Every single time I’ve created a studio photography tutorial I’ve had a flood of requests for what equipment people should start with, and what is an affordable alternative to the equipment that I shoot with on the daily. For the past 2.5 years, I’ve shied away from creating a starter studio list because, honestly, I haven’t had anything that would fit that segment of the market and I didn’t want to recommend anything that I wouldn’t personally use myself.

That all changed in September and now I have my top beginner starter studio photography kit.

You can win one of the lights in this list through our giveaway – to enter, head here.

I’ve always dismissed speedlights as a public recommendation because by the time you outgrow them, you’ll have modifiers that you’ll need to upgrade and the whole process gets very expensive. All this changed when I had the pleasure of trying out a couple of baby strobes, one with a speedlight head. Since trying these lights, I’ve actually gone and bought one of them myself because of how easy it was to use, both in the studio and out on location as an off-camera flash light source.

There is a video explaining what I’ve selected for my starter studio kit, so if you’d like to watch that, it’s here:


Let’s break this kit down into actual items, quick links are available here:

Don’t forget to use the discount code 10OFFTPSJM to get 10% off your orders through their online shop!

  1. The light: PIKA200 Pro
    1. The alternative light: CITI100 Pro
  2. The trigger: PRO ST-IV Flash Transmitter
  3. The future-proof bracket: Smart Bracket
  4. The modifier: 105cm 16-Sided Easy-Open Rice-Bowl Softbox
  5. The light stand: 300cm Air Cushioned Master Light Stand
  6. The background support system: Affordable | Super Sturdy

With this set of equipment, you’ll be all set and ready to go take on the world with your off-camera flash prowess. But wait, let’s dive into my thought process for this list:

First of all, Pixapro are core Godox partners and their branded set of lights are actually the same as the Godox range. This is really important because just like purchasing a new camera body, the system you use matters for future-proofing. Like I said earlier speedlights are a bit of a dead end in most cases because brackets and modifiers are usually specific for them. Not here though – although the PIKA200 Pro has a speedlight head, when paired with the Smart Bracket, the modifiers you’ll get are Bowens mount (or an umbrella, there is a sturdy umbrella slot on this too).

I’ve talked about modifier mounts before in Flash 101, and having a universal mount like this one means you can use different modifiers from almost any manufacturer, including Bowens, Pixapro, Godox and many many more. This is future-proofing for your studio setup.

With the above list of items, plus our studio tutorials, there’s no reason why you can’t be smashing out super studio work in no time at all!