Any photographer willing to help(multiple questions)!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by BrentGambrell, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. BrentGambrell macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2008
    Hi, I'm new to this forum and not so new to photography but new to the whole idea of actually going somewhere with it.

    I'm only 17 and I'm ready to begin my career. I know a lot of people say photography is one of the riskiest careers and I should keep it as a hobby. I know that once I begin, nothing will stand in my way. (my motivation)

    Anyway, this is what I needed help on.

    I'm new to photography(obviously), but I need help. I'm purchasing a Nikon D40 at the end of December. I've seen a lot of posts made about the Nikon D40 99.1% positive. Since I was 12, I played with Digital Compact cameras that were Nikon. I'm used to Nikon and I only trust Nikon.

    Question 1. Can anyone tell me what lens are compatible with the D40. I know that some of the Nikon/Nikkor (whatever) lenses won't work with the Nikon D40. Please explain and give me details =].

    Question 2. Since I'm new and I don't plan on making a lot of money as of right now, should I do the whole sell to stock photo websites. I know I'm pretty great at taking portraits and landscaping but I wonder if Stock Photo websites would really benefit an amateur.

    Question 3. I know I shouldn't be asking anyone this and I should only be asking myself but I have to share this day to day question. Will I eventually get bored with this. The reason I ask myself that is because I know I'll be using the D40 for a VERY long time, will I get bored with it? I'm flowing with creativity and I'm ready to unleash it into pictures but, will it last forever? Please, someone who shares the same question and experience please let me know.

    Question 4. I want to be Freelance for quite a while. What should I do? I don't want to go corporate until a little while from now, until I get somewhere in my 20's. Then I want to open my own indoor/outdoor type studio in California. I guess I'm just a small town country boy with big dreams. I know I can make it, I just need a little help a long the way.

    Anyway, I know this was a very long post. As my drama teacher says, "You are not very laconic, need to work on it" Haha.

    Thank you each and everyone who reads this!
    I know you guys are very welcoming and are very willing to help beginners.
    I can't wait to start posting here!
  2. ab2650 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2007
    Every lens Nikon has made since the mid-70's.... However, unless it's an "AF-S" lens, you will have to manually focus. The D40 lacks a camera-based motor to focus lenses. Since you're more serious about photography you should consider Nikon's 2nd tier bodies (D60/70/80/90) which include a motor for AF inside the camera.

    So the short answer really is: The D40 is fully compatible with AF-S lenses, and only partially compatible with all Nikon lenses.

    I'm a non-professional photographer, meaning my income doesn't come entirely from photography. I would suggest "selling your soul" and try to get some event gigs; Weddings, events, etc. If you do a great job it's really shocking how busy you can become.

    IMHO the D40 is a great little camera, but I think it's not quite up-to-snuff for being used in a professional fashion. The lack of the second (top) LCD makes it hard to adjust settings, the control dial is tuned more for an amateur with "easy settings." For this reason, I don't think of the D40 as a way to really express your creativity, but a tool to capture really good looking memories. Don't forget that you can get some really fabulous used/older gear for cheap. I use a D200 (after retiring a D1X and a D70) and it's perfect for my work. Lots of pro-minded features and configuration, lets me adjust everything quickly.

    My only suggestion is get some experience under your belt. It never hurts to take some classes in traditional (non-digital) photography from a local community or junior college. Do some "starter" gigs and take your camera everywhere. Photography is using your camera to express your vision. Besides the technique, art isn't really something you can learn other than by experience and growth. Good Luck!
  3. BrentGambrell thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2008
    Thank you for replying and giving me your insight.
    I think the D40 as of right now would be a great camera for me. It will be my first DSLR and it will be my first camera other than a compact digital camera. We'll see how it turns out. I'm not ready to pay for a D80 or above. I've checked all prices. One day I will get the D3.

    I also have another question I forgot to mention.
    Printing. I will be doing a lot of printing. I plan to be doing a lot of 2010 senior pictures. I was advised to just get them printed at wal*mart. I really wanted my own photo printer. I know it's a great hassle, but what would be best? Take out the transportation of the comment and give me the details about the printing.
  4. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    This is silly- the camera is a tool and there are many tools- not all good for every job and every manufacturer makes a range of products. I shoot Nikon, but I'm not blinded by a single company- I'll evaluate what's right for me each time I look at purchasing a new body *despite* thousands of dollars tied up in lenses. If you aim to be a professional, learn to think like a professional.

    Nikon publishes a lens compatibility section for each of their bodies, you should use it.

