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Old Oct 26, 2006, 12:21 PM   #1
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I am new to the site but recently purchased a Canon 30D camera and absolutely love it! I have been shooting pics for years as a hobby and have some burning questions, as well as I'm looking for some tips, tricks and suggestions relating to shooting portraits and exploring it as a side business. Hopefully I am posting in the right spot and if not, I apologize.

What do I need to get started in basic portrait photography so far as doing possibly some sports action shots, graduation pics in nature and possibly some group or team photos? One of my main concerns is printing the proofs and the finished product. What tips, recommendations, etc. do any of you have to attain a quality, end result product? Does an independent lab do these prints or can you attain similar results at home so far as the print quality?

I'm looking at more a part time endeavor as opposed to making it a 40-hour occupation. I can retire in about 3 years and am looking for a sideline opportunity here as well as for pure enjoyment which it has been since I've had my new Canon.

I'll open this up for suggestions and any other portrait related discussions that any of you want to toss out. :-D
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 12:30 PM   #2
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Good topic........I'll throw more in later.

Just for starters...I've used labs & both Canon & Epson home photo-printers. I get the best results from doing all my printing myself (I don't give up any control to some Nimrod at a lab (plus the inks & papers are as good (or better) than what a lab could give me).
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 12:37 PM   #3
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What type of paper do you use? I've also been told by a few other folks at art fairs, etc. that Epson printers work well and to buy a printer that can handle the larger size stock.

I'd also be interested in doing some mat work and hopefully can find a class or something similar at the high school or a Jr. college close by. I know it will take some time and effort, but also believe I have enough artistic talent and a knack for framing some good shots that I can make a go at it.
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 3:01 PM   #4
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Several comments to add, but first note that the type of photography you're asking about is not what I do. So I can't supply specifics (It should be added that Kalypso does stunning portrait work!)

I use an Epson 4000 and love it. It produces great results and I'm quite happy with it. I would not hesitate to recommend one of their printers.

You can get very good prints made cheap at some of the warehouse stores like Costco but there are serious clauses attached to that statement. As Kalypso said, you might get a good lab guy or a Nimrod. And their employee turnover is an issue, not to mention who services their machine (the machine they use to make prints is generally a very good one.) So it can be very hit-or-miss, which costs you time. Time you might not have.

If you're going to get into making prints, make sure you learn about Color Management (the best book on the subject is Real World Color Management, but it;'s probably overkill to start out with.) Basically you'll need a computer setup that lets you see on your monitor what you'll get as a print. Without that ability, your printing will be guesswork - which is frustrating and expensive. Epson is good at this, because they give you very good paper/ink profiles for their higher end printers. That is one of the requirements to reach this goal. The other is the ability to profile your monitor - the Spyder 2, or a Monaco XR Pro (which is being ended as a product) will both do it. The Monaco being more expensive but better. Basically they measure what your monitor puts out and learns how correct it is (if you say put out green, and it puts out green'ish blue, then the device will detect and correct for that.)

When you say "sports action shots" I assume you mean portrate-like shots during games (shots that show the face of the player while they play)? That requires different equipment than team or individual shots, or graduation shots. I'll want clarification before I mention lens choices.

Learning to market yourself will be key. Once you reach a certain level of skill, your marketing skill will be more important, actually. I've read some people shooting at games (with permission) and giving away some prints and then the quality they made got them in the door to be the team's official photographer.

Oh, and getting insurance on your equpment will be tricky. Since you're acting like a business and you're around people it will be expensive. I shoot nature stuff so there are few people and insurance is cheaper. Its people that sue or are likely to break things.

Eric
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 4:18 PM   #5
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Indykar wrote:
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What type of paper do you use? I've also been told by a few other folks at art fairs, etc. that Epson printers work well and to buy a printer that can handle the larger size stock.

I'd also be interested in doing some mat work and hopefully can find a class or something similar at the high school or a Jr. college close by. I know it will take some time and effort, but also believe I have enough artistic talent and a knack for framing some good shots that I can make a go at it.
I use a Canon i9900 & the Canon Glossy Paper Plus (or their Matte Paper). The printer is a wide-carriage, 8-ctg inkjet that will do stunnning 13x19" prints. Both the Epson R2200 or R1800 will print the same sized images, with the 1800 being the latest & fastest model (Steve has reviews of them all on his main page). All of them produce amazing prints (which I'm sure the Epson 4000 will too...Eric sells many of his wildlife prints & he's super detail oriented...I appreciate the props too Eric)! An excellent resource on Color Management & Calibration can be found here:

http://www.normankoren.com/makingfineprints1A.html

As Eric pointed out, the type of Sports shooting you'll do needs to be narrowed down in order to recommend lenses, so I'll skip that for now.

