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Author Topic: Cost of Photography  (Read 13560 times)

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« on: May 26, 2011, 12:38 »
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I should have posted this over here.  Sorry.

How do you folks afford to do this.

Camera 1000+
Any lens 500+ (with a coupld of exceptions)
A stupid Flash 400+
Tripod 200+
Monopod 100+

I can't keep up, is there something I'm missing or is this just about right?  Is this really this cost prohibitive or am I just not finding the bargains that allow me to get started?
 
 
 
 


« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2011, 12:46 »
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It is not big deal, really. In my experience - working for a few agencies shooting fashion on mannequins and accessories (boring stuff) - after a month I can afford a basic pro camera with macro lens.

« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2011, 12:53 »
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I should have posted this over here.  Sorry.

How do you folks afford to do this.

Camera 1000+
Any lens 500+ (with a coupld of exceptions)
A stupid Flash 400+
Tripod 200+
Monopod 100+

I can't keep up, is there something I'm missing or is this just about right?  Is this really this cost prohibitive or am I just not finding the bargains that allow me to get started?
 

Well, you asked! Here is how: you start in 2005 with a Canon Powershot G2 and eventually (in a year or so) earn enough money to buy Nikon D200 with a 18-200 mm lens, then you don't like the quality of images with that lens and you sell it and you buy (in a year or so) a 17-55 mm one, 105 mm macro and 70-200mm one, then your D200 starts showing burnt out pixes from abuse and you sell it and get D300, and meanwhile you're replacing your homemade cardboard-and-foil reflectors with nice Lastolite ones and buying Nikon flashguns with softboxes for them, and then you realize you need a bigger resolution camera and you fork out on D3X and then you realize you don't have a proper space to shoot and you buy a loft just to use for your studio.... Easy!  ;D

« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2011, 12:59 »
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So, in other words.  I'm not missing anything other than a lot of time.  I've only been "really" trying to do this since Dec. of last year.  I've got a Canon T1i, 18-55, 75-300, and a 50mm, no flash (other than the built in one), a table top studio with 2 little lights, 1 tripod.  But if I can't sell some stock don't know how I'm going to be able to afford to buy anything else.

« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2011, 13:02 »
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Camera 1000+
Any lens 500+ (with a coupld of exceptions)
A stupid Flash 400+
Tripod 200+
Monopod 100+

First camera: D60 + 18-55 (300EUR)
Lens: 18-200 Sigma (200EUR)
Tripod: 30EUR
Monopod: never had one!

regarding strobe lighting I only got them one year and half later, I had some continuous lights for 100EUR

Second camera: D90 (600EUR - 250EUR (D60 sold) = 350EUR)
Lens: left the Sigma and got a mint 18-135 from ebay (130EUR) and new 50mm (100EUR)
Tripod: still the old "video"
Strobes: around 1100EUR
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 13:13 by luissantos84 »

« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2011, 13:17 »
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So, in other words.  I'm not missing anything other than a lot of time.  I've only been "really" trying to do this since Dec. of last year.  I've got a Canon T1i, 18-55, 75-300, and a 50mm, no flash (other than the built in one), a table top studio with 2 little lights, 1 tripod.  But if I can't sell some stock don't know how I'm going to be able to afford to buy anything else.

That's far from ideal but you do already have enough gear to make a lot of money from stock photos. What's harder to get than the gear is the technical skill to use it to its best advantage and the ideas that pay off.

You'll struggle to make money if you do table-top work shooting subjects that everybody has already done and not being up to the standard of the best of your competitors.

« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2011, 13:24 »
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Also for those of us that started 5 or 6 years ago when the competition wasn't so fierce it was pretty easy. Nowadays it is a lot more difficult to get established enough to make a lot of money.

« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2011, 13:27 »
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How do you folks afford to do this.

