“Teach your kids photography, and they won’t have money to buy drugs”
It’s well known that photography is not cheap. Just look at any wedding photographer or sports photographers with several expensive cameras and equally expensive lenses hanging off their shoulders. Then you need speed lights and memory cards, insurance, camera bags, light stands….Ok you get! It’s not cheap to be a professional photographer.
What if you're not a professional photographer and can’t justify the price of top of the line gear? Maybe photography is your hobby or you are just starting out on your journey to become a professional photographer. What do you do about gear then?
Sometimes you need a specific piece camera lens for a job but you can’t afford to buy it.
Why not rent camera gear?
Rent the expensive lens you’ve dreamed of for a fraction of the cost and return it when you don’t need it.
When I started to focus on shooting weddings full time, I had a list of camera lenses I needed to buy that someone mentioned in some youtube video. So I made a list.
16-35mm wide lens
24-70mm standard zoom
70-200mm telephoto zoom
A macro lens
And a fast prime lens (I already owned a 50mm 1.4 so I didn't need that on my list)
On top of that since you only have one shot at a wedding you need… Yes, NEED a backup camera body incase your main camera fails. So I priced it all out.
For ease, let’s assume you have booked 10 weddings for the year at $1000 each. (That’s a great number starting out but if you are nowhere near this number, don’t worry, neither was I my first year.)
To purchase all the gear I needed, brand new it was going to cost me, $8400.
That leaves just $1600 left at the end of the year to feed and house your family.
Next I priced what it would cost to purchase all the same gear but in Used condition and it was going to cost $5740. That’s a pretty good savings over new! But then you are missing out on a warranty if anything goes wrong with the gear, and have you seen those videos of photographers buying an expensive lens on amazon or ebay only to open the box and find a rock? No thanks!
Lastly I priced out the total cost to rent the same gear from CameraLensRentals.com
To rent all the same camera gear it cost just $281 per wedding!
That leaves $7190 at the end of the year, that I can then use to grow my growing photography business. Ding Ding Ding!
Now let’s break this down. If I bought everything new, It would cost me $840 for each $1000 wedding I had booked, just to pay for my gear, and if I rented, it would only cost me just $281.
So if renting camera gear is the smarter option here, why not always rent your gear?
Well I would say the average full time wedding photographer shoots in the neighborhood of 30-35 weddings a year. To rent all that gear for 30 weddings it would cost you $8130.
Here in America, you can depreciate your gear on your business taxes for 5 years. If you were to rent all the gear for 5 years it would cost you $42,150. But only $8400 to purchase it all.
If you are just starting out and don’t have the money to own the gear, rent it if you need it. Rent it until it makes sense to buy it. If you shoot a lot of portraits or families to maybe just buy the 24-70 since you will be using it all the time, and then for weddings rent the rest.
One of the best things that happened to me through renting lenses as my wedding business grew was that I discovered that I don’t really like zoom lenses and prefer prime lenses. If I would have bought all new gear in the beginning when I SWORE I needed the zoom lenses I would have been out a ton of money when I would eventually switch to prime lenses. When renting lenses you can experiment with more creative photography or shooting style which will better prepare you for when you do go to buy!
I know how cool new gear is. I know the feeling of “If I only had this lens I could take such better photos, my clients deserve it!” But honestly clients don’t really care. They care more about the emotion in the photos and how you made them feel. So instead of spending money on buying that 70-200, spend money on building a more personal relationship with your clients. Because they will get you more business, your lens won’t.
This blog is not sponsored by Camera Lens Rentals, I just love using them and want to share them with the world! They rent Canon lenses and camera bodies like the 5D and EOS R, they rent Nikon lenses and camera bodies such as the Nikon D850, as well as rent drones. Thats cool too.
If you are interested in renting that lens that you have only dreamed of shooting with (my favorite is the canon 135mm f2) head over to CameraLensRentals.com and check them out!
I actually reached out to Camera lens rentals to see if they could give you the (Readers, Listeners, Viewers) a promo code to and they graciously agreed!
Head to CameraLensRentals.com and use the promo code “BeginnerPhotography ” at check out to get 20% off your order!
(That brings the price in my example down from $281 to just $225 saving you over $562 additional dollars over your first year!)