A Note from Steinberg Photo:
Firstly, needless to say, the responsible thing to do with your stimulus check is to use it to pay your bills, or secret it away for some extra cushioning. Your and your family’s immediate needs should absolutely come first. But if you are in the fortunate position where your financial needs allow, we’ve put together a list of items your stimulus check can bankroll.
The Steinberg Photography Team
Have you been longing to get into portrait photography? The time is now. Camera equipment isn’t cheap, but the $1,200 coronavirus stimulus check can bankroll your portrait photography startup and cover everything you’ll need to make it happen.
Your camera will take the biggest bite out of your budget. We recommend a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera with a rear LCD screen and a touch focus. Look for a crop-sensor camera with low light shooting capability, good auto-focusing speed and decent resolution.
One great pick is the $460 Canon Rebel T7 with an 18-55mm kit lens. Another good option is the $600 Nikon D5300 with an 18-55mm kit lens. The Nikon D5300 is available without the kit lens for $500.
If you don’t choose the Canon or the Nikon, a 50mm or 35mm DSLR lens would work well. The 50mm lens is good for portraits, and it costs about $130. It’s lightweight, boasts a wide fast aperture and creates sharp, clear photos. If you prefer auto-focusing, look into a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G for about $220.
Reflectors and Speedlights
Speedlights are great, but they’re expensive. Reflectors maximize the impact of secondary light and only cost about $25. Just like speedlights, reflectors use ambient light to illuminate your subject’s face. The only difference is that speedlights give you more lighting options.
Many photographers use reflectors in conjunction with strobes. Strobes give portraits a unique distinction that you can’t get from reflectors alone. You should get reflectors in black, silver, gold and white. That way, you can create a variety of looks. The black reflector is great for creating shadows, and it also works as a backdrop.
You can even add a Yongnuo YN560-IV Speedlight for about $70. One speedlight is enough to get you started, and you won’t go over budget. So far, you’ve spent about $750.
Light Stand, A-clamps and Backdrops
A light stand gives you more control over your lighting. It helps you to create precisely the look you want. The black Impact Air-cushioned Light Stand is only $40.
A-clamps hold things in place. They’re like heavy-duty clothespins. They keep lights and reflectors steady and in position on the light stand while you complete your shots. They cost about $8.
Backdrops are the final item for your photography startup. They come in white, cream and black and have their own stands and carry bags. Backdrops sell for about $170.
All this gear adds up to about $1,000, and it includes everything you’ll need to start shooting. You’ll even have $200 left to play around with, or donate!