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What Equipment for the Beginner Fashion/Beauty Photographer?


TPF Noob!
Feb 8, 2007
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Paris, France
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A Very Short but Effective Primer

I have been asked on several occasions "what gear would I need to get started in fashion/beauty photography?"

That is really dependent on what kind of stuff you want to shoot, but what I will try to do here is give you a pretty good base that will allow you to attack most challenges.


An entry or intermediate level DSLR with at least 8 megapixels. Must have a hot shoe to allow for attaching either a sync module or dedicated flash (which I do not recommend) Some DSLR's will have a dedicated sync port which is preferable.


I suggest the following. A reasonably good medium wide angle to medium telephoto lens i.e. 18-55, 17-50, 17-40, 16-50 type that will allow you to work in relatively tight spaces. A fixed focal length 50mm lens with an aperture of f1.8 or faster i.e. f1.4, 1.2. This will allow you to shoot in lower light conditions and makes a great all round fashion and beauty lens in the APSC format of DSLR's. I would also recommend a reasonable macro lens for the occasional macro beauty shoots. Finally and this is for those who like shooting telephoto fashion, a 50-200, 70-300 or a variation of this type of medium telephoto to telephoto zoom lens.

Flash & Light Meter:

A reasonably good flash/light meter like Seconic for example.


Two or three mono bloc studio flash units. Most will do the job. Most strobe kits come with strobe trigger devices that attach to the hotshot of the camera.

Continuous Light:

A couple of 500 watt halogen lights with barn door modifiers.


A couple of umbrella’s, a light box or two, a few 7″ bowls with honeycomb grid modifiers and a couple of snoots. If in a studio type space, a few Styrofoam 4′ x 8′ panels, seamless paper support stands and a few colors like white, gray, black and what ever else pleases your fancy.

Oh and a reasonably recent laptop with Photoshop or similar program for doing post prod work at least on a cursory level to commence with.

With this gear, you will have enough to do pretty much anything that your imagination can throw at you. What will be the biggest challenge of all? Not being afraid of the possibilities.

Have a Ball

Benjamin Kanarek Blog | Benjamin Kanarek Blog

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