Renting versus Buying Photography Equipment


June 11, 2018

There are both pros and cons to renting and buying photography gear. One of the questions we get asked the most is whether or not newer photographers should rent or buy their equipment. When we started our business, we both agreed that we did not want to start off this business by getting in debt. We wanted to take things slow and save up for equipment as we needed it. We both started out with a starter camera body and a 50mm 1.8 lens. We chose to get the most affordable option out there. As a new photographer, there is so much to learn that you don’t want to buy a $2000 lens if you don’t even know how to shoot in manual yet. Professional photography gear is not cheap, and it is impossible to get everything at once without taking out a small business loan.

As you start to grow your craft, we recommend renting before buying. 

As we started shooting more and more weddings and gaining more knowledge about how to shoot, we started by renting a few lenses at a time. The first lens we tried out was a  Canon 70-200mm, which we like to call “Big Daddy”. (Yes, we nickname our lenses). The 70-200mm is a zoom lens. This lens allows you to get a shot that is close up, while being further away, which is perfect for a ceremony because it keeps us out of the way of the guests. Also, it is good to have during a wedding reception when toasts are being given. If you are wondering why we called our lens, “Big Daddy”, then it’s because it is one of the heaviest lens we have! Every time I shoot with it, I am reminded of how I need to work out my arms! Ha! We have a running joke that the more expensive the equipment is the heavier it gets and the more we both need to work out.

The next lens we chose to try out was a Canon 100mm (nicknamed Little Mama), which allows you to get awesome detail shots!

Renting allows you to test out a lens before you decide whether or not you want to purchase it.

It also helps you decide which lens to buy next. For us, because we rented lenses first, it allowed us to know which lens made the most sense to buy first because we knew which one we would use the most. For example, we want to purchase a Canon 50mm 1.2 before we buy a 70-200mm.

We typically will only rent lenses on wedding days. 

When shooting a wedding, there are multiple scenarios that require different types of lenses. We have less control on a wedding day, but the lenses we rent allow us to have more control on wedding days. We don’t rent for portrait sessions because we have the most control on these days and have the ability to choose the location and time.

Save and buy your equipment as soon as you are able. 

Even though we wanted to take our time and learn, you want to make sure you are saving your money so you can buy as soon as you can. While renting does help in giving you time to save and know what you want, your money isn’t going anywhere. If you are working hard and saving, then when you are ready, you can make the investment so that you aren’t constantly having the expense of renting equipment.

-Chelsea and Hannah


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