Moving from videography and photography

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Matthew Craggs, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. Matthew Craggs

    Matthew Craggs TPF Noob!

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    Greetings all,

    First off, the standard forgive me if this is posted in the wrong place disclaimer applies.

    I am a video guy and have spent the last couple of years shooting primarily weddings and working in television. I have always loved photography and am looking to start letting people pay me to take pictures. Yep, I'm that kind.

    There are a number of reasons outside of my really, really enjoying taking pictures, like:

    - considerable less post production time (for wedding productions a day is spent merely digitizing video and then another day to render the video to a MPEG to burn)

    - cheaper equipment (for the price of one prosumer camcorder I can get two really good DSLR's, which is important to me because I have limited resources and have been a part of enough live video productions to know that it is essential to have back-ups)

    - already have Adobe Photoshop and took number digital imaging courses in school. My skills are strong on that end.

    - more opportunity for work (engagement shoots, models, and other non-wedding gigs)

    The plan is to take what I have now - a Canon EOS 300d and a couple of cheap lenses - and take photos of everyone I know, and put a couple of classified ads in the paper and online asking for models in exchange for 8x10s, which in a University town that shouldn't be too hard.

    Then, by next summer I will hopefully be able to make some money. As soon as I get some paid work the plan is to sink about maybe $5000-6000 into some new lenses, a 40D, and some lighting and backdrops. But I'm not spending a cent until I get some sort of paid work because I do have those cheap lenses and the 300D (and it's not the camera, but how you use it).

    My question is: am I dumb for doing this?

    Have any of you moved from videography to photography? What sort of problems did you face?

    What am I not considering?

    No, really, am I dumb for doing this?

    I just have this feeling that there is some big hurdle to my plan that I'm not seeing because I have limited experience to the business side of photography. Any comments to bring me back down to earth are appreciated.

    Many thanks, folks.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    If you have been working weddings for a few years, then you probably know what they are all about. They are once-in-a-life-time events, or they are supposed to be...so you have to be prepared and get it right.

    It might be a good idea to assist or shadow a wedding photographer that you know, on a couple of jobs.
     
  3. Matthew Craggs

    Matthew Craggs TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the response, Mike.

    I definately agree that shadowing a photographer is a great idea. Everytime I have shot a wedding I have kept a close eye on what the photographer has been doing. Both to learn about what goes into shooting a wedding, and to stay out of their way :)
     
  4. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    I'm not sure about the cheaper equipment thing........Remember a good lens will cost you 1500 bucks, and you will need a bag full of them, or actually, two of them if you work with a partner....which I really suggest.

    My current talley:

    8 cameras-
    (2) 20ds
    (2) 30ds
    (4) 5ds
    (2) 85mm1.8
    (2) 70-200 f.28
    (1) 15 mm fish
    (2) 35 mm 1.4
    (1) 24-70 2.8
    (1) 70-120 4
    (7)580 flash units
    (5) pocket wizards
    (4) bogen pro stands
    (2) 2 custom brackets and one stroboframe
    (2) Manfroto Tripods
    (1) Manfroto Monopod
    (2) Photoflex strobelights
    (1) Q Flash
    (1) Boom Light
    (2) Vid lights
    (1) Light meter w/built in pocket wizard
    (2) Photoflex 5in1 reflectors w/stands
    100 gig in cards
    Epson travel backup
    Software: Ligtroom,
    CaptureOne Pro, PS3, PS2 (for the programs that don't recognize PS3), YSI, Yervant Page Gallery, Painter, KK1,2 and 3, Graphic Authority 1, 2, 3 and Pro, Pixel Creator Pro, Painter, on and on and on and on.......


    My point is......doing weddings is what you make of it.
    I started out with a 20D and a few lenses. But don't get confused and think that photography is the easy way or cheaper way out. Fact is, it will most likely cost you twice as much, and you may well spend many more hours doing it.
    But the good news is, if you do it right, you can make twice the money, and have much greater contact with your clients.

    I'm not trying to talk you out of this. I just wanted to let you know that photography is in no way cheaper or easier.
    Good luck no matter what you decide to do.
    Hugs,
    Cindy
     
  5. Matthew Craggs

    Matthew Craggs TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the response, Cindy.

    I realize that both disciplines require a subtantial financial investment. It's just that I look at a couple of comparisons to illustrate my point:

    Decent prosumer camcorder - $4,000 - $5,000 without accessories, like bag, on camera lights, tripods, wide angle and telephoto adapters, etc
    Decent camera body: $1,500

    Wireless lav kit: at least $700 before considering at least two backup audio sources and shotgun mic which is at least $200
    Camera Flash: $400 x2

    (That's another reason I prefer photography. I am not an audio person and don't want to be)

    Maybe I simply don't know how to price good photography equipment yet. It's just that starting from the ground up I would expect to spend about $20,000 on a wedding video setup, and about $10,000 on a photography setup. Is this an unreasonable estimate? I am quite confident in my video estimate as that is my background and I have done endless hours of research on the subject, but is my photography estimate unresonable?

