Advice

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by clintd, May 12, 2010.

  1. clintd

    clintd TPF Noob!

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    Hi all,

    I am at the very beginning stages of getting into photography, a complete beginner. And, I wanted to get some advice from the forum.

    Questions:

    If I am considering pursuing digital photography as a hobby and eventually a career (weddings, portraits, etc...)

    1. What would be a reasonable timeframe in which I could expect to go pro?

    2. What should my minimum weekly time commitment be to learning photography?

    3. What should I expect to invest as far as money before being able to go pro?

    4. Is it a necessity to attend formal photography school? Or, home study course? Is there a home study course you would recommend?

    5. What is the minimum equipment I should invest in to get started learning?

    Thank you all so much!
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    About as long as a bit of string.
    Seriously there is no sort of time scale we can put onto this as it is so highly dependant upon yourself. You not only have to learn solid photographic performance, but purchase solid working gear as well as learn and establish a working business model and operation - and market yourself.
    There is a lot involved and if you want it to work its going to cost you time and money in a serious way.

    There isn't one - as long as you have to spare/commit is the answer.

    You won't get a set answer on this as its highly dependant upon many things - reading your other thread I would say a good starting point (note that is starting point only) would be a 5D (second hand/refurbished) and a 24-70mm f2.8 L.
    That would be a solid starting point for a wedding photograper, the lens being a major workhorse in many a photographers bag and the camera body affording you a fullframe view whilst also giving you very impressive high ISO performance.
    However there are prime lenses, flashes, reflectors, tripods, batteries as well as a host of other things that you need to consider as well. Do plan ahead as you are as this allows you to make the right choices.

    No formal training is needed - what you do need is a solid business setup, contracts and a sound photographic understanding - matched with a portfolio of your work. The last is about the second most important as that is what people will see when hiring you and it is what they will judge you upon.

    I can't recomend any coureses, but I can say that once you have a good understanding of the three settings that makeup an exposure, the understanding of how to make an exposure and control it for the effect you want and in general have learnt about photography - - you can then look around your local area and see if you can ghost a working wedding photographer. This allows you to shoot a wedding, without wany worries or pressures - leaving you free to experiment and make mistakes.

    Camera + Lens + memory card + time + computer
    :mrgreen:
     
  3. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    973 days. Seriously, there is no time frame. It is very dependant on your base skill level, how quickly you learn, how quickly you get better, how well you take critism, .... the one thing to keep in mind is that before you go pro, make sure your work is stellar. Specially in wedding photography which is highly demanding in both gear, knowledge and skill as you dont have the time to reshoot key moments. I started in late 2008 and I am no where near ready to go pro, although I am taking on events when I can, mostly unpaid or low paid (or paid via beer at a club) to build up experience and a portfolio

    Same as #1, depends on you. There is alot of reading at first. Then there is alot of practicing... ALOT. There is no set minimum, but the more time you invest in practicing, learning and experimenting via trial and error, the faster you will grow as a photographer. How quickly you move to a pro is a whole other ball game

    If you are doing wedding photography? Keeping numbers rounded and off the top of my head... at a minimum, I would say you need to pro bodies @ $3000 each, 3 pro zoom lenses @ an average of $1500 a piece, 2 pro flashes @ $400 each, a few prime lenses @ $700 a piece, a good computer for processing, a backup and archival solution for your images, some softboxes, stands, maybe some better lights, bags, batteries, grips, memory cards, website, business cards, ... say a good $15,000. And that is just the equipment...the time investment for both building your skill level and more importantly if you want to run a business, the networks, contacts, insurance, marketing,...

    This depends on how you learn. I learn better with formal training. But that can only take you so far. Classes, both in house, online or in class can only take you so far. The best way to learn is to apprentice yourself with a real pro. This means being an assistant, and maybe sometimes a second shooter, for little or no money, to "learn on the job". Start with however you prefer.

    To get started? I would highly highly recommend getting good, pro lenses. Lenses make the biggest difference in terms of image quality. Putting down $2000 for a 70-200 f/2.8 IS L means that it will last you years...many years. Putting down money on a camera body is nice, but you will probably replace it in 2-3 years.

    So focus on a basic body and great lenses. If you are going Canon, go with at least a 40D/50D, 5D would be better and is not too expensive, but will be old tech by the time you are going more pro
     
  4. EmmaIam

    EmmaIam TPF Noob!

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    First thing you need is a website, a damn good one. Put your money where your business sense is and have one designed, if your website looks expensive and classy, then the client will think that their images will be classy, and won't be surprised if it's expensive. !

    A portfolio of at least 10 different Weddings. this is a reasonable demand from a potential client, they need to see consistency, and it's their only proof that you are capable of shooting their big day.

    Public Liability Insurance, covering your equipment and loss or damage of images.


    A Studio ( optional) but I dont think I would have been taken as seriously when I started out had i not have had one, it also serves as the place I take the pre wedding portraits, and the reception area is the place where clinets come to view albums.


    A good camera, I will probably be shot down in flames for this but a D3 for low lighting in churches and for the ability to print A0 with no pixelation. Its pretty naff to use a camera that requires flash while they are saying their vows, it also annoys ministers and you are more likely to be told not to take any.

    Screen callabration,,,has to be done, if you cant print what you see on your screen then you might aswell not bother being a Wedding Photographer


    A Good printerEpson Pro 3800 will give you superior quality prints up to A2plus


    The list is endless and ongoing. None of the above lack priority, they were as much a priority for me five years ago as they are today. Its a tough industry, its hard ,, lots of physical work, lots of re touching, lots of customer service and lots of time away from your family. I dont have a saturday free until 2012 , other than the months between december and february. It will make you laugh, cry and bang your head against the wall.
     
  5. EmmaIam

    EmmaIam TPF Noob!

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    Oh, advertising, a big part of your budget is needed to let people know who you are and what you have to offer. Working closely with a techie who knows all the tricks of getting you near the top of google searches is the best place to spend your money. Run competitions in local papers ' win your wedding Photographs' , it works, it really does.
     
  6. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    I would posit that getting into photography with the apparent sole goal of making money will make you a poor photographer and will not lend a great deal of success. It is NOT an easy way to make money or a way to avoid a "real" job.
     
  7. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Going on other posts i have read you will be pro by the end of the first week
     
  8. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    or
    when he purchases his equipment. ;)

    I am not sure if someone mentioned understanding how to perform some PP. If you are really interested, you will have your hands full for the next few years...
     
  9. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    The craft of photography is fairly easy to pick up and there are lots of resources to tap into from books to forums to web sites to blogs.

    The art of photography is another matter entirely and if you were to elect to go to school I would suggest you study art and business.

    If you are considering the possibility there is a minimum amout of time per week to commit to learning photography, I'd say look for another profession and quickly.

    You could turn pro tomorrow. You would likely starve, but .......
     
  10. cfphoto

    cfphoto TPF Noob!

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    Shoot, then shoot again, then shoot some more. You'll know a good photograph when you see it....it's how you develop your "eye."

    You don't need any formal training. Get a couple books that rank well on amazon, apply that basic knowledge, and just keep shooting.

    Good luck!
     
  11. DanEitreim

    DanEitreim TPF Noob!

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    You don't need any formal training...but you DO need some skill! It can all be learned on your own but you have to be willing to put in the time.

    At first you should stay as far away from weddings as you can. If you screw up the wrong wedding, the lawsuits could ruin you.

    Start with something like pet portraits. They are enough of a challenge to be a real training ground, but if you mess up you aren't going to be bankrupted.
     

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