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05-10-2014, 05:38 AM   #1
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How to take a next step

Hi,i've got Pentax k10d since 4 years. Last august my daughter was born so i've started interest more.
I've realised that taking pictures makes alot of fun, and can be much appriciated if You do that more proffesionall than typical user of a cell phone.
My body is a bit too old, only iso 400 is quite usable, slow af too. I bought a youngnuo 560 manual flash with cheap umbrella and a stand. I've got the flash diffuser too. The reason i bought them i got no north window in my house so light is pretty bad inside.
I got not enough money to invest in new body, p-ttl flash, beauty dish and da77, or 70-200 2.8...
My question is: How to get to the next level? How to start earn? Have You got any tips how can I make a new step being more proffesionall?
My lenses: kit lens 18-55da, M50 1.7 , F70-210 4.0/5.6 and my last precious da40xs 2.8.
Below i link some of my photos:

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05-10-2014, 06:26 AM   #2
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I had the K10D and felt at ISO 100 or 200 and with medium image output or no cropping, it produced images as good as my K5.
Unless you are going to shoot low light (K10 is not good above ISO 400), Shoot sports (K10 is slow af and FPS) or shoot a lot of JPEG (JPEG engine in camera has come a long way since K10, including WB), I would invest in lenses, particularly Pentax lenses or top third party. THey hold their value....
05-10-2014, 07:08 AM   #3
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I'd say you are doing pretty well with what you have. Personally, once children start moving, they move fast. While I would jump for a K-3 if I had the money, I love my K-30 and its ISO capabilities. The higher pixel density allows me more cropping latitude also. My favorite two lenses are my F35-70 and my DA 18-135 - but I wouldn't get rid of what you have. You might find a used K-30 or pop for a new K-50.
05-10-2014, 07:22 AM - 1 Like   #4
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To get more professional I feel that it's not really mainly a matter of equipment, rather to have skill and be really at marketing and selling yourself. Pennie Smith makes money running around with a Pentax ESII and other makes money with homemade pinhole cameras.

05-10-2014, 08:59 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by VisualDarkness Quote
To get more professional I feel that it's not really mainly a matter of equipment, rather to have skill and be really at marketing and selling yourself. Pennie Smith makes money running around with a Pentax ESII and other makes money with homemade pinhole cameras.
^^^^^ This 100%

It is not so much the equipment. Better equipment can make the work easier but what you have can be used and has been used.

Get a book, buy or at the library on portrait lighting, baby photography if you can find one. Study and practice. Take a look at this site: Strobist particularly the lighting 101 and lighting 102 archives. What you are doing is all about the posing and getting the shot, which you are doing very well AND about the lighting which is where you need to focus your efforts.
05-10-2014, 10:42 AM   #6
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I think your photos have a nice style. You should spend your time focusing on marketing to your clients. Your gear is good enough.

Once you have more money, if you want better high ISO, a used K-30 isn't too pricy. As for lenses, depends on what FL you shoot at. Your 50/1.7 has a great look to it. If you want wider and fast, the Sigma 30/1.4 is beautiful. A good step up for your zoom is the Tamron 17-50/2.8.
05-10-2014, 11:31 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
^^^^^ This 100%

It is not so much the equipment. Better equipment can make the work easier but what you have can be used and has been used.

Get a book, buy or at the library on portrait lighting, baby photography if you can find one. Study and practice. Take a look at this site: Strobist particularly the lighting 101 and lighting 102 archives. What you are doing is all about the posing and getting the shot, which you are doing very well AND about the lighting which is where you need to focus your efforts.
I also have to remind me this at times. I think it's easy to shield yourself behind the equipment so that you don't expose yourself to possible criticism.

Even some professionals are guilty of falling into this trap. Just look at this clip, they don't strike me at very skilled and confident at all when it comes to photography and hides behind the equipment. I wouldn't want to hire a firm that can't work with a D800 just because it's possible that amateurs buys the model too. I would hire somebody that seems confident in their art and I feel that can work work around problems.
05-10-2014, 01:01 PM   #8
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First of all your images look really good. To get them on next level you should invest in lighting setup IMO.
Some cheap flashes like yongnuo yn 560II, triggers (cactus v4 or v5), cheap shoot trough umbrella or softbox, couple of light stands and you have plenty to combine... Investment should be around 200$ and that will give you tools to take it to the next level. But your images tell me you are on the right way.)

