An Inside Look Into My Photography Toolkit

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope that your week has been a good one so far. If you read my recent post titled {Life Update: 5-Year Blogiversary, Photography, COVID} then you would have seen that I recently launched my photography business called Madalyn Dobbs Photography. With this business, I offer many different photo sessions including family, lifestyle, event, engagement, and more. I also take pictures for my other businesses including Adorned With Delight and this blog. Since I enjoy learning what other's have in their photography toolkits, I decided to share with you all what I personally use for my photography business, what items I would recommend, and a few items that I don't currently use but would be great additions to any lineup of photography tools.

Madalyn smiling and holding a Nikon D3500 camera while standing in front of a woven wall hanging.

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Camera Equipment


Of course, the most important tool when doing photography is the camera. I currently use the Nikon D3500. When doing my research to decide which camera to get, I read a ton of reviews that backed this camera on being a good beginner camera with plenty of opportunities to advance with it. So far I have really enjoyed using it and have found that it offers the right amount of controls without including unnecessary options. The weight and size of it are also really beneficial because it is not huge or heavy like some other cameras are -- making it easily transportable. The one downfall of the camera is that it is not wifi compatible. However, it does have Bluetooth so photos can be sent easily to a phone.

Nikon D3500 on white background.


I currently use two lenses. I have the AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens as well as the AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED lens. I like having both of these since they can be used on a variety of subjects and have varying focal lengths. If you are looking into investing in some lenses I highly recommend these two since they are so versatile and have autofocus and vibration reduction which are also very beneficial.

Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR AF-P DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens - (Renewed) on white background.
AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED camera lens on a white background.


I currently have only one of the Nikon 27126 EN-EL 14A Rechargeable Li-Ion Batteries that come with the camera but I definitely want to get at least one more in the future. It is nice to have at least two charged just in case one of them dies when on a shoot or I want to shoot for a longer period of time.

Nikon 27126 EN-EL 14A Rechargeable Li-Ion Batteries on a white background.

Battery Charger

I also only have one of the Nikon MH-24 Battery Chargers but I am planning on purchasing a second when I purchase a second battery so that I can charge both batteries at the same time.

Nikon MH-24 Battery Charger on a white background.

Memory Cards

As a photographer, you can never have too many memory cards right? Whenever I find one that I forgot I had, I do a little happy dance since I can always use the extra storage. The one that I am currently using is a SanDisk Extreme PLUS 32GB SDHC UHS-I/V30/U3/Class 10 Card that has up to 90MB/s read and 60MB/s write speed card. There are so many different options when it comes to memory cards but I am very happy with the speed and storage of this one. It has met all of my needs and has not disappointed.

SanDisk Extreme PLUS 32GB SDHC UHS-I/V30/U3/Class 10 Card that has up to 90MB/s read and 60MB/s write speed on a white background.

Photography Accessories

External Hard Drive

I have a PNY 32GB Attaché 3 USB 2.0 Flash Drive but I want to invest in a large hard drive sometime soon. Taking the extra step to backup files can save the day when something unexpected happens.

PNY 32GB Attaché 3 USB 2.0 Flash Drive, 5-Pack on a white background.


I use the Nikon Deluxe Digital SLR Camera Case and I really like the size of it. It isn't too big but still holds my camera, both lenses, accessories, and still has a ton of extra space. Having one bag that fits everything makes the organization really easy and gives me peace of mind knowing that my camera equipment isn't just tossed into a bag getting scratched or damaged.

Nikon Deluxe Digital SLR Camera Case on a white background.


I use the Nikon Neoprene Optic Strap that comes with the camera but I have had my eyes on a few cute ones from Amazon like this one and this one. The Nikon strap works perfectly well but it doesn't hurt to get a cute one, right?

Nikon Neoprene Optic Strap on a white background.

Lens Accessories

There are so many lens accessories that are available for purchase. I recently added the Lenspen UltraPRO Lens Cleaner that cleans lenses from smudges and fingerprints to my collection. Every photographer should have some sort of cleaning tool for their equipment since it is bound to get dirty at some point. I also have a few other accessories that I am interested in including this kit that includes a lens and filter accessories.

LensPen UltraPro Lens Cleaner on a white background.

Box Lights

When I take indoor photos such as for my other businesses, I use my box lights to add more lighting. I purchased the LimoStudio Softbox Lighting Kit from Amazon (here is a similar one) and they have helped improve my photos big time. Lighting can be the make or break tool when taking photos of any kind.
Neewer 700W Professional Photography 24x24 inches/60x60 Centimeters Softbox with E27 Socket Light Lighting Kit on a white background.


