compresses the images just a bit more than my 35mm. Speaking of lenses – I want to make sure they are clean for taking crisp photos. I carry lens cleaning wipes to clean off any little toddler fingerprints that may get on the glass during a session.
The Nikon Z6ii camera uses XQD cards as the main memory card. I carry a handful of these to all my sessions to guarantee I have enough memory to photograph a full session. It also uses SD cards in the second slot That means I always have a stash of those in my bag as well. Like I said, backups for my backups! I keep all of those in a handy little memory card envelope so they don’t float around in my bag.
I also make sure I have several camera batteries in my bag, as well as a battery charger. What use is a battery if it isn’t charged?
Something in my bag that you may find surprising is Command strips! Can we just talk about how handy these things are? I can use them to hold curtains closed or open. I also bring a light diffusing fabric, which I can hang with the Command strips to eliminate hot spots.
What systems do I use to run a photography business?
While the gear you use for your business is important, there is SO much more to making things run smoothly. Here is a list of the systems I have in place to guarantee a seamless client experience. (They make my life easier too!)
Dubsado: This is my CRM. It keeps all my clients, sessions, contracts, and invoices organized. It also has automation capabilities that keep your workflow moving smoothly. Use code NCP20 for 20% off your first month!
Pic-time: This is my photo gallery software. I love that I am able to create beautiful slideshows for my clients and do all print ordering through this. There are a lot of automations and sales tools as well to maximize sales. Use code G6MRYN for a free 30 day trial and an extra month free with a paid plan!
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop: I use Lightroom 95% of the time, and if I can’t get something just the way I want it, I’ll pull it into Photoshop. This software is a must have!
Marketing tools that I love
Flodesk: I don’t know that there’s a better newsletter system out there to communicate with your subscribers. I can integrate my brand colors and fonts and customize each email just the way I want it. Click here to get 50% off your first year!
ShowIt: This is my website platform. If you are a photographer, I believe this is the most user-friendly platform to display your work. Their customer service is on point and always a huge help. For a free month, click here.
Canva: I love Canva and I use it a LOT more than I ever anticipated! This web-based program let’s you create and design documents, social media posts, literally anything you can imagine is available on Canva. There is a free platform, but I use the professional platform to integrate my branding.
Plann: Social media is an effective and necessary marketing tool for photographers. I use Plann to create my social media posts ahead of time, create automated posts, and track performance. Get $10 off your subscription by signing up through the link here.
ImagenAI: editing has to be the most time intensive part of being a photographer. ImagenAI has given me hours back, by learning my editing style on over 3,000 of my edited photos. I always put the finishing touches on my images, but this gets me 90% of the way there. I upload my Lightroom gallery, and 5 minutes later I have edited images uploaded to Lightroom. Get 1,500 free image edits when you try it out here!
My outsourced partners
Tidybooks: As a legally registered business, there are lots of financials that I am responsible for keeping up with. That’s why I partnered with Tidybooks this year to do my bookkeeping. They keep my finances in order tracking my income and expenses, taxes, and the best part? Its all correct! (I’m not sure I could say the same if I did my books myself!)
Hiscox Insurance: Business insurance is a MUST. Hiscox is reasonably priced and easy to work with.
Other miscellaneous things I can’t run my business without
A card reader: because my MacBook Pro doesn’t read XQD cards (or SD cards!)
SSD external hard drive: this keeps all the digital files off of my computer hard drive so I don’t use up all my computer’s space!
Backblaze: this is cloud-based storage. When you are dealing with tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands?) of large digital files, cloud-based storage is essential. Get 3 months free through this link here.
Marketing items from MOO: I use Moo.com to print all of my paper marketing products. The paper options are gorgeous and the printing quality is so good. They have endless customization options to increase the professionalism of your business. Get 25% off your order here.
MacBook Pro – when you invest in a computer, make sure you have enough RAM/memory to work with large files in your editing software. Apple can help you with this!