We have a similar yet different story for how our photography business started. We were both in school—me for graduate speech pathology school and Jordan for his second degree in nursing. It’s not like we had money laying around or anything. However, I will say, because I am grateful: all four of our degrees were paid for by scholarships and then our parents. At the time, I didn’t realize how much of a blessing it was with the financial-flexibility it gave us and the options that arose.
One of those being: we paid for our photography gear with cash as we had it and saved it in envelopes. Jordan totally led us down this wise path that I’m not sure sure I could’ve or would’ve done without him. So go, Jordan.
As I started to pursue wedding photography, I quickly realized there were lenses (particular one—the 70-200mm f/2.8) that were almost necessary to have. However, we knew it was not a wise decision to drop $2,400 on this lens with 1) where I was in my business and 2) with money we didn’t have.
So we rented.
We rented this lens several times from Borrowlenses.com and had amazing outcomes. I was able to rent it for the weekend, use it on Saturday and sometimes shoot mini sessions with it on Sunday so that I got good bang for my buck with renting.
I’ve had a lot of people ask me lately, should I get THIS lens or THAT lens, and while this answer changes for literally everybody depending on what they’re photographing or their financial situation, I have a few questions you may ask yourself to figure out where you stand.
4 reasons I’d say renting is warranted:
You should rent if: you think there’s a lens that you need next but want to “test the waters”.
You should rent if: you don’t have the financial means to purchase a lens at that time.
You should rent if: you want a specific lens for a trip, event, etc.
You should rent if: you aren’t sure how committed you are to pursuing photography in the long run.
4 reasons I’d say buying is warranted:
You should buy if: you have already either 1) rented the lens or 2) looked at it through your viewfinder (perhaps putting it on your camera at a store or from borrowing) and confirmed that specific focal length is what you want. For example, I was shocked how uncomfortable the 85mm felt after putting it on my camera in a camera store. I didn’t buy it that day for that reason until I understood the benefits it’d give me in portrait sessions.
You should buy if: you have the financial means to purchase the lens in cash.
You should buy if: you are confident that it’s the next lens that will be used to 1) further your business 2) capture what you’re intending to.
You should buy if: you are committed to pursuing photography.
Now that you have this knowledge, are you ready? And if so, what lens is next?! :)