    Stock is a dying industry (How many of photos of the Statue of Liberty does the world need?) and microstock does nothing for photographers and everything for microstock agencies. There is no benefit for taking minimal profit for your work, and less benefit in conditioning yourself to do so. Learn to write and sell illustrated articles, do portraits, pet pictures, or anything that brings in real income from your work and you'll be much, much better off. Also, any stock site that's taking amateur submissions really won't help you grow, as they'll take most anything that's well exposed and won't give you constructive assistance.

    Will you run out of imagination? Will you be too inflexible to learn new things? Can you spend the time and effort necessary to learn to light scenes with multiple lights well? Can you imagine interesting things to photograph?

    Write a business plan, track your jobs, give yourself assignments, work against the plan-- it doesn't matter if it's sports, portraits, eBay shots for kids from school- treat it like a business and learn to budget and advertise accordingly. Never give anything away- never be the lowest bidder- both of those set low expectations that can take years to dig away from. It's easier to give a one-time discount from a high price than to repeatedly try to get more money from the same clients.
  5. Doylem macrumors 68040


    Dec 30, 2006
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    Despite what you may read on forums, professional photography isn't 'about' the camera. Get what you need (or what you can afford), then think pictures, pictures, pictures. I used a pair of Nikon FE film cameras for about 20 years, and didn't change them for the latest model because they had become so familiar to me that I really didn't have to think about the 'nuts and bolts'... just about the image.

    The camera manufacturers want to keep their customers lusting after the next model. Obsessing about cameras takes up time and energy. Don't play their game...

    Getting to know your equipment well shouldn't be boring; it should increase your creativity and productivity. Good luck with your new hobby (or profession)...

    I sell images through Alamy, an agency which treats pro and am the same... as long as they can reach the required quality threshold. And, no, Alamy don't give me - or any other contributor - any assistance, constructive or otherwise. The 'growing' is something we have to do for ourselves; the assumption is that stock photographers already know their craft pretty well.
  6. BrentGambrell thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2008
    Hm. Very assertive, yet very informative. The meaning behind my statement of "I only trust nikon" was because that's all I've had! I don't know of anything else. I know of a lot of cameras but specifications and etc. is rather different. I'm new, I'll learn either by advice or mistakes. Hopefully both.

    I live in a very small town with amateur photographers running around, and I myself am one to. There is a lot of competition. I not only want to express myself through my photographs but I want to give other people a chance to express themselves through my camera.
  7. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Hello Brent (making an assumption about the name)

    You have so many good questions....

    I have a couple of observations. I'm a pro-photographer, though now I mostly live on the "fine-art" side.

    If you can afford the Nikon D40 and some decent lenses, then start with that. You will find out the the expensive part of the camera system are the lenses. If/when you decide the D40 if no longer fitting your needs (and that will happen as Nikon continues innovate its cameras) you will still have the lenses that will fit the new Nikon. And the D40 will become your back-up camera.

    Another observation is that the only difference, technically, between a pro photographer and an amateur is whether or not they make their living at photography. Skill often makes no difference. I know several amateur photographers who can shoot circles 'round most pros (but have great non-photo jobs), and several pro photographers who are fantastic at sales and marketing, but couldn't shoot their way out of a wet paper bag. My point is this.... being a pro photographer means that you also have to be in business. Without access to figures, I would guess that 95% of pros are basically self-employed. So, get some business courses under your belt.

    Take some courses. There is a lot of "teach yourself" material out there, but there is nothing like learning from someone who is actually doing it.

    Get a job as an assistant to an established photographer. Most of the job is gopher-type stuff, but you have fabulous opportunities to watch and learn. Often, its your skills other than photography that will get you an assistant's job. Make sure you have a driver's license, perhaps some carpentry skills, electrical skills. When the photographer is in the middle of a big shoot with a dozen or more people waiting around, and then runs out of power sockets - the assistant who can have an extra power box up and running will have job security.

    Regarding Printing. That is one of the chores of being in business. You get to analyze the cost/benefits of sending stuff out vs printing in-house. There are equipment costs, supply costs, repair costs in-house to balance out vs the Walmart costs. Also, turn-around times need to be factored in. And, we've not even talked about tax advantages.

    Just jump in, start reading, look at and take lots of photos, and find some pros who have some time to work with you.

