When you are first starting a new business, you have to be careful about your expenses, as they can soon spiral out of control if you don’t keep a tight rein. It’s easy to think that you can’t start a photography business, for example, without all the most expensive cameras and related equipment.
But that’s not the case anymore. You could rent camera equipment for quite cheap nowadays which means you could potentially save on costs.
How do you decide if renting a camera is the right option or buying it? In the article below, we run through the pros and cons of both of these options, so you can make the right choice.
Renting Photography Gear
Don’t fear that you won’t be perceived as a professional in the photography business if you are working with rented equipment. That’s a common misconception. Many pro photographers who get thousands for their shoots still rent certain equipment for shoots.
The obvious pro of renting photography gear is that you don’t have to have a full roster of equipment in your studio for every possible shoot. You can have basic photography gear in your repertoire and then rent as necessary, depending on the situation.
Too many photographers have a backup camera or a second camera in their studio, but never end up using it or use it rarely. In most cases, these second cameras end up on Craigslist to be sold on the cheap.
Instead of wasting your money on equipment that you might use once or twice a year, it’s better to purchase only what you need and rent the rest. It will save you so much money in the long term.
This is even more true if you are newly starting as a photographer and haven’t made much money in the business yet. You don’t want to spend money you don’t have by buying equipment on credit.
Better to buy the basics and then save up over time for more professional and high-tech equipment. Until then, you can rent it all.
The biggest con of renting photography equipment is that you can’t be sure that the gear you need will be available for you at the time you need it. For example, during Christmas or New Year, lots of family photoshoots are happening and at that point, renting the gear you need might be near to impossible.
This could result in you saying no to projects that you would otherwise be able to do if you had purchased all the equipment in advance. This can be an annoyance, but if you plan well in advance, then this eventuality should never pop up.
Buying Photography Equipment
If you notice that you end up renting the same gear over and over again, and the cost of the rental is exceeding that of purchasing the item, then it might be time to consider buying the gear outright. Let’s look further into the pros and cons below.
Nowadays with so many deals going on and the possibility to buy expensive equipment on credit, you can purchase even the most expensive gear without much difficulty. And you won’t even have to put your home up for mortgage like they would have had to in the past.
And once you have the gear, it’s yours for life. Or until you upgrade to a better model.
Also, don’t forget that you could potentially set up a camera rental where you lend your equipment to fledgling photographers and make some extra money on the side. This way you can recuperate the value of the gear and then use it free and clear.
A lot of photography equipment can be exorbitantly expensive and you will need to purchase insurance on all of them, to ensure that you don’t lose out on the full value in case something happens.
You will also have to be extremely careful in using this equipment, so you can’t travel on a safari or a waterfall with them because there’s too much danger of them being damaged or broken. In these cases, rented equipment with insurance on top is the best way to do it.
This way you won’t have to spend all your time worrying about your camera equipment and you can enjoy doing your photo shoots without being on edge the whole time.
Another con of buying photography equipment is that they need a lot of maintenance. You can’t just purchase these items and hope for the best.
There are lenses to be replaced and the equipment has to be cleaned every so often. There are other details you need to pay attention to and if you have a lot of equipment, this can turn into a full-time job.
If you are a lazier kind of photographer, maybe renting would be the better option for you then. No need to spend your free time catering to your expensive gear then; just rent it all.
Renting a Camera vs Buying It – What’s Better?
Everyone is going to make a different choice when it comes to renting photographer gear or buying it. That’s because it depends on your circumstances and specific needs.
Once you make the choice of renting a camera though, make sure you plan all your work well in advance so you never end up missing out on photoshoots because you don’t have the rented gear ready.