What is the best way to save money on new photography gear?
Let’s face it: as photographers, all of us love some new gear don’t we? It comes with the territory, I think. We are always interested in what kind of gear others are using, and it’s fun to see what using new gear is like and what it does for our photos. But there’s just one thing… Photo gear is expensive. And I don’t know about you, but especially when I was first starting out, there was no way I could drop thousands and thousands of dollars on new lenses, cameras, bags or straps all the time. Being committed to growing my photography business on a budget, I learned 4 easy ways to save money on new photography gear, and I’m excited to share them with you!
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to rent camera equipment before buying. When I first started out, I had no idea this was “a thing.” But sure enough, even if you live hundreds of miles from the nearest camera store, there are amazing are reputable photo rental companies available online. Our very favorite is LensProToGo. Renting a lens is a great way to save money for that piece of equipment that you may only need for one job or wedding. It’s also a great way to test out new gear, or to compare gear that you are considering buying.
Buy Used or Refurbished
I know how tempting it can be to have that shiny, brand new gear calling your name, but I am here to tell you – I’ve bought both used and refurbished gear. There’s no shame in my game! While I recommend buying your primary camera new, I love a good deal on used or refurbished lenses!
Purchasing refurbished gear through major photo companies like Canon, Nikon and Sigma is a great way to save a little cash on your new gear. Refurbished products from these companies undergo comprehensive quality checks and inspections, and also come with a warranty.
When buying used gear, I highly recommend that you purchase through reputable companies like Adorama, B&H or KEH. These companies apply a rating system to their used gear to help you determine and understand it’s condition prior to buying, as well as offering a warranty.
Make an Offer
Never pay full price again! Not too long ago, a friend told me about an awesome way to get brand new authorized USA camera gear (not gray market) for less than retail price… Sound too good to be true? I promise you, it’s not. With Greentoe, you name your price on camera gear, and they submit your offer to authorized retailers for approval. I have personally purchased camera gear through them (including my amazing Canon 5D MarkIV), and couldn’t be happier with the experience!
Don’t Chase the Latest & Greatest
Finally, and quite possibly the most important, the best way to save money on new photography gear is to purchase what you need. I am of the belief that having the latest and greatest gear will never make you a stronger photographer if you don’t already know how to work with what you have. There is a time to upgrade your equipment for sure, but before doing so, I would challenge you to identify what it is about your current gear that is holding you back. Never fall into the trap that new gear will solve your technical issues. Instead, focus on practicing and learning to perfect your skills with what you have. At that point, new gear will be an asset and not a crutch.