Do I need expensive kit to be a pro events photographer?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by ted_smith, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. ted_smith

    ted_smith TPF Noob!

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    A naive question this, but everyone seems friendly here so hopefully I won't get shot down too seriously!

    I am considering venturing into the field of wedding\party\events photography - initally part time perhaps and hopefully one day, full-time. I've been told by quite a lot of people that my candid photography style could enable me to be quite successfull in that field. Although I admit, they are all friends and family telling me that so obviously they're biased!

    All the photos I've taken are with my Nikon F65 35mm SLR. It's quite an old model (back to 1999 I think) and I bought it second hand about two years ago for £60. Everything I read about it is "A great camera for teaching people how to do photography" and that it "takes good pictures". But it always seem to be in the context of 'a beginners camera' and not for a pro.

    What I'm unclear about is, lets say I took a photo that I thought was really good with my F65 camera and the standard 28mm-70mm lense that comes with it - for example this one : http://www.flickr.com/photos/ted_smith/257568932/ or this one : http://www.flickr.com/photos/ted_smith/301038806/in/pool-portrait/, how would they be so markeldy better if I took the same picture with, say, a £900 new Nikon camera body using the same lense, aperture settings, film etc? (BTW - I have recently bought the Nikon 60mm Macro which is a really good lense apparently but I haven't yet had any prints developed that were taken using it)

    Surely, fundamentally, it all comes down to the photographer and all the expensive kit just makes it easier, but perhaps not necessarily better?

    So, my question is - do I really need to buy a new camera in order to be a professional wedding\events\party photographer or could I turn up with my selection of quite good quality lenses and my F65??

    Thanks - any advice warmyl received

    Ted
     
  2. uberben

    uberben TPF Noob!

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    If you want to do this even part time...invest in quality gear. Digital makes life much easier and cost effective. Do a search on the forums for gear you should have.

    While a good photographer can get quality shots from so-so equipmet.....your keeper rate will be better with fast pro lenses and a body that can keep up with. If you have never done these kind of events...Get some friends to do photoshoots with them. Get really good with flash and have backup gear for when your gear fails (it will). Remember, unlike a portrait sitting, with weddings/events you only have split seconds to get stuff.

    A thread that may give you some info ....http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=63713
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    With film, the camera is basically a light proof box...it's the lens and film that matters. With digital, the camera matters much more...but the lens is still important.

    Top end lenses are more expensive for many reasons. They are built better and are more durable...which is important for a working pro. They are usually faster...meaning that they have a bigger maximum aperture. Also, the focus motor will be fast and quite. The glass is usually better, which means you get more contrast and better color rendition. Good quality lenses are a very good investment...especially if you want to be a pro.

    Think about it this way...camera gear to a photographer is like a hammer to a carpenter. If you buy something cheap...you will probably have to replace it more often and it has a greater chance of breaking on you. You will not regret buying the best quality tools.
     
  4. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    I used to shoot sports and some of the bigger newspaper guys all had Nikon F-4s of course, big 300 and 400mm AF 2.8 lenses (a year later I did buy an f-4s, and a 300 2.8 AF). I was there on the sidelines with a nikon 6006 and a MF Tokina 300 2.8 lens. I never had a problem with getting at least one photo in one paper. Useually 2 or 3 in a couple different papers. The "real" pros would try to push me around because I didn't "look" the part. But I still managed to make a little money doing it. Now this situation is a little different. If my equipment failed. No biggie. I just don't get paid for 4 hours of work. But in a wedding situation. You need reliable equipment. Doesn't have to be the top of the line. Just reliable. The N65 was not meant for heavy use. If you do anything get another body! Carry a spare. Carry a spare lens as well. Don't go to a wedding with just one set up. Murphys law will eventually catch up.

    I have been thinking about doing weddings and even turned down a job just a couple months ago. I have the equipment (and back ups) to do it. But there is more to it than just carrying a camera and taking pictures.
     
  5. ted_smith

    ted_smith TPF Noob!

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    Thanks to you all - your advice is warmly received.

    I will think about getting a new body (probably the Nikon D70 as a digital option, or, if I have the cash the new D80, and as a better 35mm option (not sure what the last 35mm camera was that Nikon produced?) I will pick one up second hand maybe. Then I'll have three bodies, and I'll use my F65 as a 'last resort'.

    And yes, I'll need some flash guns as stated!

    I might not ever do it of course, but I have the desire to which is half the battle I imagine.

