(C) Isabella Bubola

How To Shoot On A Budget – PART 2

Last week we covered a few basic tips for shooting on a student-like tight budget. This time ’round we’ve got a few more tricks up our sleeve! Ready?

Friends are already comfortable around you, so it’s a big plus if you’re just starting out and you’re still unsure about your photography approach. It’s a chance for you to build your portfolio and learn, and your friends will get great photos for social media (we all like to have a nice profile picture, don’t we?). The other option is to use yourself as the model. I’ve learnt so much shooting self portraits because photographing the same face over and over again makes you test your limits as both a photographer and model.

behind the scenes shoot with two models
Behind the scenes of a shoot with Zvonka: she’s always so easy-going and even if we don’t have a clear idea what we want to do, it’s always much fun!

 A common misconception about photography is that you need to own expensive lightning gear. That’s completely false. Many famous photographers have worked with natural light, like ___. And if they could, so can you! Learn more about natural light and see which one works for you best – do you love the warm tones of the golden hour? Or do you prefer cold hues of early morning? The only way to find out is to give it time and experiment.

You don’t have to rent a grand palace to have an interesting backdrop for your shoots, nor do you need to own your studio. Check out what’s around you and try to think of shoots that would work in the environment you have at your disposal. Are there parks with beautiful blossoming flowers? Abandoned buildings? The beach or mountains covered in woods? A simple old rusty gate can be hugely inspirational. It’s time to start scouting around your neighborhood.
(Read more about Shooting in Open Spaces!) 

alternative male model fashion shoot
A photo of Toni we shot in an abandoned old paper factory. The building is huge, empty and trashed and I wouldn’t recommend anybody to visit such places all alone!

Simple doesn’t mean boring. A single blank wall against window light can be a beautiful neutral backdrop, the kind where you want to focus on the subject. Place your favourite model/friend (or yourself!) in front of the wall and think of interesting props beforehand. A great way to get props is rummaging through your mum’s old stuff or go prop hunting on flea markets and thrift stores. You can try adding interesting makeup, play with unusual clothing pieces or trying out different camera modes, like slow shutter speed or multiple exposured. There are endless possibilities: for inspiration check out Brooke Shaden’s or Josephine Cardine’s work. They create emotionally strong photos with minimal props and gear.

self portrait photography blue eyes
I used these yellow flowers as props and shot a self portrait in front of a blank wall I’ve got in my room. The only light source was a window and light coming in during a cloudy day.

While you’re trying out all the options of your camera and how best to use them, it’s essential you also keep learning the theoretical part. Education should always come hhand in hand with practice and you can never get enough of it, no matter at what photography level you’re on. There are great channels on Youtube that will help you along this path, like Phlearn, Jessica Kobeissi and Irene Rudnyk.

photographer self portrait with cameraAbout the author
Hi! I’m Isabella and I’m a photographer, blogger and applied arts graduate. I love spending my time creatively, or watching movies, drinking tea, playing with my cats and hanging out with friends.
Find me here isabellabubola.com or on Facebook and say hello!


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