One of the most common things I hear people, and even other photographers, say is that they don't have the equipment to produce professional looking photographs. That's not true. Professional gear makes creating the photograph easier, yes, but you can produce the same look with cheap gear.
One of my favorite examples is the album cover I created for 2 local musicians. Luis contacted me and asked about creating this album cover. He gave me a rough idea about sitting at a table with a few objects, and a black background. While I normally shoot outside without the help of artificial light, I decided to take the job. I knew I wanted a harsh light to create a dramatic effect, but I wasn't quite sure how to go about it. I started playing around with things such as flashlights, candles, and other types of lights, before I saw a music video on YouTube lit completely by shop lights. It was exactly the look I was going for so I grabbed a shop light or two and called Luis up. I asked if he had a solid color wall, something like a white or cream color that would contrast against their outfits and would make it easy for me to cut them out and replace it Photoshop with a black background. As soon as he said yes, I knew I was going to be able to get a good photo.
I brought all of my photo gear to this shoot, because I wanted to be prepared for whatever was going to happen. I still hadn't seen the location, I didn't know how much ambient light we would have, and several other variables. As I was walking out of my house, I saw a black blanket and decided to grab it, in the hopes of taping it to the wall to create a nicer edge to the subjects. Once we got to the location, I started to set up. We took a few test shots and I decided that The one side of their face was way to dark, and luckily I had brought my reflector. I decided to go with the white side instead of silver, because I wanted just a very slight amount of light to be bounced back. In the end, I was extremely happy with the photograph.
I immediately started editing the files when I got home. It took me roughly 20 minutes from start to finish. This whole shoot took about an hour of messing around on site, 20 minutes of editing, and 2 minutes of emailing before I was done. I've shown this picture to multiple other photographers, and most of their guesses on the whole cost of the shoot was several hundred dollars in lighting. In reality, this was taken with a $50 work light that I borrowed, a $5 amazon reflector, a $5 Walmart blanket, A tripod, a $350 camera, and a $100 lens. In reality, I didn't even need that!
Lee Morris is an extremely talented photographer. He decided to prove a point by photographing professional style images with nothing but basic gear and his iPhone. His results are amazing and prove it's the photographer, not the camera.
Grab whatever you have and go practice. It can be an old iPod, your cell phone, a point and shoot, heck, maybe you have a DSLR! All you need to do is go practice! Learn how to work light and learn what makes a great photo. I promise you'll get better with practice! I want to see some photographs you guys take! please share them with me!