Author Topic: Best Camera for an aspiring professional photographer?  (Read 3474 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Terek

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Best Camera for an aspiring professional photographer?
« on: February 02, 2014, 05:54:51 PM »
New here so hope this is the correct forum to post this :)

Anyway around five years ago I got a Canon Rebel camera (one of the starter cameras, the kit cost me like $600) and have been shooting for fun since then

Am thinking now of getting into professional photography, and am looking at the Canon EOS 5D Mark III - mostly because I've used Canon a lot so figured it's a natural choice. Other cameras I was looking at was the Nikon D800 and the Nikon D4 (though that may be too pricey?). For the Canon also I have a flash and some lenses that I could use with the 5D Mark III (Canon Lenses I got for Rebel should be compatible right?)

Anyway so my question is, is the Canon EOS 5D Mark III a good choice?

Lets say I want to focus on portraits, and events like weddings (outdoors and indoors) is that camera still a good choice? and which lenses should I use?

Anyway those are the questions for now will probably have more later, thanks for reading :)

Offline A Former Member

  • Authenticated Members
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4292
  • A Former Memeber
    • View Profile
Re: Best Camera for an aspiring professional photographer?
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2014, 04:30:38 AM »
Any EF-S lens like the rebel kit 18-55 (they say EF-s and have a white square on them) will NOT fit the 5DIII, all EF lenses will.

The 5DIII is a great all rounder and very suited to what you want to do, lenses on a reasonable budget I'd probably get 17-40L, 24-105IS and 35/2IS.

Andrew

Offline Todd Muskopf

  • Authenticated Members
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6890
    • View Profile
    • http://www.muskopf.org
Re: Best Camera for an aspiring professional photographer?
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2014, 08:28:12 AM »
Your camera does not make you a professional.  Making money makes you a professional.

Begin with what you have.  Do what you can.  Decide what you can't do with what you have.  Decide what you need in order to accomplish this.  Save up the monies made with your present gear.  Pay sales tax, estimated tax, insurance, etc.  When there is enough saved, you can add the new lens, body, lights, backdrops, bags, tripods, computers, software, flash brackets, books, seminars, dvds, lens cleaning equipment, telephones, tablets, video cameras, video software, bluetooth devices, vehicle branding, studio leasing, electricity, internet service, desks, filing cabinets, accounting services, gaffer tape, envelopes, cds, Wacom tablet, X keys, web sites, online marketing, direct mail, wedding shows, and all the other stuff which manages to pop up.

 8)

BTW-- If you want to make it, you have to be very careful about controlling expenses, especially in the beginning.  $3500 is a big chunk of money, especially for a body.  I'd look at buying better lenses and a second body before dropping $3500 on one piece of kit.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2014, 08:32:32 AM by Todd Muskopf »

Offline Jeff Behm

  • Authenticated Members
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12386
    • View Profile
    • http://www.behmphoto.com
Re: Best Camera for an aspiring professional photographer?
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2014, 09:07:55 AM »
Money spent on great glass is a much better investment than the latest body.  Todd's advice would be my own.  Yes, if you want to go pro, start with practicing discipline on where and how to spend your money; as in, taking money from what you earn and setting it aside, just as he suggests.  Being a pro photographer is about being in business more than it's about photography, so study business practices, learn how to sell and to determine pricing vs cost.  If you don't want to do these things, keep the day job and shoot for fun and artistic expression.  Seriously.

Offline Sam Levitan

  • Authenticated Members
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 79
    • View Profile
    • Sam Levitan Photography
Re: Best Camera for an aspiring professional photographer?
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2014, 09:11:27 AM »
I'll second everything that Todd said.  Investing in glass is a much better choice than dumping a bunch of cash into a body that will inevitably be yesterday's news tomorrow.

That said, getting a second body, even if it's just another Rebel, is probably a more "professional" purchase than purchasing a camera that appears more professional.  If photography is going to be your livelihood, you've got to have a backup.

When you do get to the point that it's time to upgrade, be sure to rent, borrow, try out, and touch the camera that you're thinking of buying.  Pretty much every camera on the market is really capable right now, but many of the differences between them are subtle: button placement, the way they feel in the hand, how easy the viewfinder is to see through, etc.  Details that you can't necessarily determine from reading a review, but will make a difference in the moment when you're shooting.

Also, consider your own style of shooting when making your purchasing decisions.  While fast glass is sexy, not every photographer has the kind of jobs that require a lot of low available light photography, or the extreme shallow depth of field may not be useful to them.  Also, there's not much reason to splurge on a camera like a D4 or a 1Dx to shoot things that don't really move very fast.  And while those top-end bodies are more rugged than the D800 or 5Dmk3 level of bodies, the smaller ones aren't exactly delicate flowers, so don't get too hung up on the ruggedness factor.

