We’re Here - We’re Clear - We Don’t Need Anymore Gear! (How Money Can Hold You Back In Photography)
24. January 2013
Imagine two types of photographer; the first is a retiree. He has a dentists pension. He has always loved photography but now has a lot of time and money to throw at it. He buys his first DSLR and reads about how to understand and work with light. He takes some pictures of a willing girl off Model Mayhem in a rented studio. The pictures aren’t good. How can he fix it? A better lens? Better flash equipment and Bowens lights? Maybe pay an experienced and amazing model to pose for him so the content of the photos is better? But then his work just looks like the last guy she posed for in a rented studio. Maybe he can pay a more experienced photographer he likes the work of to give him tuition? But then his work just looks like that guys.
This is not (just) me being cynical. I’ve seen this a thouuussssannd times on ‘the scene’.
The second is a young retail assistant who works in the watch department of a department store. He likes looking at the makeup counters opposite and wonders how the ads they use get the models to look so perfect and beautiful. He has a ‘point and shoot’ and an interest in photography. He decides whether he can create an image like that himself. On his wage he could never afford to buy a DSLR but his interest and drive to do better than the beauty adds is calling him and he persuades a new model to pose for him.
He has no lighting equipment or studio so has to learn about the different colours of sunlight - how to reflect it off different surfaces to do what he wants. He uses lamps, car headlights, street lights, projectors, lavalamps to try and get the effect he wants. He cannot afford to pay a model at all so he needs to max all his people (and photoshop) skills to get THIS model to act and look like a supermodel. He has to get better models by improving his portfolio and doing it the long way. That model he has his eye on isn’t going to work with him with his current standard of work, he has to get better. When he DOES get to work with that model she’s agreed to work with him because she likes his work, so puts her ideas and creativity into the shoot as well.
He can’t afford to pay someone to give him tuition so he has to make it all up. Not supposed to shoot into the sun? Not supposed to do long exposure on a portrait? Not supposed to have too much grain? No one told this guy - he’s making all the mistakes but it looks good and he’s come up with something new - his own style.
By the time the second guys work starts to get recognition and he can afford the gear and is getting photography gigs he knows how to work with LIGHT not just ‘bowens lighting gear’ and meters. He can get rapport and expression out of a model and most importantly - he has his own, unique creative style.