Another tool that has to do with lighting is reflectors. I have the Neewer 43 Inch/110 Centimeter Light Reflector 5-in-1 Collapsible Multi-Disc with Bag that comes with translucent, silver, gold, white and black. What I like about these are the different options you get since it is five reflectors in one. The size is also really big making it easier to reflect light onto a bigger area. 

Neewer 43 Inch/110 Centimeter Light Reflector 5-in-1 Collapsible Multi-Disc with Bag - Translucent, Silver, Gold, White and Black for Studio Photography Lighting and Outdoor Lighting on a white background.


The tripod that I have is the Sunpak Platinum Plus 5858D 58". I use this when I want to be in the picture and when taking action pics and the camera needs to be more stable. This tripod folds up easily, is lightweight, and comes with attachments to use my phone as well which is really handy.

Sunpak Platinum Plus by Sunpak 5858 Photo/ViDdeo Tripod (Black) on a white background.


I don't have a backdrop or stand yet but I am interested in getting one in the future for my business photography. Either a white backdrop or a design such as this one would be ideal.

Savage Travel Backdrop Kit - White Backdrop (5 ft x 7 ft) with Stand on a white background.

Flat Lay Accessories

I like using backgrounds for flat lays such as boards or backdrops with accessories such as ribbons and other decorations. I particularly like using wooden backgrounds such as these to add more character to detailed photos.

Allenjoy 34.4x15.7in Double Sided White Wood Photography Background 2 in 1 Texture Pattern Waterproof Paper Tabletop Backdrop Food Jewelry Cosmetics Makeup Small Product Props Professional Photo Shoot on a white background.

Post-Processing Equipment


I use Pixieset for my website and client galleries. I use the free version and it offers everything that I need including gallery management, a website, and options for print ordering and client gallery apps. I like the ease of use and the growth opportunity that it provides.

Screenshot of Madalyn Dobbs Photography's Website

MacBook Air

I have a 2015 MacBook Air 13-inch that I do all of my work on (not just photography) and it has done me very well for the 4 years that I have had it with no issues at all. It handles image processing very well and the upgraded storage helps me organize client's photos.

Apple MacBook Air MJVE2LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop Intel Core i5 1.6GHz, 256GB Flash Drive, 8GB DDR3 Memory, OS X Yosemite (2015 VERSION) (Renewed) on a white background.


It's probably no surprise that I use Lightroom for my photo editing since most photographers do. I have tried a few different software and nothing seems to beat the advanced tools that Lightroom offers. I also get a discount on it through my college which is a huge plus. If you are interested in getting Lightroom I highly recommend looking to see if your school or work offers any discounts on it. 

Adobe Lightroom | Photo editing and organizing software | 12-month Subscription with auto-renewal, PC/Mac


Going along with Lightroom, I also have tried and made a few Lightroom Presets that make editing so much faster and efficient. I like putting my own style on them but using them for quick basic adjustments makes the turnaround time so much faster.

Business Resources

Financial Software

I came across Wave one day and have stayed with them ever since. They offer so many tools including accounting, invoicing, payment, payroll, and even banking solutions for small businesses. For a small business owner who has so many things to work on, Wave has honestly made the financial side of things so much easier.


Having legal contracts and policies set in place is so important for the protection of photographers and clients. I am including this in the list because having these prepared is a safety measure that should not be overlooked and should be included in any photographer's toolkit.

Educational Resources

There are so many educational opportunities available for photography including books, courses, classes, and more and many resources can be found for free. My favorite course is actually on YouTube here. The photographer also offers an ebook and other resources for purchase. Other resources that I don't currently use but have caught my attention include photography reference cards and guides for topics including poses, lighting, and composition that would be great in any toolkit to help jog your memory when needed.

Organizational Binder

The last item that I have in my photography toolkit is an organizational binder. Having all of my most important documents and business information in one place makes finding things so much easier. In my binder, I keep things such as branding information, contact information, pricing and policy sheets, blank contracts, mileage, and financial logs, session checklists, and many more resources that I take with me on every session. This tool has been very beneficial to me and I highly recommend every photographer to incorporate some kind of information and resource hub (either physical or digital) into their business.

That is all that is in my photography toolkit! I am sure that this list will change as I learn more but for now, those are my most-used tools and resources for photography. If you want to learn more about what I use and how I organize my business then feel free to leave a comment and I will be happy to help!

Are you located in Texas and want to book a photography session with me? Check out my website at Madalyn Dobbs Photography and follow along on Instagram @madalyndobbsphotography to get all the photo info and to book a session. I would be so happy to capture your special moment!

Well, that is all I have for now. As always, thanks for reading, and don't forget that you can follow by email by subscribing to the email list in the pop-up, sidebar, or footer of this blog. The list is constantly growing and I would love to have you join it and be a part of our little family! ♥

What are some items that you have in your photography toolkit? Let me know below!

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