    Anyone should feel free to speak up. In my life I have admired the asthetics and technique of photography, not necessarily the tools used to create it. So if I'm confused about the price of these tools let me know.

    As for the post production time, it takes me about 40-50 hours to edit a wedding video. If anyone wants to chime in with the amount of time it takes them to do photo post please do. With my experience doing graphic design and manipulating images I estimated about 30 hours, but I am more than willing to eat humble pie if it turns out everyone is spending more time on this task.

    Also, after reading my initial post I want to make it clear that I don't view still photography as the cheap, easy brother of videography. I realize it takes an entirely different skill and entirely different mindset. I have great respect for both disciplines. I simply have more fun taking photos.

    Also, just to clarify I'm not writing a cheque for all my gear yet. That is why I want to take a good 5 or 6 months practicing with what I have to see if I would like to go further. I'm not going to jump into any business because I think it is the easy route.
     
  6. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    Hi Matt,
    I know it can be confusing.
    Say there are two of you. If you want to do it really right, you will need (4) 5d bodies. That's $13,000. Now you need some lenses to put on those suckers. $1500 each or more......some going as high as $2800. You have photoshop already, so you are good there. But you are going to need flashes too. 580 Canon Flash is $480 each if you buy them on sale. You have to mount them. The custom bracket is another $400 bucks. And how about that wizards. Put in another $500 or so. And these are the basics.
    That's what I don't think a lot of people understand.
    Yes, you can do it cheaper. You can buy at Rebel XTI, shoot alone with a kit lens, no flash and take perfectly fine photos. But to do it right, the stakes are substanually higher.

    So, lets do a new talley:
    2 5d
    1 2800 lens
    1 1500 lens
    1 pocket wizard
    2 58 flash

    For this minimal amount of equipment, and ONLY the above equipment, you will need $13500 if you find everything on sale.
     
  7. wildmaven

    wildmaven TPF Noob!

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    What's a "Epson travel backup"??
     
  8. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    I'd have to find it to give you the exact info, and I'm not sure where the hubster put it......but basically it's a 40gig backup drive. It's about the size of a lightmeter. It's wonderful!
     
  9. Big Mike

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

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    You could trim that a little bit.

    Sub out the 5D cameras for 40Ds...that's a big savings for very little sacrifice.

    Top quality lenses are great to have, and I would certainly recommend getting the best you can afford. But you can get 90% of the performance of top lenses, for less than 50% of the price. For example, the Canon 35mm F1.4 L, is the cat's meow...but the Sigma 30mm F1.4 is almost as good and it costs about 1/4 as much.

    You would probably be set with just two or three lenses. A fast 'normal' zoom and a fast telephoto...then maybe add a very fast prime. On a full frame (5D), the 24-70 F2.8 L and the 70-200 F2.8 L IS. If on a crop sensor camera like the 40D, the switch the 27-70 to a 17-55 F2.8 IS...but keep the 70-200 F2.8 L IS.
     
  10. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    Hi Mike,
    Like I said, you could do it with a 20D, a hot strobe and a 2.8 lens.......but unfortunately that can only take you so far. Yeah, you can get places, but............
     
  11. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    I'm not a Sigma fan unfortunately. I spend a LOT of time at this computer looking at various cameras and lenses as I'm the only processor for all the cameras including those of assistants, and there is a HUGE difference between the Sigma and the Canon. I hate to be brand discriminory, but I hatehatehate the sigmas. Not that there isn't other off brands that I like. I just do not like any of the Sigmas. They are WAY on the red side.
    YMMV
     
  12. Big Mike

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

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    I agree, there may well come a point when the 20D, 30D & 40D line may not be enough...but as a start, they are great. I would even argue that they (especially the 40D) would be good enough for 80-90% of wedding photographers.

    As for 2nd party lenses...I haven't tried them all (who really has) but yes, many of them do have different properties than Canon lenses...but even within the Canon family, there are many differences between lenses. It's a personal preference as well. What you call red, others might call 'warm'. Besides, with the amount of editing you do, what's a small color tweak? ;) :D

    Either way, equipment is only one part of the equation. I'd rather hire a talented photographer with a cheap camera than a hack with $13000 worth of gear. So get what you can afford and practice, practice, practice.
     

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