The thought has been lingering for a while.
Ive wanted to test myself.
I have heard SO many people say “oh well, it’s easy to get photos when you have $30,000 worth of gear” or “OOooooohhhh nice camera”.
I wanted to see for myself, what I could do…. with a $3.98 camera. That’s right. A DISPOSABLE camera that I saw near the till at Canadian Tire. I didn’t even know they were still making those things. Thus a personal challenge began. Can I, create pictures that are not totally terrible with $3.98 worth of gear…instead of the $25,000+ in gear that I use? I have Canon’s latest camera (just released a couple of months ago, the Canon Mark III) and top of the line professional lenses. I LOVE my gear. I have heard photographers say that when someone says “nice picture..you must have a nice camera…that you should say…nice food…you must have a nice stove”. I guess, for me, I wanted to make sure, that I didn’t just have a nice stove.
Before the shoot I grabbed the camera…and asked kari (who was my pregnant model for the shoot), “do you take it out of this box…or is this box THE camera?” to which she laughingly replied “you take it out of THAT box & plastic silly, but yes, the camera is still really just a cardboard box”. Not used to such a small camera in my hands, the very first thing I did was drop the camera. I learned a lot! I shoot 100% manual..every single photo that I take….(even ones at home of my kids!)…and what this means is that I choose everything right from ISO, shutter speed, aperture (and of course, which lens would suit the image I wanted to create, the best). I had none of those. Really, I just had a cardboard box. I had to get creative. Try more interesting angles. Put things in my foreground to help add depth to the photo….(one of these things was my finger by accident. Apparently I’m used to holding a massive camera & lens because my hands didn’t know where to go & in at least half of the shots my finger ruined the photo!)…. making sure I had the best lighting possible (because there was pretty much nothing I could do to adjust for harsh light)……etc…
I will say, for a $3.98 camera, I feel like I did a really good job and actually impressed myself. Don’t judge too harshly…most people do not display the result of experiments or trying something TOTALLY new. least of all, when they use gear under $5 *wink*.
Here is one of the photos SOOC. (straight out of camera- scanned). I feel like I was able to master, right out of the camera, the type of light I needed to get the skin tones that you see in our photos….
Here is a little collage of the rest (any that didn’t have my finger ruining the whole photo!). I dragged these into photoshop for about 3 seconds per photo & did a rush version of my usual (digital) edits (warm it up, slight contrast bump). I maybe spent 1 minute on all the photos combined. I think it is very very reflective of my shooting style!
So. what did I learn? Yes, a fantastic camera helps. Yes, I love shooting with good gear that I know so well. Yes this camera sucked & the images are totally grainy. But what I learned is, even with a totally foreign $3.98 camera in my hands, I can style find my “look” & my “style” and create beauty. It confirmed what I suspected…. it is not “the gear” for me….. rather, my photos come from my heart.
p.s. it was pretty funny. when the images were being processed at the film store, the lady looked at me and said “if you like photography this much, you really should get a digital camera”. It cracked me up……. so cute!