Does Camera matter?

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by jolie_dickson, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. HI..I own a Sony A77. Do you think it's possible to have a successful business without a full frame camera? I love taking portraits and family pictures, and I would like to start my own business. I am wondering if it really makes a difference? Thanks so much...
    Jolie
     
  2. IMO, No - it doesn't matter.
    The photos you make are the important thing.
    Having said that, there may be limitation of a particular camera (ex. resolution, low-light capability, or lens availability) that make it unsuitable for a particular purpose, but the A77 seems to be a very capable camera body.
     
  3. It's more about knowing your camera and lenses - and how to use them correctly than what brand or sensor size. There are things that a DSLR is better at than a Medium Format, there are things that a P/S is better at than a DSLR, and so on...
    A good pro, who knows their equipment will succeed 100% of the time. A person who doesn't know their equipment, no matter how good it is, will fail 99% of the time.
    People took portraits with DX / non - full frame bodies for years before the full frame bodies hit the stores and became somewhat affordable.
    Dave
     
  4. " Do you think it's possible to have a successful business without a full frame camera?"

    There's nothing magic about full frame sensors. The format's a historical accident, which came about because someone at Leica thought to build a camera that took 35mm movie film, and decided to make the image lie sidewise at 24mmx36mm rather than maintain the 24mm-wide cinema film format (where the film's run vertically through the camera rather than horizontally). A format bandwagon was the result and that format's been maintained as the max sensor size in 35mm-like bodies as we've moved to the digital world.
    As David mentions above, many professionals have shot DX or the Canon equivalent or the 1/3 crop also supported by Canon for years back when the only full-frame body came from Canon and cost $8K ... full-frame and APS or DX sized sensors embedded in essentially a 35mm body have allowed people to move from film to digital without having to plunk down thousands of dollars into a new set of lenses.
    So there's nothing magic/ideal about full-frame ...
     
  5. If you take awesome pictures no one will care what camera is in your hands.
    This needs a little commenting though...
    I would like to start my own business. I am wondering if it really makes a difference?​
    If you are going to start a business, you really need to know enough to KNOW the answer to that question. If you start a restaurant, are you going to ask if your oven or mixer is good enough ? Nope. You'll know what you need before you open up for business. The camera is just a tool of the trade, like the oven. Not trying to be condescending, but if you are unsure about your tools, you probably need to learn some more, maybe a lot more, before you decide to make a business out of your hobby.
     
  6. While all of that already stated above is true, the very first encounter with a photographer is also important. With PRO gear, you will more likely be judged as a good photographer, regardless of real merits.
    You will only get one chance to make first impression.
    If you spend a lot on money on top gear, this usually means that you are serious about the photography.
    However, your portfolio, and your prior proof that you can do it well is more important.
    If you approach people with some inferior camera, you may not get a second chance, as the first impression could disqualify you, without getting into merrits.
     
  7. mike dixon

    mike dixon Moderator

    While all of that already stated above is true, the very first encounter with a photographer is also important. With PRO gear, you will more likely be judged as a good photographer, regardless of real merits.
    My first meetings with clients always involved showing them my portfolio and discussing their needs. They generally didn't see my cameras until I showed up for the job.
     
  8. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    Mike is right, a pro shows up with the product, not with the tools for the business meeting. You make an impression with what you are doing, not what you happen to own.
    The only exception I've run into is when I've been hired as a fake paparazzi, then they care about equipment because it is more important what the photographer looks like than what they produce.
    And Don is right about full frame, it's not a factor, especially for what you are talking about doing.
    Now what is important will be lighting gear and your ability to use it. A lot of people start out in professional portraiture saying "natural light," but you can't control the sky. Most people expect good photographs regardless of outside or window light, your lighting equipment and knowledge will matter more than your camera.
     
  9. As silly as it seems, I've found that having a vertical or battery grip attached to an SLR can make it appear more professional to some. In an age when everyone and their brother owns a DSLR, this accessory, or an external flash for that matter, can actually make yours stand out a bit as "more professional".
     
  10. Hi Jolie
    It makes a difference to the people it makes a difference to. It will make a difference to you only if it cuts into bookings or prevents you from getting the shot you want or need to get.
    As for my personal experience with client's perceptions- for the better part of a decade new clients have had online access to a sizable portfolio of my work. I clearly state the brand/ format of cameras and the regimen that I follow to create all my images. Anyone calling for a consultation knows exactly what they're getting before they pick up the phone. No one has ever asked if different equipment is an option.
    Do you think it's possible to have a successful business without a full frame camera?​
    Sure, but as someone who works with 56mm x 67mm originals out of a 67, there are two directions to go from full frame.
    :)
     
  11. Starting a business....you may consider a few things:
    1. Have a plan on what you want to do in three months, and at the one-year point.
    2. Try to take a small-business course if you can. Some local colleges offer them.
    3. Check with your bank for opening a business bank account. Check with your local city and state for what taxes you are required to collect on the images you sell. And for when you are required to send the taxes in (monthly, quarterly....)
    4. The photography business requires you to do some record keeping, handle paperwork, and keep organized.
    Your choice of camera and lens is important. Keeping up with the IRS record keeping part of running a business is also important.
    Good luck!
     
