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BUDGET Photography Gear SHOOTOUT | ft. Denis Reggie | Ep 8

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BUDGET Photography Gear

As a photographer, I've always believed that it's the skill and creativity of the person behind the camera that truly makes a great image. But what happens when experienced photographers are handed entry-level or outdated gear? In a unique experiment, I recently participated in a budget photography gear shootout with the legendary Denis Reggie. This challenge pushed us to explore the possibilities and limitations of inexpensive equipment. In this blog, I'll share my firsthand experience and the exciting moments we captured during the shoot.

Meeting Denis Reggie: When I first met Denis Reggie, I couldn't help but feel a sense of awe. He is a pioneer in wedding photojournalism and has photographed some of the biggest names in the industry. Being a wedding photographer myself, he has always been a tremendous inspiration to me. I felt honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with him on this video.


Exploring Budget Gear: The gear we used for this shootout took us back to the basics. I started with the Canon 10D, a six-megapixel DSLR that I had purchased as my first camera. It felt nostalgic to hold it again after so many years. The lenses we had at our disposal were the Canon 70-200 f/4 and the Canon 70-300, both considered budget options compared to their higher-end counterparts.

Challenges of Outdated Equipment: Shooting with outdated gear brought its fair share of challenges. The Canon 10D, being an 18-year-old camera, had limitations in terms of ISO capabilities and autofocus speed. The smaller screen on the back made it difficult to review images, and the slow writing speed to the card restricted our shooting pace. It was a stark contrast to the fast and efficient cameras we are accustomed to using today.

Capturing Candid Moments: Denis and I had a shared goal of capturing authentic and unposed moments. As wedding photojournalists, our aim is to document real emotions and stories without interfering or directing the subjects too much. We wanted to be inconspicuous observers, capturing the essence of the day as it unfolded.

Finding Non-Model Moments: One interesting aspect of this shoot was photographing a real couple, Nikki and Matt. Nikki is a professional model, and it was my mission to capture her non-model expressions. During their actual wedding, I focused on photographing Nikki's natural moments throughout the day. This time, I wanted to replicate that experience and find her genuine expressions without the conscious "model face."

Shooting with Limitations: Despite the equipment's limitations, we embraced the challenge and pushed ourselves to work around them. Denis, being a master at finding unique perspectives, captured beautiful shots from behind, showcasing the couple's intimacy without them realizing they were being photographed. I, on the other hand, relied heavily on autofocus and trusted my instincts to frame the shots correctly, considering the limited visibility on the small screen.

Reflecting on the Results: After our respective shooting sessions, we took a look at the images we had captured. I must admit, I felt a bit apprehensive about my shots, considering the limitations of the gear. However, upon review, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had captured some incredible moments. While they may not have the same technical perfection as images from higher-end cameras, they had a raw and nostalgic quality that added a unique charm to the photographs.

Final Thoughts: Participating in the budget photography gear shootout was an eye-opening experience. It reminded me that while gear plays a significant role in photography, the photographer's skills, creativity, and ability to adapt are equally important. Shooting with outdated equipment challenged us to think outside the box and find alternative ways to capture compelling 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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