How many times when you were growing up did your parents or grandparents tell you that you needed to get yourself in gear? If you are like me, well, I can’t even begin to count the times. I am notorious for being “fashionably late”, but when it comes to my business I am always ready to go.
When I tell someone for their business that they need to get in gear, I am talking about equipment. (Unless they are being fashionably late for shoots which is a big no-no!).
If you are starting out what gear do you really need? It can be overwhelming. Just go to Amazon.com and type in photography, lenses, or flash and you get so many hits that you can spend a week going through them all and never figure it out.
The first thing you need is a DSLR camera. (Obviously!). Now I know that there are people who call themselves photographers who use point and shoots and **gasp** their cell phones, but they aren’t. Don’t be fooled by them. If they show up with a point and shoot or their cell phone, you should just leave.
But should you spend the money on the 12 mp or 18 mp camera? Guess what? There’s not that big of a difference! If the cameras are otherwise comparable, you will get more details with the higher resolution. If you make 4×6 prints you can’t see a difference between a 12 megapixel and an 18 megapixel image. If you are wanting to enlarge the photo, the higher resolution one will allow you to enlarge it more. You might end up with a little more noise with the 12 megapixel, but other than that, not a whole lot of difference!
So, whether you are shooting with a Rebel Xsi or a Canon 5D Mark III, that is irrelevant in the beginning. Upgrading your camera is something you can save up and invest in after you learn your camera and have everything else you need. (I am not covering backdrops here either…those vary in price and if you are an on-location photographer you won’t need to invest in those anyway!)
But, let’s say you are starting out and your budget is limited, where do you start?
Just typing in the words “camera lens” on Amazon. com yielded 171,833 results!!! Overwhelming? Yes!
What lens do you really need? Well, that depends on your subject. If you are shooting
portraits and you are on a budget you probably aren’t going to jump right in and get the
85 mm 1.4 at $2000 or spend $2500 on the 70-200mm 2.8, are you? Nope.
You will need to think more budget friendly.
I am going to give you a few lenses that are good starting points!
(I shoot Canon, so just find the Nikon equivalent if that is what you shoot! )
The 28-135 f/5.5-5.6 lens is only $358.
Obviously, Photoshop or Lightroom. I know they are expensive, but this is an investment. You will use this as a tool to create and magnify your work. You will use it for prepping the images for print. Think of the camera as your paintbrush and the PS or Lightroom as your canvas to bring your art to life.
Yes, we all want the Speedlites, but they don’t fit into every budget. (A 430 EX for Canon will set you back about $499) but, here is a good lil’ flash and at $65.35 this Tongnuo YN-560 is way more economical than the Speedlite for someone just starting out. As you make money you can save and upgrade!
(pricing varies according to design, but some are as cheap as $10!)
I had this wonderful (I thought!) idea to every month pick a photographer that I love, ask them questions and spotlight their work. I asked a few photographers if they would be interested and am so excited that they said “Yes”. (I already have my photographers lined up for the next 3 months! Yay!)
One of the most wonderful things about being a photographer is meeting people. I have met some amazing people who are clients and some amazing people who are fellow photographers. I feel very honored to be in the company of some of these photographers.
For May, the photographer I am going to spotlight is very special to me. (She is almost like a daughter to me, in fact, I actually call her my daughter! lol). She is a 17 year old from Utah and she will blow you away with her wonderful photography. (And yes, you read that right, she is 17 and she is super amazing!). She is a natural talent and she has a great eye. She is still evolving and finding her way in the photography world, but I have no doubt that we all will be seeing some pretty great things from her. So without further delay, here is my May Photographer…..
My style is still kind of being developed, I’m not really sure how to describe it–but I love a mix of vintage and modern!
2. When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?
About a year ago… I used to want to be a lawyer, then towards the end of a beginning photography class, I realized that it was what I truly loved!
3. Where do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration through most everything–fashion, magazines, colors, movies, music, books, just anything around me!
4. What was the best photography advice anyone gave you?
Being told that with my passion no one could keep me from succeeding. I’ve had more than one person tell me I shouldn’t major in photography–because it isn’t a viable life choice. But because of people, like you Lori, that keep pushing me by telling me I’ve got talent, I refuse to give up!
5. Describe yourself (not your photography) in 3 words.
Loving, Passionate, Steadfast
6. If you could only take one single photograph to signify your life, what would it look like?
It would be one of the really busy photographs–lots of props, but with the model the main focus. I would have a model surrounded by things I love–cameras and things that signify who I am and what I love. It would be a mixture of vintage and modern, color, in style and my style–just something to display who I am.
7. Do you ever shoot self-portraits?
Not really, I find it kind of difficult with a DSLR. Plus, I’m really self conscious so I’m super harsh when taking my own photo.
8. What has been the biggest challenge you have had while following your dream of being a photographer? What has been the greatest reward of following your dream of being a photographer?
I think the biggest challenge has just been trying to fight off the naysayers. There’s always going to be that one person who says I can’t make a living off of photography, that I’m not that good, and a lot of other things that have been not nice. There are going to be professional photographers telling me I shouldn’t be presenting myself the way I am because I’m just a teenager. There are going to be people trying to belittle me every which way. It’s been challenging to deal with them with class–I have most definitely wanted to fight back, but I choose not to because I don’t like fights. I won’t avoid problems, but I will avoid a fight if at all possible.
Without a doubt, the greatest reward from photography for me, has been the boost it’s given me. It’s boosted my self confidence, my happiness, even my social skills! Because of photography I’ve made amazing friends, reconnected with old friends, and even learned who wasn’t a friend. Photography has helped shape my life!
9. When you are feeling uninspired what do you do to spark your creativity?
I step back, and don’t think about looking for inspiration. I take a break and just do other things, and before long I’m hit with an idea for a shoot!
10. If you were going to travel for a year and could only pack what would fit into 1 average sized backpack, what would you pack? (Food you will be getting along the way, so you don’t need to account for that!)
A few changes of clothes (sealed with those super sealer things that suck all the air out so that take up barely any space. My camera, a laptop, soap and other basic hygiene products, my cell phone of course! My memory foam pillow (also sealed in a magic bag), my wallet (with all it’s contents), annnd that’s probably all I can fit.
11. Are there any movies or books that have inspired your photography? If so, which ones?
Oh there are just so so many! I literally can’t even list them. I’m a total movie geek, I love books, and I’ve taken a little inspiration from nearly every single one!
12. If you could photograph one person, who would it be and why?
I would die if I could photograph Taylor Swift! She’s gorgeous, completely photogenic, I love the styling of all of her shoots, and she’s such an inspiring person. I just love her!
13. Have there been moments when you felt you should throw in the towel and find a new career? If so, what did you do to get yourself out of that place?
Honestly, no. In fact, I keep thinking that if photography doesn’t work out for me, I’m screwed, because photography is all I can think of doing!
14. If you were given $1000 would you spend it on photography equipment or going to a photography workshop? Why?
I would LOVE to attend a workshop, but I think I would get equipment. I don’t have the best equipment–used camera and lens, and that’s all I have as far as actual equipment. I love my camera, but I definitely need some newer stuff!
15. If you could pass along any advice to new photographers what would it be?
Don’t charge until you’re sure you’re ready. Taking portraits as a career is so much different than taking them of your friends. Sometimes people go into it before they know their camera or even what they’re getting into, and are far too overwhelmed! It’s best to be ready so that you won’t want to give up, then jump right into the thick of it all