Essential Equipment

Many people get hung up on what sort of equipment they need to take great photos, but really you can get away with just a few basics – a couple of lenses and a camera body. In fact, some of Karl’s favourite shots were taken using just a DSLR body and lens and a simple flash gun.

In this photography class, Karl gives you a run through of both the professional equipment and some of the more basic gear that he uses in the studio and on location. You’ll learn exactly what photographic equipment he uses, including lenses, cameras, studio lights, filters and other accessories that he keeps in his camera bag.

In this class:

  • Photography equipment for beginners and professionals
  • Cameras to use for studio photography
  • Lights for studio and location work
  • Lenses for studio photography
  • Cheap alternatives to macro lenses

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Karl, you use a slot in polarizer filter in this tutorial. I have the lee filter 100mm system. Which slot in filter would you recommend?

  2. Hi Karl and the team, Have you thought about linking the equipment in your equipment list to a shop or just having a link so that its easy for people to find? This was we know we are buying the correct thing.

    Loving the course so far.

  3. Hi Karl,

    I have the 100mm 1-1 macro lens, will an extension tube still work in macro mode? Maybe giving me 2-1 or more?

    1. Hi Tod, yes extension tubes will generally work with most lenses but they can cause vignetting or problems sometimes so it’s best to check the specifications.

  4. Hi Karl,

    Could I ask, do you bother using UV filters on your lenses? Do they actually do anything useful (apart from protecting the lens) or do they just get in the way?


  5. Hi Karl,
    Thank you for the explanation on essentials equipments to use. really helpful. I take a lot of indoor shoot and I use Canon 650D, 18-135mm. is it a good option to move on with or you would suggest me to step ahead with Full frame camera. if yes, which camera and lens would be the best?

    Thank you.

  6. Thanks very much Karl. I need to get rid of one of the lenses I´ve got to get the next one. So I think it will be the 70-200mm to go for the 100mm.
    I´ll give it a thought.
    Appreciate your help.

  7. Hi Karl, first of all thank you for a great content and very helpful information.
    I´m very happy investing on this course.
    Now I´ve got a doubt about my lenses kit; At the moment I have a 24-70mm and a 70-200mm Canon lenses, both F:2.8 series L.
    I´ve been using them for more than five years with a 5d mark II and just few days ago I´ve got the Mark IV.
    I´m starting to get into food photography and maybe product photography these days, but I don´t really know if a pair of fixed lenses will be more accurate or will deliver higher quality to my photography.
    I noticed that shooting with the 24-70mm, depends on the angle, at 45º for example, I cannot get in focus many of the items on the shot. Even I shoot at f11 or f16.
    Will a fixed lense help?
    I´m I doing something wrong?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Jose, for product photography on a Canon I’d seriously consider the 100mm macro lens and/or an 85mm fixed prime lens.

  8. Yes i have Canon 5d Mark 2 Camera… Thanks for quick reply.. I am enjoying your tutorials Karl.

  9. Hi Karl, I am want to buy dedicated lens food photography . Is EF canon 100 mm 2.8 macro lense is best choice.

  10. Hello Karl. First off, this training is phenomenal. learning so much and trying things out.

    Can I check something – you present a core kit of FF camera with your favourite wide ( 16-35 f4? ) and prime ( 50 F1.2 ) and then the zoom ( 70-200 F2.8 ) and a teleconverter.

    If I understand the other video on camera’s and on the portrait focal length video – the FF is a larger sensor and has no crop, so captures a full image at 50mm that (my) crop would need a 33mm to match ( 1.6x crop ). Would that imply that for wide/portrait shots a FF would be more effective than the crop for a given focal length ? Correspondingly, the built in teleconverter makes the crop more effective on a telephoto lens ?

    ( I appreciate the FF sensor is a better capture/quality than the APS-C sensor; but perhaps this is really only exposed by skilled hands and/or image context ( customer ) so I’m trying to answer if I should I seek out a FF option?)

    1. Hi Peter, yes a FF 35mm, my 16-35 is the 2.8 but I rarely use it at 2.8 so an f4 would be OK. I have a 50 and 85 1.2 and I use the 85mm the most for portrait work as you will see a lot when you get to the LightSource course. Yes 70-200 2.8 and 1.4x and 2x convertor is my current line up of 35mm gear. You can still do amazing things with a crop sensor but I’d still use a focal length of 50mm-85mm for portrait work even on your crop sensor camera you just might need to step back a bit. If you are new to photography then I’d stick with your 1.6crop but keep any new lens purchases with the fact in mind that you might want one day to move to a FF. Cheers Karl.

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