It is almost always clear who and how to shoot in the studio, what style of photo session is needed. And what technique will help to realize the idea? There are many good photographic equipment, but you need to take into account the specifics of working in a studio. We have selected for you budget and advanced cameras and optics for shooting in an equipped room, and also told you what to look for when choosing different lens models.
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
CANON EOS 2000D EF‑S 18–55 III KIT
35 mm lenses
Lenses 50 mm
In the niche of commercial photography, SLR cameras remain leaders. Why mirrorless cameras are chosen less often and how they differ — in this material. Of course, this does not mean that mirrorless cameras are definitely worse. Therefore, if you are still on the side of mirrorless cameras, learn more about the mirrorless cameras that you can choose for shooting. We opted for DSLRs that will save you from complicated retouching after the fact, give you maximum options and sometimes save your budget.
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Flagship 5D series camera with Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology for fast phase focusing. Autofocus is flawless even in low light. It will turn out to adjust the bokeh (blur) for an advantageous composition.
Another technology — Dual Pixel Raw — opens up the possibility of point changes in the image after shooting (setting the zone of maximum sharpness). The camera’s 3.2‑inch LCD display provides bright and clear images in a variety of shooting scenarios. On the optional touch screen, you can shift the focus point to bring out more details in a photo, or quickly switch between sections. This saves time, which is not free in the studio.
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is protected from dust and moisture. The body, traditional for the 5D series, with protrusions and well-thought-out ergonomics is comfortable when working: the grip is confident, the grip is excellent.
Understanding all the selectors and controls is not easy. The camera is designed for an advanced user, its price will scare away novice photographers. But when combined with good optics, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV will be on any list of top solutions for studio work.
The Nikon D850 is a full-frame DSLR with a tilting LCD for easy multi-angle photography. Engineers have implemented a fast focusing system with 153 points — you won’t have to choose for a long time. Silent Photography mode opens the choice of silent shooting in full resolution. Manual focus can be conveniently rechecked in Focus Peaking mode.
The pride of the model is a full-frame sensor of 46.89 million pixels with excellent detail. Built-in noise reduction at ISO 64–25600 keeps the level of detail high in different lighting conditions. The model has no problems with ergonomics and protection against dust and moisture: the device fits comfortably in the hand and is not afraid of atmospheric influences.
Nikon D850 with convenient autofocus is a representative of the classic series. The camera is not limited to the studio purpose of the work. Wedding photography, evening photo session, reporting at events — Nikon D850 will cope with different tasks.
CANON EOS 2000D EF‑S 18–55 III KIT
CANON EOS 2000D EF‑S 18–55 III KIT is a representative of the class of inexpensive DSLRs with a lens included. The concept of the model is fast shooting without complicated settings. In terms of interaction, CANON EOS 2000D resembles a smartphone: the operation is intuitive, without immersion in subtleties. At the same time, the finished pictures in terms of quality (visual) are saturated and detailed. Background blur is provided for portraits.
Facilitate the work of novice photographers and Live View mode with tips. The auto-adjustment system saves the headache by leaving it up to the user to add filters after shooting.
Through the viewfinder, you can set the frame even when the camera is turned off, which saves battery power. EOS 2000D is equipped with a 3‑inch LCD display, remote control option. There are no sensors, but navigation with the buttons on the rear panel is not difficult. A simple logical scheme is built in the menu — the desired item is quickly found.
The complete zoom lens EF‑S 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 IS is useful for shooting outdoors, test shots, amateur photosets. For studio work, it is better to buy optics separately. But the regular lens will get almost free of charge and will serve as a nice bonus.
A good lens improves the quality of your photos. The cost of optics reaches $2000–3000, but the most expensive one is not always the most suitable one. It is necessary to take into account the conditions and tasks of shooting.
Zoom is convenient to work in different interiors, change the layout of the frame. Zoom shots are less artistic than fast primes, but they are more versatile. Models with a wide range of focal lengths allow you to shoot close-ups, shots in the interior (portraits) without changing the lens. With zoom, the photographer is ready for any plot twist of the photo shoot.
