Lenses and bodies and flashes OH MY! Today we are going to tackle one of my favorite questions: When should I buy new gear!? Let’s just be honest, in those early stages of building a business, it is A LOT easier and more fun to purchase a new piece of gear than it is to grow in your actual skill. At the same time, the myth that has been propagated is that the more gear you have the more legit of a photographer you are. False. More gear…better gear…the right kind of gear does NOT make you a good photographer and it certainly does not make you a professional photographer! At the same time, with so many camera and lens options out there it is easy to feel unsure about whether what you have invested in was the smartest choice. So I am going to break it down for you!
When should I upgrade my camera gear?
1. You are shooting on manual and hitting your camera’s limitations consistently. For example, you are regularly shooting in dark venues (common for wedding photographers) and you are finding that you have to max out your ISO to the point that you are getting noise (grain), or slow down your shutter to the point of picking up too much camera shake in the image THEN a higher grade camera that can shoot well at a higher ISO, or a lens that has a wider aperture like 2.8 to let in more light, or a new flash to bounce off of a wall would be a good upgrade! Until you are hitting your camera’s limitations (not just hitting your skill limitations) it is hard to justify a new gear upgrade. And besides, the more aware you are of your camera’s limitations, the better it will feel when you buy that new piece of gear and now understand EXACTLY what upgraded features you are paying for!
2. You have money coming in to buy the new gear. This could mean that with that $500 wedding deposit you are getting you are purchasing that certain lens or backup camera that you know that you will need to shoot the couple’s wedding. If you do not have money coming in from your photography work then you do NOT need to be investing in more gear!!!! Read that sentence again! If you are not making money off of the photography work that you are doing then you need to be investing in more skill training and more business training so that your business is more profitable! The exception to this is of course that initial investment to buy your first camera/lens. Many of us got our first camera from a sweet spouse or parents who saw our passion or potential ..and sometimes it just comes from plain old savin’ up your own cash to hopefully one day do what you love. Please don’t start your business up with debt without even having any promise of future income!
3. You have rented or borrowed this piece of gear before. You can rent just about any kind of camera body and lens easily and securely online through places like lensdepot.com. The piece of gear is shipped right to your front door! If you have your eye on a certain lens, invest $60 in renting it before you invest $1200 in buying it! If it is more of a specialty lens, like a macro lens or a fisheye that you will not be using most of the time, then renting it for each individual wedding or photo session may be far more cost effective then purchasing it outright. This is especially smart to do when you are beginning to get into wedding work and cannot afford a backup camera body (which is a MUST). Just rent one!
There are a few seats left for the Branding and Business Essentials Workshop for photographers being held in Richmond, VA in July! The discounted Early Bird registration rate ends in just a few days on May 31st! For more information and to register visit the Essentials Workshop website!