вторник, 19 юли 2016 г.

Lesson 2 - Shooting on a budget

If you love photography but you cannot afford to buy all the gear,  here is something that might help. I've tried most of the things so I will try to show in practice how some of the things work.
Image taken from http://addicted2success.com/success-advice/9-ways-you-can-make-money-online-with-photography/

I know you've been waiting for quite a while to get this but it's been a busy time. So I hope you like this one. 


Before we start - a disclaimer. 

If you are not prepared to invest in photography,  better find another hobby that speaks to you. It's not only money we're talking about - it's time, passion,  creativity. You can come up with amazing images using any gear,  it just takes some tweaking and more time to get the good results.



1. Keep your compact camera - cost 0€/£/$


What many people do after they buy their first DSLR is sell away the good old compact camera they have used before. My advice is - keep it!  Not only because it has served you well and doesn't deserve to be thrown away. You know how it functions and you know how to use it.
I will really try not to compare a compact camera and a DSLR but I can't help listing a few things. If you want to read the whole comparison - click here.

Even though the quality of compact camera shots cannot match the editing capacity of the ones produced by a DSLR, if you know what you're doing,  few would be able to tell the difference.  

Besides,  compact cameras (especially if they are equipped with good optical zoom) can be a good replacement for almost any lens you lack.  
One of my best images from Pisa - shot with a compact camera I still keep in my bag
A compact can give you the necessary zoom if you don't have a telephoto lens or it can give you the closeup you need to get that bee in shot without a macro lens. 
Compacts have one big advantage to DSLRs - well,  maybe except mirrorless cameras but judging by the amount of money they cost - no thanks - the size.  A compact is ideal if you need a video and don't have a tripod or if you need that amazing moment captured without drawing too much attention.

This wonderful view of some greenhouses was shot from a moving car - the compact enabled me to shoot handheld without needing that much firm and steady ground (because as you know roads are not always totally smooth) 
I managed to snap this street artist only because I used a compact and he didn't notice me.

Another shot from the compact - then toned on the computer
The best thing is that you don't need to pay a single coin for it - you already have it at your fingertips.  The only problem is that you'll need some time and patience to get the great results that would have taken you a few seconds with a dedicated lens.


2. Extenders and filters - cost around 200 €/£/$


You will need to pay a bit here - not much though. Extenders are those lovely things that make your kit lens a macro or (frankly I don't know what else but I'm sure that there are other options). 
As for filters - the biggest advantage is that they protect the lens from dust,  dirt,  water and - if you pay a bit more for a good quality one - from hits and falls.
One of my favourite images and actually a bestseller is shot with macro filters 
I almost always use this image as an illustration but it's just so good for this that I can't resist this time. Here the point is that it was really light around the waterfall - the ND 8 filter enabled me to use slow shutter speed - around 1/20 or less (can't remember right now) and so I achieved the blurry flowing water. Unfortunately, I didn't have a tripod so that's as slow as I could go.
A filter can transform the image and it's lightweight and cheap. You can,  of course add it in post-production but it's better to have it.


3. Colored and white paper ( and some colored clothing) - the ideal background for objects and food - cost around 50 €/£/$ (with some clothes included)


That one is shot on a blouse - I've never worn it, by the way, but it turned out to be perfect for object photography
Women are quite rich in clothes they have bought and never worn or worn only once and you can find white paper for printers in almost any house.  It may sound odd but these are perfect if you want to imitate a studio setting and you don't have the money to hire one or buy the expensive professional backgrounds.  
This one is taken on a wooden board 

Looks really nice, doesn't it - well, originally it is pijamas

Of course,  you'll need to tweak a corner or two on the computer but it would be worth it.  
Truth be told,  some of my best pictures are created with clothes for backdrop.


4. Use your house - cost 0€/£/$ 

You don't need a fancy studio to get amazing shots. Yes, you do some space but you already HAVE space - your home. No matter how big or small it is, you have a clean wall (or a big wardrobe), a window and a table. If you want to learn the basics of studio photography, that's all you need. After all, the hardest light to master is the sun. 

This one is made on a chair in the kitchen - all props coming directly from the kitchen - and using the only light available - the sun from the window



5. Ask friends for help - cost 0-10€/£/$ 

There's no need to do everything yourself. Tell others about your passion and they'll be more than willing to help. Props, space, advice about the best places to visit, even models - everyone can help with something. Most of them will do it even if you don't ask for help straight away. So don't be shy - it will be worth it. Besides, once you tell more people, you'll get more exposure. 

The girls on both images are colleagues of mine from the university - I asked them to make a photo shoot in the park and they were more than happy to come along. The umbrella belongs to one of them, by the way. So the only thing you need to do afterwards is to give the people some of the images - so that they help you out next time.

6. Borrow things - cost depends on how good a friend is the person and how you treat the thing. 

You want to try out that lens or you just need that reflector but you don't have them around? No problem if you know the right people - if you get into some Facebook groups you might find some people that are ahead of you and that are willing to help. You just have to ask - even if they turn you down, you would have tried.

If they give you the object, though, you'll have to treat it well and return it in the condition you got it.

These are not the only ways to improve your work without spending a lot of money. You know - when there's a passion, there's a way!