what would you do

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by pbisfun, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. pbisfun

    pbisfun TPF Noob!

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    I am just starting out I have a 50D 55-250mm lens two cheep moon lights with model lamp with soft box (light is either full or half) I have been working with the camera and reading lots of books for over a year I am getting some good portrait shots but could use help with the lighting. I have 1200 dollars to spend and I would like to try and start making a little money on the side. I know I could use a better lens but I all so need other stuff. I would all so like to try my hand at local sporting events.
    group 1
    Photo editing software (adobe Photoshop $100.00)
    Light Meter (Sekonic L-358 $259.00)
    On camera flash (Metz mecablitz 58AF $399.95)
    Web sight and template (&100.00)
    Collapsible back drop for travel (8X16 129.95)

    Or
    group 2
    Used Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 none IS lens 900.00

    Do I buy group 1 and try and start making some cash on the side or do I buy the lens and wait a year until I can buy the rest of the stuff. im leaning towards group 1
     
  2. bennielou

    bennielou TPF Noob!

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    Don't buy cheap. Cheap looks, frankly, cheap.
    Save up and by the good stuff. Just my 2 pennies
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    Unless you qualify for a student discount etc. Photoshop is more like $800. Photoshop Elements is about $100 though.

    It sounds like your lights are pretty cheap, do you want to upgrade them? Do you need to upgrade them?

    Always a good idea to have a flash meter when using flash/strobes in a studio environment. This is a good one.
    Not an absolute necessity though.

    If you want to shoot studio type portraits, then why get an on-camera flash?
    If you do want an on-camera flash, I'd recommend the Canon 430EX or the 580EX.
     
  4. pbisfun

    pbisfun TPF Noob!

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    thanks for the comments

    Well I don’t need the flash when I am in studio but if I take pictures at a local park on a cloudy day I can use the flash off the camera and a reflector for better lighting. I also have done two weddings as a back up and was glad I was back up because I did not have a good enough flash and I missed some really great shots. I really don’t want to do wedding, because they are to much stress because you only get one chance to get the picture right. Maybe down the road when I am better I will look at doing a wedding again.

    I have never really used any editing software for more then cropping the picture, contrast and saturation changes so I thought photo elements would be easer to learn. And once I learn the basics and start to make some real money I can then get cs4
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I think you will make more money shooting engagement portraits, family portraits, baby portraits, and high school seniors than you will make shooting high school or youth league sports. The whole sports photo thing has lost a lot of lustre for the one-man operation, since in my area and many areas of the world, there are now more and more parents who have d-slr gear and who are actually capable shooters who provide "free" photos to entire teams. I know one local area lady who used to make a pretty reasonable number of sales by photographing njumerous local sporting events, but the last time we talked she told me about the new "d-slr dad" movement that has been severely undercutting her action shots sales. I am not talking about Memory Mates and team photo sales in areas where there are school "Contract Photographers" who are the ONLY people allowed to photograph sports events--in my area of the country, that system does not exist, and all events are open to everybody and there are NO exclusive rights granted to photographers.

    I do not think the light meter would be that helpful, nor would I spend $400 for a single Metz flash if I were in your shoes. I would buy some studio/location lighting equipment, light stands, and some instructional DVD's on how to use location lighting techniques, and I would go after the engagement portrait/event photo thing more so than the local sports market. As far as sports, the 70-200 2.8 is too SLOW (f/2.8) for a lot of indoor sports like basketball and volleyball unless you have an ISO 6400-capable camera; an 85mm 1.8 lens would actually be better for most indoor sports. Overall, I think you need some good advice and a better understanding of what kind of business model you're going to try and put into place. There are a zillion newbies out there selling or giving away images today,so you need a definite plan, not a vague one, if you want to stand a chance.
     
  6. pbisfun

    pbisfun TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice. I am working on my business plan I have all ready put down my goals and how I plan on achieving them. I have looked at other photography businesses in my area and looked at what they are charging and the services they provide. At first I only plan on doing portraits I have two studio moon lights with stands and soft box I all so have some clamp lights. I have read many books and I am pretty good at getting the results I want. The light meter is to speed the process up right now I use a gray card to get in the ballpark and work from there. The Flash is for when I am off sight like in the woods with lots of shade. I have a cheep camera flash now and it just does not do the job. I have an EL-Skyport Universal Radio Slave Set for triggering the flash off the camera I all so use them when I am in the studio to trigger my Moon lights. I am looking at getting the 85mm 1.8 lens I have read a lot of great reviews but it is not an L lens and I don't want another decent lens I want a good lens. So I think I might save my money to get the 1.4. I have all so read the 70-200 2.8 is a great lens for portraits that the main reason I am looking at buying it.
     
  7. Chris Cummins

    Chris Cummins TPF Noob!

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    I think you're going to need a little more clarity in what it is you want to do.

    It's great you love photography and I wouldn't want to dissuade you from a dream. But you need to be realistic too. There's a TON of people with brand new "photography businesses" out there you are going to have to compete with who are doing this just the way you are.

    What's your calling card? What's your hook? How are you different than the typical shake n' bake photographers out there. This will evolve as you get better but you need to be aware that there are hundreds of people just like you so always be looking to distinguish yourself.

    I'd invest in your education. Fortunately the expense for this is more time than money.

    Don't get so hung up on gear. That said, you will need a second body and some more glass but those are a distant priorities. I think getting better artistically, developing your skills and knowledge to apply in a variety of circumstances are much more important.

    I'd park that money in a savings account. Get ready to spend on some business essentials (insurance, emergency fund, etc.) and focus on developing a good foundation.
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well, you know, I think Chris has the right idea about getting more photographic education. Which is basically, almost free, if you know where to look. Today's young photographer or photo enthusiast typically has absolutely NO idea of how to do things the old-fashioned way, relying upon simple mathematics, or schematics, or proven formulae. Not trying to offend you, but you do not need a light meter with something simple like two-light portraiture.
    I'll give you an example which will allow you to set up two lights of identical power for a perfect 3:1 lighting ratio, which would be usable on many portrait clients.

    Look at the f/stop sequence. f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16. If you position your main softbox at say, 5 o'clock (ie just to the right of the camera) and set the center of the softbox's face to be five point six feet from a person, and then move the fill light softbox to the height of the camera and aim it straight at the person, from a distance of eight feet, you will achieve very close to a 3:1 lighting ratio, without any light measuring tools except a steel tape.

    A steel tape though is kind of a heavy thing. Are you familiar with "the string method" for positioning a light source? It is just what it sounds like...a light that is positioned XX number of inches away from the target will deliver a light output of say f/16...with the string a bit longer, the output will be f/11, and a longer string still will be the distance that represents f/8, and a bit longer still will be f/5.6. Decades before flash meters were invented, people used knotted strings to establish *precise* light-to-subject distances, in order to get perfect exposures on film that they would not see proofed for a day or two or three days...

    If you want to learn more about lighting and technical fundamentals, you will learn how to do more with less. Today's new world of photography is long on gear and lean on education,and that is not your fault, but more the fault of the times. Like the Metz flash for $399; if you know what you are doing, you can achieve the same results with an $89 285 on a bracket,and have $310 toward the purchase of the excellent Canon 85/1.8 lens, which is not an L (Luxury) lens, but is an essential professional item, in my book.

    The educational foundation Chris spoke about is, almost, free if you go to your local library and get into some photography books that pre-date the digital capture era. You need to learn about some of the nuts and bolts like Guide Numbers, maximum synch speeds, lighting ratios, the limits of equipment, and many other things like that. Like using a gray card and the in-camera meter; many young people your age probably have never heard of that old-school method. But if you had your main light "Stringed Out", you could position the main light and fill lights in seconds,and I mean seconds, with absolute confidence that the light-to-subject distance would result in a test shot that was within 1/4 stop. Again, most of the craft of photography has not changed for 60 years, yet in the digital age there is less and less emphasis on the simple underlying fundamentals like positioning lights and figuring out lighting ratios, or knowing how to compute how much flash you need to do a daylight shot in a park, or even realizing why a diffuser on a speedlight is useless beyond 12-15 feet outdoors.

