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To continue on from my previous post I am trying to answer some of the questions that I get asked most often, here are the next two in the series:

What do I need?

How much will it cost?

So lets jump into the first question, What do I need? My answer is not much. What you might want is a totally different question that sadly only your pocketbook, significant other or the IRS will be able to answer for you. I have spent most of my photo career wanting piles of equipment and only being able to afford a small stipend per year for new accessories. Does this lack of the ability to purchase everything I need or want hamper my career? I would have to say no, I feel my biggest issue I come up against is not equipment related at all and is just a matter of time. Literally I need to shoot more and simply not worry about what I shoot with or what budget I have to spend. I just need to get out and pull the trigger in more situations vs. being satisfied with outcomes based on my current personal comfort level. If I could buy time I would gladly do that once a year rather than purchase a new camera body or flash accessory. Many get lost in the world of equipment and forget just to take more photos. I am no different, I love the tech and sometimes forget and then have to go back to find the basics. Plus the basics can be relaxing and a good way to center yourself again after a stressful few months of work.

Ok, now for some personal secrets. Here is my full equipment list I use at most of my shoots:

* 1 Alien Bees B800
* Lightstand (I bought a good one because I use it all the time)
* 44 or larger Umbrella (I like the 60 ones but you might be limited by room size)
* Camera (D100 Nikon in my case. Yes thats a 4 year old camera) & Lens of choice (Nikon 70-200 F2.8 is on my camera 95% of all shoots)
* Light Meter (Minolta Auto Meter)
* 1 Gel Holder (IE: Blue Painters Tape)
* Remote Trigger for Strobe (I use the Alien Bees remote but will be moving to the Pocket Wizards. I started with a cord to the strobe head and it worked just fine till I tripped over it one day)

Thats it! Well besides the model..

Now you say what about the location? Does that not cost a pile of money on top of possible model fees?

Yes, you can spend a mountain of money on both locations and model fees. Or you can be very creative and tap into your local friends list. I am very lucky in the fact I can use my own home studio, but in many cases I find myself board with my options and want to branch out. I did not have to go far as my neighbor offered up her home for shoots about 3 years ago and seeing she has a knack for interior design that I obviously do not, her home is one of my best most controlled locations.

As for Models and modeling fees I will save that for the next post as that is a much more involved subject that deserves more than one paragraph.

As always feel free to post questions on my blog if you have them till then, or simply use the power of twitter.