Total Newb...Sports/Nature Photography Biz

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Gerald-NC, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. Gerald-NC

    Gerald-NC TPF Noob!

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    I've recently decided to try my hand at real photography in the hopes of one day making money at it. I love clicking pics but never really owned a "great" camera so to speak. I don't have an unlimited budget to begin with.

    My wants:

    Digi camera worthy of somewhat "fast" shots, lens adaptable, preferrably less than $300...really in the low 2's lol. I've seen some non SLR Fuji's for around $220 or so shipped that lenses can be fit to...unless I'm mistaken. I've seen some DSLR "Bodies" for around $250...but they say "No Lense incl" so I suppose I'd have to also buy a lense before I could even use these? (Nikon D50 for $250 and Cannon Eos Rebel XT for $289)

    Favorite sports include Auto Racing of all kinds, Football, and Basketball. So this gives an idea of the "speed" I may need from a camera.

    I also enjoy landscapes...mountains mostly, nature, random persons, some architecture I suppose, autos for sure.

    Biggest photo blow ups would probably be in the 30x30" range.


    Why I think this is what I want to do for a living:

    I truely love taking photographs every where I go to share my experience with others. I love saving the moment. I love the emotion that some of the greatest photos can bring a person to. I believe the best "careers" are those that the person would do if there was no money involved...in other wors something you'd do for free :D

    About me:

    I'm 32, married, no kids. I've done some college in Biz administration and a whole lot of outside biz study so I know a good bit of that side. I've owned a performance parts biz selling on Ebay in which I sold about $20k in merchandise in about 6 months...but didn't make much and got tired of dealing with suppliers not keeping products and getting cussed out by customers lol. I've tried real estate but don't like answering the phone 24 hrs a day lol and actually "working a 2nd job" so to speak. I want to do something I enjoy, where even if I'm not making money I'm enjoying what I do and doing it on my own schedule.

    I do know of a local NASCAR photographer and a contact to put me in touch with him. So I will be contacting him shortly...now's a good time cuz it's off season, and getting some answers on that side from him. He's done quite well for himself I know lol...the biggest home in his upscale neaighborhood...7000sq. ft!

    I've done some classes in Motorsports and there was a female who is trying to break into NASCAR photography as well. At the time I wasn't considering it but thought how cool it'd be lol. But she had mentioned NASCAR basically has only 2 large companies doing most of the photography and it kind of shuts her out, but she had sold some pics. She brought some beautiful shots for display to the class.

    I'm into all kinds of motorsports so I don't necessarily focus on just NASCAR, and I enjoy many other things of the world in photography.

    Sorry for so much but I wanted to make sure I gave all the answers I could so you could help me the most.

    Enjoying this forum btw. Just getting started. Read the "Beginner's Cameras" thread..pretty good.

    Thanks and God bless!
     
  2. Michael Humle

    Michael Humle TPF Noob!

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    Welcome...you might want to check out the Olympus SP-350. You can pick one up for about $200! It is not a DSLR but it has features that will knock your sock off...the one true drawback to this camera is the batteries don't last long and for some, it is a small camera and might be difficult to handle if you have big hands. Otherwise, it may be just what you are looking for?
    http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/olympus/sp350-review/index.shtml
    Good luck!
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    I don't want to burst your bubble...but unless you add an extra zero to the end of your budget...you will have a hard time getting your shots...let alone trying to compete in a very competitive field.

    You have to think of your gear as tools of the trade...and that is just part of doing business. It's like saying you want to compete in a NASCAR race...but you only have $10,000 to spend on a car.

    If you just want to take shots for your own personal use...that's different. But if you need to get shots to make money...good equipment goes a long way.

    A digital SLR body is the way to go...and using the entry level bodies <$1000 might be OK, as far as image quality. But the durability for professional work...just isn't there.

    Further than that...good lenses are critical for professional work. Not only will better lenses give you sharper shots, with better color and contrast etc....but large aperture lenses will really help you get the shot...and those don't come cheap. Also, as with the camera body...the lower level equipment isn't made to take the rigors of professional use.

    For all of this...you will really need a decent camera and lens...and $300 will not get you there....I'm sorry to say. Not to mention that you would need back up equipment and all sorts of other supplemental equipment. When you talk to the NASCAR photographer...ask him the value of all his equipment. If it's less than $10,000...I'd be surprised.

    Now maybe if you could get a job working for someone...you could use their equipment. Newspaper photojournalists often use the paper's gear...but you have to get the job first.

    I hope this helps.
     
  4. Tiberius

    Tiberius TPF Noob!