    Good luck, eh!
  8. BrentGambrell thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2008
    I actually did apply for a job at a local photography studio.
    I wasn't hired, even though the owner knows me. Competition is a big thing in this town(dealing with photography and basically everything else). Anyone who is going to interrupt your business or "steal" your costumers is a threat. It's quite ridiculous but I guess that's how it is everywhere. I actually want to stay in my location as for right now. As for the photographers that are in my town, they focus mainly on taking pictures of people and advertising it on myspace, or any form of advertising profiles and websites. I actually want to capture the beauty in these hills. Kentucky is known for a lot of negative "hillbilly" things. I'm not really wanting to change peoples mind, but I want them to focus on the beauty that won't be here forever. Blah, I'm weird.

    It's actually quite great to talk about photography. Absolutely none of my friends care for photography as with my family. My theatre teacher at school is a photographer but there is no time to bring up any photography questions or anything with her. It's fast paced, so it's great to have a place to escape to and talk about something you love with other people who love the same thing.

    I feel as though I am in the presence of a lot of great makers of art.
  9. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    I'm one of those people. Enough said on that point.

    Please look into at least Canon as well, if not Sony and Olympus too. The latter two will give you more bang for your buck. I shoot Nikon, I think it's the best system, but I also recognize that it's not the best system for everyone…

    Skip stock photos, if you want to shoot speculatively look into something that's more likely to produce prints (I'm thinking sports, which is my stomping ground).

    I've gotten bored at times... there are certain shoots that you "have" to do to make the bottom line in order to do the fun stuff. If you can be a photographer who enjoys the shoots that I'm lukewarm towards, then you'll be golden.

    Photography is best learned by apprenticeship. As others have suggested, try to get an apprenticeship with a full-time pro (or even a part-time pro). I know you applied to one place, but aren't there more?

    I wish you the best of luck, but... ummm... if you're so new to photography, how can you be so positive that you want to pursue it as your only career?
  10. BrentGambrell thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2008
    I know Nikon and Canon are one of the best of the best to purchase, if I'm mistaken please correct me.

    Sports are covered by our news paper or the owner of a studio in town. If you captured a photo of a sporting event and it was spectacular, it wouldn't matter. They would shoot you down. They want credit for all themselves.

    Despite the negative reviews over selling stock photos, I still want to give it a try. Even my mom said that is a waste, I still want to try.

    I know at times I will get to the point where I won't want to shoot someone or something but I'll have to if I want not only the money but the experience. I know each shoot will be a interesting experience. I know I'll learn something new every time.

    A local store here (wal*mart-that's all we have, ugh) has a photography studio, but to work there you have to be out of school and 18. And the job is already occupied by my brothers girlfriend.

    I'm no where near "new" to photography. I'm only new to making my pictures seen and actually taking this a giant leap forward.

    As of right now, the only experience I have is with my sisters camera. It isn't a DSLR it's only a full size digital canon. It's ok, but it's not great. I've practiced with that for a while and I've progressed.

    Thank You for your suggestions :)
  11. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    There are always more opportunities (and problems) in a larger community. I don't know your situation, obviously - so treat the following as an example. Is there any skill or ability that you can bring to this photography studio that they don't have. For instance..... if the owner doesn't have a lot of Photoshop experience, perhaps you could convince the owner that you have the skills necessary to restore old and damaged photographs. If people started to bring their old family photos into the shop, they would potentially be new customers needing photo services as well. Can you build webpages? A service club could get their annual meeting plus board members photographed, and have these photos added to the website, all in one transaction.

    Not so weird. And some fine photographs have come out of that part of the world. Someone else said it earlier. Think about selling the photographs with the stories to a magazine. Usually you need to "pitch" the idea to a publication. Start with a small local one. You won't get paid much (if anything) but their standards aren't so high. Prepare yourself for rejection letters, but you say your motivation is high! Once you get a few items into print you will have a portfolio that will help open doors to the bigger publications (the ones that pay something). As you look around at all those other photographers, you need to have something they don't have. Its not just vision - its "professionalism". And a professional has a portfolio of published work. So do what you can get some images published.

    I am lucky enough to live in a community that is crawling with photographers - over 1% are "serious amateurs" or professionals. Talk about competition! However, they are almost all very generous with their time and experience. And it is a great thing to be able to talk photography with your peers.

    If you are ever travelling to the west coast of Canada, drop me a PM.

  12. SayCheese macrumors 6502a

    Jun 14, 2007
    Thame, Oxfordshire, England
    I think that this is a great attitude and one that will stand you in good stead for the coming years. Trust me you will need motivation, you WILL have those weeks and even months when you have no work and thus no money. If you have no motivation then you may as well give up now. I've known people who take up photography as a career because it looks easy. They last about a year (if that) and then give up because of the lack of money.

