• Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
sunshine & unicorns: a blog about love, learning, and life in the upper midwest

15 November 2009

where to begin

I recently found out that you (meaning I... or anyone who wants to) can rent dSLR lenses and equipment online at a reasonable rate. We're both really excited about the possibility of renting some lenses from LensRentals.com, namely because they're the only major site I found that rents stuff that fits Olympus. Not only could renting these lenses help us out when we're shooting someone's special event (like my friend's wedding, in 5 weeks!), it'd give us an excuse to try them out too. Lenses are expensive, yo. Some of the lenses we like the most are in the multi-thousand dollar range (of course). (Exhibit A: Hello, beautiful.) I do not see us buying anything like that in the near future, but to rent one occasionally would be great! As photo hobbyists, Pink Hubby and I can't (or choose not to) afford to buy tons of lenses that we might not even use very much.

And now, what about lighting? The camera is only a small part of what can make a really great photo. Check out the various lighting techniques used by these folks. While I don't see us setting up any kind of big studio type-of-thing in our home, Pink Hubby and I *are* both pretty interested in lighting. We've been in some situations where a little (or a lot) of better lighting would have saved the day. I fear that when we shoot my friend's wedding next month, we'll be in that kind of situation again. I want to be prepared for what is sure to be a dimly-lit (and hence, nerve-wracking) event (from a photography-standpoint). I don't want to be entrusted with my best childhood friend's wedding memories, only to come ill-prepared and ruin them.

So what are a couple of n00bs to do? We're not sure yet. There are just so many lighting choices, people. Man. Stuff that's under $50 to buy, and stuff that's up in the thousands. Speedlights, reflectors, umbrellas, softboxes, gels, strobes. You name it, it's out there. And though renting this stuff can save money, it still isn't cheap. Renting a few different lighting sets or items would easily pay for us to just buy something. But which one? And lighting isn't like a lens. We know how to use a lens. Put it on your camera, focus, shoot pictures. We don't know much about lighting. Experimentation would be required, and I think that'd take us longer than amount of time we'd want to pay for when renting the stuff. We'd spend all this money on rentals, and in the end have empty wallets and no fancy new toys to call our own.

Any photographers out there have some tips for a good-but-modestly priced lighting equipment investment? We're pretty mobile and photo-journalistic in our shooting, so I've been shying away from the umbrellas and such because they seem to require stands to hold 'em. I would like to get something we'd use as much as possible, so I'm currently considering the purchase of a nice speedlight and reflector of some sort. What do you think?