Keep in mind that you will also need to make sure to allocate funds towards ensuring that your computer is up to the task.  It's one thing to take your time on some family snapshots, but on deadline for a job, you want to be sure that you can deliver.  And have enough storage for all of your files - and BACKUPS.

Best of luck!

Offline Thomas Zimmerman

  • Authenticated Members
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 194
  • Flashing people since 2010.
    • View Profile
    • Crossroads Photography
Re: Best Camera for an aspiring professional photographer?
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2014, 01:06:36 PM »
The 5d MKIII is an awesome camera.

That said, before I would purchase any new camera I would ask myself a question.....Where does my current camera hold me back?  How can I use this new camera to improve my photography. 

Honestly, unless you can answer those 2 questions with specifics, you don't NEED a new camera.  As others have said part of being a successful professional photographer, especially in the beginning, is buying what you NEED, and not what you want. 

Offline Ed Shapiro

  • Authenticated Members
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 104
    • View Profile
Re: Best Camera for an aspiring professional photographer?
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2014, 03:54:28 PM »
You have already received great advice from all the pros who have pitched in to help you- I really can’t disagree with anything that has been said.  Most high end consumer and “professional” grade DSLR will do the job- the rest is a matter of taste, usage and budget. I don’t want to sound discouraging or anticlimactic here but when you say you want to go “professional” there are a number of issues that I suggest you consider before investing all kinds of money on new equipment.

Since you are planning to go into business; now is the time do a bit of introspection and be honest with yourself and try to determine if you are ready to go pro.  You need to asses your skill levels in such areas as camera handling and fast operation, exposure and contrast management, composition, formal posing and lighting, outdoor techniques, flash technique and you adeptness in capturing good photojournalistic imagery in fast paced wedding coverages. Portraiture and wedding photography both require extreme patience, people skills and a great deal of stick-to-itiveness.

Besides theses skill sets and personality traits, there is the issue of business savvy; your ability to create a viable business plan and carry it through. There is also the matter of sales promotion, assembling a portfolio and samples and good salesmanship with good sales tools. In the beginnings of a business you will be the janitor, chief cook and bottle washer, gofer, sales manager, chief photographer, computer operator, PR man, retoucher, clerk, financial officer, gofer and CEO! All wrapped up in one and this is not a joke!

You need to be a good networker as well.  Networking with other wedding vendors in your area can save quite a bit of money on advertising.  Any advertising that you do has to be very targeted; shotgun advertising is expensive and not very effective for start up businesses.

Too many young photographers somehow exempt themselves from some of the basics of entrepreneurship.  Job #1 is having a great, viable and desirable  product and service and striving for a quality level that is a cut above the rest. The business is highly competitive in two separate areas of the business spectrum.  On one side you have great photographers who really know their onions and on the other side there is a subculture of inapt wannabes who seem to be trying to pull the entire industry down to their level. It can be a rough ride!

If you feel that you are not ready or perhaps deficient in any of the aforementioned area; you time and money may be better spent on perusing some more education, mentorship, on-the-job experiences and home study material.

If you decide you are ready to begin you business, (equipment wise) the operative word is SAFETY!  It is a know fact that even the finest brand new equipment, fresh out of the box, can unceremoniously drop dead at the most inopportune times like right in the midst of a wedding ceremony.  SPARE EQUIPMENT IS MANDATORY!  Flash equipment is essential where good available light is non existent or where action stopping ability is required. Flash fill techniques must be studied and perfected for many cases where harsh sunlight is predominant in an outdoor scenario. 

Even if you purchase a new camera body and a compliment of lenses, never sell your existing camera- you best keep it for a spare, at least until you can afford to purchase a new one to match your main camera.  Look for lens compatibility between your bodies.  This way you can work with two and cameras and always have one working unit if a malfunction occurs.  The same goes for flash gear.

Again, pleas do not consider this as a discouraging post or a rant against new photographers emerging as professionals.  I have observed that over the years too many photographers have placed too much importance on equipment and not enough emphasis on building skill sets and gaining know how.  The fact is that in the hands of an experienced professional a Canon Rebel can be made to produce award wining portraits and masterful wedding albums. In the hands of an inapt or lazy photographer equipped even a Hasselblad DSLR will nave his bacon where the need for important skill sets arise.  All the Hasselblad will deliver; in this scenario, are sharper bad pictures with incredible enlargement potential!  Makes no sense!

Perhaps, only if you would like to; post a few images of your portrait work and let the gang here give you some feed back. Critiques are one of the most valuable learning tools in photography.

