Putting together a portfolio...what equip. should I invest in?

michelejo

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First off, I know this is open-ended, so thanks in advance! :hail:

I'm starting to work on putting together a portfolio to use in the beginnings of my professional career...i.e. to sometime in the future get paying clients based on what's in the portfolio. I have a DSLR purchase planned (now leaning torward the 20D, probably with the kit lens) but beyond that, I don't know where to start with basics for doing portraiture, as far as lighting, flash, backdrops(?), lenses, etc. There are just so many products out there and so much information--my head is spinning. I've been told that one good flash unit (like this http://www.alienbees.com/b800.html) and a softbox would be a good start.

I'll primarily be taking pictures of my kids, friends, our pets, etc. either outdoors (i.e. in the park), friends' homes or in the corner of our bonus room, where I'm likely be setting up a little studio area. :mrgreen: My focus is going to be children and maternity (the dh has designs on doing weddings and events but I am not so sure I could handle the stress!) so I want to plan for that.
 

LizM

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Check out a kit. I've used Novatron before and they worked great!

Not saying B&H is the best place to get them but look around there and you can get some ideas.http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...0&a=0&shs=&ci=2250&ac=&Submit.x=22&Submit.y=7
Basically, I'd say have a least three lights.

You can make your own backdrops and props are usually cheaper if you find sources other than made for photographer sources. For example, a nice grecian column for someone to lean on might run $100+ in a prop catalog but $35 in a hobby store.
 

Mike Jordan

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If you want some good suggestions about backgrounds and lighting, you might check out this place: SilverLake

They are a background and other equipment seller, but there is good information on backgrounds and lighting there and the owner is good about answering questions. Even if you don't buy his backgrounds or other equipment.

A couple of monolights and softboxes are a good suggestion. Alien Bees are popular as are Excaliburs and Photogenics. The Excaliburs give you a bit more for the buck, but all of the brands are excellent choices. The 20D is a good choice in cameras as well. I would look at different lens options though as the kit lens is usually not the best choice, but the ones they want to move faster.

Mike
 
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michelejo

michelejo

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DocFrankenstein said:
What clients are you going to have? What are you going to shoot?

Babies, children, pets, maternity, family portraits...that sort of thing. I'm still just as lost as when I originally posted this. All I know is I'm buying a 20D before Nov. 30th. I'm even lost on lenses now. :confused:
 

photoboy15

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The most important part of buying is research. I would recommend rent diffrent brands of light and monolights vs packs. See what you like more and what will work for you shooting style. You can add some of that rental price in to your price. Better to spend alittle money on rental that have to buy a new setup 6 months after you just bought one.
 

LizM

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michelejo said:
Babies, children, pets, maternity, family portraits...that sort of thing. I'm still just as lost as when I originally posted this. All I know is I'm buying a 20D before Nov. 30th. I'm even lost on lenses now. :confused:

Practice shooting in the space you will be using. What do you find yourself fuming that you don't have? Is it lighting, backgrounds, props, what? Look through the lens and find out what your mind sees vs what is really there. That should give you an idea of what your style/preferences need.

Oh, on the babies thing - I've found one of those bouncy seats makes a great poser if you shoot from a slightly elevated position. No more slouching babies looking like frogs because they are too young to sit up!

Best of luck to you!!!
 

PhotoB

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LizM said:
Oh, on the babies thing - I've found one of those bouncy seats makes a great poser if you shoot from a slightly elevated position. No more slouching babies looking like frogs because they are too young to sit up!

Or a bean bag. ;) Just put a blanket over top the same color as your backdrop (or your backdrop itself if it's long enough) and then "punch" a hole in the center of the bean bag with your fist for the baby to sit into. Try with a teddy bear first to see how it works.
 
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michelejo

michelejo

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RE. Renting:

I wlll look into this. I'm not aware of any place that rents locally but I'm near Phoenix so there's got to be something. Thanks!
 
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michelejo

michelejo

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LizM said:
Practice shooting in the space you will be using. What do you find yourself fuming that you don't have? Is it lighting, backgrounds, props, what? Look through the lens and find out what your mind sees vs what is really there. That should give you an idea of what your style/preferences need.

Oh, on the babies thing - I've found one of those bouncy seats makes a great poser if you shoot from a slightly elevated position. No more slouching babies looking like frogs because they are too young to sit up!

Best of luck to you!!!

LOL! What do I fume over not having...hmm...everything! LOL! OK, so I've got the new camera covered, at least, since I know which one I'm going to get. I don't have anything else, so I'm starting from scratch.

Good idea on the bouncy seat--and I *just* Freecycled our's! Darn!!
 
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michelejo

michelejo

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PhotoB said:
Or a bean bag. ;) Just put a blanket over top the same color as your backdrop (or your backdrop itself if it's long enough) and then "punch" a hole in the center of the bean bag with your fist for the baby to sit into. Try with a teddy bear first to see how it works.

Oooh, now why didn't I think of that? My older kids have a couple of really large ones (from Land's End, they were sold as "nests" I think) and they are great for propping the baby in (supervised, of course!). Great idea!
 

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