Renting vs. Buying Photography Gear

Photographers love their gear. And there’s never a shortage of new cameras, lenses, and lighting equipment to drool over. While it’s tempting to buy the latest and greatest, you shouldn’t overlook the benefits of using rental services. In this PhotoShelter webinar, Brian Tetrault from LensProToGo discusses the advantages of renting photography gear:

Why rent?

  • It’s more financially feasible when the gear is not something you’ll use often. For example, you may just need extra lighting for one particular photo shoot.
  • You can try out unique equipment that you wouldn’t necessarily buy, like high-quality underwater housing or an extremely wide angle lens.
  • It lets you try something new without committing to purchasing it. This way you can test out a new camera or lens to see if updating your current gear is worth it.
  • You can use rentals as backup gear for important gigs, such as weddings, for peace of mind.
  • If you don’t want to take valuable equipment on a plane, you can have rental gear shipped to your hotel. Rental helps you avoid travel-related hassles like lost luggage and extra baggage charges.
  • Rental protection plans might be better than your own insurance policy.
  • When you’re just starting out, it’s difficult to know which gear to buy. Renting lets you get a feel for what you might like to have.
  • Renting is a great option for instances when your gear is out for repair. Repairs may take weeks to complete, and having backup gear lets you keep working while you wait.
  • If you want your second shooter to have specific gear, you can rent it for them for professional shoots.
  • Eliminate buyer’s remorse. There’s so much hype around the latest gear, but without holding it in your hands and trying it out, it’s difficult to know if it lives up to its reputation. One you know you like a piece of gear, you can buy it and know you’re making the right choice.

Depreciation Often Makes Renting Photography Gear a Smart Choice

Renting gear has many advantages that let you get your hands on the latest gear without making a monetary commitment. You might find that you don’t like it as much as you thought or that it’s cheaper to rent it on the rare occasions when you need it. Before purchasing the next item on your wish list, consider trying before you buy.

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One response to “Renting vs. Buying Photography Gear”

  1. sam s says:

    Another option is “buy to rent”. There is a thriving market for 2nd hand lenses on craigslist and forums like fred miranda. Most L lenses hold their value pretty well, so provided you can float the capital, you can buy used, use, and then resell it again, often for a very similar price to what you purchased it for.

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