- I don’t get caught in the loop of upgrading my camera every time a new one comes out. When they time does come I choose the best and use it until it doesn’t do the job anymore.
- I take care of our equipment. I store it in our camera bag, I’m careful about who I let touch it, and I wipe everything down now and again to keep it in good working order.
- I only own a few lenses. I don’t like lugging around loads of gear so instead I opt for one zoom lens that will cover me in most situations along with a backup and a standard 50mm. As I’ve said before, I use my zoom as though it were a collection of fixed focal length lenses, I choose the zoom I’d like to use, set my lens, and go from there. I figure if it’s good enough for Penny de los Santos, it’s good enough for me.
- I buy Canon L series lenses. Yes these are some of the most expensive lenses that Canon makes but they are extremely high quality, durable lenses that will fit on every dSLR that Canon makes, so no replacing them down the road when I upgrade our bodies.
- I borrow lenses and other equipment. When I have a shoot coming up that needs a special lens, a trip coming up that I’ll need extra memory cards for, or for some reason I need a piece of equipment that I rarely ever use, I’ll send out an email to my photographer friends to borrow everything I need so I don’t have to spend the money on things that I nearly never use. And I always make sure to thank them, either with baked goods, prints, or by returning the favour and lending out my gear.
- I research prices before buying. If I find I’m borrowing something often it then gets put on our wish list and I keep an eye on the pricing so I’ll know a good deal when I see it. I don’t always buy everything on sale because the timing doesn’t always work out but if I can put off a purchase I will. One of my most used pricing resources is photoprice.ca, if I’m in the market for a certain piece of gear I check in there weekly for sales and discounts.
- I only own the software that I need. Photoshop is a huge application and I really only use some of the basic features so I only upgrade every few versions or so when my operating system will no longer support the edition I already have.
- I work on a Macbook Pro that I use in studio and on location. We only own one computer system, plus a backup, and we upgrade when need be not every time a new model is released. Upgrades usually happen around the same time we replace our camera to compensate for the additional megapixels, it’s not easy on the budget but it only happens every six or seven years so we’ve got lots of time to save up.
- I keep all our monitors calibrated. Correcting our displays monthly we save a ton of money on prints because the colour and contrast always comes out exactly as I was expecting.
Saving on some things allows us to spend our money on the high quality equipment we actually do need to purchase once in a while like camera bodies, lenses, and chocolatey snacks. Always remember, just because you don’t have the latest and greatest gear it doesn’t make you any less of a photographer, it’s not at all about the equipment. We’d love to hear how you save money! Do you buy used? Wait to upgrade? Or are you a borrower just like us?