For studio shooting, a zoom lens with a focal length range of 24–70 mm is convenient. A lens with a large aperture (maximum aperture setting) is optional. People in the studio are usually photographed with flash sources. They work at a selected point in time, like a flash. Pulsed light illuminates the subject well, so shooting is done at covered apertures: f/5.6, f/6.3. If you are planning a photo shoot in natural light, you can choose a model with a larger aperture (f / 1.8, f / 2.8).
Among the versatile zoom lenses used by famous European photographers (Gia Besana, Felicia Sisko), the Canon 24–70mm f2.8L USM stands out.
The model has high sharpness — the degree of detail of the frame. Pictures are obtained without noise, clear, not soapy. A lens with excellent color reproduction will make your photos vivid and natural. Adjusting focal lengths is useful, from wide-angle 24mm for photos in a crowded environment to portrait 70mm. The lens is not cheap, but it is very convenient for variable studio work.
The second, new version is also on sale — Canon EF 24–70mm f / 2.8L II USM.
Model with increased light sensitivity for work even in low light conditions. Fast and accurate focusing is provided by an ultrasonic drive. Professionals will appreciate the manual focus adjustment function. The main thing is that with all the abundance of technological solutions, the Canon EF 24–70mm f / 2.8L II USM is friendly to beginners.
35 mm lenses
The second group of lenses for studio work are fast models of the “fix” class (with a fixed focal length). At wide apertures, when shooting in studios with natural light, they produce beautiful portrait shots. An important selection parameter is the focal length.
It is comfortable to work with 35 mm lenses: the distance to a person is convenient, shooting is relaxed. For close-up portraits, it is better to choose 50mm or 85mm, but in other situations, 35mm is the basic option with a universal purpose.
Wide-angle Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM — sharp handheld shots, low-light work in the studio or at a wedding (a separate selection of lenses for the solemn event — in the article). Almost instantaneous autofocus and light weight — your hands won’t get tired, you won’t have to fiddle with focus and waste time.
Sigma AF 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Nikon F is a fast lens for Nikon cameras. Japanese production guarantees a comfortable grip and durability with a minimum weight (665 g). Aperture f / 1.4 — more brightness and clarity in low light, shooting in dimly lit studios. The optical scheme successfully fights against aberrations (distortions) and other photographic defects.
The 50mm focal length is the key to beautiful studio portraits. The shots are balanced: the accents harmoniously emphasize both the person and the environment (interior). With a shallow depth of field, the focus in the frame will be in front of the person’s eyes. A slight blur of the face and background at f/1.2 or f/2.0 will add a touch of color to the photo.
The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is an inexpensive model for portrait photography with beautiful bokeh (blur). Autofocus works almost silently, color reproduction is accurate. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM pleases with good sharpness and almost pocket size at 159g.
Nikon 50mm f / 1.8G AF‑S Nikkor is a fast lens for Nikon cameras with a low price. The quality of blurring the background is not inferior to the analogue for Canon. Adds artistic charm to New Year’s photo shoots. Absolutely silent autofocus and versatile low-light performance.
With an 85mm lens, perfect portrait shots are worth waiting for. But in a studio environment, its use is limited: due to the viewing angle, it will be crowded with a lens in a small room. Shooting a full-length portrait from a distance of 4 meters is unnecessary complexity. It is easier to choose the traditional 50 mm. But the 85 mm model will show itself in very spacious studios or outdoors.
The legendary Canon EF 85mm f1.8 is a classic portrait lens for any Canon EOS camera. Smooth adjustment of manual focus with a ring, simple handheld shooting in low light, very soft blur. With the Canon EF 85mm f1.8, even an uninteresting background turns into a beautiful backdrop.
Model for Nikon equipment — Nikon 85mm f / 1.4G AF‑S Nikkor. The lens guarantees no glare or ghosting, elegant and beautiful bokeh. You will have to pay more than 150,000 rubles for this model, but it is included in the TOP lists of professional portrait photographers.
Studio shooting conditions require a careful approach to the choice of photographic equipment. Everything must be considered: the size of the room, the light, the style and method of photographing, the features and purpose of the lens. A good camera and optics will not help you hone your shooting technique and find an approach to the model. But only with them the result will be worth the effort invested.
As of May 2022, a set of cameras and optics for semi-professional photography will cost an average of 250–300 thousand rubles. But these are not standard numbers. When working with a closed aperture, you can buy a simpler lens for studio shooting and save money.