The photography business is tough and highly competitive. One of the key factors to succeed in the photography business is the right quality equipment. The right tools and equipment can make a huge difference in the quality of your photos.
Your equipment will be the primary investment in your photography business. There are a number of factors that can help you identify the right equipment for your photography business:
- The type of specialization of your photography business = the equipment a fashion photographer will need will vary from that of a travel photographer.
- Resolution and dynamic range you need for the types of photos that you will take
- Lenses that will result in marketable images for your business
- Image management capabilities, including external storage or data management for your editing, captioning and archiving
How else is the best way to keep a record of a memorable event, but in a photograph? Events like the birth of a child, a picture of the first baby tooth, and a picture of losing that first tooth, a birthday, a family reunion, a get-together party, sceneries and so on and so on. It is fun and nostalgic to go over those priceless photographs once in a while, one by one.
Moreover, other people do more than just keeping those memories. They love to take and make the pictures by themselves. That means that they love to shoot the picture, develop the films and print the pictures by themselves and ultimately gets to become a hobby.
Many individuals in the Photography business started it as a hobby.
To start the hobby, we need to have a film camera. A 35 mm SLR camera would be fine. There are also box cameras using 70mm film that a sophisticated hobbyist may also want to use. The larger film size has a quality advantage on enlarging larger pictures.
For our purpose, we settle for a 35 mm SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera. There are many brands to choose from. One is as good as the other and it all depends on how you take pictures that will matter. Some of the popular camera brands are: Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, Minolta, Vivitar, Yashica, etc., etc. Below are some cameras available from Amazon.com
- Canon AE-1 Program Nice Clean Vintage 35mm SLR Camera w/ 50mm 1:1.8 Lens
- Canon EOS Rebel 2000 35mm Film SLR Camera Kit with 28-80mm Lens
- Minolta X-700 35mm Film SLR with Minolta manual focus 50mm f/1.7 lens
- Nikon EM 35mm SLR Film Camera
- Olympus IS-1 35mm SLR Film Camera w/ 35-135mm Zoom Lens
Most of these cameras also come with interchangeable lenses that can allow the photographer to compose in different modes or settings. Wide angle lenses, telescopic lenses, macro lenses, close-up lenses are a few example.
For films, there are also a variety of types that has to be used for a given situation.
Kodak recommends the use of “Plus X” type for portrait photos and “Tri-X” type for action shots. There are also other brands of film, like Ilford, Agfa, Fuji, etc.
- Kodak 400 TMAX Professional ISO 400, 35mm, 36 Exposures, Black and White Film
- Ilford 1574577 HP5 Plus, Black and White Print Film, 135 (35 mm), ISO 400, 36 Exposures
- Kodak Tri-X 400TX Professional ISO 400, 35mm, Black and White Film
- Kodak Professional 100 Tmax Black and White Negative Film (ISO 100) 35mm 36 Exposures (853 2848)
- Kodak Tri-x400 135-36 35mm Black and White Film – 10 Pack
Photo paper is also available in different brands. There are glossy paper, matte paper or linen paper to choose from.
- Ilford Multigrade IV RC Deluxe Resin Coated VC Variable Contrast – Black and White Enlarging Paper, 8×10 Inches, 25 Sheets, Glossy Surface (116 8190)
- Ilford B&W Paper 8X10 Multigrade IV 100 Pack (Pearl)
- Ilford Multigrade IV RC Deluxe Resin Coated VC Paper, 8×10, 100 Pack (Glossy)
After the first roll of film has been exposed, it is now time to start our first developing session. (Note: There are times that you will need to develop a portion of your roll of film and you cannot wait to consume the whole roll, you may use a dark changing bag to cut the film and place it in a sealed canister). These bags are also available at Amazon.com
- Adorama Small Changing Bag, 16×17″, for Bulk Loading Film.
- Adorama Large Changing Bag, 27×30″, for Bulk Loading Film.
We will need the following:
Tools and Equipment for Photography Business and Hobby
1. Photo Enlarger – For the ordinary hobbyist, an enlarger that can print up to an 8”x10” paper is good enough. Although there are enlargers that can enlarge up to 16”x20” but of course the price would be prohibitive for a home based hobbyist.
2. Darkroom – You will need a dark room where you can develop your films and process your pictures. It doesn’t have to be very sophisticated but it should be a place where no daylight would be allowed to go through. You may use one of your bathrooms as long as you have space to move around.
