Tips On How To Save Money And Buy Gear Wisely

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  By Michael Moodie
Tips On How To Save Money And Buy Gear Wisely

In many previous articles we have discussed how expensive the art of photography can be and the level of investment it takes over a period of time. Every photographer has a moment in their career where they want to buy almost any and every new shiny lens on the market that has the potential of making their work sharper or just overall improving the quality. This moment in time is something I like to call lens-lust or getting greedy for gear. We often want the things we don’t need and neglect to pay attention to the things we do actually need. It can be hard however to choose the gear you want as everything over a period of time becomes so expensive or costly. In today’s article, we will be discussing the topic of how you can save money and purchase new gear wisely. These simple tips will come in handy throughout the course of your career in photography and also help you to save a few dollars while at it. Photography is an expensive craft that will eventually return your investment as your skills in photography grow and you become more established in whatever genre you decide. Let’s dive into how you can save some money.

1. What are your Actual Needs?

The first step to effectively save money when buying equipment is to first establish a list of things you actually need to better your craft. At some point during your career, you will start to feel limited by the gear you have and see the need to expand in regards to the tools you have. Some of these tools might not be completely necessary so this where the list comes in handy. Do a quick inventory of the gear you have and think to yourself if you’ve used each of them to their full potential before considering to get something similar or an upgraded version with not that much upgrades.

However, if you feel as if you have surpassed the limits of your current equipment then it is time to prioritize. Start to think of the things that are most important and work your way down to the things that can probably wait until your able to comfortably buy them and not break the bank. This process can prove to be very frustrating as you will first start to think that everything on your list is important and you need to get everything at once. I was also one of those photographers until I saw the importance of taking everything in stages and pacing myself in regards to the things I need immediately in comparison to the things that can wait.

2. Come Up With A Budget

Coming up with a budget and sticking by it can sometimes take a lot of will power as we can easily get carried away and not remember that a lot these things can be pretty expensive. You can easily come with a budget by taking into careful consideration what your current revenue or income is and how much of that can be invested in your craft without affecting your day to day or month to month expenses. I often recommend putting some money aside from each shoot into an account or simply putting the cash into a savings jar for future purchases that you wish to get. Doing this will not only help you to appreciate the new gear you’re getting a lot more but also put you into a very good habit of saving towards what you want without putting a dent in your pocket. There’s no denying that camera equipment overall is expensive so if you still don’t see yourself saving enough to get a piece of equipment you need then you can look into alternative options as well that fit into your budget.

Most camera gear retailers understand how costly camera gear can be and seek to provide payment plans for your benefit. It works pretty much the same as if you were to get a new car from the dealership and make monthly payments but this will be significantly less. This is something to consider if it fits in perfectly with your financial status.

3. Rent

The topic budgeting helps to bring me to my next point which renting equipment. Many retailers and camera stores actually give you the convenience of renting anything from camera bodies, lenses and even lighting equipment if you want. This comes in handy when trying to save or even to see if a piece of equipment you were interested in is actually worth it. We can again use the analogy of a car in this situation. You often find individuals going to a dealership to check out the car and test driving it before they decide to make the investment into getting one. The same method can be applied to camera gear.


I recommend renting whatever it is you were interested in for at least 2-3 days, where you will be shooting constantly or have the time to run your test. Running these test will help you to determine if this gear the perfect for you or if it’s not worth the investment you thought it was. Renting gear also comes in handy when you don’t necessarily need the gear for long term use but it will come in handy on a particular shoot day or photography session.

4. Explore Your Options

There are many retailers out there who are looking to sell your camera gear which often works in your advantage. Competitive retailers often mean competitive prices which then lead to discounts on selective items. I encourage you to explore your options in regards to who you buy from as someone else might have the same piece of equipment for a much lesser price. The trick is to save a dollar or two wherever you can so you don’t go over the budget you’ve already established.

I hope these tips will assist you not only now but in the future as well when the time comes to upgrade or buy new gear. Photography is a beautiful but expensive craft that we’ve all grown to appreciate. Until next time, thank you for stopping by.

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Michael Moodie is a Freelance Photographer and Photojournalist. He Enjoys Lifestyle Photography and Traveling while doing all things creative!

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