    The lack of an incident/reflected flash meter and the "free shooting" of digital have made many newer "pros" incapable of solving even basic technical problems that 30 years ago a hobbyist would have understood.
     
  9. pbisfun

    pbisfun TPF Noob!

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    I go to the library every other week and check out new books on lighting and other subjects this week I am reading (the lighting Cookbook for fashion and Beauty) it a good book I’m also reading a book on (low key lighting) write now.
    [/QUOTE]
    Not trying to offend you, but you do not need a light meter with something simple like two-light portraiture.
    [/QUOTE]
    I do use a gray card, works great. I only have two strobs but I do have other lights that I use. I thought the light meter would help speed things up I change my lighting up a lot. Depending on if I am going for a high key or low key affect, who I’m photographing and what they have on. I just figure a light meter would help give me an Idea of what my lighting was like across the whole frame I like to experiment and try new things. One of the things I have decided I need is another strobe with adjustable f/stop setting write now. and I want an extra large soft box 50” 70” I have been playing with what I have and I love the look of using a soft box as a backdrop, my soft box is to small so I have been putting the strobe behind a white backdrop which it works for playing with but the light fades of to much going across the back drop I guess I could figure out a new material to us that would allow the light to spread better.
    [/QUOTE]
    I'll give you an example which will allow you to set up two lights of identical power for a perfect 3:1 lighting ratio, which would be usable on many portrait clients.
    [/QUOTE]

    [/QUOTE]
    Look at the f/stop sequence. f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16. If you position your main softbox at say, 5 o'clock (ie just to the right of the camera) and set the center of the softbox's face to be five point six feet from a person, and then move the fill light softbox to the height of the camera and aim it straight at the person, from a distance of eight feet, you will achieve very close to a 3:1 lighting ratio, without any light measuring tools except a steel tape.

    A steel tape though is kind of a heavy thing. Are you familiar with "the string method" for positioning a light source? It is just what it sounds like...a light that is positioned XX number of inches away from the target will deliver a light output of say f/16...with the string a bit longer, the output will be f/11, and a longer string still will be the distance that represents f/8, and a bit longer still will be f/5.6. Decades before flash meters were invented, people used knotted strings to establish *precise* light-to-subject distances, in order to get perfect exposures on film that they would not see proofed for a day or two or three days...
    [/QUOTE]
    yes I have read this but i am all so a gadget junky.


    I just love taking pictures I guess the whole question started because I know what I need but what I would like to buy is a new lens. Any way thanks for the information I have been reading a lot of your other post I’m really loving this sight.
     
  10. pbisfun

    pbisfun TPF Noob!

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    I take very good portraits with what I have and know how to get the results I want. this is what I have so far a canon 50D two kit lenses (17-55mm, 55-250mm) I have two Moon lights with soft box, I all so have some clamp lights backdrops, skyport (remote trigger) I have a very old version of Photoshop don't use it much. Here are the things I'm looking at getting some things have changed from the first list.

    Canon 85mm 1.8
    Light meter
    Photoshop elements 8
    2 reflectors
    Collapsible backdrop (for off sight)
    New windows 7 OS for my PC (because Vista stinks)

    Or

    I can get a new canon 70-200mm f/2.8 none IS lens

    I was just curious what other people would do the question was not I don't know what I'm doing can you help me out.





     
  11. MACollum

    MACollum TPF Noob!

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    PS is PS, even if it's old. I learned on an old version. I only got CS4 because I'm a student and got a HUGE discount. If it were me (and it's not) I would concentrate on lenses and photo equipment, and not so much on software. Is your monitor calibrated? That would probably be a much better investment than a newer version of PS. If you must get a newer version of PS, definitely think about Elements. I have never used it but I can tell you that I hardly use any of the features of my version of PS. I would never have paid the $1000 it would have costed to get CS4 Extended had it not been for the discount that dropped the cost to about a third. And if you're not getting an L lens, you might as well go for the other stuff that would help. HTH.
     

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