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Photography Question 
Jerrica Dalton

A Beginner Looking for Answers

I have always loved photography as my hobby, and now I want to turn it into a business. I know that I need to play around before I start a busniess. I have 2 small children so they can be my ginny pigs=-)! Anyway I have a Rebel Ti, but my question is... I am going to do portraits so should I stick with my 35mm, or go to a medium format camera? I will probably start with pictures outside only and then working my way inside. Any suggestion for a begginer would be greatly appreciated. I am having trouble finding good information.

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2/29/2004 7:58:59 PM

Jen Hernandez
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/11/2003
  Jerrica, I started off with the same camera! Don't feel like you have to go medium format just because it's there. The most important thing for you is to get great pictures. Fous on consistency. No matter what camera you have, all that matters is great results. There will always be better and more expensive equipment, but if you take great pictures, you will take great pictures with whatever you use. The Rebel Ti is a great camera, don't let yourself be intimidated by what the "experts" use. Some of their pictures aren't terribly spectacular! Know your camera and have fun with it. At first I was intimidated to do studio shots because the lighting aspect was made out to sound so difficult. Well it's not! You may be a beginner but you have fresh eyes and fresh ideas, just express yourself in your work and have fun with it.

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3/1/2004 10:44:15 AM

Pamela C.M Lammersen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/19/2004
  I like Jen's comments - I also would have to say concentrate on the camera you have. Good photography is not about who has the best equipment - use your imagination and you will be surprised what results you can get. As you know camera equip can be expensive so check out used first and go from there. Find a few basic poses etc that work well for you and stick to them untill you are comfortable and perfected them, then branch out from there.
Good luck - you are going to have tons of fun!

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3/1/2004 1:18:58 PM

Michael McCullough   In response,film choice is a really imortant factor in studio work,and lens and filter choice also IMHO will play a huge role in your finished product,and lets not kid ourselves,medium format is so so well suited to most studio work if you can afford the jump to it,Mamiya does make some TLR cameras that look to be well suited for the work you have in mind,with interchangeable lenses and can be had at a fairly reasonable price in the used marketplace allthe best!!!!

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3/3/2004 11:30:46 AM

Dale    Jerrica,

I came across the question that you posted regarding either using the 35 mm format for doing portraits or using medium format. I noticed that you posted this question nearly two years ago, but I will comment on the subject.

Both 35 mm and medium format have their respective places in taking pictures. If you are happy with the results you're getting with your Rebel, then 35 mm will suffice. However, if you are serious about making large portraits, then medium format would offer you this advantage. If I know that I won't be enlarging beyond 11"x14", then I will usually shoot with either a 35 mm Leica R8 or a Leica M7 rangefinder. On the other hand, if I think there is a remote chance that I may want to make a print larger than 11"x14", I will use a Rollei 6008 Integral 6x6 square medium format. With 35 mm, when you start to enlarge beyond 11"x14", grain begins to show up versus with a square medium format, grain doesn't become a problem until you go past a 30"x30" size print.

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3/19/2006 12:06:43 AM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  I agree with Michael and Dale. Also, while doing quality work isn't necessarily about having the best equipment, still, you need to try and match the format to the job. And, the camera itself isn't necessarily indicative of the kind of grain you'll get at higher magnifications. That's really more a factor of using fine grain emulsions suited to portrait work at least when you shoot with film.

You also want to have relatively good quality optics that provide sharp images, or at least be able to have sufficient light to have adequate depth of field on your subjects, especially when shooting head shots.

My own preference is the Hasselblad system which will likely be out of your budget at this point, but still there are some great deals to be had on used Hasselblad equipment and as many medium format SLR cameras, it allows you to build on the basic system. That includes a great series of lenses, film magazines, yes, even a digital back if you can afford about 5 grand.

Anyway, the larger the format you use, then the larger you can comfortably make prints, and the bigger the print, the larger the sale. In fact, a lot of guys with portrait studios only have large (really large) prints hanging in their reception areas just to encourage people to buy that size as opposed to 8x10 or 11x14 since there ain't a lot of money in that. Instead, you have to hike your shoot fees to compensate. See what I mean?
As an additional thought, you could buy a clean used crown graphic press camera that shoots 4x5 format and would allow you to use a polaroid back to check results. Say a 150 or 200mm lens and lensboard. Works great for portraits and will probably run you a lot less than other MF Slrs.

But before you go out and buy anything or even start marketing, you really ought to have put together a flexible, realistic business plan along with a budget for everything you can presently anticipate needing. According to the IRS, (among others) most small biz start-ups fail in 3 or less years because of poor planning and /or lack of start-up capitalization.

Take it light.

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3/19/2006 11:38:05 AM

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