05-10-2014, 02:35 PM - 1 Like   #9
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seems like a lot of sane people on pentaxforums . your gear is fine, your pictures (technique) decent.

disclaimer: i am _not_ a professional photographer myself.

if you want better, especially commercially, i'd say:

- focus on a specific area (like "baby photography" or "portraits" or such)
- learn to use your gear (you have excellent gear, nothing of what you have is bad, the k10d is an excellent camera, manual focus lenses can be hard to use but not that hard to make them useless, especially in "studio"); learn how to use your lights, play a lot with lighting, that's the most important thing, technique wise
- close your aperture a bit more in the studio, to get some dof, and be freed from the worry of missing focus if the model breathes
(consider even a cheap focusing screen for the k10d, if you don't have one, to help with focusing those manual lenses)
- play with the lights more, (did i mention play with the lights?), maybe add a second yungnuo flash (they are perfect for studio work -- i prefer mine to the dedicated pentax flash -- and cheap, very good choice there); radio triggers as mentioned are nice
- don't worry about the body, k10 is fine as long as it works. if you have the budget, anything current is fine (k500 included). if budget is tight, keep shooting the k10d.
- you have a decent lens lineup, keep using it, learn it's strengths and weaknesses. you will know exactly what you need if you will want another lens, only then, it's time to shop for a new lens.
- if you want to make money, remember it's hard work, extremely competitive, and it has to do a lot more with how you market yourself/how well you do business/how well you make and keep connections ("industry socializing"), than with how good your work is (not that quality of work doesn't matter, it's just it is not enough)
- before you quit your day job, shop around for the kind of "pro" services you want to offer, in your area, see what are the going rates, make an assessment (a very honest one!) of what that would mean if you were to work at those rates (how much cash in, the first two months? does it cover your expenses? how much will you work for that cash? can you really expect that much work coming your way so early on? (recalculate) etc)

there's some pros who have recently been very open about talking about the photo industry, and what it means to make money like that (Zack Arias is one of the popular ones, you will find some of his videos easily; keep in mind though that applies to USA, i have a hunch that's not where you are, so beware)

word of warning: all pro's i've ever talked to or heard speaking about this, will say that "yeah, photography is fun. if you're an amateur"; doing something professionally (for money, against a deadline, with set expectations, needing to deliver, etc), is not the same as "just doing it how and when you feel like it"; watch this carefully:


this one is quite a bit longer, personally i find it insightful:


good luck!
05-10-2014, 02:45 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanok Quote
manual focus lenses can be hard to use but not that hard to make them useless, especially in "studio");
Just think about the fact that many of the most expensive lenses (Zeiss Otus, Leica etc) are manual.
QuoteOriginally posted by nanok Quote
word of warning: all pro's i've ever talked to or heard speaking about this, will say that "yeah, photography is fun. if you're an amateur"; doing something professionally (for money, against a deadline, with set expectations, needing to deliver, etc), is not the same as "just doing it how and when you feel like it"
Yeah, I hit that wall even though I'm an amateur and had to take a pause.
05-10-2014, 03:25 PM   #11
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There is a 'proverb' in the business world called "The Pie Lady". My shortened version: There was a woman who was a wonderful pie baker, she had passion, talent and simply loved to bake pies. All her friends and family convinced her she should open a pie store so finally she did. She was wildly successful, so much so she had to hire bakers and clerks, had to expand the building and hire more staff. After a year or so she was very successful and very miserable. What is wrong her friends asked? Is the business failing? No, she replied it is very successful but I am no longer a pie baker, I am a pie store manager and I hate it. All I ever wanted to do was bake pies and now all I do is work hard so my bakers can bake pies.....