Camera 1000+
Any lens 500+ (with a coupld of exceptions)
A stupid Flash 400+
Tripod 200+
Monopod 100+

I can't keep up, is there something I'm missing or is this just about right?  Is this really this cost prohibitive or am I just not finding the bargains that allow me to get started? 

To get started at what?  Photography as a hobby?  If you're looking to enter the business of microstock, don't forget things like tax advisors, business insurance, computers, software, etc. etc.  etc.  So, yes, it does take a time and money investment.

« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2011, 13:28 »
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So, in other words.  I'm not missing anything other than a lot of time.  I've only been "really" trying to do this since Dec. of last year.  I've got a Canon T1i, 18-55, 75-300, and a 50mm, no flash (other than the built in one), a table top studio with 2 little lights, 1 tripod.  But if I can't sell some stock don't know how I'm going to be able to afford to buy anything else.

That's far from ideal but you do already have enough gear to make a lot of money from stock photos. What's harder to get than the gear is the technical skill to use it to its best advantage and the ideas that pay off.

You'll struggle to make money if you do table-top work shooting subjects that everybody has already done and not being up to the standard of the best of your competitors.


So bascially, stick with what I have for now and slowly pick up gear going forward?

« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2011, 13:31 »
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How do you folks afford to do this.

Camera 1000+
Any lens 500+ (with a coupld of exceptions)
A stupid Flash 400+
Tripod 200+
Monopod 100+

I can't keep up, is there something I'm missing or is this just about right?  Is this really this cost prohibitive or am I just not finding the bargains that allow me to get started? 

To get started at what?  Photography as a hobby?  If you're looking to enter the business of microstock, don't forget things like tax advisors, business insurance, computers, software, etc. etc.  etc.  So, yes, it does take a time and money investment.

I wasn't, I was really just talking about the equipment costs.  Seems like you need most of the equipment in order to produce anything that you could sell as microstock and every new piece of equipment is a stinking fortune.

« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2011, 13:41 »
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So, in other words.  I'm not missing anything other than a lot of time.  I've only been "really" trying to do this since Dec. of last year.  I've got a Canon T1i, 18-55, 75-300, and a 50mm, no flash (other than the built in one), a table top studio with 2 little lights, 1 tripod.  But if I can't sell some stock don't know how I'm going to be able to afford to buy anything else.

That's far from ideal but you do already have enough gear to make a lot of money from stock photos. What's harder to get than the gear is the technical skill to use it to its best advantage and the ideas that pay off.

You'll struggle to make money if you do table-top work shooting subjects that everybody has already done and not being up to the standard of the best of your competitors.


So bascially, stick with what I have for now and slowly pick up gear going forward?

Yes. Better gear would make things easier for you but you need to at least prove to yourself that you can make microstock work for you before you invest more. Once you get a better idea of what the potential is, you can decide where to put your cash (a basic lighting kit might be the best next step, as long as you are shooting RAW and correcting for CA using the Canon software).

A top photographer would produce a mountain of good selling shots with what you've got if he had to. The difference is that he would know the business and have a great grasp of lighting and composition. Those are the most important things.

I started to upgrade once I saw money flowing in but before I had made enough to cover what I had already bought. It does involve expense but it is a very modest investment for starting up your own business.

However, I might never have got anywhere if I had started now, it is a lot harder and you have to be working to a pretty professional standard just to get acceptances at the sites which matter (which are the top tier ones in the sidebar on the right).

« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2011, 13:49 »
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FYI: I have invested over 13,000$ in equipment for our photography bussiness.
And 80% of the stuff I got was second hand!

« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2011, 13:51 »
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FYI: I have invested over 13,000$ in equipment for our photography bussiness.
And 80% of the stuff I got was second hand!

I was looking at ebay stuff, but in a lot of cases it goes for more than the same piece new.  Thanks though that give me an idea of where it's going.

« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2011, 13:58 »
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now Yuri will enter and will say I have spent 300k EUR

seriously I see you havent noticed my comment (actually yesterday too) but like I have said and some on this topic you need to shoot more and get better and get pictures approved, your gear is more than enough

« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2011, 14:03 »
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I use Yongnuo flashes (55-75$ a piece) and they work remarkably well for me. I get them off ebay. Softboxes are around 100$ a piece (80x80cm versions) and umbrellas around 12$.

All that was bought with my stock income and I might switch to a new camera, but the 5d mk2 is still expensive for my taste. :)

lisafx

« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2011, 14:04 »
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It really depends on whether you are looking at this as a hobby to have some fun with and maybe sell a couple of pictures, or as a full on business.  

For a hobby, your equipment is enough.  Work on learning to use it the best you can.  As your skills grow, you will slowly add equipment that you need to take it to the next level.

If you are viewing this as a business and expect to see a substantial return in a short time, then you need to spend the big bucks to get your gear up to what the competition is using.  Even then, if your skills are not enough, you will have trouble making it, and that money will have been wasted.  

My suggestion is take it slow and work on improving your lighting and composition skills with what you have available.  

« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2011, 14:06 »
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now Yuri will enter and will say I have spent 300k EUR

seriously I see you havent noticed my comment (actually yesterday too) but like I have said and some on this topic you need to shoot more and get better and get pictures approved, your gear is more than enough

I might have missed a comment you made, but thanks.  I'm shooting every day, but mostly first thing in the morning and then some wildlife stuff in the afternoon.  Sun's not setting till 8:30 or so my time so I'm not getting too much at night.

helix7

« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2011, 14:19 »
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How do you folks afford to do this.

Camera 1000+
Any lens 500+ (with a coupld of exceptions)
A stupid Flash 400+
Tripod 200+
Monopod 100+

I'm a hobbyist photographer, so take this advice lightly. :)

I think you could actually spend less and still be just as well-equipped for microstock work. If your T1i cost a grand, you got ripped off. A lot of folks like to pair the T1i or T2i with the 50mm 1.8 lens and it performs exceptionally well, and costs just $99. You can cover the cost of that by selling the kit lens that came with your camera. I just ebayed my T2i kit lens for $125. You could get away with a cheaper lighting kit. For stock of course some good off-camera flash and lighting is ideal, but it's not an absolute requirement. I use a $12 tripod. Again, certainly not ideal but it works well enough. Do you really need a monopod? I'm just asking, I have no idea if a monopod would be considered "essential" equipment.

You can do a lot with inexpensive equipment. I think maybe you're looking at unnecessarily expensive stuff that would be nice to have and maybe very helpful for shooting stock images, but it's not required.

That said, I'd also consider getting the idea out of your head that you need to make money to buy new gear. If you are serious about turning this into a business, you may have to treat it like one and invest in the business before it's turning a profit. And if the sort of things you want to shoot can't be done with the gear you have, you may need to find another way to fund your business.

« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2011, 15:01 »
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You forgot to list Photoshop.  What's it running at these days, $700 maybe?

« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2011, 15:03 »
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Sorry probably should have been a little more specific.

No I paid 639 US for my T1i

The figures I was throwing out were ballparks, intended to be thought provoking not actual figures.

I have a cheap tripod as well and the table top studio was 50 US so again cheap.  The concern I'm having stems from critiques of my photos, using natural light being too dark, need fill, can't do that with built in flash need external light, etc, etc, etc. And a 430ex for my Canon is 400+ new, might get one on ebay for 350 or so, or is that not the cheapest way to go.  As I say, I hate the things I don't know.

I bought a Domino's Pizza franchise several years ago, and it was the things I didn't know that bankrupted me, I don't want to repeat that mistake again.  I have a full time job, but I'm not getting any younger and would really like to turn this into a real business but I'm not sure how I can afford the necessary equipment.  That's the point of this whole thread.  I make a pretty good living and I can't afford all of this equipment so I'm not sure how others can.  Are business loans involved, family trusts...

