No, that’s not a typo. As you’ll soon discover, I am quite the verbose typist, or, put more bluntly, I am a rambler. The purpose of this post is to provide a background for a series of features that will be (hopefully) soon to follow. Within those posts, I will likely ramble: hence, this is the pre-ramble!
I was recently asked on a forum where I actively post my photos for advice on how to successfully photograph guns. The initial inquiry was a generic request for ‘tips or advice’, so after giving suggestions based around the fundamentals of photography, I asked for some specifics regarding what gear was being used and what the goal of the pictures was going to be. My followup was met with the mention of a famous firearms photographer, and complaints about the cost of the gear he uses, the amount of time he spends in post processing, and similar statements, all of which were implying the same thing:
You can’t take good photographs without spending $1,000 or more on your camera, $1,000 or more on your lenses, thousands on your lighting equipment, and hours upon hours in an expensive software suite to fix the mistakes you made with post-processing.
I’m not British, I just really wanted to use that exclamation. But back on topic; in my opinion this is completely false. Yes, specialized, expensive equipment will make your life easier, if you know how to use it. Sure there are some photos that may be very difficult or impossible to take without carefully controlling your lighting with studio strobes and other equipment. But are these prerequisites for taking decent pictures? Absolutely not.
Do you need an Aston Martin Vanquish to get to work?
Perhaps that was a poor example, because I would personally answer yes; but anecdotes aside, no. You do not, though you’d probably love to have one. With solid fundamentals, and a little creativity, you can work around many shortcomings in your equipment.
Don’t get me wrong here; the photographer that was brought up does downright stunning work and deserves every bit of the recognition he receives. Viewing his images played a large part in inspiring me to give all of this a try myself. I am in no way claiming that he shouldn’t be using the equipment he is, or that he’s wasting his time in post processing. I am simply trying to say that you don’t need thousands of dollars worth of gear to take a decent picture, and hope to provide evidence to support this.
I’m also not claiming that my images are masterpieces. I am now, and always will be, learning new things and hopefully improving. I have no formal training, and do not claim to be an expert, nor do I have any sort of qualification that deems me worthy of teaching others, besides this: I enjoy taking photos, think that I do an ‘OK’ job of it, and as a student for the past 21 years (excluding one year), I’m no stranger to working with a limited budget. I have learned a lot through both reading the experiences of others and my own trial and error, and would like to contribute back by sharing the knowledge I’ve accumulated.
With this in mind, welcome to my ‘Shooting on a Budget’ series. Posts with the “Budget” prefix will contain tips or how-to’s with regard to photographing with limited equipment resources, or may just share a photo I’ve taken that fits the “do more with less” mantra. Stay tuned. Some interesting experiments stemmed from that initial request for advice. I’m working on compiling some text to accompany a couple of demonstration images to explain my thought process and advice along with behind-the-scenes pictures to show exactly how I arrived where I did for the resulting photos and hope to have them posted soon.
If you have comments, criticism, or critique for any of my photos, don’t hesitate to let me know what I can do better!
Like what you see, but run out of content? You can head over to my Flickr page for more pictures that aren’t all posted here.