Sincerely, Ed   





   

   

 

 

   
Ed Shapiro
The Hintonburg Studio
Ottawa, Canada

Offline Morgan1

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
    • Puerto Vallarta Wedding
Re: Best Camera for an aspiring professional photographer?
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2014, 01:04:50 AM »
canon 5d mark 3 is best camera..

Offline Jenny Gavin-Wear

  • Authenticated Members
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1123
    • View Profile
    • Actor Headshot Photographer
Re: Best Camera for an aspiring professional photographer?
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2014, 05:07:26 PM »
New here so hope this is the correct forum to post this :)

Anyway around five years ago I got a Canon Rebel camera (one of the starter cameras, the kit cost me like $600) and have been shooting for fun since then

Am thinking now of getting into professional photography, and am looking at the Canon EOS 5D Mark III - mostly because I've used Canon a lot so figured it's a natural choice. Other cameras I was looking at was the Nikon D800 and the Nikon D4 (though that may be too pricey?). For the Canon also I have a flash and some lenses that I could use with the 5D Mark III (Canon Lenses I got for Rebel should be compatible right?)

Anyway so my question is, is the Canon EOS 5D Mark III a good choice?

Lets say I want to focus on portraits, and events like weddings (outdoors and indoors) is that camera still a good choice? and which lenses should I use?

Anyway those are the questions for now will probably have more later, thanks for reading :)

For what you are aiming to shoot, the 5D3 would be great. 

If you're looking to spend less, pick up a second hand 5D2, which I use myself.  It's still a fantastic camera.

For lenses the 24-105 IS L is a must, it's such a great all purpose lens and is my work horse.  I'd add a 70-200 F4 L IS to give yourself a bit of reach and the IS will make it much more versatile.  The 17-40L is a great lens, but I would say more of a landscapers choice, though I have used it occasionally for my production/stage/behind the scenes coverage.

For portraits you need the 70-200.  For just about everything else you'll need the 24-105.  I'd suggest starting with those two and then seeing how you feel about needing wide/longer/faster glass.

Beware the 70-200 2.8L.  It is an amazing lens, but it weighs twice as much as the F4.  You'll get better bokeh with the full frame anyway.

Oh, sling a 50mm 1.4 in your bag.  It's in expensive, good quality and it's a nice fast lens - and light to carry!  (The 50mm 1.8 is crap and the 50mm 1.2 is slow to focus.)

You've got great advice from the posters before me and bearing what they have said in mind, why not kick off with a 5D2 and a 24-105L and experiment a little before going nuts.

Do not underestimate how much money you will need for other set up costs and then marketing.  There is nothing worse than trying to run a cash starved business.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2014, 05:10:43 PM by Jenny Gavin-Wear »

Offline Amber Kirchner

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
    • PMA Photography
Re: Best Camera for an aspiring professional photographer?
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2015, 04:04:13 PM »
I started out shooting on a Canon T3i.  I recently upgraded to a 6D and am using my T3i as my backup.  The reason I made the switch was because I wanted a full frame camera and better low light capabilities for shooting events into the evening.  Ultimately, I plan on buying the 5D (whatever Mark they will be on when I am ready).  But, as it has been said above, it is a large purchase for someone starting a business/becoming a professional.  I took a look at what I wanted in a new camera and decided what I could reasonably afford.  I personally plan on investing in more lenses before buying a new camera body.

As for lenses, I currently have a 50mm f 1.2 and a 28 - 75mm f 2.8.  I find those are sufficient for my portrait photography work.  This weekend I went to a friends wedding a took my camera along just to get my feet wet.  I chatted with the photographer and they let me try out their 70 - 200 mm lens.  I can see how that would be extremely useful when shooting a wedding. 

As someone who recently started their own business, I would suggest researching the other things that you will need to be successful other than just a nice camera before making a decision.  Things like camera bags, a computer, a nice monitor, calibration systems, bags, filters, workshops, marketing, insurance, licensing, example products, and the list goes on.

Only you can make the decision of what will be best for you. 
Amber Kirchner
Family Photographer - Phoenix, AZ
www.pmaphotography.com

Offline Jeff Behm

  • Authenticated Members
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12386
    • View Profile
    • http://www.behmphoto.com
Re: Best Camera for an aspiring professional photographer?
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2015, 09:06:43 AM »
Only you can make the decision of what will be best for you.

That's only true if one knows what that "best for you" is.  Any person starting out new in any business hasn't got a sufficient clue, unless they've been educated or interned with a successful pro in their field and paid attention.  Without that, it means trial and error spending on things that may not be necessary.  One reason this forum exists is to allow aspiring pros to discuss these kinds of details, since so few photographers today have done the due diligence that used to prevail. 

