A few from a recent graduation portrait session.
A few from a recent graduation portrait session.
“I’m wanting to get into photography and start a business. What is the best camera to buy?”
Well, this is a loaded question. Ask 20 photographers this question and you’ll likely get 20 different answers. I’ll try to answer this the best way possible. And this is just my thoughts and opinions on the matter after being involved in photography for over 20 years and doing the business of some sort for over 15 years.
First, one needs to establish a budget or an amount of money one wants to spend or can afford to spend on a camera. DLSR bodies can start anywhere from a few hundred to upwards of a couple of thousand dollars.
Second, I would like to state that a successful photography business is more dependant upon being a good business person more than being a good photographer. One can take decent photos and have great business skills and thrive in the photography business. One can also make AMAZING photographs and have poor business skills, and that person will most likely fail at the business.
With that being said, I would suggest buying a used DSLR body that you can afford. While you can get by with a kit lens, a few good options for other lenses would be an “inexpensive” 50mm f1.8, 40mm f2.8, or 35mm. One more option, if focusing on portrait work, would be an 85mm f1.8. I would suggest buying these used as well, however the 50mm can be had for around $150 new. The reason I suggest these lenses is so one can practice on framing and composition. And the reason I suggest buying used is because so many people like the idea of the photography business but in practice they learn it’s not for them. So rather than spending THOUSANDS on gear and then end up not wanting to peruse photography and/or the business, I suggest only spending hundreds 🙂
Now, before jumping into the business I would suggest one learn camera functions and what the f stops, shutter speeds, and ISO does and how they all relate. I would suggest one learn composition and how to use light. It could take months or even years to get this down. It just depends on how much time one outs into learning. While schooling isn’t necessary to be a good photographer or have a good business, just know that there are thousands upon thousands of students across the nation and in your communities who have spent 2 to 4 years in some sort of photography centered schooling. Who have been practicing this day in and day out, who have now graduated and want to do the same thing you want to do, and you just decided a few weeks ago and just got a camera for Christmas a few days ago.
In no way am I trying to discourage you from what you want to do. I’m just trying to bring reality to the forefront of your minds so you can know this isn’t an easy industry to make lots of money in. It takes time and hard work. It may takes several months or even several years to get to where you want to be.
Just know there are lots of good resources online and many people who teach photography and are willing to help. Likewise there are many who have only been doing photography for a year or two and think the have it all figured out… Us photographers who have been doing it for 10, 20, and 30 years don’t have it all figured out. But the “seasoned vets” definitely have been around the block a few times and will, or should have some good advice to chew on.
Side note: I wrote another article on a minimalistic type of photography gear needed for the photography business… In that article I stated all one needs for most photography applications (portrait, sports, wedding, and event photography) is a body (and a back up) and them two lenses…. The 24-70 f2.8 and the 70-200 f2.8… I still stand by that 100% for the photography business, but for learning photography I’d first go the route stated in this article.
I hope this has been somewhat helpful. Reach out to me with any questions you may have. Leave your thoughts and comments below and share if you’ve found this information helpful.
As I write this, about one week ago I produced a short video clip of my bike in which I also made some still photographs of and incorporated it in the video. This video was created for a few different reasons. The main reason is that I just wanted to document my bike in which I had just got back into bike riding after many years of being away from it. At the time I was itching to do something creative and figured I would combine the two reasons. The third reason is so that I could practice my video skillset as I have become more and more interested in video lately.
After the video was shot and during the post processing process, I noticed that some of the panning from left to right and right to left was not smooth. It was rather quite “jerky.” I ended up posting in a few social media groups on how I could improve so that my movements, or panning rather, were not so jerky. I got several comments of various kinds and out of all of the comments only one was most relevant to the intent of the post, yet was still not what I was looking for. All of the comments were gear related. Every one of them stated that I needed to get some sort of new gear. The one that was closest to the question at hand was that the comment stated that I needed a tripod with a fluid head. At the time, I was not quite sure what that was but after some quick research I found out what a fluid head was. I also found out that a fluid head is what I actually have and used for the video. All of the other comments suggested me buying completely different gear.
