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Expensive is not always the best

My head shots were courtesy of Lucent Creations, edited by me.

I am a predominately "out of the studio" type of photographer at the moment. This isn't because I don't like studio work or I don't do it, it's because I don't have the room for a studio right now. I'm in the middle of a move to Atlanta and almost all of my possessions (except for my computer, bed, and cameras) are in a storage unit awaiting my return. So most of my work is out in the field.

Strangely, I've noticed a lot of photographers in this area just don't do studio work at all. I think this is because most people seem to believe that studios are immensely expensive or perhaps over their head in the technical proficiency required in assembly. While it is definitely true a lot of studio equipment is almost criminally expensive, there are much cheaper and just as effective ways of getting your own studio. You don't need to spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in assembling a "professional" studio set up.

The misconception is that the most expensive way is the best way, and this simply isn't true. You can build your own studio in a weekend for a couple hundred dollars. There's this guy on YouTube who makes how-to videos for this type of stuff. His name is Joe Edelman. He outlines how to make a fluorescent lighting studio for under $200 dollars. $200!! I mean, that's nothing as far as camera equipment goes. Here's the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtsKPaLMP7o

You don’t need to spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in assembling a ‘professional’ studio set up.

Zoolander head shot courtesy of Lucent Creations, editing by me.

The guy's kind of a goober, but the information is there and the studio he builds is pretty dynamic. In fact, the pictures in this article were taken in a studio set up very similar to Edelman's.

My friend, fellow photographer, and frequent collaborator Trevette Brown took my head shots. Like Edelman, he also built his own studio in his garage for a couple hundred dollars. He runs Lucent Creations, a production company him and I co-founded early in 2014. The quality of the photos he gets from the studio set up he built is truly phenomenal considering it costs a fraction of what a "professional" set up costs. So naturally, when I needed head shots taken for my resume I gave him a call.

Just remember: expensive is not always the best.
All it takes is gumption and a camera to charge people for photos; to become a good photographer it takes drive and a desire to constantly improve.

Expensive equipment investments and learning curves on said equipment are some of the reasons that photography services can be so pricey. Just remember: expensive is not always the best. This goes for everything. Sometimes it's worth the money, sometimes it's not. Just look at Beats By Dre. They didn't do anything but give a pair of headphones a popular spokesman and overcharge people for them. As far as marketing and sales goes, Beats control something like 70 percent of the headphone market at the time of writing this, which is awesome for them. Objectively, their products are overpriced and just not as good as the rest, like any audiophile will let you know. Don't be afraid to question things. Don't be that "avant garde" guy/girl spending all their money on Vibram's, Beats, and bad photographersThey aren't running any better and their headphones are mediocre, not to mention they've been taken for ride.

So do your research and always check photographer portfolios before hiring. How many of their photos are actually good? Is it the rule or the exception? Say you see someone running around holding their flash above their head, facing directly in their client's face, casting all kinds of unflattering shadows everywhere. They probably don't know how to bounce their flash and it's safe to assume that your potential photographer has a lot to learn, even if they are expensive. The problem would be if you hired that photographer and a year later saw them making the same mistakes. They probably aren't worth your money. All it takes is gumption and a camera to charge people for photos; to become a good photographer it takes drive and a desire to constantly improve.

My goal here is not to get people to go for the cheapest option (that's not always the best either), but to think about what they are paying for, whether it be studio lighting, hiring a photographer, or even buying headphones. Are there better options? Hiring a photographer can be a daunting task, especially since for the layman photography is totally subjective. Always do a little research to make sure you aren't being taken advantage of. In the end, if the client is happy with the photos then that's all that matters.

If you like the quality of my head shots, get in touch with Lucent Creations on Facebook, and Trevette will take care of you. And if you're interested in what photographers I would recommend based in the Montgomery area, here's a list of the companies or individuals I've worked with or follow that know their craft:

High 5 Productions

Lucent Creations

Thomas Lucas

Alan Barrington Evans

Indie Film Lab

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