Personal photography systems

The Canon Digital Rebel XTi is an entry-level dSLR that offers both professional shooting modes as well as programmed point-and-shoot modes. It is capable of working with all Canon EF lenses.

Whether you started with an entry-level camera such as the Digital Rebel XTi, shown in 1-4, or went with a professional dSLR, from a photographer’s point of view, a photography “system” includes the camera gear that you currently own. And in a larger sense, a digital photography system also includes the components of your studio and digital darkroom, such as computers, standalone hard drives for storage, printers, and image-editing programs. From this perspective, a system includes everything that’s necessary to capture, process, and print/fulfill images.

For hobbyists and advanced amateurs, photography systems run the gamut from minimal to extensive. In addition to a computer and an image-editing program, a basic photography system might include the following, as shown in 1-5:

  • A digital camera body
  • One or more zoom lenses
  • One or two memory cards

A very basic system can consist of a camera, a lens, and a memory card.

For professional photographers, it’s critical to not only have the primary camera bodies and lenses, but also to have backup gear to ensure that shooting assignments proceed on schedule. Thus a professional system can include several bodies, numerous lenses, and flash equipment, such as the studio lighting equipment shown in 1-6. Because it is impractical to duplicate all components of a professional system, working professionals often rent backup components on location, a strategy that is popular with many event and wedding photographers. Renting backup gear lightens the travel load as well.

A professional photography system may include a wide variety of components:

  • One or more primary camera bodies and secondary or backup camera bodies
  • Multiple zoom and single-focal-length, or prime, lenses with multiples of the most often used lenses as backups
  • One or more Canon Speedlites or third-party flash units, brackets, stands, and light modifiers such as softboxes
  • Filters
  • Multiple high-capacity, fast media cards
  • Portable image storage and display units for offloading images during travel
  • Tripods and monopods with heads
  • Remote or cable releases
  • One or more incident light meters
  • A wireless file transmitter
  • Cleaning accessories for the camera sensors and lenses
  • A laptop computer for traveling
  • Studio lighting, power packs, and backdrops, as in figure 1-6
  • Padded camera bag and/or hard case suitable for shipping
  • An extensive desktop computer system including large-screen and calibrated monitors, stand-alone hard drives, and archival-quality printers

A Photofiex Octodome softbox mounted on a Manfrotto tripod and boom, with a Bowens studio light, provides an adjustable modeling light and powerful flash that is triggered wirelessly from the camera.The back of the softbox (seen here) is black; the front of it is a white translucent material.

Regardless of how much or how little your photography system comprises, the most important aspect of any photography system is having the gear that allows you to capture the range of images that you enjoy or need to photograph.

In addition to cameras, if you have a studio, you will need additional types of professional lighting as well as backdrops. You might consider something like a softbox, which provides softened and diffused light that wraps around subjects to provide even illumination — an essential tool in every professional studio.


Category: Photography System

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