Why photography costs money

Mainly because it breaks the photographer’s back.

Here is part of what I am bringing to a multiple corporate headshots session tomorrow:

This kit consists of:

  • One backdrop
  • Two rolls of backdrop paper, grey and white
  • One two-monolight set with three stands and two umbrellas
  • Two more monolights
  • Four lightstands with umbrellas for speedlites
  • Camera kit (lenses, a Canon 1Ds MkIII, etc)
  • Lighting kit with four speedlites, five Pocketwizards, modifiers, and much more.
  • Tripod

Not pictured:

  • a 60×80 softbox
  • a Canon 7D camera
  • a muslin backdrop
  • a stool for the subject to sit on.

I am now going to bed early, so that I can build strength!

The serious point, of course, is that when a photographer visits with a portable setup, he really carries with him a full studio and everything that includes.

0 thoughts on “Why photography costs money

  1. As an amateur photographer, unless I win the Lotto Max, It will be a while before I have a portable studio. My question is when you where starting as a photographer, what equipment would you advise someone to start out with? Keep in mind I have a camera and your fav. lens 50mm F1.8 Lens. I look forward to hear your reply.


    • So yes it does, but there’s certain constants.

      I would say: a flash, if you ever shoot indoors or if you ever shoot outdoors when it is sunny.

      I would say: lenses appropriate to your subjects. E.g. for car races, long, “fast” lenses are best. For tourism, consider starting with a wide-angle lens (10-22 mm). For flower image, start with a macro (close-up) lens.

      Then I would take stock and decide on the next steps.

  2. As non-pro student of Michael’s, I had asked the same question about a year ago and slowly built my gear up to a level where I’m pretty comfortable that I can cover most of the scenarios I am faced with in my amateur photography.

    I have a Canon XTi with the 50mm 1.8, a Sigma 18-200 3.5-6.3 which covers a huge range reasonably well, a Sigma 10-20 3.5 that I have found surprisingly useful in all sorts of situations (takes great shots!) and a 430EX speedlight flash. All told, with a handy backpack to carry it all, an investment of about $2500 for a pretty complete amateur kit.

    I’m always excited to show off the pics I have snagged with these tools so feel free to head over to http://TheCrimeTraveller.com and you can see a broad selection.

  3. Thanks to everyone for their comments. Nice shots Ed.
    As I am new to photography, I replaced my old Canon with SX10IS. That was in March I found my self buying a Canon Rebel in July along with the kit lens I bought 50mm 1.8. I think my next lens I want is a wide angle. Since then I now have 55-200mm 4-5.6 and 430EX II Flash. I would like to try portrait photograph, At this point I am really enjoying concert & band photography.
    A question I have now is, what equipment do/did you start with first when building your studio?

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