Of tripods, Polaroids, and other photo-shopping habits

What you buy says more about you than you might think. Since we decided to (partially) dedicate the month of May to Photography, we shall now endeavour to paint a composite portrait of you, the bidorbuy buyer, based on your photo-related purchases during the last seven days.

At the time we took a peek, the Recently Bought & Won section revealed that your weekly shopping bag contained almost 350 photo-related products. About one hundred of them were accessories, mainly batteries and chargers. All of the batteries you bought were the rechargeable jobs that as a rule come supplied with the camera. The conclusion?

This may indicate that you tend to loose your camera batteries and chargers. Or it may indicate a propensity to think ahead and equip yourself with a spare set. We’ll stick with the latter assumption, because it paints you in a better light.

However, our generosity was cut in the bud the moment we laid eyes on the next group of figures. During the period under scrutiny (roughly, past week), you bought exactly three (yes, only 3) tripods. This is a deeply disturbing piece of information! Ask any photographer worthy of his or her salt, and you will be told that tripods equal decent results. No tripod leads (only too often!) to blurry stills and shaky video footage.

We’ll expound more on merits of using a tripod in our next photo-related blog, in which we’ll talk about how to take good images of the items intended for sale on bidorbuy.

Now let’s return to analysing your photo-shopping habits.

As soon as we recovered from the tripod shock, we got another surprise when we realised that you were more ready to buy video cameras and camcorders (85 sold in seven days) than you were ready to buy proper, still image digital cameras (63 sold in seven days).

Our bias towards regular digital cameras was vindicated when we realised that you were prepared to fork out more for them. The most expensive video thingy you bought in the period under review was a R2,200 waterproof camcorder, while the most expensive still digital camera was a R5995 Canon EOS D500.

We were also greatly comforted by your willingness to spurge out on additional lenses: R6000 for a Canon 70-300mm, R8,500 for Canon 24-70mm and R12,000 for Canon EF 100-400mm. Way to go! With such purchasing patterns, there’s hope yet that the photographic genius crouching inside you will get out and astonish the world (providing you get that tripod, that is).

If you paid even a modicum of attention up to now, you’ll know that we were positively delighted to see that you bought as many as seven film cameras! But, before we had time to say well done, we noticed that the majority of them were vintage affairs, albeit still functioning. Hopefully, there is someone out there taking photos on a black and white film (do they still sell such oddities?), mixing chemicals in his or her bathroom turned into a dark room and witnessing the magic of blank paper turning into a work of art.

The only new film camera sold last week was a Polaroid. All the craze in 50ies and 60ies, Polaroid is making a come-back. It took the shock of a cease-production announcement in 2008 to prompt fans the world over to mobilise and convince the original manufacturer (plus some new ones, like Fuji) that there is still life in the shoot-a-picture-and-have-the-instant-finished-print business.

Everyone heaved a collective sigh of relief: artists and fashion and beauty photographers who use instant prints as a point of reference; street photographers who earn a living making instant ID photos; and the rest of us, who can now continue to tape instant shots of our shoes to the front of shoe boxes.

And what if, no matter what equipment you use, none of the photos you have of yourself do justice to the gorgeous reflection you see every time you gaze into a mirror? Well, in that case, it is time to turn to a pro. You did not avail yourself of this opportunity during the past week, but there’s time yet to go for one of the quite affordable photo shoot sessions currently on offer on bidorbuy.