    Regards

    Ted
     
  6. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    F6 is the last film body

    If you plan on buying a digital body you really need to consider at least a D200 good gear does not make the photographer but it sure helps alot. for shooting sports a long 2.8 is necescary try shooting a football game at night under lights with a 70-300 4-5.6 or less and you will surely see what I mean.
     
  7. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    D-80 sounds a good starter camera for wedding type shooting. As for a back up film body. Just get something good. Don't need a F-5 or new F-6. I have an f-100 and will would do just fine. They are at a decent price used now. I was thinking of getting a second one for my wife. She uses an old 4004 thats a little finiky sometimes (battery door).

    Most likely if you do weddings. You will probably end up with 2 digital bodies and just leave the film at home.
     
  8. emogirl

    emogirl TPF Noob!

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    Ted...for most of the 13 years of wedding photography, I have used Minolta 370 & 700 35 mm manual bodies, with a range of lenses. I may not have a had the fanciest looking equipment but Ive had excellent quality images and many years of happy customers - shooting on average 22 weddings a season. A few years ago I moved to autofocus Nikon 35's, but continued to use the minoltas, doing about half the shoot with each...i would keep a small zoom on one, and a longer telephoto on the other. REcently I moved to digital, rather begrudgingly, cuz film RULES on quality, but film is just getting harder to come by and the price is sky rocketing so i decided to make the leap. Anyway..i went with the d80 and i'm very happy with it...i do love the versatility that digital offers...i only bought one body, the second will have to wait till end of next season, i suspect, so in the meantime, i will be using the 35's as backup.

    Someone had mentioned before about wedding phtography and what it entails, this is what i wrote...good luck, btw....it is very rewarding if you enjoy working with people and can stand the pressure.


    I have been a wedding photographer for over 13 years..i have shot Hundreds of weddings and the #1 thing is....its not just about taking a good image!

    There are so many more factors that are involved....juggling crowds, organizing families and 'uncle joe' trying to get his shot, brides and mothers not getting along, bridesmaids from hell and you will inevitably have to pin on a corsage, take extra wedding party in your car cuz they ran out room, keep bridezilla calm and in between all that, you must not miss the most important shots...you have short windows of opportunity, adn once they are gone, they are gone. Your bride/groom and their families will look to you with a zillion questions on their wedding day, becasue you have 'seen it all' and no what should go where. You will not only be the photographer...you'll be the wedding planner guiding them thru their day.....


    You need reliable equipment and plenty of backup equipment as well...you must be able to take control of the crowd quickly, efficiently and politely, you have to make poeple laugh and smile even when its 110degrees and they are in 15lbs of dress and tux and the wedding party just wants to go get drunk.

    And lastly, you must be confident in your work....you cant look at each image after you take it to 'see if you got the shot'....(ive seen photogs with digi doing that....how confident would you be in yoiur photog if you saw him/her doing that????)

    No, being a wedding photographer is not just about being a good photographer...its about time management, people management & photography. So, if you are a people person, and you can handle those stresses....give it a whirl, start small, do family stuff...give it a whiz bang!
    __________________
     
  9. df3photo

    df3photo TPF Noob!

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    hey Ted
    Everything said above is true... and good info to have. But I still think back to what one of my photography instructors told us in class one day. If you are a good photographer you can make good money with only a 35mm camera, a 50mm lens and maybe a tripod. and I believe that to still be true. Though Digital was just coming about around that time so that wasn't factored in to his thinking. I have just gone digital this year, I found it much easier and faster for business sake (plus i can still charge the same as I did when I needed to purchase film...) It may cost more to start, but it is worth it in the end.
    That teacher I talked about, also told us there was a Sports Illustrated photographer that would shoot sporting events with disposable cameras... and get published often... (not sure who that was, if anyone knows who I am talking about let me know...) So Good equipment is Good. Good photography is Better...
    good luck.
     
  10. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  11. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

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    It all depends on what you do.

    I got paid for these:

    [​IMG]

    and

    [​IMG]

    Using only a Canon A610:

    [​IMG]

    A black sheet:

    [​IMG]

    A tripod:

    [​IMG]

    And a 15 dollar Wal Mart lamp:

    [​IMG]


    However that is a controlled enviroment, and my camera is SURELY not good enough to take a wedding.

    So the answer is... depends on what you really want to do. I prefer portrait photography, so I can get away with this termporarily (I am buying a D70 or 200 soon).
     
  12. smyth

    smyth TPF Noob!

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    I've heard it too, only it was SI Swimsuit Edition, not sports.
     

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