The Night Song – My Tips for Doing Budget Photo Shoot

The Night Song

Have you ever wanted to create good, artistic photos but you only have limited amount of money? In this article, I would like to share my experience of doing a photo shoot with two models with very limited budget, in a very normal location with lighting from house lamps, and taken with cheapest entry level DSLR. This photo shoot was also my first experience working with models and DSLR camera. Could you imagine how limited was my knowledge about photography during this photo shoot?

I would like to emphasize that the most important thing in photography is not your gears. It’s your passion and creativity, and those two are the best weapon to create great photos. I am also looking forward to your comments and feedback so I could improve my works in the future.

The Concept

The story behind the scene
The Night Song

I bought my first DSLR camera in January 2012. My initial purpose for buying that kind of sophisticated camera was to make documentary of my final Bachelor of Arts research. Just a week after getting my DSLR, I accidentally found a very interesting video about photography on Youtube, from DigitalRevTV. The man in the video seems enjoying himself very much, taking photos of beautiful model with very cheap camera. Suddenly I felt that I wanted to create some photography works too.

The first thing came to my mind was about finding the models. As I was an amateur and didn’t have enough experience of handling DSLR camera, I decided to ask for help from my friends to be the model for my photography project. So, I contacted Nooreen and Varsha, two of my beautiful friends from Mauritius and offered this opportunity. Luckily, they agreed.

I wanted to talk a little bit about the model. Nooreen and Varsha are two students from Mauritius, a very beautiful small island in southern part of Africa. Mauritius used to be a colony of British and France. When the British ruled India, they sent some local Indian workers to work in Mauritius. At that time, there was no people on this island. Only jungles and animals. So, those Indian workers were the first colony in Mauritius, and they live, create a family, and until now inhibit this beautiful island.

After some years, British Empire decided to give Mauritius to France. Thus, under France regime, those Mauritian workers have to speak in France. The habit of speaking France has become a culture, even after their independence. Today, France is the national language of Mauritius.

I find that Mauritian people such as Nooreen and Varsha are the luckiest people in the world. They have beautiful, exotic face from their Indian ancestors. They speak Franch, the most beautiful, sexiest language in the world. They inherited the education and political system from British Empire, which is very systematic. Plus, they live in a small island with very beautiful nature; beaches, mountains, and jungle. What a very fortunate nation!

Back to the story of the model. Nooreen and Varsha are very good friends. They live together, study in the same college, and they understand each other very well. I wanted to use these facts to help a strong, artistic, and memorable photos. Thus, I decided to create a theme about intimate relationship between two women.

The Photo Shoot

The execution of the concept

As I told you before, I didn’t have any experience for doing photo shoot with any DSLR camera at that time. Thus, I wanted to focus more on the concept and messages of the photos rather than the technical aspects. I wanted to work as comfortable as possible, so I decided to do the photo shoot in Nooreen and Varsha’s house, in their small living room. I didn’t want to do it outside, because I thought that it was my first experience, and I didn’t want to embarass myself and the model.

The photo shoot took about three hours and it would be faster if I had more practical knowledge about DSLR camera. I spent a lot of unecessary times to adjust the ISO, control the focus, and set the exposure. I did all in manual mode, as I didn’t aware that the Aperture Priority mode would work more efficient. One of my most stupid mistake in this photo shoot was the fact that I forgot to turn on the Image Stabilizer, and at that time I didn’t even have a tripod. Luckily, I was able to take some good shots, and it took me about three hours to select, edit, and publish the photos.

Black Kimono for B&W Photoshoot

Here are some great kimono, a traditional Japanese dress for black and white photography. The wardrobe of the model is very important, especially if you later want to convert the images into monochrome. I strongly suggest that you find some dress with interesting pattern, especially for a photo shoot with plain background. Be sure to find a dress that looks cute and elegant.

Tips to do budget photo shoot

1. Find a strong, solid concept that can be executed in an empty room
Instead of focusing on the properties of the photo shoot, you should focus more on the model. Exploit your creativity and push it to its limit so that you can create good photos by only framing the model and a plain background. For this concept, you will need model who has strong, memorable expression. If the model also have beautiful and exotic face, it would be very helpful as well.

2. Try to find good references
Watch videos, read books, or go to photo exhibition. Read also about various article and tutorial about creating beautiful photos with cheap camera and limited budget. I strongly recommend that you watch “Pro Photographer Cheap Camera Series” from DigitalRevTV channel on Youtube.

3. Make it black and white
Black and white photos always appear to be more artistic, and by desaturating the color you can focus more on the subject. Simple photos with an empty background also look better in black and white rather than in color. For a better result, you can play with the contrast, brightness, exposure, and clarity of the photos during the post-processing.

4. Remember, your passion and creativity are more important than the physical aspects of the photos
It is you who can make the photos look great. Not the camera, not the place of the photo shoot, and not the dress worn by the models. Of course they will help you create something better and more beautiful, but remember that your passion and creativity are your main weapon.

The Black Dresses

Here are some alternative dresses that would be suitable for your model if you are planning to do a simple photo shoot with plain background. My advice: don’t choose a type of dress that has too much distracting patterns. Try to stick with a type of dress that look simple, elegant, and slightly hot.

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