  12. Maury Cohen, Sep 05, 2012; 02:01 p.m.
    As silly as it seems, I've found that having a vertical or battery grip attached to an SLR can make it appear more professional to some. In an age when everyone and their brother owns a DSLR, this accessory, or an external flash for that matter, can actually make yours stand out a bit as "more professional".

    How bizzare as I was just reading a book where the author said jokingly the best way to get business at a wedding is to turn up with the biggest zoom lens you have and everyone will automaticaly think you're the pro hired to do the gig
     
  13. grh

    grh

    How bizzare as I was just reading a book where the author said jokingly the best way to get business at a wedding is to turn up with the biggest zoom lens you have and everyone will automaticaly think you're the pro hired to do the gig​
    There's a lot of truth to that statement. If you have a pro-sumer level DSLR (black, of course) with a large-ish lens, and act like you belong, people get out of your way. It's kinda fun :)
     
  14. It's a bit like driving a P71 Crown Victoria; people just behave differently around it even if it's just a retired cop car.
     
  15. I use a Canon 60D APS-C format for all my professional work these days. Sure that Canon 5DmII or III full frame would be nice, but not needed the Canon 60D is the tool I choose to do all my professional work with and my photographs come out exactly the way I want them to.
    So, do you need a full frame camera to start a business? No, not really. You can probably use the camera you already have and then once you make a good profit you can always upgrade to a full frame camera later.
    I watched two photographers at a wedding over the weekend completely blow the church photographs of the wedding party and advised them to lower their flash a bit, it was leaving a blue color cast on the white tuxedos. Being from Ohio and attending the wedding in PA, I was only a guest and shot a few shots for the heck of it. The photographers both had Canon 5DMIII with one EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM and one EF 70-200mm f/2.8 is II USM very pricey lenses to say the least. Using the 600EX-RT brand new flashes top of the line at Canon for EOS cameras. Here I am with my Canon 60D and my EF-S 18mm - 200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, a simple stroboframe bracket, Omni flash cover with the 320EX speedlite. A couple a shots put my SD card in their printer, we printed 3 shots comparing them to the 3 shots they have. Ahhh they say, making flash adjustments. Thanking me, while the Groom is saying why didn't we hire you for the photos and I said why Steve, I'm here to drink and have a good time today! Congratz to both of you!
    Then I went off to shoot an old Nursing Home and Hospital that was abandon in the area for about 45 minutes until we went to the grooms father's home for hor'dourves something I really enjoy doing in PA.
    Experience, out weighs the best of the best any day of the year in my opinion.
     
  16. I am not a profession photographer, so take what I say with a grain of salt... but I say it would not necessarily matter. What matters is your results.

    A couple of years ago, my wife wanted to have some studio shots of our family made. When we chose the photographer, we went by the look of his photos. When we went to his office/studio, I didn't home in on what type of camera he had, but on the quality of the portraits of other kids/families hanging on his wall.
    Your camera has to meet your needs, and as long as it isn't functionally limiting your ability to meet your client's needs at the cost they expect, any camera that allows you to shoot what you want the way you want will do. I suspect that an A77 does quite nicely in that respect.
    Now, that said, I've always thought of the differentiation between pro gear and consumer gear in one word - serviceability. When you are a professional, your camera is not just a device for capturing your artistic vision, it's how you put food on the table. If you owned a bar, and tap system broke down, you would do everything you could to get it back up as quickly as possible... same with a camera.
    To me, it seems what has always differentiated excellent consumer camera brands from professional brands is service. A professional needs to know that should his/her camera break that it can be fixed/replaced quickly... or that a rental can be procured so that the job can be done. The client doesn't much care for "sorry, my shutter is stuck open" excuse.
    A professional system is not defined by any technical specifications but by the following:
    • Backed by a company that is stable.
    • Has a strong repair network.
    • Has a strong network of rental outlets.
    • Supported by a strong network of retailers.
    Now, Sony is a stable company... I won't comment on the strength of their repair network, I have been fortunate to never need it. They are not, however, commonly found available for rent. As for a strong retail network, for their consumer cameras they are everywhere that sells consumer electronics. For their higher end cameras, its a little more difficult (though I suspect you could find an A77 in stock at Best Buy). I am in a relatively large metro area (Atlanta) and I would find it difficult to locate retailers who had some of the higher end Sony gear in stock. Of the two major photographic equipment retailers here, only one carries Sony and they are in liquidation.
    Another analogy... I drive a Saab... Its a nice ride; comfortable, powerful, etc. On many objective and subjective measures, much better than, say, a Ford Crown Victoria. However, if I had a taxi company with a fleet of Saabs, I would be (in a word) screwed right now.
     
  17. If the customer likes/wants the images you make then they will not care what camera you used!
    I have sold images that are composite Panoramas made with a basic Fujifilm compact. I use cameras like that quite frequently as you can blend into the background easier than with an SLR or DSLR.

    Go for it! You won't know till you try. Just take loads, and I mean loads of photos, but keep a notebook of what you took and when

    Best of luck. Jim
     

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