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Complete Rookie needs advice
Old 04-03-2007, 09:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Ok, I've been reading this forum off-and-on for a few years now. When I joined back in 2004 I was an undergrad at ISU. Since then I have graduated, had a year of work experience, decided that I hadn't had enough of college, and have since returned to graduate school. For reasons beyond me I did not invest any time or money while I worked full time into photography, and I have only recently begun to re-immerse myself in it.

I have become insanely jealous of all of you for far too long and its time I get into the action once-and-for-all. I have little to no money ($200) and I figured who better to ask for advice then all of you. So . . . you are now me and you are interested in this insanely expensive thing we call photography, how do you spend your piddly sum?

Do you troll around ebay?

Visit pawn shops?

Donate plasma and wait till your bank account grows?

Add on top of that the whole film vs. digital conundrum. It would seem inherent that the choice would have to be film in this scenario, but things are not always as they appear.

And lighting setups? Grad school is expensive people! I'll have to make do with shop lights and cardboard wrapped in aluminum foil. [Can anyone say fire hazard?]

So, any suggestions for a wannabe with champagne tastes, but a bottled water budget?
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Re: Complete Rookie needs advice
Old 04-03-2007, 01:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If you want to end up with a little money being a photographer, start out with a lot of money.
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Re: Complete Rookie needs advice
Old 04-03-2007, 02:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Digital v Chemical: You should go digital.

As far as getting started, why not assist competent photographers, for free or for money? Learn fast, maybe make a few bucks. See how lighting is done, how models are styled and directed.

$200 isn't much money to get started with. Does your college have a photo dept? Does it have equipment to borrow? Studio to borrow? Should be plenty of potential models around any campus.
 
 
Re: Complete Rookie needs advice
Old 04-03-2007, 02:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. But a rabbit is pretty soft.

If you are for real, work hard and save. Buy the best you can at each level. No sense starting with Broncolor, go ahead and get some Alien Bees even if you have to buy them one at a time. Learn to use the tools you have, don't droll over what you don't have. Models don't like it anyway.

Volunteer to help other photographers but don't get in the way. Watch and learn. Take some photo classes as a relief from the grad school, but watch out, it is addictive.

My minimum requirement for a digital camera is that you must be able to use a sync cable to fire your flashes. That's it. Other than that, anything will make an image, so buy a $200 old camera and go for it. If I could find a point and shoot with an X-Sync, I would buy it.

But get real, you can''t be great with sh*t. It is a learning experience, and there is no magic bullet where suddenly you are a pro photog and girls are running up to you to take their clothes off.

The education is more important that the tools.
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Re: Complete Rookie needs advice
Old 04-03-2007, 04:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have had my eyes on an Alien Bees system (Beginner Bee AB800) for quite sometime. It seems to offer up a lot for almost any level of photog.

But about cameras, are there any make and/or model numbers you would suggest that would work best for what I'm looking for? I am almost completely lost when it comes to models, not so much with make, but I get lost very easily when it comes to models. For example, I know Nikon makes an excellent camera, but I couldn't tell you the difference between a D50 and a D100. Any ideas?
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Re: Complete Rookie needs advice
Old 04-03-2007, 05:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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$200.00.....Good Luck If I were you, I would check E-Bay and bid on a Digital SLR, concentrate on using available light till you can afford strobes.
Example: http://cgi.ebay.com/Canon-EOS-Digita...QQcmdZViewItem
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Re: Complete Rookie needs advice
Old 04-03-2007, 07:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If all you have is $200 ... you should go film. The learning curve will be steeper because you won't have the luxury of previewing your shots. As long as you are meticulous with writing down exposures and stuff, you should be ok.
You can get a pretty decent 35mm camera for cheap on E-bay. When I started photography last year (i am new too), I used a Canon AE-1 and shot slide film. Using slide is good when you are learning because you will see your mistakes more clearly. Using regular film, most labs will correct your improperly exposed frames to a certain degree, which can give you false confidence about your ability to expose correctly. Getting the film processed will be an expense but it is not the lump-sum amount needed to get a DSLR. If there is anyway to swing getting a DSLR... do it. You will learn faster.
I can't comment on the lighting because I myself am looking for my first set as well. I think it would be a better idea to invest in a good incident light meter instead, and rely on available light in the meantime.
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Film or digital...
Old 04-03-2007, 11:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The thing about shooting film is the continuing expense. I'll admit to not having bought any slide film in a few years, but when I did, it was $6 to $8 bucks a roll not including processing. You can spend a lot of money in a hurry shooting film...

However, $200 isn't going to go far in the digital camera world if you are thinking interchangeable lens. Point and shoot maybe... and there are photographers who do shoot with simple cameras. Terry Richardson, who shoots for some fashion magazines, uses simple point and shoot cameras.

I'd say hold off and build up some capital before buying a camera. Spend the time at the library learning about lighting, exposure, composition, etc... and you'll be ahead of the game.
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Re: Complete Rookie needs advice
Old 04-04-2007, 02:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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go with digital. Film is dead.
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Re: Complete Rookie needs advice
Old 04-04-2007, 06:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Film isn't like the old 8 track format, and is not going away anytime soon. It would be a mistake to dismiss film soley for the expense.

To the person who started this thread, I say buy whatever camera (film or digital) you can afford and just start taking pictures. That's the whole point, taking photos and learning to master composition and technique.
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