What's next for basic portrait photography setup $1000? (Nikon D90)

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by dezignx, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. dezignx

    dezignx TPF Noob!

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    Beginner of course......Would like to try and spend $1000 or less for starters....
    I have my Nikon D90, 18-105 kit lens, will be receiving the 50mm f1.4 G lens on Tuesday, Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, so what is next to buy for a basic (beginner) setup to take portraits (ON LOCATION)....I've been told to get this/that but I don't know what to actually search for if I don't know the name of it....If you name an item, please name the brand/correct product name of it so I would know what to search for.....I am new and some things are unfamiliar so I need to know the must haves that I will definitely need.

    So far I know
    Tripod
    Photoshop Elements
    Extra Battery
    Memory Cards
    SB-600


    Or whats a good starter lighting kit?
    Can I get any tripod or is there a certain type/brand?
    Do I need a wireless remote?
    What brand filter/flash-diffuser or whatever I need?
    Also, since I will be doing on location, do you think it is ok if I still get a backdrop kit?

    Anything else?

    I just want to make sure I have the basic setup I need to take practice shots to start off with.......

    I would like to make my list of what I have left to get so I can start ordering today or tomorrow....Any help is greatly appreciated....
     
  2. Bitter Jeweler

    Bitter Jeweler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Jumping head first into a photography business?
     
  3. thenikonguy

    thenikonguy TPF Noob!

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    sounds to me like you should work on learning what you have first before you jump into any sort of a business... once you start learning more, and reading, you will not have to ask what you need, you will know what you need..
     
  4. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

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    Depends...what kind of light are you looking for? Strobist type setup (using Speedlites) or studio type strobes?

    Alien Bees studio strobes are good for a beginner.
    You want a well made sturdy tripod that will hold your camera and lens securely. Bogen/Manfrotto is a good brand for a beginner to pick from.
    I find I use my wired remote more than my wireless one.
    Huh?
    If you don't mind watching it fly away.
    There is always something else.
     
  5. dezignx

    dezignx TPF Noob!

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    Why would I try and start a business when I barely know anything about it?
    Did I not say "I just want to make sure I have the basic setup I need to take practice shots to start off with......."

    I am not starting a business. I would like to have a good basic setup for portraits. I have friends & family and also my kids to practice on. Sorry to bother, but I didn't think it was a problem for wanting to get a basic or at least a half decent setup for practice (hobby) if I have the extra money to spend..the only way I will learn is if I practice(trial & error)....I am a graphic designer so maybe in years to come I could tie it to my graphic design business.....but the business side don't matter I just enjoy taking pictures in general as a hobby...

    I basically know a few things what I need, but I like to hear what others are using and have used since they have the experience or at least a little experience...some brand may be better than another brand

    @Samanax, I really appreciate your help. I keep hearing AlienBees is a good one for starters, definitely swaying that way. For the backdrop lol, I was thinking more like set it up inside the person house(well I'll just be practicing with family and friends so and on whoever else). and I was also referring to flash diffuser?
     
  6. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

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    My friends who do a lot of portrait work use large octo-boxes for their main/key light...they like the quality of light they produce.
     
  7. Sn00bies

    Sn00bies TPF Noob!

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    Oops! There goes half your budget :lol:
     
  8. Plato

    Plato TPF Noob!

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    You would be best advised not to buy anything else until you learn to use what you already have. You say that you're a beginner? Figure on a year before you so much as think of buying more photo gear. You should wait until you have enough of your own photographic knowledge so that you will have no need to post "What should I buy?" questions on a forum.

    Here's my pics. Can you tell me anything at all about the equipment that I used? If, as I expect, you're clueless, the "trial & error" technique that you suggested in your second post will be a disaster.

    Of course, it's your money. You should trash the D90 and buy an H3DII-50. Now, that's a camera that takes great pictures!
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
  9. StillStories

    StillStories TPF Noob!

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    I don't see any reason to be this condescending to OP. Although, it's possible that I'm too new here to accept people being unnecessarily pissy.
     
  10. Plato

    Plato TPF Noob!

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    If you're afraid that you won't like the answer, you shouldn't ask the question. I provided the OP with an honest answer. Consider it "tough love."
     
  11. thenikonguy

    thenikonguy TPF Noob!

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    if your looking for an on location portrait set up.. i would check out alienbees.com they have a few packages..

    if your looking to do portraits, I would recommend getting at least 2 lights.. 3 would be best.. but when your looking at the price of their lights, remember, you also need stands, power, and some sort of diffusion.. (like a light box) also, unless you have a nicely colored wall, I would get some sort of back drop Seamless paper is great.. will run you around 50 bucks per roll(white and or black are the usual) then you will also need a backdrop stand.. which will run you around 100 bucks..

    in my studio, I have black and a white seamless backdrops.. I also have a green screen.. incase someone wants a weird design on the backdrop.. but green screen is only good if you know how to do chroma key stuff in photoshop.. I didn't buy a backdrop stand.. I mounted them to my ceiling using copper piping.. it works great...I have 3 lights.. I use nikon sb 50's.. havent moved into continuous lighting yet.. soon though.. I also use Cactus triggers.. so I have a wireless flash trigger.. its not much, but it gives me good results.. I also just recently made a Beauty dish, which is really awesome for portraits..

    hope this has been helpful..
     
  12. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    OMG. Why are you people making this out as if its rocket science. I got my first dSLR (a Nikon D50) on a Thursday, and was rocking pictures (that I still show) on a Friday. Can we please diabuse ourselves of this tiring myth that understanding how a camera works is some mythical thing. It really isn't. Understanding the physics behind light and optics is tough; understanding the simply rules, and that aperture controls flash, and what the different metering modes are - this is childs play. Stop trying to puff the learning behind this up, so that you can validate your own knowledge.

    To the OP, you have pretty much what you need to take the picture; now you need to focus on lighting. Here's what I would recommend:

    Grab ONE LIGHT DVD by Zack Arias (you can buy it or find it "elsewhere" I'm sure). Your mind will be blown by what you can do with a single off camera lighting set up.

    If you can't afford the ONE LIGHT, grab the NIKON GUIDE TO CREATIVE LIGHTING. 30 bucks, and well worth it. It will demystify some of the ideas/techniques behind off-camera flash, as well as give you a leg up on what exactly you need.

    At minimum, while you learn, go to BHPhoto and buy this for 100 bucks: two light stands, two umbrella adapters, and two umbrellas. You really only need one for right now, but you might as well get the second one to have waiting in the wings. If however you want to go full tilt, pick up two SB-600's from Adorama for about 420, plus the 100 for the umbrella kit, and you're looking at 520.

    Now, if you want portable POWER, pick yourself up an Alienbee/Vagabond setup. The Vagabond is 300 bucks, and an AB800 is 280 bucks. So you're looking at around 600 bucks for the Alienbee setup, not including lightstand. Do NOT get the Alienbee without the Vagabond as the AB requires a power source. The AB is more powerful, but I would honestly start with the SB-600's as I can't see you needing the power of an Alienbee at this stage of the game.
     

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