One of the biggest struggles I faced when I first began my photography journey was wondering whether or not the gear I was using was good enough. I wondered what the pros were using? How were they creating such magical pictures? ... And how could I do the same? One thing I want to encourage you in is believing in yourself and not in your gear. Your gear is simply the tools you use to create your image, but with practice, a little ingenuity, and trusting yourself, you can make magical photos.
Today I'm sharing my favorite gear for styled stock photography and I'm also going to share a few tips and tricks for alternatives.
Nikon D700 : The Nikon D700 has been retired, but here is it's counterpart. The Nikon D700 is ideal for me when shooting styled stock because it's full frame, allowing me to get more into frame. I often pair the D700 with the 50mm. If you're shooting with a crop sensor camera body and you're struggling to get everything in frame, the 35mm would be great to pair with it.
Nikon D300s : The Nikon D300s is also retired, but we love this camera because it has video. We don't do a lot of video right now when shooting Flatlay, but it's still great to have. I pair the 35mm with the Nikon D300s because it's a crop sensor camera body. The Nikon D300s paired with the 35mm is very similar to the Nikon D700 paired with the 50mm.
Alternatives : Nearly all the DSLR's that are released these days are phenomenal. Learn your camera, read your camera manual and really learn lighting, and you'll be making magical photos in no time.
Nikkor 35mm : As I mentioned above, I often pair the 35mm with the Nikon D300s. This is a solid shooting lens with a 1.8 aperture. When shooting Flatlay and styled stock photos I rarely shoot with an aperture under 2.8, so needing a lens with a 1.4 aperture isn't really something I need right now.
Nikkor 50mm : The 50mm is what I pair with the Nikon D700. For my personal preferences I don't like to pair anything under the 50mm with the D700 because it's a bit to wide. If you were shooting something like landscapes or cityscapes, wide angle lenses are ideal, but when shooting Flaylay or styled stock, or even lifestyle the 50mm is on point.
Alternatives: In photography, lenses really do make all the difference. I would recommend investing in your lenses before you do anything else. The 50mm and the 35mm are both great jumping off points. If you are shooting with the stock lens that came with your camera don't be discouraged. I would encourage you to (1) practice shooting outside where you don't have to fight the light. Fighting light is often the biggest struggle. (2) Learn what your lens and camera are capable of by shooting at different apertures.
Softboxes : I haven't always shot with softboxes, but I do really love them, they are incredibly convenient. Softboxes aren't necessary when shooting Flatlay or styled stock, but they are helpful when trying to fill out the light in a room. You want to always be shooting with natural light, but if your light is uneven then softboxes really help to insure your light is even all around. I often shoot with natural light as my main source of light and I'll set up my softboxes to bounce light off the ceiling to fill in the rest of the light in the room.
Manfrotto Tripod : This tripod is not specific to Flatlay, as an ideal Flatlay tripod would have a horizontal harm like this one. But this particular tripod has been working great for me, so I love it, haha! I have had this tripod for years and since it is working for me, I have never felt the need to get something different. This one works well because it has a ball head which allows me to turn the camera face down.
Light Reflector Set : My light reflector is maybe one of my favorite and most used photography accessory. I have used it in different situations to reflect light, but I also use it to diffuse light. Diffusing light is what I use it for most these days, as I need soft even light when shooting Flaylay and styled stock.
Alternatives: There are a variety of items that you can use as an alternative to diffuse and reflect light. White foam core boards are perfect for reflecting light and if you need to diffuse and soften light a white sheet does the job.
Great photography comes from more then just the gear we use. It comes from practice, patience, study, and hard work. What are some of your favorite photography accessories? What are some of your favorite photography hacks? xoxo. Samantha