Happy World Photo Day! If you’re just getting into photography or are already a photography enthusiast, I’m sure you know it’s not a cheap hobby. When we were shooting weddings, buying gear was a no-brainer because they were all business expenses. Now that we’re blogging full time, though, we have to choose more carefully how we build our collection.
We still believe that photography is a worthwhile investment. It helps you capture important memories like your travels. Also, if you’re a blogger like us, better quality photos can give your readers more reason to keep coming back and can give your site more credibility and add to your professionalism when working with brands.
There are so many options out there, and we know that it can get overwhelming. Wherever you are in your camera and photography journey, the best way to save money on camera gear is to buy smart.
5 TIPS ON BUYING NEW CAMERA GEAR
1. Set Yourself a Budget
First and foremost, we believe in spending within your means. If the gear you want is outside of your initial budget then sometimes it means you have to wait longer before making a purchase. In the meantime, you can always borrow, rent, and do more research.
2. Consider How Often You will be Using It
Before we make the leap on any purchase, we ask ourselves how often we will we be using it. Do you only need it for a specific location or event? Is it specialized gear for one specific hobby? How long do you think your new hobby will last?
Over the last few years, we’ve done a lot more water sports during our travels like snorkeling, kayaking, and recently getting dive certified. When we initially started, we wanted to jump right in and try out underwater photography, but underwater housing is expensive! Since I am known to be fickle and like to constantly get into new hobbies and activities, we decided to wait a year to see if these underwater hobbies stuck before investing in underwater housing.
3. Test the Gear
No matter how many reviews you read or what you hear through word of mouth, it’s still best to test the gear before buying it for yourself. If you don’t have a friend to borrow from, one of the best ways to do that is to rent the gear and use it for a day or two.
As we’ve been visiting more National Parks, we’ve been getting more into wildlife photography. While we were in Glacier National Park last month, we knew that it would be the perfect time to test out telephoto lenses. We rented the Canon 100-400mm lens and took it for a spin all week. We’ve been talking about buying it for some time now but wanted to see if we could save some money by using the older one. Check out one of our favorite photos we took with this lens!
By the way, we still plan on testing the 100-400mm USM II before we decide what to purchase.
4. Buy Used Gear
Until recently, we tried to purchase brand new gear, but after talking to a few of our friends who have had great experiences with used gear, we started to switch over. You can save a quite a bit buying used gear and as long as you buy from a reputable store like KEH Camera, where you know that you can trust the quality of what you’re getting! They’ve even been kind enough to offer 10% off to the Local Adventurer community with coupon code: LADVEN10 (and the first 10 people who use it get 20% off!)
I bought the Sony RX100 Mark IV used and love it! We shoot most of our videos with it now.
5. Don’t be Scared to Invest
Sometimes the best way to save money is by spending more of it up front. I know that sounds backwards, but if photography is something you take seriously and you’ve done your due diligence (tested the gear and know you’ll be using it), it’s okay to make the leap. In the long run, you won’t have to buy a starter camera and cheaper lens (ie., those useless kit lenses) only to trade it in after a few months just to get nicer gear.
Also, don’t hold onto what you don’t need
Sometimes you outgrow your gear, and it’s sad to let something go that you poured so much money into, but having gear that collects dust will do you no good! A year after we moved on from the wedding photography business, we finally ended up selling off 3 camera bodies and more lenses and flashes than we could count.
We held onto our gear thinking that we’ll eventually find a use for them, but as time passed, we realized we weren’t using it. We could have made so much more money had we sold it off sooner. You can even sell your gear at KEH Camera and get a 10% buy back bonus (an additional 10% to what you get) with coupon code: LADVEN_BONUS10.
Special thanks to KEH Camera for partnering with us on this post. All opinions and text are our own. KEH Camera is the world’s largest online pre-owned camera and photography equipment store, and hail from our home state of Georgia!
What camera gear are you thinking about buying? Have you bought used gear before and what was your experience with it?
ESTHER + JACOB
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They move to a new city every year and currently live in Portland, Oregon.