What am I getting myself into?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by NoAverageJoe, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. NoAverageJoe macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2007
    #1
    I have always enjoyed taking pictures (when I'm on vacation, I'll typically take about 1,000 pictures) and am told I am pretty good at it, so I officially want to take up digital photography as a hobby. It will get me outside, and really helps to relax me, so I'm mostly getting serious about it for the mental health benefits :D

    I've always used pretty low to mid-range equipment and software (most recently a Canon PowerShot DS1000 and iPhoto) but am not averse to spending a little cash on something I will get a lot out of. (I do own a Mac, after all ;))

    So, I'm assuming I'll have to count on buying a good camera, somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000 (sound right?) and I'm sure I'll end up getting PhotoShop for my photo editing (about $1,800 for CS3), probably Aperture ($199), and miscellaneous relatively low up-front costs like a tripod and camera bag. All of that is expected, and something I can probably justify to my accountant (aka my wife).

    What I would like to know about is the recurring costs that I'm not anticipating. How much does this little hobby of yours add to your monthly expenses? I'm thinking photo paper and printer ink will probably be at the top of that list, but what else? Are there magazines I will almost surely subscribe to? Web sites that I will almost surely join? Other expenses?

    Thanks in advance for your help. Hopefully I'll be posting some really nice stuff over the coming months.

    Joe
     
  2. EvanLugh macrumors 68000

    EvanLugh

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Location:
    Developer land
    #2
    Good thread mate, I'm in the same position, just never done anything about it. Don't worry about the magazine expenses etc yet - I feel you're getting worried before you've started. :eek:
     
  3. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    #3
    Welcome to eating ramen noodles and not being able to pay the mortgage just to get that one lens you need...

    The good news is that you should be able to get your feet wet for fairly less money than you think.

    First off, magazines are really a thing of the past. Everything you ever wanted to know, in terms of reviews, techniques, and shopping is just a couple of clicks away.

    Photoshop is a nice expensive toy, and it costs about $600. I doubt you'd want to spend the $1800 for the entire suite (unless you're planning on using Illustrator, Flash, and InDesign). Also, while PS is certainly THE software to own, as a photographer, you should be able to do most everything in Photoshop Elements (for $80). If you want to be even cheaper, The GIMP is about as powerful as Photoshop as it is free- you might want to check it out before dropping the dough on either of Adobe's offerings.

    Printing is an interesting subject. While it certainly makes financial sense to be able to print your own prints, you really should consider the amount of printing you will be doing and the cost of ink vs having a place like mpix (or even Apple) print them for you. Since going digital in 2002, I really haven't printed all that much (maybe $100 worth), which is why I haven't bought that Epson 1900 I've had my eye on... your needs may vary.

    The equipment for photography is actually what you'll be spending your money on. Remember that the lenses is what you should be buying (rather than the box that takes the images). Figure out which system has the lenses you want and need. Most companies have equivalent lenses, with Nikon and Canon having the largest lineup. Spend your money on a decent f/2.8 constant zoom (in the 17-20 to 50-70 range), get a decent tripod (Bogen Manfrotto make some really nice ones), and a dedicated flash. Shoot for about 3 months, and then figure out what else you need/want. It's an expensive hobby, and at times it may be hard to explain to your spousal unit why it is you need that next lens, but once you get into it, it's awesome.
     
  4. NoAverageJoe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2007
    #4
    Hey Evan,

    Just getting my ducks in a row. Since I know my wife will ask, "how much is this going to cost us". And with the memory of the elephant she has, if my estimate is too low, I'll never hear the end of it. :eek:

    My plan for the time being is to become pretty good at this crazy hobby with the lower-end equipment I have. Once I impress her enough, I can say, "you know, it should would be good to have PhotoShop...and a new camera." Since I earn the money, she doesn't mind me spending it as long as I'm not wasting it.
     
  5. EvanLugh macrumors 68000

    EvanLugh

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Location:
    Developer land
    #5
    Right on, join the club!
    As the member above said, give Gimp or even GIMPShop a go before getting Photoshop.
     
  6. cutsman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2006
    #6
    For me, photography has become WAY more expensive than I had initially anticipated. I bought my D50 kit back in May 07, expecting to maybe buy another lens to accompany it. I have since spent about $2500-3000 on photography equipment (lenses, tripod, bag).

    I guess it somewhat depends on you and whether you are a victim of consumerism, in general. I think a lot of us love photography... but when it comes to buying photo gear, a lot of it comes down to "wanting" it rather than "needing" it. If you're the type of person (like me!) who just likes buying stuff... photography can be a very dangerous hobby (financially speaking, of course!).

    If you really get into photography, it's likely you will want to buy newer and better lenses and this is where the bulk of the cost lies. Ultimately, if photography is something you enjoy, I think it's a fair assumption you'll likely spend more than you're currently planning on spending.
     
  7. onomatopoeia macrumors 6502

    onomatopoeia

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2007
    #7
    No need to go all out with that CS3 purchase. While an $1800 CS3 suite may be nice for other things all you need is the $650 Photoshop CS3 for editing photos.
     
  8. EvanLugh macrumors 68000

    EvanLugh

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Location:
    Developer land
    #8
    Here is Gimpshop and when you get better you could purchase Photoshop (I already have Photoshop anywho).
    [​IMG]
     
  9. phiberglass macrumors 6502a

    phiberglass

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #9
    Worry about photoshop last, and focus on a camera body/lenses. Besides you can get photoshop pretty easily :D
     
  10. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #10
    Frankly, I don't think you really need Photoshop for editing. For composing, yes - but Aperture/Lightroom are amazing tools for archiving, metadata tagging, and lots of editing - sans layers in Photoshop.

    Save yourself the money!

    Also, you can download free trials of both.
     
  11. blackstone macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #11
    I agree! Aperture and Photoshop Elements can collectively handle about 99.99% of all the post-processing tasks you're likely to perform, unless you plan on doing some highly unusual manipulation. The real costs in photography come from buying the actual picture-taking equipment -- particularly lenses!
     
  12. NoAverageJoe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2007
    #12
    Excellent replies. Thanks guys.

    I've always had expensive hobbies. My video game hobby grew up into computers in general, and now that I've found my Mac, as "fanboy" is this sounds, I haven't had much need to feed that hobby, but I guess the digital photography bug is a natural extension of that.

    At any rate, I'm prepared for this to be an expensive hobby. I'll follow the advice I've gotten so far, and figure out what lenses I need (unfortunately, my interests range from macro photography, like bugs and flowers, to landscapes, to wildlife [I recently had a great opportunity for some whale photos, but alas, my current zoom wouldn't do the trick], so I figure that is at least 3 lenses right there). I'll steer away form Photoshop for now, and grab Gimp. If the need is really there for PhotoShop, then I'll figure out how to get it.

    Holy cow! I was just talking to a buddy that I've just barely managed to stay in touch with, and mentioned being bit by the photography bug. He told me, as luck would have it, he's now co-owner of a photography studio, and can get me whatever I need a wholesale. Whole different ballgame now :cool:

    He's also going to put me in touch with a couple of professional photographers. Should be a good source of information and influence.

    Thanks again, guys.
     
  13. EvanLugh macrumors 68000

    EvanLugh

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Location:
    Developer land
    #13
    Good luck and hope to see some good macro shots from you :)
    You've certainly got a better start than me, both money and trade wise!
     
  14. NoAverageJoe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2007
    #14
    Here's a happy little accident I took last week. I thought the flower was cool and as I was framing the picture, the bee paid me a visit. Scared me a bit, so the picture is slightly out of focus, but still not bad for a newbie :rolleyes:
     

    Attached Files:

  15. EvanLugh macrumors 68000

    EvanLugh

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Location:
    Developer land
    #15
    Scared by a bee? hawhaw.
    Nice shot, a bit of editing wouldn't go a miss though. If you wish, i'll hook you up with my Pixelmater license, I don't use it.
     
  16. Hmac macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    #16
    I wouldn't go right out and get Photoshop CS3, I'd get Photoshop Elements. I'd venture to say that there's the feature difference between the two represents stuff you will likely never need.
     