Offline Darren Cassese

  • Authenticated Members
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7216
    • View Profile
    • http://www.fotoglyphics.com
Re: Best Camera for an aspiring professional photographer?
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2015, 09:20:31 AM »
  Any person starting out new in any business hasn't got a sufficient clue, unless they've been educated

True that.

So what's largely missing here above is true practical advice.  Why is the better glass more important?  Can he go with third party and why?  What is f/2.8 better for weddings than f/4?   Why is a 5DmIII more effective than a Rebel?  No mention of focus points above...   

Instead of investing in more glass, I snagged a deal on a point and shoot I intend to use at weddings for super long range closeups and close-focus detail shots that my existing thousands of dollars worth of equipment cannot produce for me. 

Knowing the "why" regarding the tools you select is just as important as mastering the tools you select.


------------------------------------------------------------------------
Think happy thoughts.  Think happy thoughts.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Baltimore, Maryland Wedding and Portrait Photographer

Offline Jeff Behm

  • Authenticated Members
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12386
    • View Profile
    • http://www.behmphoto.com
Re: Best Camera for an aspiring professional photographer?
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2015, 10:19:02 AM »
I agree with you, Darren, but the breadth, depth and detail of that information is so enormous and so varied, that the tailoring of it to the needs of each new individual who comes here and asks is more than any one of us has the time to answer as we run our own businesses.  I believe that we can, and usually do, give references to books or links to sites where the information can be found.

The real repository of that information already exists in books and on the net.   The problem isn't so much that we aren't giving the details, the problem is that too few want to research, read and experiment themselves so that they might internalize and really learn.  The real solution is for the person asking to wonder why we would say something, and as a result, google "why is the lens more important than the camera body" or at least ask it of us.  Lead a horse to water, so to speak.  Too many would rather ask someone to tell them the answer, as so often happens in school.  Don't think, don't learn;  ask someone for the answer.  It's the photographic realization of the old adage, "Give a man a fish and feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish, and feed him for a lifetime."

God help this nation when, somewhere down the road, big stuff needs fixed and no one....oh, Uh, never mind... already there.....
« Last Edit: February 15, 2015, 10:23:41 AM by Jeff Behm »

Offline Darren Cassese

  • Authenticated Members
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7216
    • View Profile
    • http://www.fotoglyphics.com
Re: Best Camera for an aspiring professional photographer?
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2015, 11:45:20 AM »
Don't think, don't learn;  ask someone for the answer. 

I agree with everything you say above.  Too often, this seems to be the case.

Although I would like to think that maybe what we see from questions such as these are only a sliver of the research they are doing.  At least that's how I'm trying to see it now. 

I was doing a Boudoir shoot yesterday that was very difficult - maternity Boudoir for a REAL woman who was not ashamed of her imperfections and a husband who was there encouraging her and clearly loved her in all her glory.  It was great in that sense.  But I suspect the challenges I went through with sets and lighting to bring out her best led the husband to feel it was relatively easy to do this kind of work.  He really got into it with posing ideas (which were good - he's a bit of a natural) and by the end of the shoot was reinforced in his feeling that he should get into photography.  Hence the reason for sharing this...he started the equipment conversation. 

There are certain aspects of what we do that lend itself to this behavior of wanting to jump in feet first in this business.  I'm not sure where our balance needs to lie.  I gave a high level of the equipment costs to "do it right" but also offered my services as instructor should he ever decide he wants to dabble in it.

In short, I agree that the art of apprenticeship is seemingly a lost art these days. 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Think happy thoughts.  Think happy thoughts.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Baltimore, Maryland Wedding and Portrait Photographer

Offline Jeff Behm

  • Authenticated Members
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12386
    • View Profile
    • http://www.behmphoto.com
Re: Best Camera for an aspiring professional photographer?
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2015, 02:25:34 PM »
Get on a Facebook forum for a sense of how many "photographers" are wandering around clueless and charging for that cluelessness.  It's astonishing and mind-numbing. (In answer to your hope that it's only a sliver)

Offline Darren Cassese

  • Authenticated Members
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7216
    • View Profile
    • http://www.fotoglyphics.com
Re: Best Camera for an aspiring professional photographer?
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2015, 04:28:33 PM »
Get on a Facebook forum for a sense of how many "photographers" are wandering around clueless and charging for that cluelessness.  It's astonishing and mind-numbing. (In answer to your hope that it's only a sliver)

Oh, I know they are a collective horde of awfulness but if I at least try to pretend that they are coming to me as part of a broader plan to learn properly, then it doesn't bother me as much as it usually does.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Think happy thoughts.  Think happy thoughts.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Baltimore, Maryland Wedding and Portrait Photographer