Its no secret that the cost of photography can seem insane when you really look at the gear and maintenance involved. It’s hard to keep up with the growing demand for hobbyist and pros alike. Whether it’s lack of money or not knowing where to spend the money you do have, it can feel overwhelming.
Purchasing any gear is a big investment and it’s hard to know if it’s worth it. I’ve heard so many photographers ask the questions “What’s your go-to lens?” or “I need a new lens, what should it be!?” My first response is always “Well, it depends.” I know no one wants to hear that. They just need a pro to tell them “what’s in their bag” so they can go out and buy the exact same thing. That should make them equally successful…right?? Really, you need to ask yourself a few questions before jumping into this big purchase. What do you currently have? What type of photography are your interested in? What is it about your current equipment is making you feel limited? If you don’t have all the answers…or even if you do, try renting.
Renting allows you the opportunity to really try that new lens or camera on for size. Does it make magic like everyone tells you it will? By renting, you can decide if the 35mm Sigma Art can really stand up against the pricier Canon 35mm. You can decide if the revised ISO range and AF system on the 5D Mark IV are worth the extra $1k! I rent every piece of equipment before purchasing. It’s the only way to know for sure what works for me and what doesn’t.
If you’re just starting out, you should definitely look into renting! Let’s say you have a shoot coming up that will require a pro camera body, fast glass, or additional flashes. You can rent what is needed to get you through the shoot and not feel limited. After I managed to purchase (and finally pay off) my first pro camera body, I just didn’t feel comfortable relying on my starter camera as a back up incase things went wrong. I decided to rent a nice reliable body and, even though I didn’t get it out of the case, it gave me peace of mind to have that back up with me.
There are other great options when renting that I hadn’t really noticed until recently! In May, while trying out a new lens, I added a lens calibrator to my cart. I followed a few online tutorials and was able to calibrate all of my lenses before the start of the wedding season! Many renters also offer extra camera batteries, battery grips, and remote shutter triggers! If you are looking for a reliable rental company, Lens Pro To Go is my favorite. These guys are so helpful and will call you after your first order to make sure you are getting everything you need. If you're worried that some lenses may not work for some camera bodies, they'll walk you through it! They also have a Rental Reward Program where every rental contributes towards a gear credit! I now have over $100 in rental rewards to use next time! Who knows what I’ll be trying out next!