Photography Tips: How to get gears that you want

by Enche Tjin on March 10, 2009

When you visit photo sharing website, such as flickr, and search for “camera bag”, you will see thousands of people showing off their camera gears. And you might wonder, they must be professional photographers or rich people, because photography equipments are bloody expensive. But I believe that not all of them are rich (at least I am not rich), and less than 1% are doing photography for their living.

So how they can afford these gears? To be frankly I don’t know, but I will show you how I can afford to get the gears that I want.

1. Be Frugal
Have a frugal mindset is very essential, especially dealing with photography gears. Frugal can mean many ways for many people, but for me, frugality means optimizing your cost-benefit to yield optimal satisfaction. To be frugal, you will need to research about the gear that you want to buy. You will need to research about the price. Internet has given consumers the power to compare price among vendors very easily. You can go to website such as, Pricegraber or other. But beware, they are many scams out there. If the price is unrealistically cheap, then you need to be extra careful. Check out the out Reseller Ratings website to see the reputation of the vendor.

2. Buy based on your needs
Many people buy expensive equipment just for showing off, or just because they can afford it. If you are not rich, then you need to ask yourself, do you really the features of that particular equipments? Will you use it often? How this piece of equipment can improve your photography?

3. Do it yourself
Can’t afford to buy fancy equipments? Build it yourself. Many websites have tips and tutorial how to make or use equipments that you already have to its optimal potential. For example: DIY photography and

4. Sell your old equipments before buying a new one
Don’t be an equipment collector especially if you are tight on budget. Sell your old equipments. Also sell equipments that you rarely use. The price of some photography equipments go down very fast.

5. Buy used equipments
Buying used equipment might save you a lot of money, but be careful especially if you are inexperience. Ask your more experienced friend to check the equipments.


6. Buying older models
During the year, photography manufacturer launches many new photography equipments, as a result, the older model drops in price. Buying older models could save you a lot of money.

7. Be careful of bundle or package deals
In a glance seems like getting bundled deals are a very good deal. You can get the camera with lenses, and many accessories. But most often the quality of the lens and accessories are very poor or outdated. I have discussed about it here.

8. Renting, borrowing equipments
If you are not so active in doing photography, let say, you only take photos 3-4 times a year to document family gathering or vacation. You might not need to buy equipments, you can rent professional equipments in store or online, for example at Rent a Glass.

9. Get a full time job or freelance job related to photography
By getting a full time job, such as newspaper or photo agency, you will get access on their equipments. For example, Gettyimages, a photo agency, lend their photographers 2 professional camera body and a myriad of expensive pro lenses to work with for free. Working in the camera store, or open a business also get you access to camera equipments.

10. Live a minimalist life
Be frugal in daily life, avoid eating out too many times, rent a dvd instead going to movies, take a walk o ride a bicycle instead of driving a car. Sell stuff that you never touch in six months etc. There are many self-help article in the net, for example 50 tips from Zen habits.

I hope you enjoy this article and able to get the gears that you want. If you have suggestions, please share with us. Thank you.

Comments from old blog platform

Harry Nowell
Nice work. This is how I started shooting and developing my business. I bought used equipment that was very capable but one or so generations old.

We stayed away from digital initially because it was so expensive, poor quality (compared to film at the time) and the high depreciation was a killer!

Nice article.

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