10 Questions To Ask Before You Buy Camera Equipment

Do you ever fall for the “shiny object syndrome”? In other words, do you buy camera equipment on a whim because you fall in love with it based on a recommendation?

As a photographer, I think we can all agree we’ve fallen into that trap a time or two. I remember one time we were at a photographic convention, and the speaker talked up a new line of lighting equipment. We headed into the tradeshow area, and proceeded to purchase the entire system. Then most of it sat in our studio, unused at the back of the room.

Before you head out and spend this month’s profits on that new lens you’ve been eyeing, ask yourself these questions first.

1. Why do I need this new piece of equipment?

Is this truly a need, or is it a want? If you truly need something, it will ultimately benefit your business, and hurt your business if you don’t have it. A second camera body, for example, is a necessity.

2. How will this change my photography?

Some equipment will instantly change your photography, and allow you to be more creative. Moving from camera flash to a studio lighting setup will allow you to create depth, and give you a more natural lighting source whether you are in the studio or out.

3. How often will I use it?

Is this piece of equipment going to be sitting on a shelf, or in the front pocket of your camera bag? If you need it for the occasional client, there may be other options. But if you can use it again and again, every week of the year, it may be worth the investment.

4. Will I still want this item tomorrow?

Tradeshows are easy to catch you up in the excitement of wanting something new. Step back and sleep on it if you can. Evaluate the true purpose of this piece of equipment, and see if you still feel the same way in the morning.

5. Is there something else available that does the same thing at a lower cost?

Before you buy an expensive lens, can you find one that’s almost as good for half the cost? I was reading on Art Wolfe’s blog that he travels with just a few lenses, and he prefers his Canon 70-200 f4 over the 2.8 version because its just as sharp and much lighter – and less than half the cost.

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