Hobby Budgeting -- Photography

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lane1222
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Hobby Budgeting -- Photography

Postby lane1222 » Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:21 am

I'm a photographer with a real job.

I want to be smart about placing a portion of the income from my real job into my primary hobby.

I'll experiment with using this forum to discuss these budgeting plans and desires.

There are many expenses related to photography, and I've broken the main categories into the following:

o Photo Equipment:
--- Bodies
--- Lenses
--- Accessories (Bag, Filters, CF cards, Batteries, Etc.)

o Lightroom Equipment:
--- Computer Hardware
--- Computer Software

o Production:
--- Physical: printing, framing
--- Digital: website hosting

o Travel:
--- Attending workshops
--- Traveling to locations

o Education:
--- Attending workshops
--- Taking classes
--- Joining photoclubs

After Identifying what I want to spend my money on for my photography, I need to ask myself the following questions:

o Does an expense make my pictures better?
--- High quality (fast) lenses

o Does an expense produce a better product?
--- Monitor calibrator

o Does an expense make my job easier?
--- Camera backpack for hiking-based photoshoots rather than my shoulder bag

o Does an expense put my mind at ease?
--- Nikon lenses vs. Tamron Lenses

Moving forward I'll add further entries that expand on these topics.

-Lane

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jdroth
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Postby jdroth » Sun Apr 29, 2007 5:15 pm

I'm looking forward to reading your journal, Lane -- I'd love to hear more tips about keeping expenses down w/photography.

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lane1222
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Two potential purchases

Postby lane1222 » Mon Apr 30, 2007 11:25 am

Today's entry focuses on two expenses I am analyzing.

1) 3-drive RAID array -- Lightroom Equipment

Reason: Safer data storage
Expense: Approx $200
Does this expense:
o make my pictures better? No
o produce a better product? No
o make my job easier? No
o put my mind at ease? Yes
Description: Currently I back up my RAW files to CD after every photoshoot. This backup scheme does not ensure the safety of my files that I am in the process of editing, nor those that I've finished editing. A RAID array will allow me to protect my data with redundant drives. My motherboard has a RAID controller already, therefore the only expense would be for the disk drives and the time for installation and setup.


2) Nikkor 80-200mm f2.8 Lens -- Photo Equipment

Reason: Increase my lens range
Expense: Approx $900 (not including additional expenses described below)
Does this expense:
o make my pictures better? Yes
o produce a better product? No
o make my job easier? No
o put my mind at ease? No
Description: My current lens inventory covers the following: 18-70 zoom, 50 prime, 105 prime. This lens would expand my distance range for most common instances. The need to go longer (300mm) would be a rare occurrence, but to reach out to 200mm is a fairly common need. The expense of this lens is mostly due to it being a 2.8, which corresponds to the f-stop (aka "speed"), and the quality of build. My main motto for photography purchases is "Don't half-ass anything". I could easily spend less money on a 70-300 lens that is not as "fast", but I know there would be a situation where I would want the better f-stop. This would be my last major lens purchase for a while, unless I wanted a "faster" lens to replace my 18-70mm zoom.
Additional Expenses: Bracket to connect lens to my tripod ($55) and circular polarizing filter (approx $100)

Gnashchick
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Postby Gnashchick » Mon Apr 30, 2007 3:03 pm

I'm a hobby photographer too, and I like your list of questions to help make big purchase decisions. My ultimate hope is that I'll be able to make photography a self-sustaining hobby. That same 80-200 lens is on my wish list, along with a 60mm macro, filed under "someday". I look forward to reading more of your journal.
Steal what works, fix what's broke, fake the rest

assassingalaxia
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Postby assassingalaxia » Mon Apr 30, 2007 4:37 pm

I've seen a couple of good deals on photography equipment at police auctions. YMMV, depending on your local police department, but some police departments do online auctions now. http://www.propertyroom.com occasionally has good items up for auction.

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lane1222
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Re: Two potential purchases

Postby lane1222 » Wed May 02, 2007 9:08 am

lane1222 wrote:1) 3-drive RAID array -- Lightroom Equipment


I've completed this purchase -- Total Price $210

At our local Fry's Electronics I was able to purchase three Maxtor 320GB 7200 RPM drives at $70 each, regularly $110.

This weekend I will be setting up my RAID-5 array to ensure protection of my data, specifically my digital photos.

One drawback of a RAID setup is a slowdown in Read/Write times to the disk array. This isn't bad for mass storage, but for files that I'm working on I would like to ensure a faster Read/Write time. Therefore, my data center will look as follows:

C: Boot Drive (small SATA drive, but 10,000 RPM) -- contains my applications and OS
D: Scratch Drive (IDE 7200 drive, non-RAID) -- contains my current working area, requiring regular backups to RAID
E: RAID Drive (3 320GB SATA drives, 7200 RPM) -- contains all my core data that require minimal Read/Write, such as images, mp3s and budgeting information. This provides about 600 GB of storage.

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lane1222
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Monitor Calibrator

Postby lane1222 » Thu May 03, 2007 1:32 pm

Reason: Provide higher quality output for web and print display
Expense: Approx $200-250
Does this expense:
o make my pictures better? No
o produce a better product? Yes
o make my job easier? Yes, if I purchase a higher quality calibrator
o put my mind at ease? Yes
Description: One issue facing photographers today is the appearance of their primary editing device in their lightroom: the monitor. If the color of your monitor is not quite true to the defined standards of ROYGBIV, then your output may not be reproduced properly. For example, a tree in a field reflects light in a given range of wavelengths, which your eye then interprets and sends to your brain, which your brain then adjusts based on your visual experiences throughout your life. When you put a camera between the tree and your eye, you now have yet another device that is attempting to translate the reflected light into a color. Once you've captured the image your camera "sees" you will then review this image on your monitor, which translates the data and emits the captured wavelengths back to you. Most commonly, what you see on the monitor is not quite what you saw in the photo shoot. Your job at this point is to edit the photo so that it most closely resembles, and enhances, what you remember capturing. The problem is, if your monitor is not reproducing the data from your camera as accurately as possible, you can improperly edit your photo because you are not seeing the correct information. This is where a monitor calibrator comes in handy, it will analyze the output of your monitor and create a computer profile allowing the computer to adjust the monitor output to be "true" to ROYGBIV.
Debate: Do I need a calibrator that can work on a dual monitor system, which I do have, or is a single monitor calibrator good enough, as long as I only ever edit photos on the calibrated monitor?

elasticdog
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Re: Two potential purchases

Postby elasticdog » Thu May 03, 2007 3:29 pm

lane1222 wrote:One drawback of a RAID setup is a slowdown in Read/Write times to the disk array. This isn't bad for mass storage, but for files that I'm working on I would like to ensure a faster Read/Write time. Therefore, my data center will look as follows:

C: Boot Drive (small SATA drive, but 10,000 RPM) -- contains my applications and OS
D: Scratch Drive (IDE 7200 drive, non-RAID) -- contains my current working area, requiring regular backups to RAID
E: RAID Drive (3 320GB SATA drives, 7200 RPM) -- contains all my core data that require minimal Read/Write, such as images, mp3s and budgeting information. This provides about 600 GB of storage.


Sounds like you've got a smart setup for doing your work...almost any machine will benefit from the proper use of multiple drives. One correction though, is that RAID 5 won't drop your read speed, it is actually the fastest of all RAIDs for that, but the writes are mediocre. I get all excited just thinking about RAID setups...I'm a nerd :-)


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