Photography on a Budget- Special guest post by Linda Pollock

Tiger Lilies. Photography by Linda

With being a single Grandma raising a 4 and 5 year old on a very limited budget I had to come up with some ways to get
close to the same looks that other photographers with more of a budget can get. Hopefully I’m able to give you some ideas.

Even before I knew what Macro was or any of the rules I thought I was a photographer and every photographer needs a studio..right? hahaha This meant rearanging my down stairs. Finally I was able to use a small part of the dining room..finally my own space!! I had bought an old desk for 5.00 at a yard sale. It really didn’t serve a purpose, the desk came in two parts, the top being quite large I couldn’t have my whole computer on it…..So, I turned the top part around. The other side having a thick piece of plywood. Which turned out to be great. I was able to use thumb tacks to pin up back drops. Now I needed back drops. There was a huge sale at the second hand shop, which was just across the street from me. I went right to the ladies blouses and bought a load of them..some had wacky designs, others where plain in colour…black, white, blue. Then to the bedding area. King size sheets for 2.00!! Oh got a few of those. Large table cloths ( wonderful textures) for 1.50. I walked out of there spending 15.00 and loads of back drops. Oh yes. I had bought a plastic shelf on wheels for 2.00. Yippeeee, I had my very own studio!!

Tip #1….Go to your second hand shops. They are full of treasures. If you wish to photograph smaller children, but haven’t a back drop, use a sheet. If your looking for texture, you could always pick up wool blankets, heavy cotton. I bought two beautiful king size blankets one dark brown and the other burgandy. They are thick and soft, so little ones can walk and jump on them and no rips. If your into Macro, then blouses, shirts work great. Another neat back drop could be your child’s finger painting.Or get them to colour on a very large paper. Their art work doesn’t need to be perfect, it’s going to end up blurred, whic makdes for wonderful DOF. Something I do more in the winter is tape a top to a wall. Being sure to keep the buttons and the arms out of the way. Sit a small table in front of the shirt, but not touching the wall. A simple vase and a flower, adjust for a blur back ground…Looks lovely. I’ve even won a few competitions with some of those photos.

Tip #2…Using old jewelry. Remember those very large pearl necklaces? Get a couple in different colours, work on a composition and there you have still life, abstract, simple macro with other fuex pearl blurred. If you see cheap earrings. Maybe something you’d never wear, but there’s a red stone or what ever. Buy it, take it apart. Once again, all of these things are bought at a second hand shop. You may pay .10 cents for them, so no great loss when taking them apart.

Tip #3…Yard sales. You can pick up almost everything cheap. Don’t be afraid to talk the person down either. It’s expected. A lady I know her son was getting married. Went to a yard sale and bought a vintage love seat for 5.00. They used the love seat in some of their wedding photos images. We all love to see our art worked framed…Hopefully by some one to purchased the image, but until then, we practice and frame out best. Yard sales are great for selling old posters that are framed. Usually can get them for a 1.00. You may come across some one who is getting rid of all those old framed pictures. Once your home take their picture out and place yours nicely in it’s place.

Tip #4…Flowers, with living in Canada sadly we don’t have blooms for quite a few months out of the year. During the winter, I will watch for 50% off on flowers at the grocery stand. They don’t last very long, but if you are in need of some bright colours and flowers, this is a cheap way to go. I also find that I am able to get better Macros while photographing flowers inside.

Tip #5…Lights. Lighting is very important when photographing indoors. I own three 120 wt light bulbs. The new style that use less energy, they are brighter and last longer. Oh yes, be sure to pick up “white” bulbs. They do come in many shades of white, and this does make for images that are not true in colour. The package will say “white” on it. Something else I picked up, which is the best find I’ve found and that is an umbrella lamp. Picked it up at the second hand shop for $ 3.00. I’m able to move the arms in many directions.

Tip #6…Extras. As a light reflector I us the back of a sun blocker that you would use in the window of your car. Bought it at the dollar store for a $1.00. A large roll of white plastic table cover. It’s about 3 feet wide, and the length is very long, will last for ever, even if I cut off the part that has been used. Bought this for $10.00, but is perfect for photographing children if you are wanting them to wear shoes and play. I did a fun shoot with my little ones with cup cake covered in different coloured icing. A quick wipe of a dish cloth and the mess was gone….the children how ever needed a bath. hahahaha. Hats of many styles, bought at the second hand shop and yard sales.

Hopefully I have helped in giving some tips in how to photograph on a budget. Loads and loads of ideas out there, if I come up with more I’ll be sure to add more. Thanks for reading and happy clicking.
For more information on Linda´s photography CLICK HERE.