    As a previous poster said, If you aim to be a professional, learn to think like one. Nikon may or may not be the best system for you. Be prepared to change and don't be afraid to think differently.

    Sorry never really got into Nikon. Had a D1 on hire for a couple of shoots a few years ago and just didn't get on with it.

    I would avoid stock websites as there is not an awful lot of cash in it unless you are submitting a huge amount of images to them.

    However I would find things going on in the local area and then go and take pictures of them. Carnivals, fetes all that sort of stuff. Then as soon as the pictures are on your computer and you know you have some good shots ring the local paper. Ask them if they are interested in the photos and then email them in. Get yourself a contact at the paper and build up a really good rapport with them. Tell them they can have the photos for free (you can start charging when you have a name for yourself) in exchange for a photo credit (a tag line under the photo that says "Picture by........). When the paper publish your shots and they will eventually if you keep submitting really good shots, buy the paper and then cut out the whole article. Put these into a portfolio and build that up. Add personal work to your portfolio. However make sure that your personal work is superb, if it's not quite right then bin it. This way when another assistants job comes up or someone wants to see some work by you before you they get you to do some pictures you can show them a good portfolio.

    As you say only you can answer this. Only you know if you will ever get bored. Some people are born to take photos, others aren't. Which are you?
    I would say that if you can get up in the morning and the first thing you think about is what are you going to photograph today and how can you make it stand out and be unique. How can you put your own personal slant on it and make it earth shatteringly brilliant, then you will get far. If however you get up and think "Uh, more pictures to shoot, I can't really be bothered today", then I would suggest that you are maybe not looking at the right profession.

    Refer to my answer to question 2.

    All in all, good luck. Take loads of photos and make it work for you. Be creative, be inspired and most of all have fun. If it ever turns from being enjoyable to being a chore, look at another career.
  13. BrentGambrell thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2008
    Photoshop/Re-touch is already done in studios. I've already looked. I don't use photoshop but I use Corel Paint Shop Pro XI. Although, I do know how to use photoshop fairly well.

    There aren't many opportunities for photographers here in my area. The mountains and color are the motivation for me.

    "Professionalism" is not used in my town. It's rather hilarious how photographers here act. Even 30-40 year old photographers show less maturity levels than a 15 year old girl!

    I want to capture MY Kentucky, where I'M from, and LEAVE.

    To: SayCheese

    I actually think letting a local news paper have the picture(s) for free in exchange for credit is a wonderful starter idea. It would also be a great way for me to build up a reputation.

    A portfolio is something I will begin the second UPS gets here with my camera!:p

    Thank You!
  14. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    It was an example.... you need to give them a reason to hire you. That reason is that they will make more money paying you. Otherwise you are just an expense. What that reason is, I don't know. You will need to find it. Lots of good advice above. I may not agree with all of it, but there is IMHO no bad advice offered. Best of luck.
  15. BrentGambrell thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2008
    Thank you! I appreciate everyones advice. Very Very encouraging words that will stay with me and help me progress my photography!
  16. djbahdow01 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2004
    Northeast, CT
    Go to school for business, minor in photography. Photography isn't just about the photo side, but how well you run your business as well.

    I went to school for Graphic Design, and picked up photography after I injured myself in sports. I have run with it and networked and made lots of photographer friends/clients around the country. I'd say one of the reasons the pro in your area didn't hire you was that you don't have a portfolio. In assisting, granted you will most likely just grabbing coffee, finishing edits, sending out client DVD/CDs. But in that one chance you get he/she is going to want to trust you have the creativity to get the shot.

    I worked full-time for a number of places not in my degree or photography for a few years. I picked up some little jobs here and there, and worked on my portfolio. After a while I sent my portfolio out to a few places and got picked up to freelance for them. I have been doing this for a few years and still working my way up on the chain.

    You really need to love what you are doing. As for prints, any place really will do. I would suggest not printing them on your own as it will cost more than going to a lab.

    I am doing photography full time for over a year now and have been enjoying it as much as it was when it was a hobby. I have traveled the country and will continue to do so as I love what I do.

    One more thing, DO NOT DO ANYTHING FOR FREE!
  17. BrentGambrell thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2008
    Thank you!
    I don't know how to do a portfolio but I will learn!
    From the overwhelming support and advice from this forum, it's boosted my motivation and self confidence even higher.
    I hope one day, I will get to work beside a few of you great photographers.
  18. NintendoChick macrumors regular

    Jun 30, 2008
    This is quite an interesting thread to follow, I recently chose to keep photography as a hobby :)

    I'm gust curious, but you said you have used a PnS for a number of years. Can I see some of your photos?
  19. BrentGambrell thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2008
    None of which included any "photography" pictures, such as: landscaping, portraits, & etc.