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    Agreed. For sports photography, you just can't get around the need for incredibly fast shutter speeds and thus incredibly fast (i.e. f/2.8) glass, none of which is cheap.
     
  5. Gerald-NC

    Gerald-NC TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the replies. I do know I will have to upgrade to bigger and better equipment at some point. I'm not looking to jump right into NASCAR lol, just something to get me started learning and maybe MAYBE sell a photo or 2 if they are good enough. I've got to start somewhere and get some experience with photography in general, not necessarily going to NASCAR races and trying to take full on full speed photos. There are aspects in all of these fields that you can use different views and still get quality photos without blurring effects etc.

    I'm going at this as a hobby first and foremost with the hopes of selling a photo or 2 in the future, not yet supporting my current lifestyle on it :D

    Thanks for the camera suggestions, I look it up.

    I do/will consider buying used equipment as well.

    Thanks
     
  6. mct

    mct TPF Noob!

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    I'm no professional photographer so take my advice with a pinch of salt but I think you should invest in an entry level SLR such as a Canon Rebel and as and when you get money you should buy quality lenses.

    When you do get more serious and buy a better body you can use your old lenses on it and you'll have your Rebel or whatever for backup.
     
  7. Claff

    Claff TPF Noob!

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    I shoot a lot of NASCAR (minor league stuff, not interested in Nextel Cup) and I'll echo all the other comments that you'll need more than $300 to get action shots, especially if you want to blow them up to poster size. I got lucky and got my D100 used off a friend for not a whole lot more than you're looking to spend, but deals like that don't come along nearly often enough.

    But your best bet is to watch the used camera market and get a DSLR someone's looking to dump and not trying to make all their money back on.

    I've seen people shoot decent stuff with a non-DSLR (not sure what make/model) but it was for websites which have the luxury of cropping and resizing to relatively small sizes which masks softness or bad composition... I'd imagine if you wanted to print what they shot you'd have a hard time getting beyond a 4x6 snapshot, never mind 8x10.

    Anyway, with your budget, you'd almost have to go to the used camera market and hope you score a bargain if you're going to shoot on-track action. On the other hand you can just prowl the pits and shoot the drivers and crew going about pre-race preparations or even on pit road shooting pit stops, though you'll have to know your camera's settings to make sure you can stop and capture that action.
     
  8. SHUTTERtoSPEAK

    SHUTTERtoSPEAK TPF Noob!

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    Start with what you can afford...

    In my case, I had and OLD OLD OLD film camera Nikon F Series... I used that for everything and all throughout my schooling. I took millions of photos but never for $$$$. I took about a year off from photography when switching majors to computer science but quickly got back into it.

    I wanted to get into the digital photography but couldn't afford those things. I ended up lining up a couple jobs (before I had the equipment) made sure the profits would outweigh the cost of the equipment...

    Nikon D100 at the time, 28-105mm nikkor lens and JTL studio 3 light kit & backdrop.

    I charged the equipment and did the jobs with them. From there on I was even steven and kept booking and things went from there.

    Moral of the story!
    Start off with what you can afford and build up.
    However, your price limit you set is really going to cause problems.
    You will end up with a lesser quality camera and take it out on shoots. You will see how things aren't working for you and you will end up investing more just to get things to work for you. In that case, just get everything the right way at first, do your research and find what will work best for you at the lowest price.

    HOW TO CUT CORNERS?
    Check out ebay. You can get 2 for 1s there. What I mean by this is that you could potentially get 2 lenses on ebay for the price of 1 retail one... Stuff like that...

    Don't forget, you could always buy a camera that is hot and has a good resell value and if things don't work out for you, you could always toss it on ebay and get most of your money back.

    Best of luck,
     
  9. Gerald-NC

    Gerald-NC TPF Noob!

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    Think I've found my camera. Yes it's going to be more than my original budget, and yet to speak with the wife about the cost, but so far she likes the idea :D Anywho, I've found Canon Rebel 300D EOS with 2 lenses and many other "extras" including 2 UV filters, caps, bag, 1 GB and 512MB memcards, and a 3 year warranty! Hoping it goes for less than $600. Comes with EF-S 18-55mm and EF 75-300mm lenses, which some have said this should be plenty for most of my plans. It's already been suggested I get a polarizing filter, which I figured as well.

    So what ya think? It is used of course. Should know tonight if I'm getting this one or not. Going to look around some more as well "just in case" :) Thanks for the help!!!!
     
  10. Big Mike

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

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    Sounds like a good starter kit for you.
     
  11. Gerald-NC

    Gerald-NC TPF Noob!

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    bid went higher than I was willing to pay, $605 shipped. I did bid $550, but was going no higher.
     

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