Recently, my sister asked me for a list of gear that would be a good beginning studio photographer setup for yearbook pictures. Since I was putting together a list of her, I thought it would be good to make it a public list, in case other people are interested.

I’m going to color code the list below with the following colors having the following meanings: essential, and Nice to have. Afterwards, I’ll talk about a possible upgrade, if your budget allows.

  • $99.96 Adorama Studio Lighting Kit (3 light) - This is a constant light setup, and is the cheapest way to go, though you do need a camera with good high ISO noise response.
  • $87.49 Interfit Flat Panel Reversible Black/White reflector 35x70” with stand - Alternately, you can just use a large piece of white foam core for the reflector.
  • $300 A Sturdy Tripod - I’m a fan of manfrotto, and I would look for one with at least 6ft in height, prices vary widely here, so shop around.
  • $339 Sekonic LITEMASTER Pro L-478D - a light meter is nice to have, though not essential with digital cameras
  • $200 Lightroom - For yearbook pictures, you need a bulk-image workflow program, and lightroom is hard to beat.

Notice that I do not include a background. I would suggest finding an empty wall to use for the yearbook shots because, in a school, that will be easiest.

Upgrade to entry level studio strobes

  • $674.85 3x Alienbees B400 two for the background, one of main light
  • $285.98 2x Interfit C-Stands with boom to hold the background lights
  • $113.79 1x Iterfit C-Stand