Dirt basics to set up shop

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by wyattsmoma, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. wyattsmoma

    wyattsmoma TPF Noob!

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    I am a talented photographer, give me a camera and I can get almost pro-looking pictures... I know this, I have spent hours and hours doing it. I want to take it to the next level now though and I was wondering if anyone could give me a dirt basic list of the items I will need ( or REALLY want) to set up a small studio in my home. Mostly to use for friends and their families at first but after I have a nice portfolio set up I would like to open my options to include A Lot more.

    I am also wondering if anyone out there can help give me ideas on what camera to buy next ( mine had a tragic accident with a two year old and her toys... :( ) I am on a tight budget for now and was thinking about getting the fujifilm s8000 fd camera, simply because it is in my price range ( actually under my cap) and Has some really good reviews. But will that be enough for a "professional" Photographer? Or do I actually NEED to get a nicer camera. I am thinking the money I save could go to backgrounds or lights....

    I could really use someone to mentor me, But being that I am overseas for now I cant attend classes or workshops anytime soon!

    As the money for the Camera is due in anytime now I would really love some good advice from someone who knows!

    thanks in advance

    Lura
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The dirt basics might be a window and a reflector. Or maybe you would need a three or four light set up. There is no right answer.

    As for a camera, I wouldn't bother with a cheaper camera. You will need a better one eventually so you might as well get it first. It doesn't have to be expensive...but I would strongly recommend an SLR type camera. I assume you want digital so a Digital SLR would be the way to go. They start around $500-$600 and come with a cheap lens. The good part is that you can upgrade the lens at a later time, and keep using the camera.
    Have a look at the Canon Rebel XTi, Nikon D40, or something from Sony or Pentax.
     
  3. wyattsmoma

    wyattsmoma TPF Noob!

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    My current Max is $500. I do want Digital, But I do get slightly cheaper Stuff from the Military Exchange right now. I was looking at the D40 but got nervous because I'm Not sure how simple it is to learn the focusing techniques. I will re look into it though, because I too am sure I will want to upgrade to one or like it or better when I progress in my photography. My Husband keeps telling me to just get something thats going to work long term, Thanks for the advice.

    Lura
     
  4. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you are truly serious about this next step, I would consider this a significant investment in your future. Your talent will outgrow cheaper cameras rather quickly and thus you'll be better in the long run. You'll need a lot more to finance a home studio... Camera, strobes, backdrops, props are just a few things involved. It is important to remember that a successful studio session is just as much about the lighting as it is about the camera. I would seriously consider putting off this initial investment until you can save a little more cash. In the meantime, you can do some research as to what you want/need and how to go about fitting it in a pre-determined budget.

    For me, I would do the following on a limited budget (albeit more than $500):
    1) Used Canon 5D. Full frame wonderful image quality. The replacement for the 5D is coming soon so I would put it off and purchase the a used 5D once the replacement pushes their prices down.
    3) Used 50mm f1.8 lens.
    4) Used 85mm f1.8 lens.
    5) A 2-3 strobe set with the proper triggers and umbrellas.
    6) Backdrop of some sort. Don't have to go overboard on this one. There are many options including DIY projects.

    I know you said dirt basics but when it comes to a studio, I really don't think you can even start without the proper lighting. Setting up a studio is really expensive.

    If you instead started out with outdoor portraits instead of indoor studio, you can probably get away with the camera, the two lenses, 1 dedicated flash with off shoe cord, and an assistant with a reflector. You'll need to leverage the existing lighting.

    If you minus the Canon 5D and get a used 20D or 30D instead, you can save a little extra cash but I would recommend getting a 35mm and 50mm lens instead since those cameras come equipped with cropped sensors.
     
  5. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you are actually serious about moving up to charging people for your photographs you will absolutely need to buy a Dslr. There is no place for a point and shoot camera no matter how good or expensive it is in any kind of professional photography. You will be doing any potential client a disservice if you shoot with anything less. You say you are ready to "take it to the next level" yet you are "not sure how simple it is to learn the focusint techniques" so wich is it are you "ready" or not. When I first got into shooting weddings I was "ready" I got a loan for several thousand dollars and purchased a redundant set of medium format bodies 2 Bronica Etrsi's with 2 different lenses 2 different film backs and 2 flashes. All together this package cost me $5200 and in the subsequent years I spent hundreds more if not a couple of thousand to be able to call myself a "professional" photographer. Now of course since I made the transition to digital I have spent an additional $3500 and really don't think I am properly equipped. The moral to all this is what I already said you can't do it with a P+S camera you do not have to invest thousands of dollars but you need something decent before you start charging people for your work. Go out buy yourself a D80 or the Canon equivalent pop a 50mm 1.8 on it, a decent flash and then you can do some work barring somehthing like that just stick to taking "almost pro-looking pictures" for yourself and your friends. I am not saying the gear makes the photographer but there is a minimum you do need.
     
  6. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    If I heard correctly, Canon's out with a 21mp. That's approaching medium format. Save you money!
     
  7. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    21mp is pure sensor output... it is just one part of the equation that makes up a good image. A 21mp medium format hassy with the larger (less dense) higher quality sensor and the hassy glass will still outperform.


    Megapixels is just like Horsepower for cars. There is so much more that goes into making a nice performing car (curb weight, suspension, TORQUE.. etc). The same is true for cameras. HP and MP are the easiest way to market a product to the general layman consumer base.
     
  8. wyattsmoma

    wyattsmoma TPF Noob!

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    OMG I was so not clear about this... The 500 was for a Camera, I plan on dumping WAY MORE into the rest as well. I am in desperate need of a camera right now and will be buying a D SLR as soon as I can! I thank you all again for your advice. I have looked into the backgrounds and so far I have learned I should be able to spend far less if I buy Muslin cloth and dye it myself, has Anyone done this and had a good result?

    I was looking into the DSLR's that I have seen around here, I keep looking at them and dreaming more and more... I promise I am not quite as in the dark as I made myself seem. Now I would like to ask. For indoors, Probably in a basement what Lights am I going to want ?

    Thanks so much for helping me out. I am a beginner and I am jumping in quick. I truely believe I could not get such honest and real answers from any Supplier! Thanks!!!
     
  9. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    AH!! ok that makes a little more sense... but still tight just for the camera...

    Can you spare a tiny bit more cash for a K10D? Good camera, professional features... in fact there is a fashion pro-photog that posts here that uses it as his main camera. You can even use older (and nice) K-mount Pentax lenses if your budget is so very tight.
     
  10. wyattsmoma

    wyattsmoma TPF Noob!

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    I would love to have more Money to start out with but in reality I'm currently just a stay at home Mom with a military Husband and two kids :) I am getting more and more nervous about even attempting this as I learn more and more about the amounts of Money I will have to spend. I was hoping to kind of Build as I go... Start with the Camera, Move up to better lenses, Then move up to better lights, Better backdrops etc. etc.

    I was Also hoping to build a portfolio here ( I live in Germany for a few more months) where I have a good base of subjects that would be willing to let me learn with them... then I would have the portfolio going home to the states where I would try to continue the adventure.... seems like without the Cash I am not going to be able to do this Am I?

    I am thankful for all the advice and Ideas and encourage more! Any suggestions on where to begin would be awesome. Keep in mind though, that I cant take classes, and I DONT have a bunch of money to get started with.

    thanks!
     

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