It is 2014, the farthest our society has ever been technologically. We have never faced a complete obliteration of science or electronics like some films and television shows portray in a fictional world. We live in a world where the majority of the population have an understanding of the internet and almost everyone has taken a photograph or been photographed. We live in a world where the quality of our cell phone's built in cameras take detailed enough shots to be used on the cover of large publications (shot by a friend and absolutely wonderful food photographer, Daniel Krieger). So why do photographers constantly bicker over gear not being good enough? I know I am not the first person to bring this up in a public forum which is why I won't be soap boxing on this subject today. Instead, I want to show you professional work that I did with cheap gear and I wouldn't have changed it in the least.
The span of time between now and when I threw my hat in to the professional photography ring really seems like the smallest blip on the radar imaginable. I have worked hard the last 3 years to overcome getting started too quickly and I am starting feel like I am doing exactly what it is I am supposed to be doing. Like anyone getting started on a new skill, I practiced and I practiced until I felt like the camera was an extension of me. Though that probably induced an eye roll or two, I don't know how else to put it; it's no different than a skateboard under the feet of a skilled rider or strings at the finger tips of a first violinist. It takes practice, dedication and confidence.
In this blog post I want to show you work that I have done for a local restaurant. This is one of my first ventures into commercial photography, but knowing how to use my camera is a good enough confidence booster to know that I can produce good images for what they were wanting. The client is Co Sushi, a new restaurant to the Myrtle Beach area, looking to expand their gallery of images that will be used in social media as well as possible print ads. They were looking for some images of the restaurant itself but mostly some good shots of their menu items.
These items were shot with the now discontinued Nikon D3200, a 50mm 1.8 lens and an 85mm 3.5 macro. A base, bottom of the totem pole DSLR with two of the cheapest lenses that Nikon makes. In addition, I also used an Alien Bees B800 in a shoot through umbrella (which could have easily been done with just a speedlight.
First of all, the reason I used this camera was that my D600 is out for repair but I picked the 3200 over all the other cameras I have access to because it's simple. Sometimes, dare I say most times, less is more. I used a dining table inside the restaurant as my base set up in the corner as to not disturb any of the early guests coming in for lunch. Most everything I shot was simple enough, from a lighting and composition standpoint. Knowing what I was doing and the limitations of my gear is how I was able to make the best of this job. It doesn't take much more than creativity to make something good. Don't get me wrong, I'm not sitting here patting myself on the back; it's just that jobs like this are the reason I love my job. I got to make a beautiful photo of something beautifully crafted. I took less than 800 worth of gear and did the same as I could have done with the very best gear my credit card limit would allow me to buy. Having professional gear does not make you a professional, being a professional makes you a professional. You can throw money all day long at a canvas but it won't make a masterpiece. Don't think it's any different with a camera or lens.