Careful what you wish for...............
05-11-2014, 06:34 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanok Quote
word of warning: all pro's i've ever talked to or heard speaking about this, will say that "yeah, photography is fun. if you're an amateur"; doing something professionally (for money, against a deadline, with set expectations, needing to deliver, etc), is not the same as "just doing it how and when you feel like it"; watch this carefully:
Eh....yes and no. Yes, doing something like photography professionally can introduce a lot of headaches that weren't a part of the process when you were an amateur. For some people, that kills all the joy. But the flip side of that is that doing something professionally often places you in situations that you never would have had access to as an amateur. I tell our interns, "You have to do the un-fun stuff to be able to go do the really fun stuff." The trick is to just enjoy the process. If you can do that, it's all good.
05-11-2014, 03:07 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
Eh....yes and no. Yes, doing something like photography professionally can introduce a lot of headaches that weren't a part of the process when you were an amateur. For some people, that kills all the joy. But the flip side of that is that doing something professionally often places you in situations that you never would have had access to as an amateur. I tell our interns, "You have to do the un-fun stuff to be able to go do the really fun stuff." The trick is to just enjoy the process. If you can do that, it's all good.
right. my post was already too long as it was. my point was "making money out of a hobby almost never works", in the sense that it will not longer be the same thing. of course it can work out for some people, for some it can work out very well even, but it's not the same anymore (and that can also mean it's "more" and "better" - different), was just trying to warn of that, not to say "it sucks, don't do it", sorry if it sounded like that. I guess jatrax' story pretty much sums it up (or gives a good example at least)
05-11-2014, 05:33 PM   #14
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No problem. I didn't mean to be picking on you. I actually agree with you. You're right that a lot of people try to turn their hobby into a way of making a living and it ruins it for them. I was really just kind of thinking about the difference between folks who want to make a living selling their pictures vs those who want to make a living in photography. There's all sorts of ways to make a living with a camera if you just enjoy lighting and composition and lenses and tripods, etc... But a person who wants to go shoot only the things they want and sell that...that's a lot tougher.
05-12-2014, 12:18 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by VisualDarkness Quote
I also have to remind me this at times. I think it's easy to shield yourself behind the equipment so that you don't expose yourself to possible criticism.

Even some professionals are guilty of falling into this trap. Just look at this clip, they don't strike me at very skilled and confident at all when it comes to photography and hides behind the equipment. I wouldn't want to hire a firm that can't work with a D800 just because it's possible that amateurs buys the model too. I would hire somebody that seems confident in their art and I feel that can work work around problems.
See, its not the point. Im not asking You should i get a new body, it's more like how to choose a path to new body.

QuoteOriginally posted by Dario79 Quote
First of all your images look really good. To get them on next level you should invest in lighting setup IMO.
Some cheap flashes like yongnuo yn 560II, triggers (cactus v4 or v5), cheap shoot trough umbrella or softbox, couple of light stands and you have plenty to combine... Investment should be around 200$ and that will give you tools to take it to the next level. But your images tell me you are on the right way.)
This is more like a advice. I've got yougnuo triggers, so possibly need a flash diffuser.

QuoteOriginally posted by nanok Quote
seems like a lot of sane people on pentaxforums . your gear is fine, your pictures (technique) decent.

disclaimer: i am _not_ a professional photographer myself.

if you want better, especially commercially, i'd say:

- focus on a specific area (like "baby photography" or "portraits" or such)
- learn to use your gear (you have excellent gear, nothing of what you have is bad, the k10d is an excellent camera, manual focus lenses can be hard to use but not that hard to make them useless, especially in "studio"); learn how to use your lights, play a lot with lighting, that's the most important thing, technique wise
- close your aperture a bit more in the studio, to get some dof, and be freed from the worry of missing focus if the model breathes
(consider even a cheap focusing screen for the k10d, if you don't have one, to help with focusing those manual lenses)
- play with the lights more, (did i mention play with the lights?), maybe add a second yungnuo flash (they are perfect for studio work -- i prefer mine to the dedicated pentax flash -- and cheap, very good choice there); radio triggers as mentioned are nice
- don't worry about the body, k10 is fine as long as it works. if you have the budget, anything current is fine (k500 included). if budget is tight, keep shooting the k10d.
- you have a decent lens lineup, keep using it, learn it's strengths and weaknesses. you will know exactly what you need if you will want another lens, only then, it's time to shop for a new lens.
- if you want to make money, remember it's hard work, extremely competitive, and it has to do a lot more with how you market yourself/how well you do business/how well you make and keep connections ("industry socializing"), than with how good your work is (not that quality of work doesn't matter, it's just it is not enough)
- before you quit your day job, shop around for the kind of "pro" services you want to offer, in your area, see what are the going rates, make an assessment (a very honest one!) of what that would mean if you were to work at those rates (how much cash in, the first two months? does it cover your expenses? how much will you work for that cash? can you really expect that much work coming your way so early on? (recalculate) etc)

there's some pros who have recently been very open about talking about the photo industry, and what it means to make money like that (Zack Arias is one of the popular ones, you will find some of his videos easily; keep in mind though that applies to USA, i have a hunch that's not where you are, so beware)

word of warning: all pro's i've ever talked to or heard speaking about this, will say that "yeah, photography is fun. if you're an amateur"; doing something professionally (for money, against a deadline, with set expectations, needing to deliver, etc), is not the same as "just doing it how and when you feel like it"; watch this carefully:



this one is quite a bit longer, personally i find it insightful:


good luck!
Spot on conclusion, thx m8.
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