Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Photography On A Budget: Making It Work

So, as many of you know, or at least have seen, I have been getting more serious about my photography. Particularly towards portrait photography. Currently I am working with one of the lower end DSLR cameras on the market which at times can be hindering and frustrating but which also forces me to be more creative than a photographer who has the top of the line equipment at their finger tips. I would love to one day purchase a Nikon D800 or even a Nikon D4 or Canon 5D Mark but currently, those are not remotely within my budget. Or really my need. And right now, if I'm going to splurge on anything, it is going to be on my lenses. 

Why? Well easiest way to explain it to a non- photographer is that camera bodies are like iPhones. Every year or just about Nikon and Canon come out with new bodies that are often very similar to their existing counterparts but which out perform in functions, options, settings etc. So to go drop $2,000-$5,000 on a camera body when I (a.) don't have that kind of $ to blow through and (b.) haven't gotten to the point in my business yet where I am charging the kind of money or even have the need for a heftier camera. 

Lenses though, they're a whole different game. There might be some that I'd have to upgrade when I upgrade my camera down the road, but lenses hold their value, they're much better resale than a camera body and ultimately, lenses are what can make an image better in terms of crispness, clarity and depth of fields. So I have been considering for some time now purchasing a new lens. Originally I was just going to go spend all my Christmas and Birthday + a little from savings on one. 
But again, that is still a considerable purchase of $300 on the low end and $600 on the higher end in terms of quality and aperture. Me, being the sometimes overly thoughtful purchaser that I am, just couldn't bring myself to splurge for the $400 50mm 1.4G AF-S lens that I'd like to get for my camera and for my portrait photography. And isn't it ironic that the only 50mm 1.4 aperture lens that functions on my lower end camera body is the MOST EXPENSIVE one! 

The main reason I've hesitated is because again, I'm still early into this business. I want to pursue this and I am more than willing to invest in it, but personally, I feel I need to make sure I am booking clients regularly and creating a somewhat regular income before I'm going to drop that kind of cash. 

Enter my Poppy's collection of cameras and lenses. I chose to get a Nikon DSLR over a Canon because well I'd always worked with Nikon in 35mm film and about half the cameras I have from my Poppy are Nikons along with a lot of additional Nikkor  and Nikon compatible lenses. I assumed (wrongly) when I purchased my DSLR 4 years ago that I would easily be able to pop those lenses on my DSLR. Turns out, for the level of DSLR I purchased, that isn't so. But I keep going back and putting those lenses on my camera anyway, hoping that my camera will be able to read the lens and function with it. Today.. I had SUCCESS!

Ironically, it wasn't with any of my Nikkor lenses but with a 50mm Tamron lens. Its a whole new game with this lens since I have to do it all manually through a digital camera, but it's definitely something I am willing to conquer in order to have that 50mm lens I've so been wanting to add to my lens options for portraits. This is a high quality lens too... for free! It's all metal casing and made in Japan. It seems to only work well in bright light- like full sun- situations on my DSLR but I've only tried it out once outside so I could be wrong. I only shot about 10 shots on it today during a paid photo shoot but didn't want to take up too much of my client's time with a lens I didn't know for sure would give me a nice clear image. 

Here are some of the successful shots I got with it! These are straight from the camera with no editing done to the image except to add my watermark. I am sooooo excited!

So I may be on a budget in a field of play that normally requires $20,000 worth of equipment if you really want to make it, but I am making it work! I would love to eventually be able to be at the point with my business where I am making the money and booking the clients for it to be worth investing in a better camera body and adding more lenses to my repertoire but those things aren;t going to make my ability to capture an image that much better. They'll make the quality slightly better, but being a photographer isn't about just your equipment. Its about "Can you take a picture with interesting composition in your own back yard"" because if you can't, then you may want to reconsider it as a profession. Get creative! Don't let a need for equipment trap you in the "I have to buy this to be better" mentality. Do some research and be willing to fail a few times. You might just find a hidden treasure that saves you $400 and gives you the image capturing ability you wanted!

Thanks for being my Tamron 50mm lens test model Christina! More photos of this gorgeous friend of mine to follow on the blog this week! 

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