It seems as though over the last 5 to 10 years new gear recommendations have really skyrocketed. It seems as though it’s so much more so than it was 15 to 20 years ago, even during the early days of digital photography. I am not sure why this is. I don’t know if it’s a lack of education. I don’t know if it is because of all of the photographic companies such as Sony, Canon, Nikon, and Fuji and they was they are advertising. I don’t know if its because how frequent these companies are coming out with newer and “better” cameras. And it may be a combination of all of the above.
Recently a young photographer posted in a group and stated that they were unhappy with the results they were getting with their camera. That photographer was using an entry level DSLR with a crop sensor and some relatively good glass. Glass that was better than entry level glass. As soon as that photographer posted people started bombarding here with answers that were all about getting new gear. 90% of the comments were about getting new gear. “Get a full frame” they said. “Get a D series” they said. “Get a different brand…” altogether they said. Not one person asked any questions. Not one person asked what their goal was in photography. Not one person asked what type of photography they shoot. Not one person asked what their budget was. Do you know how frustrating this could be for a relatively new photographer? I think this mentality has gotten contagious and has taken over most of the photography community, or at least it seems that way. New photographers feel that they are not good enough unless they have this or that piece of kit. They think how good their photography is or is not is directly related to how good, new, or expensive their gear is. While I believe it’s great for professionals to ‘sport professional gear, this is a lie sold to us by the photography retailers and manufacturers. PERIOD!
After my comments on their post, this photographer started messaging me. I told this photographer that they did not need a new camera or any new lenses. I explained to this photographer what they could do technically to improve their images. Within a few days this photographer was messaging me with new images. This photographer was excited. This photographer was happy with their new work. All this photographer did was stop down a stop or two from the widest aperture and incorporate off camera flash. This photographer had a fresh new excitement about photography!
I started doing my own research and came across some very helpful videos that really inspired me. While I don’t have a gimbal or any of that other gear I came across a video of a young man showing how he hand holds his camera a certain way and post processes a certain way in order to achieve smooth movement throughout his video. I came across another video that explained different techniques to use on the exact type of tripod and tripod head I have in order to achieve the results I was looking for.
While I don’t have much experience in video, I have twenty plus years of experience in photography. I have enough experience to know that new gear was not the answer. I had enough experience to know there was an answer out there that would get me to were I wanted to go with my video without having to spend a dime. I found my answers. But not everyone, especially young photographers will find the right, better, or most wise answer on their own. And we have plenty of people out there preaching “SPEND MORE MONEY!” in an indirect way and they might not even know any different themselves. It’s sad.
All of this to say, that I encourage you, before listen to someone who’s telling you to buy more gear, search for yourselves. Seek the answers you want without making excuses to buy gear you don’t NEED. Always put value in technique over new gear.
Gear is good. Gear is important. None of that gear matters without the right technique. Without the right technique the best gear in the world does not meant squat!
There’s an old saying that goes “Amateurs talk about gear. Professionals talk about technique.”
Ever since the digital boom in photography film photography has been on the decline… Until about 5 or so years ago. Texas has one of the largest film communities in the nation. The North Texas Film Photography group meets up once a month on the second Saturday. The group usually meets for coffee, a drink, a bite to eat, good conversation, and photo walks…
These are 5 tips in street photography that I almost always follow.
I picked up the Canon Powershot SX 730 HS for a great deal. This could be an option if you are looking for an every day type of carry around point and shoot compact camera.
Question: Which is the “best” / most versatile light modifier for portraits?
Answer: The bounce/shoot through umbrella (60″)
The 60″ can be had for around $30 to $40, so it’s fairly inexpensive.
You can photograph a fairly large group with the 60″ umbrella
Or you can photograph 1 person with the 60″ umbrella
The umbrella can be used like… an umbrella
You can bounce the light into it.
You can shoot the light through it so it spreads and scatters the light everywhere.
You can shoot the light into it with the umbrella partially closed and you can use it just like a soft box (you cannot use a soft box like an umbrella)
If you have the right light stand you can also close it down and use it light a beauty dish (you cannot use a beauty dish like an umbrella)
I rest my case! 🙂