3. Light bulbs 25W Green and Red light bulbs. Or Light Filters. Green for Film and Red for Photo Paper.
4. 8’x10” Developing Trays (3)
- Paterson 12″ x 16″ Print Developing Tray, 3″ Deep, (1)
- Cesco 11 X 14 Plastic Developing Tray – Cesco CL1114T
- Cesco Plastic Print Developing Tray with Flat Bottom, 11″x14″x5″ Deep
5. Daylight Film Developing Tank
- Adorama Stainless Steel Daylight Film Developing Tank for Two Rolls of 35mm Film or One Roll Of 120/220 Film
- Adorama Ultra Universal Plastic Daylight Film Developing Tank for Film Sizes, 35mm, 120 and 220
- Omega ~ Universal 2 Reel Developing Tank
6. Film developing chemicals.
- Ilford Ilfosol-3 General Purpose Developer for Black & White Film, Liquid Concentrate 500 Milliliter Bottle.
- Kodak D-76 Developer Powder, B and W Film 1 Gallon
7. Photo developing chemicals
- Dektol Paper Developer, 1Gallon mix
- Kodak Dektol Black & White Paper Developer, Powder to Make 5 Gallons.
8. Photo Paper Dryer
9. Bamboo Tongs for Paper Processing
10. 8’x10” Cutter / Trimmer
Our main goal in this subject is to revive the fun and satisfaction derived from taking pictures and processing in the old way. And, to make it more satisfying, we will only deal with black and white processing. Color processing is too complicated for the home based hobbyist.
Black and White Films
a. Film Developer
One of the more popular film developers is Kodak D-76. This comes in powder form. The powder is only mixed with water. A pint of D-76 can be mixed with water to make a gallon of developer. The mixture maybe closed tightly and can be stored in the darkroom for later use. A gallon of developer may take a while to consume if film developing is not done very often. When used this developer is diluted 10:1 or. We use one and one half ounce with 10 oz of water to make a total of 11 to 12 oz of mixture for processing. Take note that paper developer and film developer are different from each other. They should not be interchanged.
A timer maybe used to determine the developing time for a film. This is very handy when you will be using a developing tank where you will have the idea if the film has been properly developed and proper contrasts has been attained.
Another way of determining the developing process is through the use of the light filter (red) where you can visually see the contrasts in the film. When the right contrast has been attained, place the film into your stop bath for a few minutes and then to the fixer.
The film is then washed thoroughly and then hanged for drying. Make sure that the film is properly shaken to get rid of watermarks that may dry up on the film. A small electric fan will do the job.
b. Paper Developer
The paper developer used in most labs is called Dektol. It is made by Kodak. This developer will mix 50-50 or equal parts of water and stock solution. We usually use 10 oz of Dektol and 10 oz of water when we mix. Use the Developer at 68 degrees in the darkroom.
STOP BATH – Acetic acid or Water. This is a rinsing process to stop the developing process of the chemicals. The film of paper should be fixed right after the stop bath.
FIXER- The last chemical we use is called FIXER. This is sodium thiosulphate in chemical terms. Photographic fixer is a mix of chemicals used in the final step in the photo processing of film or paper. The fixer stabilizes the image, removing the unexposed silver halide remaining on the film or paper, leaving behind the reduced metallic silver that forms the image, making it insensitive to further action by light. Without fixing, the remaining silver halide would quickly darken and cause fogging of the image.
After fixation, washing is important to remove the exhausted chemicals from the emulsion, which cause image deterioration if left in place. The film or the photo paper must be washed or allowed to stay in the tray with the water continuously flowing.
The fixer can be used over and over until it is exhausted. The lab technician will test it with a test kit to know when to throw it out. With this chemical three drops into the fixer should not turn cloudy. If it does it is no longer good fixer.
In the darkroom a photographer may use print tongs to pick up paper in the developer trays. One tong should be used in the developer and a second tong used in the stop bath and fixer. Be reminded that if the fixer contaminates the developer, you cannot use the developer again. The fixer will neutralize it..
The darkroom must be kept dry at all times. Your hands need to dry when touching photo paper. Fingerprints on the finished print might show if you touch photo paper with wet hands. Photographers should wash their hands with soap and water after working in the lab before eating food.
This hobby can become your own home based business eventually. How?
Check this article out: Starting a Home-Based Photography Business
In the advent of computers and digital cameras, it has become easier to produce pictures with the same stunning results. However, the fun and satisfaction of doing the process in the old way, is no longer there. Even editing the photos can be done with the click of the mouse. It is a matter of deciding which way the hobbyist want to go.
Nowadays, having a digital camera, a computer and a printer ( color or black and white) is all that is needed. And results comes fast.