just ordered a D70 kit... oh dear what have I gotten into?

Started Dec 2, 2005 | Discussions thread
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lonefrontranger
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just ordered a D70 kit... oh dear what have I gotten into?
Dec 2, 2005

Hi everybody, my name is lonefrontranger and I'm a digital photography addict...

"Hi LFR" :: everyone waves ::

Brace yourself for another newbee post. I've been reading the Nikon forums for a couple weeks and the great discussions and technical info here were instrumental in my decision to pull the trigger on a D70 kit that's due to arrive Monday. The kit came with 2 Sigma lenses -- yeah, they are the el cheapo lameo ones, 18-50 / 55-300, but I'll throw more money down that hole once I've shot with the thing enough to determine what I really need / want.

(this is very long, and doesn't have pictures in, so if you've no patience, feel free to hit the back button)

I shoot a lot of different stuff. Mostly action shots (cyclists), landscapes in the Front Range, and some urban / night scene type pathetic-attempts-to-be-artsy hipster stuff.

History: I am a very rookie novice. I've never taken a class, and honestly, can't afford to (I looked). I have an entry level art / design background, marginal Photoshop skills, and have worked in desktop publishing. I used to shoot a ton with an ancient Pentax SLR that belonged to my x, full manual, no functional light meter in the thing, no idea what model. Dragged it to a million bike races for action pics and shot the odd macro lens flower portrait for my mom's blank greeting cards, etc.

I didn't shoot anything for the past 3 years, then a good friend bought me a happy-snap in August (Olympus Stylus 500). I've been using it since and have really gotten the bug, so the D70 will be both an upgrade and a steep learning curve. I've no idea about f stops, exposure, DOF, any of it... just that I really want more flexible control of these things. The lack of ease to manipulate shutter speed and DOF on the Stylus is what's currently driving me nuts. Like everything else I've done in life, I'll learn as I go. (ferinstance, just read up on Rule of Thirds, and am now sorely tempted to go re-crop everything I've shot for the past four months...ugh).

Now for the gist of this long ramble: the traffic to my blog has generated interest in me doing 'real' projects. I've been asked to shoot team photos for 2 local cycling teams for their websites / sponsor proposals, etc. No I won't get paid (cos they know I'm a hack who'll do it for beer), but if the results are good enough I might be able to leverage this towards more substantial work in future, tho I ain't quitting my day job anytime soon.

I have some ideas, but one thing I'm adamantly against is doing the banal cliche team photo, which consists of 2 variations: the stiff chorus line posed in front of a mountain backdrop or sponsor's business, or the even worse 'choirboy' group pose: sat on buckets / tool cases inside a cluttered, depressingly lit bike shop and shot with the shop owner's six-year-old Mavica.

I'll have to do group shots, and I'll slay those dragons myself... but what I am really pushing for on one team's behalf in particular, is individual B&W head shots of each racer in their sponsor's polo shirt, to use as thumbnails / bio headers on their web site and sponshorship proposals. More of a modeling or promo shot; a true portrait. I mean it's a semi-pro team, they're young attractive guys, and they should present the best image possible, right?

Okay if you're with me through all that then here's my actual question - I have NO experience with portrait shooting... zilch. I'll be borrowing equipment for this (my best friend is a pro photojournalist with unlimited access to spendy kit), but what should I be using to pull this off?? Will the Sigma 18-50 be adequate for web & document quality headshots, assuming proper lighting / flash / backdrop? Any thoughts on how to do this as efficiently as possible? I don't want to flail around with setup on picture day and waste a bunch of their (+my) time.

Please tell me if you think this is way over my head and I should just forget the whole thing. The date for the team I want to do portraits of is mid-January, so I've time to figure out this project.

Extra credit question, based on what I shoot most (bike races, landscapes, night scenes, some macro work). Might any of you have suggestions for higher quality lens (es) that I should make my most immediate priority for purchase? (yes I've searched the forum, everyone likes to think their case is unique tho). If you're brave and/or really bored, here's a link to my blog: http://www.lonefrontranger.blogspot.com

Keep in mind, the blog shots were all done with an Olympus Stylus 500 fully auto point n shoot, I have NO photography background whatsoever and they're all low res web 'snapshots' pretty much; lotsa experimenting going on here.

Constructive criticism, tips and equipment suggestions all welcome... along with cantankarous flames, rants and kicks in the trousers with FAQ links from the longtimers.

Cheers,

LFR
--

never argue with an idiot. He will merely drag you down to his level, then beat you on experience.

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