    I actually began with a tiny very old HP camera, possible in 2002, then after that it was Nikon all the way lol.
  20. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    as a designer i know little about the actual business of photography (how to art direct photo shoots and negotiating fees mostly) but i know a lot about making a living as a creative professional. and my advice is this:

    step 1) put aside all thoughts of how to make a living as a photographer.
    step 2) learn how to be an exceptional photographer.
    step 3) once you are an exceptional photographer, figure out a way to make a living at it.

    my point is, as someone who is a new photographer, you need to be good before you can make money at it. (and by "need" i mean should - there are exceptions to everything)

    should you freelance? yes. should you try to make money at it if you can? yes. but you should spend most (and by most i mean 90%) of your time just learning to be good. once you are good the money part will come easier.

    if i were you i would find whatever job i could that is easy and low stress that will cover my expenses and spend as much time as possible taking photos, going to classes, talking to other pros, learning any way you can. as mentioned above, an apprenticeship is extremely valuable. try and find a mentor. look at who lives near you who has work you like, email them, explain your story and see if they will let you tag along. do not expect to be paid for this.

    i think you have a good mindset and i have no doubt you can be successful, but your time now is better spent learning than selling.
  21. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040


    Apr 21, 2003
    washington dc
  22. BrentGambrell thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2008
    Once I get my camera that's all I will be doing is taking practice shots of anything of everything.
    I'm so excited to get it.
    I've wanted this camera for 2 years and I'm finally getting it.

    I'm going to apply for a job Wednesday. Nothing to do with photography, but at least I'll have my own income towards my camera etc.

    I don't have any recent ones. The only pictures I have are the ones I took of my sister with her canon. I'll post them.

    Once I get my Nikon D40 I will show everyone my pictures! I can't wait! EEK! lol.

    The pictures are rather blurry and of low quality, they are with her camera but it's my vision.

    Attached Files:

  23. 66217 Guest

    Jan 30, 2006
    Nice to see you have such high motivation. As with every relationship, things just keep better with time when you get a dSLR (and also, as in any relationship, your wallet gets emptier by the second:)).

    I've had my camera for a year and a half, and have learned much by self-dedication and some minor classes. Currently I'm also wanting to give a further step and do some money from the hobby, but I really don't know were to start. I'll try and contact a local magazine and offer my services for anything they might need, hopefully they'll want some help.

    As for Microstock, don't bother with it. You don't loose much by giving it a try, but don't invest much time.

    EDIT: You wallet gets emptier by the second when it is a hobby. Hopefully it won't be the case for you. ;)
  24. BrentGambrell thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2008
    Haha, that's understandable.
    I don't expect for me to reach a high reputation in the photography industry and be WONDERFUL within a day.

    But one day, I will expect to reach such greatness :)
  25. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    I think snberk103 has probably the most valuable piece of advice here but no one else has really said anything about it.

    It's absolutely true. I know a guy in my town who gets booked for over 200 weddings a year at $5k-$10k a pop after fees, prints, etc. But he is literally one of the worst photographers I've ever seen - all of his shots are barely above beginner level. Just about everyone could have hired Uncle Bob to shoot the wedding with his point-and-shoot and gotten about the same results, and saved a lot of money in the process. What allows this guy to run a multi-million-dollar-a-year business is that he has incredible business savvy, including a great advertising engine and a HUGE professional network of other vendors, venues, wedding planners, etc.

    Anyway, just want to add in my own 2 cents: if your only plan for getting money when you leave the house is to be a photographer, you're setting yourself up for disaster. Almost all of the successful professionals I know had other full time jobs to support themselves while spending their free time learning and polishing their photography. It can take years and years of hard work for little to no pay to make it in photography. And again, in the end, it doesn't have as much to do with your photography skills as it does your marketing skills and business savvy. My advice: learn what it takes to run your own business.

    Finally, unless you're making huge numbers of prints in bulk, or have a genuine NEED to have hard prints RIGHT AWAY, you will find that sending your prints off is SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than trying to do them yourself. I use Smugmug and I know they did a huge scientific study of all of the online photo developers involving thousands of observers and millions of photos. They settled on using for having the most consistently high quality for a variety of subjects. I can say that I've ordered tons of prints from there and have been very impressed with the cost and quality.

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