5 Reasons to Rent Photography Gear

5 Reasons To Rent Photography Gear First

There are at least 5 reasons to rent photography gear. Most photographers know it is possible to rent. Borrow Lenses is probably the most widely known site. Don’t let the name deceive you. Sites like this one rent all kinds of equipment. Even though it is easy to rent photography gear, many people resist doing so. Here are 5 reasons why you should seriously consider renting photography gear.

1. Cool Down Period

When new gear hits the market, it is easy to get caught up in the hype or anticipation. This is especially true if you are attending a photography conference and wander onto the Expo floor. There is a buzz of exhilaration. Everyone is amped and has rejuvenated their motivation. It is super easy to pull the trigger on new gear in these settings. But then, a few days later, you realize it was not the best investment.

One example was the release of Canon’s Mirrorless Camera. This was so anticipated. But when I actually used one, I was not impressed. There were several small features that were deal breakers for me. Renting allows you time to work with a camera body or lens on your terms. You have “home field advantage” and are not pressured or distracted. At a minimum, rentals are for 5 days. That’s a long time. If after that time you are still stoked and feel that this lens or camera body is going to catapult your portrait career, then, by all means, buy it. You will know for sure it is the right thing.

2. Try Photography Gear In Several Settings

Cameras and lenses do not always perform the same way in different situations. You may love a lens in a studio setting, but not love it so much outside during golden hour. Or you may love a lens for kids, but prefer others for boudoir. If you rent photography gear, you can see the strengths and weaknesses for use in your style. You may decide that you need to invest in MORE photography gear than you thought. Or you may realize that a nifty-fifty is enough for what you do.

Camera bodies are good to try out in different situations just so you have an idea how facile or cumbersome they are to tote around all day. How easy is it to swap out lenses? Do you like how they link up to your tethering software? What about the radio trigger system? Is one just easier for you? Technically, there should not be a big difference in some of these things, but photographers are persnickety creatures and notice the smallest of subtleties. If you rent photography gear first, there are no surprises.

3. You may decide to NEVER buy

That’s right. Some photographers rent most of the time. It keeps the output of precious capital down and allows you to always be working with a lens or camera body with “low mileage” (lower shutter count, fewer days out on rental) If you are thinking of starting a photography business, renting for those first years could keep your start-up costs down.

4. See If It Suits Your Style

Just because many photographers love a certain lens for a particular situation does not mean YOU will love it. Case in point: The goto newborn photography lens for Canon people is the 24 to 70 f2.8 zoom. But when I tried it, I didn’t like it. It is an awesome lens. Yet for me, I preferred a fast 50 mm.

Another example: Annie Leibovitz loves her 35mm lens. But when I tried it, just holding it gave me hives. So don’t be shy about being an outlier in what lenses you select to use. There are many ways to get the shot. You need to create your own way. Renting gear first is a good way to help you carve out your own way of doing things.

5. Work on a Special Project or Uncommon Shoot

One thing about renting is that there is a due date. You have to return equipment on time. This tends to spur people on to use their rentals as much as they can. Because of this, you are more likely to try something that is the “outside your comfort zone” standard all photographers want to accomplish. Shoot at dawn, shoot in the cave-like lighting of your neighborhood dive bar, shoot long exposures, use a tripod, use the timer etc. No one has to see these images, but you will definitely learn much about your preferences and style.

There is virtually nothing to lose when you rent photography gear. And you will discover more about your craft than you otherwise would just using the gear you own.

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