We here at Tinyshooters like to do things on a budget and find low cost solutions that are normally much more expensive. Often we find that creativity and a Macgyver type of attitude to problem solving can often get the job done just as well as a ton of pricy gear.
An example of that kind of approach comes from my friend who is starting her Vancouver fashion photography business and is building up her portfolio.
Here is how she was able to do a studio photo shoot for $50.
For a fashion shoot what you typically need is a hair and makeup person, a wardrobe, some props, studio, lights and of course a model.
For the makeup person and model she went on Modelmayhem and craigslist for people who were beginning their fashion careers. After about two weeks of on and off searching she found two people. The makeup and hair person had graduated about a year ago from a local fashion school and done some work but wanted to expand her portfolio in exchange for photos of her work. The model was quite young but eager to exchange time for photos.
For the shoot my friend had a particular style she wanted and to focus on jewelry. The jewelry was from my friend’s personal collection and borrowed from her friends. The wardrobe was from her extensive closet and some also belonged to the model.
Finding a Studio
The next problem was finding studio space. Again, going through Craigslist she found a 20’ x 20’ studio for $25 an hour close by. Of course for such a low price there had to be a catch. The studio was located in the sketchy East Hastings area of Vancouver, Canada’s worst drug ridden area. After making a wrong turn down what seemed like an empty alley, it quickly turned into a scene from the Walking Dead. As we slowly drove down the alley dozens of drunks and drug addicts seemingly out of nowhere slowly shuffled towards the car like zombies. After that harrowing scenario amid mild squeaks from the model and makeup person in the back we made it to the artist shared space of the studio.
We had prepared all our gear ahead of time and with two powerful borrowed (freebie from a client) lights with umbrellas and two strobes we were off and shooting. Everything went off without a hitch and we were done within the 2 hours of time we had purchased.
Of course if you are a photo student you can bypass the extra work by taking a class but courses in fashion photography typically have large classes of too many people, they set up make up person model and sets, and wardrobe, but it can be frustrating waiting for others to finish their shoot. Since the scenario is already set for you, you do not have much leeway to add your own creativity and vision. The courses can also be expensive, perhaps costing a couple of hundred for a whole weekend.
Total cost breakdown:
-model, portfolio photos for time
-hair and makeup by recent graduate, exchange photos for portfolio
-fashion clothing and jewelry from photographer’s collection, some from model
-studio lighting and gear borrowed from a client’s product studio
-self and studio supplied props
-studio time $25/hr.
$50 for 2 hours of studio time.
By being creatively resourceful and putting the willingness and time into the endevoure my friend was able to put together a fashion photo shoot of her own style on a budget. You can too.
Vancouver fashion photographer Cherry Archer