If you are wanting to do studio work, I would recommend the 50mm/f1.8 as a no-brainer, as it is sharp, fast & (with the crop factor) averages out at almost the perfect length for portraits. I also use an 18-70/f3.5-5.6, 35-105/f2.8 Tamron (indoors & out) & a 70-210/f4.0 for a lot of my location work (I use the Konica Minolta/now Sony system but Canon has the same glass of equal or better quality at good prices too).

Although, I use Norman strobes (got them for peanuts with careful bargining), I would recommend http://www.alienbees.com for starting studio strobes. They are excellent units for the price, their companies reputation for customer service is unmatched & you can always upgrade to the White Lightning (same company) units later if you want monster lighting!

You'll also want backdrops, props, stands, tracks, booms, grids & other goodies for a commercial studio. I'll point Frank to this thread also...he runs a commercial studio in the Netherlands & will have all kinds of imput I haven't even touched on yet.
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 4:30 PM   #6
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Well,

I'll preface this by saying I don't do portrait work. My main area is sports.

But, I would add a couple things:

If you're gonna print your own for sale, be prepared to buy a pro model printer. I have a very nice 4 year old Canon s900 printer - multiple ink cartridges, edge to edge printing - does a very nice job. BUT, and this is key - if the photos aren't protected the wear pretty badly. Ones I've printed and put in albums are fine. Those I didn't put in an album but pin up at work are showing some image degradation after only 4 years. I have old drug store processed film shots from 20 years ago next to it that still look fine. So, what I'm saying is - if you're doing your own printing for sale I would recommend not going with the $250 ink jet printer. Fine for personal use but IMO the staying power just isn't there if you're selling them.

As to sports action shots - that's a whole other ball of wax. Completely different than portrait work. Most studios around me just don't do it - too much time and expensive lenses with little ROI. And both have a good learning curve. I would suggest working with the portrait work for a while first - not because it's easier but because it seems like your first inclination.

Now, as someone who does photography on the side, I can say Eric's advice is right on the money. Business accumen and marketing are the keys to success. From what I've seen, they are about 75% of the equation - with actual photography skill being about 25% - for the type of market it sounds like you're looking at.
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 5:04 PM   #7
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I almost forgot....there's tons of studio (among other relative) info in this thread:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=54

Also, I protect all my prints by mounting them or using PremierArt Print Sheild spray, which can be found here:

http://www.inkjetart.com/premier/print_shield.html
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 9:05 PM   #8
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Wow! A top notch report by all, thank you! I have plenty of material to look at and consider. As for sports, I was thinking about high school football and possibly baseball but it's just a thought at this point. I've taken plenty of photos at Indy in the pits in years past and might even do it again as a hobby. Also, I'm pretty good at photoshop and do tweak anything I shoot to maximize the color and effects.

I appreciate the train of thought also of sticking to a specialized area or an area of interest rather than venturing off into additional lens cost, added equipment, etc. Some good points. And agreed, the marketing aspect is very important in getting your name and work out to others to see and appreciate.

Excellent info on the Epson printers and on all fronts...... Thank you all!!!
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Old Oct 27, 2006, 2:57 AM   #9
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Hi,
For printing up to A4 I use a Canon 8500 Pixma, it gives me MUCH better results than our local lab, which is very flat.

For printing on location I use a Selphy, especially with sports this is a profit booster, I sell pictures for 2-3 euro, and the costs are somewhere in the 0,50 range, most people buy 4-5 pictures because the price is cheap.
You can ofcourse charge 10,00 like some others do, but thesales will be slow than, and the course/field were you shoot will find you somewhat commercial and that will slow things down for you.
At the moment the love to see me and I can do what I want because I keep my pricing low

Ifthey want bigger I have to make the prints at home.

Posters are all ordered online.

Hope this helps.

Greetings,
Frank
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