Hobby photographer to free photographer? A good or bad idea?
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Old 09-12-2011   #1
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Default Hobby photographer to free photographer? A good or bad idea?

I have grown up using my dads film, slr. Finally, after years of waiting I was able to afford a dslr. I bought a Nikon d3000. My husband is tired of being my muse. I have no friends or relatives where we live. I am considering doing portraits for fun. As well as for free. I have a Nikon 50mm lens f1.4 and the kit lens. I know my camera inside and out. I can take the popular “bokeh” style photos. If I were to start taking portraits, would it be wise to invest in an aftermarket flash? I personally prefer natural light. Is the 50mm lens adequate ? I posted an ad in the free section of craigslist to see if there was any interest, and I got a overwhelming amount of responses.

Any advice? Should I jump in, or cautiously continue to shoot the hubby and pray for a baby?

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Old 09-12-2011   #2
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Default Re: Hobby photographer to free photographer? A good or bad idea?

You know your camera, can produce nice bokeh but do you know lighting? You can only shoot with available light for so long before you'll realize that you really want to create and control your light.

You should look into buying some flash lighting that works well with modifiers such as soft boxes and umbrellas and that has modeling lights so you can see what you are doing. The cheap and popular route for this type of lighting is Alien Bees. Google and check them out.

You can shoot a few sessions for free to develop a portfolio then you need to be charging for your time. If you don't place a value on your work there's no reason to expect other people to value it.

You also might want to wait until after you've had that baby before you shoot your husband.
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Old 09-12-2011   #3
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Default Re: Hobby photographer to free photographer? A good or bad idea?

lol!!

Thanks for the feedback Brooks. I have thought about adventuring into reflectors, and a more powerful flash. Something like Promaster 2500EDF TTL Flash or one that can work as off camera flash.

Not going to lie, I'm a little intimated by the professional lighting, . Thanks for sharing the website. It does seem reasonably priced. What resources did you use when learning light techniques?

Pardon my naivety but is it acceptable to call yourself a "photographer" without those resources. Is it ok for me to show up with my camera and my lenses? I would like to know honestly.

I will have to start charging to pay for my photography addiction. I already want a better camera. haha.
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Old 09-12-2011   #4
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Default Re: Hobby photographer to free photographer? A good or bad idea?

I am in the same boat. No friends or relatives where we live. Hubby wont pose for me but my two Shelties have no choice.
When I visited my daughter in Vancouver was my first attempt at people pics.
I was kind of thinking along the same line as yourself for practice.
Good luck and I hope it works out for ya.
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Old 09-12-2011   #5
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Originally Posted by mrsjrd View Post
Any advice? Should I jump in, or cautiously continue to shoot the hubby and pray for a baby
The only thing i would suggest is that while you might be fine with taking free pix in exchange for practice, that you offer prints at a nominal fee.

Sooner or later you may want to pick up more lens for other photog aspects, it may as well be your clients that pay for it.

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Old 09-12-2011   #6
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Default Re: Hobby photographer to free photographer? A good or bad idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooks View Post
You also might want to wait until after you've had that baby before you shoot your husband.
lol

I suspect she'll be wanting to shoot him shortly before giving birth.
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Old 09-12-2011   #7
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Default Re: Hobby photographer to free photographer? A good or bad idea?

I saw this new group http://photocamel.com/forum/photogra...happening.html Lots of knowledgeable photogs here. good luck. Brian
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Old 09-12-2011   #8
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Default Re: Hobby photographer to free photographer? A good or bad idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsjrd View Post
lol!!

Thanks for the feedback Brooks. I have thought about adventuring into reflectors, and a more powerful flash. Something like Promaster 2500EDF TTL Flash or one that can work as off camera flash.

Not going to lie, I'm a little intimated by the professional lighting, . Thanks for sharing the website. It does seem reasonably priced. What resources did you use when learning light techniques?

Pardon my naivety but is it acceptable to call yourself a "photographer" without those resources. Is it ok for me to show up with my camera and my lenses? I would like to know honestly.

I will have to start charging to pay for my photography addiction. I already want a better camera. haha.
I am mostly a natural light photographer, so yes, it's okay to show up with your camera and lens. But Brooks is right, you'll eventually want to learn more and how to create and control your own light.

I would suggest posting your portraits in the Portraits/People and Kids&Family sections of this forum and asking for feedback/critique. It's a fantastic way to learn.
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Old 09-12-2011   #9
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Default Re: Hobby photographer to free photographer? A good or bad idea?

As you have found out, if you offer images in exchange for posing you will be getting a lot of people coming to you who simply don't want to pay a professional photographer. I call it the Walmart mentality - cheap is better than quality even if it isn't very good.

Make it clear that you are a learner and that you are giving no guarantees of quality. You will both be investing time in the hope that you can take and deliver some satisfactory images, but again, NO GUARANTEES! Do get them to sign a good model release so that you can use any good images for your portfolio, etc.

Only agree to give your models the images that satisfy you. Personally I would give them the few best images on a CD in full resolution JPG format and let them pay for prints.

A good idea for you might be to look into any available Community Colleges. Many of them offer photography courses. That would give you access to a teacher, a studio, studio equipment, and some models.

Using paid models gets rid of a lot of problems. College students might be inexpensive models, and you don't have to agree to give them any images unless you want to. I wouldn't be surprised if you couldn't find some of them happy to model for something like $25/hour in front of the camera - dressing, makeup, and hair time not counted. Just be sure they have a valid ID proving they are at least 18 years old (take of photo of them holding this next to their face) and sign a good model release.

Before you buy any lights get yourself a medium to large reflector. You can use this with natural light and it will get you started learning about things like Key Light, Fill Light, and Lighting Ratios. A simple piece of white foam core works well but a collapsible reflector is nice for transport.

A white reflector will give you the softest fill light and is the one I recommend as the first reflector you buy. A silver reflector will give harsher fill light, i.e. the light from it is punchier and works better with men than women. A gold reflector will give your subjects a warmer skin tone. Gold is nice for pale Caucasians but not for heavily tanned Caucasians or other skin tones - it turns them yellow-orange.

Look at the site below. The images show you various classical portrait lighting setups and the results. These are done with artificial lights and the lighting is a bit harder than you would normally use so that the effects of the lighting setup will show better.

Portrait Lighting - Portriat lighting set-ups

You can do all the same lighting with natural light and a reflector. Rembrandt lighting is still the most popular, and Rembrandt did it with natural lighting.

Once you learn what you can do, and what you can't do with natural lighting and a simple reflector then you can think about buying studio lighting.
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Old 09-13-2011   #10
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Default Re: Hobby photographer to free photographer? A good or bad idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooks View Post

You also might want to wait until after you've had that baby before you shoot your husband.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stef@apl View Post
lol

I suspect she'll be wanting to shoot him shortly before giving birth.
Lol...good one stef.


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