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BUDGET Photography Gear SHOOTOUT | ft. Robert Hall | Ep 2

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BUDGET Photography Gear

They say it's not the camera but the photographer that makes a great image. But what happens when experienced photographers are given entry-level or outdated gear? In a captivating photography gear shootout, we embarked on an exciting adventure to uncover the truth. I joined forces with the talented editorial photographer, Robert Hall, to put our skills to the test using inexpensive photography equipment that we wouldn't typically choose. In this blog, I'll take you through our journey and share the behind-the-scenes insights. Let's dive in!

Setting the Stage: Our location for the shoot was a captivating scene in Queens, New York—an enchanting shower. Don't worry; our model, Christina, didn't actually get wet. The aim was to demonstrate what we could achieve with lower entry-level gear. We preferred to use the term "less expensive" rather than "cheap" or "low gear" since it offers a more accessible option for many aspiring photographers.

Gear of Choice: To level the playing field, each of us would take turns photographing Christina with our entry-level gear that we wouldn't typically use. I opted for the Sony a6100, a camera I had only briefly used before. As a regular user of Sony's full-frame cameras, I anticipated a slight learning curve with this one.

For lighting, I brought along the Godox TT600, an affordable speed light that packs a punch. Its simplicity and remote control capabilities made it an ideal choice for this shootout. On the other hand, Robert chose the Canon M50 Mark II and had his secret weapon—a lens that promised to add a unique bokeh effect to the images.

Unveiling the Magic: With our gear in hand, we embarked on our creative journey. As I started shooting, I realized the lens on the Sony a6100 zoomed in the opposite direction than what I was accustomed to, leading to a few amusing moments. But I soon adapted and focused on finding good light and locations to set the stage for success.

One of the fascinating aspects of working with budget equipment or limited lighting is the reliance on natural light and the hunt for captivating locations. It was a reminder that dynamic photos can be created with minimal gear, leveraging the power of natural light.

Experimenting with Light and Water: To elevate the shoot further, we decided to incorporate flashes and additional lighting. We aimed to jazz up the scene with flashes and experimented with creative techniques. Robert's secret weapon, the Helios 44-2 lens, made a notable appearance, adding a moody and aesthetic touch to the images.

As we worked with water elements, the challenge of manually focusing and handling the gear simultaneously presented itself. Nevertheless, it was all part of the photographer's journey—capturing the perfect shot, always wanting just one more.

Finding Gems in Natural Light: Before venturing into additional lighting setups, we started by shooting some natural light portraits. The steamy window provided a playful and intriguing backdrop. To control the lighting, we introduced flashes, bouncing the light off reflectors to add depth to the images. We also experimented with different colors, gels, and lighting techniques to enhance the mood and visual impact.

Discovering the Favorites: After an exciting and creative day of shooting, we were eager to review the results. We took a moment to reflect on the experience and appreciate our sponsor, Adorama, which not only provides photography equipment but also offers a wealth of educational resources to photographers at all levels.

As we reviewed our photos, we realized that both of us followed a similar approach—starting with natural light and gradually expanding into more dynamic lighting setups. Despite the challenges of budget gear, we managed to capture remarkable images.



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Vanessa has been photographing weddings, events, portraits and lifestyle for over 20 years.

She's a Canon Explorer of Light, an honor given to only 5 photographers in the United States, and her work has been published by Yahoo! News, Grace Ormonde, Style Me Pretty, Rangefinder and more.

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