Most amateur photographers assume that they need to buy a ton of expensive gear in order to compete or reach the level of most professional photographers. I’m quite guilty of doing the same. As a matter of fact, I spent the first couple of years studying the work of photographers that I admired and I was quickly intimidated by their level of production. I didn’t think that I could possibly afford to invest in the type of equipment they used. It wasn’t uncommon to see these photographers use 3+ studio strobes on set, along with a seemingly endless list of modifiers they had access to. Their level of production just didn’t fit my personal budget at that time.
Move forward several years and I’ve finally acquired all the lighting and camera gear that I drooled over years ago. The irony is that, as I acquire more gear, I use less and less of it. Why? Well, I learned simplicity was important to me. The less of a production a photoshoot was, the more likely I was willing to do it again. I believe that in order to succeed as a photographer, you have to love the process of creating new imagery. If you don’t, it’ll quickly feel like work and you are less likely to do it again.
Simplicity is the foundation of my happiness as a photographer.
So what relevance does that have to this article? Well, as a fashion / commercial photographer your gear is ALWAYS scrutinized by your team. Not just photographers… These are wardrobe stylists, hair stylists, makeup artists, etc., who only know lighting gear based on the name brands they’ve seen on larger production sets. To them, owning name brand lighting isn’t about quality or efficiency, it’s about status. That boils my blood.
So, this got me thinking… could you create respectable commercial work on a shoe-string budget? Could you create respectable commercial work with contents that would fit in a backpack? (As an avid motorcycle rider, mobility is important to me) My short answer is, absolutely.
I recently teamed up with the staff at ExpoImaging to produce a couple of short videos using solely 2 speed lights and their modifiers, which easily fit into my camera bag. Over the next few weeks, these videos will be released sequentially on their YouTube channel. I will however, post them here on FStoppers as they are released.
Before you spend any more money investing in lighting gear, I’d recommend watching these videos and seeing just how much you can accomplish with very little equipment.
The image below was taken with: