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Diverjim84

Need advice on the next step

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I currently shoot with a Canon s100 in an Ike housing. I use a SOLA 800 for night diving, natural light during the day because the 800 can't over power the sun. I currently shoot in Av and some manual.

 

I'm a DM that works with a local shop 6hrs from salt water. I've started charging for photos to help cover my costs. But I would like to start teaching DUP as well. I bought a D7000 2 yrs ago to start teaching myself real photography, but it has been going slow.

 

So my question is what should I buy first. Do I buy a strobe or 2 or some high power video lights to take stills and video? Do I get a WA wet lens for my P&S? Or do I start building a real rig.

 

My funds are very limited. My gut says 1 strobe and 1 2k lumen video light to help my Sola 800. Meaning the Sola and video light act as fill for the flash on stills, if I understand the physics of it all.

 

I've got about $1k US to spend.

 

I look forward to the great advice I'm used to seeing here.

 

Thanks in advance.

jim

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Hey Jim

 

Tough choices! I'd suggest you perhaps need to decide what it is you are trying to achieve: teach photography and, if so, who is your target audience and what equipment are they likely to use; or take photos for fun for yourself (and maybe make a bit of cash out of it). It could be that you can't do the two things with the same gear - and you might not be able to do both video and stills.

 

If you are going to teach, is it likely your students would want to learn about P/S equipment and shooting styles? Or DSLR? It could well be the former which might offer a larger market than the later. Thinking that through might help with your first decision.

 

And then if you decide on the P/S route, would you want to teach video or stills?

 

If you are going to teach stills you most certainly will need a strobe. One would do. If video, then a light. I would suggest that you don't need to use the Sola or video light for teaching stills - it's just going to confuse things.

 

Setting up to teach DSLR photography is likely to cost you more than $1k (Strobe, arm, macro lens, wide angle lens) . So that too might narrow down what you may be able to do.

 

I'm not sure you really need a wet lens to teach P/S. Again, keep it simple. If you can produce really good pics with your P/S in the housing and know how you achieved the result, teach that. With P/S you should be able to stay in budget (Strobe and arm)

 

Hope this is of some help. Perhaps be a bit clearer what it is you are trying to achieve - and then get the gear (within your budget) to do that.

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Thanks for the great advice. I think with the budget at hand, you are very correct about getting a strobe. The Sola lets me take passable video at night.

 

But long term I would like to teach both P/S and once I learn dSLR, teach that too. How does an novice like me get to the point that we can make $ on our photos? I'm very ignorant about how that works, not that my photos are near as amazing as what you and others have posted.

 

I have only what I have learned from online. Are there any good articles that talk about how to better compose a story within a composition?

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Hey Jim

 

If you find the secret to making $s on u/w pics would you mind sending me a PM - and don't post the answer :lol2:

 

There are doubtless Wetpixlers who do make money - and a living - out of their photography. But it isn't easy. I make a bit having built a collection of stock images which are with agencies. But it's a case of making micro amounts through the sale of lots of images or making a larger amount occasionally. It may sometimes pay the electric bill for the monitor. The reward, for me, comes in seeing the pics sell and the pleasure of knowing that others see value in them. (so thanks for the comment on my pics. Appreciated).

 

Others may contradict me, but I often think many here make money out of their involvement in u/w photog rather than necessarily picture sales. For example out of teaching u/w photog and running courses - and often through getting reductions in, say, dive accommodation or reduced/free liveaboard rates for bringing a group along. I ran a dive resort in the Lembeh Straits for a while and met quite a few people who travelled the world doing u/w pics and writing articles for magazines which paid very little, but the resorts and dive operations offered them a greatly reduced rate for a bit of publicity. So they did loads of diving, got lots of pics and sort of lived on the road at reduced prices. Tough way to make a living though.

 

If I am on a trip somewhere I try to do a photo slideshow (with apologies to those who have been on the receiving end!) as a way of highlighting my pics and encouraging interest. This works sometimes and I have sold large, framed prints to a few people. But the oohs, aahs and wows, great to get though they really are, don't often translate into sales!

 

As for your question on telling a story, I'm sure if you Google around on composition and photo story telling you'll find all sorts of info. Some of the strongest story telling images in my mind come from the Vietnam era. Check out the images, for example, of Don McCullin. Really powerful story telling. I'm not sure if its the changing times (or me getting into old geezerdom) but the number of people producing such images seems to have dropped. Maybe its a result of the ubiquitousness of photography as a result of digital and the iPhone and now GoPro. Everyone has a camera, everyone takes pics/video and everyone posts it. For free. The result has been a drop in the value of images and a reduction in the ability to earn a living from them for other than a very small few.

 

Which brings us neatly back to where we started.... what indeed is the secret?

 

I wish you luck....

Edited by TimG

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Hey Jim,

 

I've recently started venturing into the idea of making $ from my photos. I'm not an underwater specialist, more a topside wildlife guy but I am adding underwater to my portfolio. Well, so far I have spent lots of money... :mocking:

 

I set up a website with my (small) portfolio and a blog to ramble about what I'm learning about becoming a "professional" photographer. It's only been a few months and my research informs me that it will be a long journey. The good thing is that I have learned a heck of a lot about photography, about blogging, about websites, about SEO, about stock photography, about business plans, marketing, social media etc. I have also had small successes like organising my first exhibition, which leads to more learning about colour management and printing etc.

 

My advice would be to stick with it, make it your dream and live an breathe it. I'm guessing the truely successful guys have all done that. Would be great to hear more perspectives and advice.

 

and thanks Tim, your comments are always very informative and helpful and your photos great! I would very much like to be on the recieving end of one of your slideshows!.

 

Cheers,

Johan

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