Identify your needs.

Posted by Las Vegas Photoshoot Locations under
Identify your needs.

I want a 1DsIII, an H4D60, Profoto D1 Airs, everything holding my gear to be Manfrotto and Gitzo. I want an EF 70-200 2.8L IS II and 85mm 1.2. I want $6,000 parabolic umbrellas and other ridiculously expensive modifiers.

Do I need any of it? Not quite yet.

And you probably don't either.

Everything I listed above, and so much other gear is expensive, and for those who can use them to their potential, well worth it.

Do you need a better camera?
     At my skill level, will I see any practical difference between my 40D and a 1DsIII? Yes, but not as much as you'd think. As my skill increases, I'll reach the limitations of my current equipment, and find upgrades that fit my new needs. As it stands now, for the kind of work I do, my 40D is perfect, and does not limit me. I "upgraded" from a Canon XTi to the 40D, not necessarily for image quality, but simply because it 'felt better.' The IQ difference is marginal, mostly color depth when editing RAW, but the slightly larger, more solid body, thumbwheel, and top LCD screen made it worth my while. Especially since I got it for such a great deal and ended up trading my XTi for about $2500 worth of lighting gear :D

Needing high ISO capabilities, faster FPS, full frame for shallower DOF, more MP for larger printing, and other factors necessitates upgrades.

Do you need that lens?
     f/2.8 zooms are fantastic, crisp, great contrast and color, and fast. With the fantastic progress in low light capabilities of DSLR bodies, sometimes it's possible to get the image by bumping the ISO a notch. Five or six years ago, to get a clean image indoors at a sporting event, wedding, or such, a photographer NEEDED to have the speed. ISO 400 was as high as some dared go to keep the image quality they needed, and f/2.8 meant they still had to shoot at 1/30. They NEEDED that lens. With cameras now having similar IQ at ISO 3200 as those older cameras had at 400. Photographers can get similar quality at 1/250, or f/8, or a middle ground of f/5.6 and 1/125. With current consumer lenses you're now capable of producing a similarly exposed image under the same lighting situations. Note that I didn't say "capable of producing images as good." The more expensive lenses will allow you to shoot shallower DOF, better autofocus, better color rendition, allow you to step down to get sharper images. For those who need them, they're fantastic, but identify your specific needs, and weigh your options.

Do you need those lights?
    I've got two light sets. Three studio strobes 750ws and 320ws as well as a 6 speedlite portable location kit. I started out with the speedlites, $40 Vivitar 285s that I got at goodwill. As I progressed, I needed more power, faster recharge, and better sync options, and invested a few bucks into getting 2 YongNuo YN560s and after that, 4 more YN460IIs (all for under $350) Sometimes, though, I found I had needs that the speedlites could not fulfill. Faster recharge, more power, larger selection of modifiers. I lucked out and traded an old DSLR I no longer used for a fantastic light kit with tons of bells and whistles. Overall, all my needs are met with both kits, power and specificity when I need it, and portability and utility when need requires. Do you need power? Portability? super fast T1 times? specific modifiers? Kidnap friends' lights, rent a studio, see what they have to offer, and separate your needs from wants.

Lastly, do you need those modifiers?
     This is where I personally have the least flexibility. If you need a beauty dish for a specific look, an umbrella will not do. A gridded softbox will not do when you need a shoot-through umbrella. Modifiers all have specific uses and utility, and are usually a worthwhile investment. Start off with the basics, convertible umbrellas and a softbox or two, and build up specific pieces as the need arises.

Being perpetually broke helps me curb me giving into my wants, and focusing on my needs. It's been a slow process, but I am mostly happy with what I have, and confident that I can perform under almost any situation that is asked of me. My needs, for the most part, are satisfied, and it's time to slowly invest in increasing quality.


On February 9, 2011 at 3:34 AM , Jack said...

Great blog
I joined micro stock agencies 6 years ago and slowly accumulated the equipment that I need from selling stock photography

On March 5, 2011 at 7:07 AM , Anonymous said...

who's the hot babe?

On March 11, 2011 at 8:15 PM , Anonymous said...


On March 12, 2011 at 12:05 AM , Photography on a Budget said...

The model is Isabel. Shot her ages ago in Georgia.