Cameras are expensive and can be an extravagant purchase depending on what you are purchasing. In addition to the camera itself, there are endless accessory options to make you a better photographer and these accessories range in price from a few dollars to a few thousand! For example, sometimes lenses can cost more than the camera itself.
Shocking, but true. So how do you decide how much to spend on your photography habit? How much is too much?
Hobbyist Versus Pro
It takes years to ascend from hobbyist to professional. It’s everyones dream to turn your passion into your career but it takes time for those dreams to become real. Photography, especially when you do become a professional, requires a large investment and you don’t want to empty your wallet unnecessarily before you have too. Truly consider whether you are still just breaking into the photography field or you have truly made to the professional level.
If you are still just shooting a few self-portraits or newborn photos then hold off on purchasing too many extras because you just don’t need them.
The pros of being a hobbyist versus a professional is that you can choose to purchase equipment for your own need and wants to enjoy versus true professionals who have to purchase equipment sometimes out of necessity even if they don’t want the accessory.
Think About What Your Shooting
Different photography niches require different equipment. For example, if you are a fashion photographer you’ll need extensive lighting sources and a long list of accessories for your camera that you wouldn’t need if you are shooting landscape photography, for instance.
Each niche has its own list of necessary equipment that you’ll want to consider. For people taking pictures in low light environments, a fast lens is an important investment. If you are taking newborn photos, a variety of props are smart to have, as well as accessories like baskets, wraps, and outfits on hand.
Consider Where You Are Going
Life coaches have us create a five year or ten year plan so we see where we are headed and how to get there. This is just as helpful when it comes to photography. If may be worth investing in expensive equipment if you plan on expanding your business to accommodate more clients.
When consulting with new clientele you will look unprofessional if you don’t already have the equipment needed for the job thats being discussed so purchasing it in advance, may be a smart idea. If you don’t see your business growing though, you should probably skip the expensive lens and lighting sources, because you won’t need them and you can invest that money properly elsewhere.
While photography equipment is expensive, that doesn’t mean you have to purchase the first option you come across. Websites like Amazon are often much more affordable than smaller photography equipment stores. In fact Amazon offers convenient lighting packages for under $100 that include quite a lot of lighting accessories including umbrellas, soft boxes, and other options.
The same goes for larger purchases like cameras. It pays to look for the item in Google shopping first and compare the average price range to see if you are getting a good deal or over paying.
If you are a hobbyist or still in the beginning stages of building your photography business, you’ll want to stick to a mid-range camera and one to two additional lens. You want to keep your budget for those items reasonable, you don’t need to purchase the best camera on the market, just one that will do the job you are looking for. They’re are many good quality cameras on the market for under $1000 and this is where you should start, you can always invest later in a better camera when you’ve started making money with your passion.
If you are a professional and you have a steady client base, there should be no limit to what you spend on equipment because you can justify the expense. You’ll want to have invested in a top end camera, and even perhaps a back up camera in case something goes wrong with your primary camera during the shoot. You’ll also want a variety of lens besides your kit lens depending on what you shoot. Telephoto lens, zoom lens, and prime lens are just a few to consider investing in.
Lighting is also incredibly important and you’ll want to invest in a decent variety of lighting sources. If you have your own home photography studio as opposed to doing outdoor shoots, you’ll need more.