  17. NoAverageJoe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2007
    #17
    Yeah, but only because the bee just popped into the frame and appeared to be about a two feet tall :D
     
  18. tibbon macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    #18
    Photoshop elements, the Gimp, Gimpshop, or Pixelmator are more than enough for non-pro photographers
     
  19. bonafide macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    #19
    More questions...

    I'm a bit like the OP just starting to think about photography as a hobby. I'm working my wife to allow me purchase the DSLR camera I want. Although, I think I've already got her convinced since I told her I would use the camera to spend more time taking pictures of her and our baby boy :)

    Anyways... much like the OP I wasn't sure about the software required. I mean I have iPhoto 08 but I have no clue how to use the editing tools provided with the exception of "auto adjust." So do I need to move beyond iPhoto? Should I get Aperture? Can Photoshop Elements do everything Aperture can?

    Also, the whole photography thing. How do I learn to use the damn camera? Is there any good books for budding photographers? Anywhere to learn the secrets of ISO, aperture and shutter speed? I'm new to the world of DSLRs and I'd like to learn.

    One last thing I've been thinking about... The camera I'm considering purchasing is the new Canon Rebel XSi but I am completely undecided on the kit lens provided. For a new hobbyist is it necessary to go beyond the kit lens provided at the start? Does it really make that big of a difference? Will I notice the difference?


    Thanks...
     
  20. EvanLugh macrumors 68000

    EvanLugh

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Location:
    Developer land
    #20
    Congratulations on your baby. :eek:

    Anyhow, when you go to the shop, you ask the questions. Ask them to give you pros and cons. Ask the (hobbyist/pro) what you would like to know, it's what I'm doing later this week. If I'm buying the service or goods, I gotta know what to do :p

    As for references, google will be your best friend. :rolleyes:
     
  21. NoAverageJoe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2007
    #21
    I assume by "shop" you're referring to one that specializes in cameras, not someplace like Best Buy. While the guys at Best Buy may have some basic training in the cameras, I'm guessing they can't answer the in-depth questions that the likes of you, bonafide, and myself might want to ask.

    @bonafide, as for how to learn about digital photography, I'm hoping to find a class at a local university or community college. I took one way back when they had this stuff called "film". I don't remember a whole lot of what I learned, but one thing I do remember is that it's important to bring your camera, or one just like the one you intend to buy, to class. The professor/teacher usually loves photography, and loves to play with cameras, and would be very happy to show you how to do what s/he is teaching on your camera. Invaluable.

    Joe
     
  22. EvanLugh macrumors 68000

    EvanLugh

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Location:
    Developer land
    #22
    Of course, and if there were a Best Buy over here I still wouldn't pay a visit. You need to find the middle-aged camera shop. :rolleyes:
     
  23. bocomo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Location:
    New York
    #23
    i was just about to recommend a class...

    (i'm one of the excited professors-photo geek for sure!)

    workshops can be fun too
     
  24. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #24
    The full $1800 CS3 suit is mostly not usfull to a photographer. If you were laying out print material like magizines or building web sites then yes, you'd want it I'd suggest just "Photoshop CS3" for 1/3rd that price. But I think you would do fine with Adobe Photoshop Elenemtns 6.0 for $90. Later at any time you can upgrade to the full PS and $90 plus the upgrade price is actully less than buying PS CS3 right off. The user interface is close enough so you have nothing to loose by starting with Elements 6.0.

    A $1K budget for a camera is reasonable and gives you a lot of options. The thing to remember with SLRs is that you are buying a system. Pick a company first (usually Canon or Nikon) To many beiners focus on the SRL body to early. Don't the body is just one part in a system made up of a body and a few lenses and flash. $1K is enough t get you started but plan buying more "stuff"
     
  25. bonafide macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    #25
    Yes, I will be going to Vistek (www.vistek.ca) which specializes in the pro camera market.

    I thought about doing this but I live approximately 2 hours away from any major center. So I was hoping for something online or at least distance learning. I searched Indigio (like Amazon books for us Canadians) and found "The Digital Photography Book - Volume One & Two" by Scott Kelly. Apparently these books are highly reported on but I don't know if they walk you through the basics which is what I am hoping for. I further noticed several books that specialize in the specific camera model I am considering purchasing. Jeesh, I just don't know...
     

Share This Page