Fashion Photography Equipment, To Rent or Buy?

To run a successful fashion photography studio, you need access to quite the arsenal of equipment.

fashion studio
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Does your wallet hurt reading that list? If so, you might be relieved to know you don’t really need to buy everything. Some, yes, are a must own but not all.

lumix camera

Cameras

Having the biggest and best camera, with all the bells and whistles won’t hurt you. Well it may do some damage to your bank account, but it’s not necessary. An expensive camera won’t get you new clients. It is your skill. If you can’t get a decent photo with a point and shoot or cellphone there is no point trying to spend your way to better photos. You need practice. If you need to produce something for very large printing it may be best to rent and use a more modest camera for every day.

Lenses

Same applies here, some lenses can give you a nice effect, but if they are not your daily tool, you do not need them. Wide angle lens can give a really cool effect, but unless it’s the style your book will be in. Then, renting it for specific shoots is all you’ll need, same goes for macro lenses.

Lights/Light Modifiers/Stands

In my last lighting post I spoke about using the Sun as your main light for your photography, “it’s cheap for the most part readily available”. The best advice I received from my photography lighting teacher when I graduated Humber College was learn how to use the sun for your main light. Once you figure out its complexities the studio will be the easiest environment in the world. If jobs come in that require that equipment you can always rent, but you don’t necessarily need to own any of this type of gear. Having some lighting is convenient, but if you don’t get an opportunity to use it a few times a month. By the time the value of the gear pays for itself, it will be out of date and will require an update.

laptop

Computers

Some places let you rent/lease a computer but, you need to invest in this tool. You will use it more than any camera, because it will be your main tool for research/editing/marketing etc. For the amount you spend renting it is worth it to buy. Also, don’t try and justify using an old poor functioning computer. Have you ever had a computer crash 2 hours into editing only to realize you hadn’t saved your work? Don’t be that person, your time has value. The more you are able to invest early on, the longer the tool will last.

Monitors/Calibrators

If your camera is top of the line, it’s useless unless you have proper monitor and color calibration tools to ensure the quality of your work is consistent. If you can’t afford a monitor made for photo retouching at least purchase a color calibrator, it will ensure the color of your images is consistent.

Backdrops/Printers/other accessories.

Not all photography businesses need these tool, these will not improve your photography if you own or rent them. With things like printers you can always have a professional photo lab print your work, it’s easy and it can save a lot of time. Having access to a few basic backdrop colours can be handy and the price tag is usually low enough that they are easy buys.