04 Oct 2018

What photography equipment do I need for this course?

by Anthony Griffin (Course Tutor)

What equipment will you need to buy for your course? Where can you buy it? The following is a list of photography equipment that you will need to complete your course assignments. Photography equipment can be expensive so I’ve also included some tips for reducing the cost, especially when you’re starting out.  


Essential equipment required to complete your course assignments

It is essential that you have access to the following equipment as you will need these to complete your assignments:

1. A camera

You can use any digital camera, however it must:

  • Have a manual mode
  • Have a changeable lens
  • Have a zoom lens (kit lens e.g. 18-55mm)
  • Be able to shoot in RAW format
  • Have a flash with both manual and TLL (‘Through the Lens’) functions
  • Have a means to connect remotely to an external flash

If you are unsure whether your camera meets these requirements then check your manual,
search for help online or simply get in touch with us.

As menu settings vary from camera to camera, you should familiarise yourself with your own camera’s menu settings before you start your course. Remember to hold on to your instruction manual as you may need to refer to this.

  • Tips for your research: Although camera technology is constantly evolving, no camera is perfect and there will always be some limitations in terms of quality, cost or weight. Read reviews, check out second hand cameras from a reputable camera shop and compare as many prices as possible. Always check for student discounts and if you are buying second hand and remember to check if a battery is included.
  • Recommended: Canon and Nikon offer a wide range of cameras depending on your budget and requirements. Other recommended brands are Sony, Olympus and Pentax.
  • Please note: If you are purchasing a memory card you will need to ensure it is compatible with your camera.


2. Lightroom and/or Photoshop

You will need Lightroom and/or Photoshop for your laptop or desktop to complete your course assignments. This software is an essential part of a photographer’s workflow.  

  • Recommended: We have a separate blog post about this, so please check it out for more information.
  • Please note: It will not be sufficient to use Lightroom and/or Photoshop on a tablet/iPad to complete your course assignments.


3. An off-camera flash, flash stand and modifier

Off-camera flash

During your course you will learn about flash and studio lighting techniques. Although many cameras have a built-in ‘pop up flash’, you will need an off-camera flash to complete your assignments as it opens up more creative options when it comes to your photography.

  • Recommended: I recommend a matching brand (flash) to your camera but third-party options like YongNuo, for example, is a less expensive option. If choosing YongNuo you will still need to the match the camera brand to their flash, for example a YongNuo flash for Canon or a YongNuo flash for Nikon etc. and ensure it has both manual and TTL functions.

Flash stand and modifier

You will need a stand to mount your flash, a bracket to connect the flash to the stand and a softbox or umbrella.

  • Recommended: I recommend the Hahnel Speedlite Softbox-80 Flash Kit. This includes the light stand, bracket and softbox.


Tips for reducing the cost of the equipment

  • Remember your student discount.

Many photography equipment shops offer student discounts. Use your student card when you purchase photography equipment or add a comment to an online order letting them know you are a student with us and they may apply a discount. Wherever you buy materials, you should always ask if they have a student discount.

Don't have a student card yet? Just email us with a recent headshot and your student number and we will post one to you.

  • Keep in mind that it’s worthwhile shopping around for the best deals. It’s also worth considering buying equipment second hand, hiring it or borrowing it from a friend.


Have you any questions about the photography equipment required for your course? You can email our Student Admissions team who will be happy to chat to you.