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Archive 2012 · Equipment choices for a growing photography business.
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Equipment choices for a growing photography business.

Greetings all, I've been a long time member here, but mostly lurking and enjoying the amazing things you all post.

My Fiance has recently gotten very serious about her photography business, and has started to attract some pretty steady business. Right now she's shooting with a Nikon D40 that we've had for a very long time, and I've decided if she's going to pursue it as a business, it's time to invest in some better equipment. I wanted to step her into it, so we've decided not to finance the purchase of a Mark iii (I shoot canon, and have more lenses than she has for Nikon), so we've been very torn between the 7D, and the Mark ii. Both have features we really like, but we are leaning towards the 7D right now due to price, and some feature considerations.

What I am wondering is if the lack of a full frame camera (IE the MKii/iii) will be detrimental to her business if we put off purchasing the MKiii for a year or two, in favor of making our investments in better quality lenses up front. I feel like we will get more mileage out of better glass than we would on springing for the extra money on the MKii, when she's primarily doing seniors, and outdoor portraits. She wants to get into weddings soon, and already has a few booked for next year (From happy engagement photo customers), so this is a consideration as well. We plan on being very careful to pick only lenses that will grow with her business, and that she'll be able to use for a long time to come.

I'm fairly out of my element so all the advice I can get the better!

Nov 28, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Edward Castro
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Equipment choices for a growing photography business.

Are you planning to buy new or used? I'm seeing used 5Dii almost reach prices of brand new 7D's. That's if you really want a 5Dii.

Nov 28, 2012 at 06:34 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Equipment choices for a growing photography business.

lenses and lights are a better consumer durable than a camera. I have a Canon 17-40 from 2004 that still shoots great, and somehow went up in value. I paid like 500 for it new, and now it sells for that or more used.

Cameras? I bought a 1D in 2004 for over 2k used. Now you can get it for under 500.

Buy the best lenses and lights for what you need to do, then get whatever camera fits the bill. I regularly shot industrial work, school portraits, and other imagery with a Rebel. It was my choice since my budget was limited and preferred to spend money on 3 lenses and a good flash and proper kit. I never regretted having to use a Rebel, as long as I had the best lenses available.

Buying last years camera model this year will save you a lot of money, and you could maintain a cycle of upgrading every few years without spending a lot.

But lenses? Buy now, use forever.

Nov 28, 2012 at 06:59 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Equipment choices for a growing photography business.

First you really have to decide on the system she likes. If she likes Nikon over Canon then she should stick with that. If she is earning money from it then she needs a second body. Being a Pro is not about the equipment at all. I know of a professional that still shoots film with an RB67 and pretty much does portraits only.


is her web and the print on the cover was shot with a p&s camera. I have seen a 40x30 print and it is wonderful. Her specialty is available light and Photoshop. Her minimum price for a session is around $2200 but that does include a wall portrait.

It is not about the equipment. You do however need to work on a Business plan and as she is just starting, now is the time to do that.

Nov 28, 2012 at 09:10 PM

Search in Used Dept. 

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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Equipment choices for a growing photography business.

The 7D will work for portraits, weddings and product assuming you know how to use it. You will need a slightly wider lens for most weddings than if you used the 5D2 or 3 to make up for the full frame difference. Image quality will be equal to your clients. I have shot a 60D, 5DII and 7D in one job and no one could tell the difference. I could in post processing due to the frame sizes but not because of the image quality.

The 60D does lack some helpful adjustments but is really good for video if you are looking at area.Fine as a back-up to the 7D or 5D2-3.I like a new back-up so I can count on it. I would never use a older one that might start to have issues.Older could be a 3rd back-up. In addition to the body you need a back-up lens just in case. I think lens die as much if not more than bodies. You can use a 24-70 Canon at $1200.00 as a main lens but have a Tamron 28-70 at $450.00 as a back-up to save cash. Good images but a tiny bit slower. For weddings extra flash is mandatory. I burned out 2 this last month. For flash the Canon is best but costly. I would say get 2 Canon and maybe one off brand that is cheap just in case plus it is good for groups when using off camera flash.
Because you will have to finance a depreciating business asset I would go the lower cost 7D. After she makes money then buy the 5DIII cash and keep 7D as back-up. Try not to get stuck having to hold onto a older camera that became less than reliable because you owe money on it. It is better to be able to sell the camera fast and upgrade when that day comes and it will if you do a lot of work.

Don't rush into weddings until you have everything you need ar you are asking for problems.

If she is intereted in Video then the 5DIII has major advantages. You will have to read up on it. For stills it does have better Low Light performance which helps in weddings. Dual card slots which to me is worthe the upgrade alone. Really nice knowing you have a back-up in case of card failure which the 5 and 5D don't have.

With that said membership in PPA will give you Errors and Omissions protection and some equipment insurance coverage. You will still need liability insurance to protect yourself and to shoot at some venues.

Don't forget to budget for Photoshop CS6. The newer versions do a lot more than the older and are worth the investment. Again assuming you know how to use the program to take your image to the next level or fix the must have image when something goes wrong. Trust me it will happen only when you are getting paid big money!

If you do want to include video then look at having 8+ GB on a Windows 64 system to use PS6 for Images or video. Any less it will be slow and if doing video will just be a total mess. Large still files also need a lot of RAM if you plan to work fast without screen locking up.

Nov 28, 2012 at 10:17 PM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Equipment choices for a growing photography business.

Thank you all so much! This is all very good advice!

We ended up getting the 7D, and so far we're extremely happy with it. First shoot with it on Sunday, will definitely let you guys know how it works out!
We ended up grabbing the 7D, the canon 50mm 1.4, and a 430EX II flash at the same time, need to pick up some extra batteries and a few more CF cards soon.

We're thinking the 24-70 2.8 will be one of the next big purchases, along with Photoshop CS6 (Using CS4 at the moment).

Thank you all so much!

Nov 30, 2012 at 04:18 AM
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Equipment choices for a growing photography business.

+1 on liability insurance

Dec 03, 2012 at 01:35 AM
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Equipment choices for a growing photography business.

axe9 wrote:
What I am wondering is if the lack of a full frame camera (IE the MKii/iii) will be detrimental to her business

I see you've already made your purchase decision but I have two thoughts:
When I eat out I don't ask the chef if he uses a gas or electric stove. My interest is the results, not the equipment or the process.

When I shot film full time I alternated between 35mm and med format. When I showed my wife 11x14 prints of the same subject/scene/lighting/exposure she could often (but not always) see a difference although she could not always tell me what the difference was or if she preferred one to the other. But, when I showed her just one or the other (no side-by-side) she never asked or cared. Likewise if your images are good, your lighting is good and your exposures are spot-on I do not believe your clients will know or care whether you're using one sensor size or another.

Henry Posner
B&H Photo-Video

Dec 12, 2012 at 06:33 PM

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