Some advise like, you don't really need that, but you can't live without this, but you don't have to buy and expense one you can buy this one really cheap to get you by till you can afford the good one... That kind of thing.

Sorry this is so long.

« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2011, 15:04 »
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You forgot to list Photoshop.  What's it running at these days, $700 maybe?

Yeah, I've got that.

« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2011, 15:06 »
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I bought a Domino's Pizza franchise several years ago, and it was the things I didn't know that bankrupted me, I don't want to repeat that mistake again.

Off topic, but isn't buying a franchise supposed to set you up with everything you need to be successful at it?  Locations, instructions, menus, etc.?

« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2011, 15:09 »
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I bought a Domino's Pizza franchise several years ago, and it was the things I didn't know that bankrupted me, I don't want to repeat that mistake again.

Off topic, but isn't buying a franchise supposed to set you up with everything you need to be successful at it?  Locations, instructions, menus, etc.?

Oh, now that's funny.  I was told after the fact that the home office looks at every new group of franchisees as "the next group of bankruptsys"  Yes, in theory that's true.  But it's the "clear the parking lot of snow yourself, cause a service is too expensive", "Idealy you need 2 insiders and 1 driver, for a day shift, but you can do it with 1 inside and 1 driver".  etc. etc. etc.

ShadySue

« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2011, 15:09 »
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I should have posted this over here.  Sorry.

How do you folks afford to do this.

Camera 1000+
Any lens 500+ (with a coupld of exceptions)
A stupid Flash 400+
Tripod 200+
Monopod 100+

I can't keep up, is there something I'm missing or is this just about right?  Is this really this cost prohibitive or am I just not finding the bargains that allow me to get started?
 

I hardly ever use my flashes, tripod or monopod, so basically you could start - and continue for years - with a camera and lens. A better lens has IS, so less use for the tripod. Of course the real, rather than 'perceived' need for the tripod depends what you're shooting. I obviously have to use it for still life type shots, but I do very few of these. IME, subject movement is much more of a problem than camera movement. YMMV.

lisafx

« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2011, 15:25 »
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Honestly Webbing, if you have a full time job and it supports you, this is not something you should be looking at to replace it.  The people who are making a living in microstock all either got in early and grew with the industry like Lise, Sean, Yuri, and some of us lesser named folks, or else were full-time photography pros and transitioned some of their work into micro, such as Jonathan Ross, Lagereek, Daniel LaFlor, etc.  

Even with constant work it will take several years to get your skills and your equipment up to where the current pros are.   The bubble is already bursting, due to fierce competition and some agency incompetence/greed.  By the time you are able to compete at today's quality level, it will have gotten that much harder, and the pie will be sliced that much thinner.  

Sorry to sound discouraging, but since you said yourself that the things that you didn't know were what hurt you, these are some things about the microstock industry that you should know:  The days of inexperienced people jumping in to learn on the job, and making it to living wage as a microstock pro are over.  Even some people who bought the hype and "quit their day job" a couple of years are now having to go out and find real jobs.

As I said in my last post, if you are looking at this as a hobby, it's a great way to learn photography and maybe pay for some of your gear in the process, but it isn't a gravy train.

On your gear question - you don't need a monopod.  For studio lighting, you can get a couple of clip-on 1000 watt halogen shop lights at Home Depot for very cheap.  White sheet is a perfectly acceptable backdrop.  For outdoors, a 5-in-1 reflector is great, both for adding reflected sunlight where you want it, and/or for blocking sunlight where you don't want it.    Of if you don't want to spring the $60 or so for the reflector, you can use white foam core from Michael's for a couple of bucks.

Hope that helps.  

Edited because the darned auto-fill changed all my F T's (meaning full-time) to FT :(
Anyway to turn this feature off?  It annoys the daylights out of me!
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 15:29 by lisafx »


 

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