…here to learn and share photography and all that encompasses this art.

Going cheap…

March 03, 2011






you’ll figure it out soon enough


Let say you attend an event where there are other photographer, and these photographers have these high dollar camera’s with their magnesium bodied lenses.  You get home and that’s all you can think about…that really expensive lens.  Well, we all go through the same dilemma with lenses, accessories and even camera bodies.  It is nice to have the best, but the best may not necessarily give you the best image.

A good image comes from behind the camera.  I know this because I have seen some fantastic shots taken with a point and shoot, and I am sure there are many great images taken with even a smartphone.  If you think about it, there are many great photographers that have taken images which will be in our history books for years to come.  Those images were taken with a much less sophisticated camera.  The cameras that we shoot with today are many times better than any camera had 10-20 years ago, and the famous image takers of the past were able to produce monumental shots.

So practice with you have, and get use to the functions of your gear.  At the same time, study what it takes to create a good/great image.  Look at other images taken by other photographers.  It may inspire you to create a similar shot.   There may be time when what you have does not allow you to do the creative things that you require.  At that time, it may be a calling to upgrade.  Until then, do your best to compose your image, utilize the available lighting and dial in the settings to get a great image in camera.

As for accessories, I personally love to make things.  One, it save on the $$$$ and two, there is a sense of accomplishment.  One of my first DIY projects was a softbox for my Sunpak flash.  There were many websites that showed how to make these…from small ones, to large 4 x 4 boxes on a stand.  My box was a little guy that fit over the flash head.  It was constructed with some left over cardboard, lined with foil and taped together.  For the diffuser, I originally used a old, ratty t-shirt.  Then I went out and bought a piece of muslin that was whopping $1…or less (because I bought a couple yards of this stuff, about $5).  The next step is for me to purchase some plastic sheets like ABS and glue them, creating a much sturdier softbox.

Below is a shot I took of these opaque figurines.  I lit them with my diffused flash from behind, making them glow.  Colored gels would have been cool too, but unfortunately, I didn’t have any nor did I think about it…darn!

Not only am I cheap, but I am on a budget as I do have a family to feed.  So, when it came down to taking the flash off the camera, I went with the Cowboy Studios’ transmitter and receiver.  For the fraction of the cost of the high dollar TX/RX systems, this has worked great!  It allowed me to light my subjects in ways that I would not if the flash were stuck on the hot shoe (as with the figurines above).

I do watch the bottom line (or try to) as should any individual or business.  It is very easy to over extend especially when it comes to photography equipment.

Find out what you like to shoot and gear up for those types of shoots.  If you primarily shoot sports from the stands, then a macro/micro lens may not be necessary.  If there is a need for accessories to try, it may be best to rent online or from your local camera house.  And truly, it can also save from inventorying items that are used on rare occasions.


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