When you have the talent but not the money, you can’t always buy the photography equipment you need right away. That situation may have you missing some great photo opportunities. However, there is a silver lining behind this cloud.
There are many ways that you can get professional shooting equipment when you are on a budget. Those ways are in addition to simply saving your money. Keep reading to find out how you can get the equipment you need without going over your budget and spending too much money.
The many ways to buy while on a budget
#1. Wait for a sale
Online stores are about the cheapest place to find professional shooting equipment. That is because they do not have a lot of overhead to worry about. Their prices can be lower than traditional stores which makes buying your equipment a lot easier.
However, those lower prices do not mean that these online photography stores do not have sales. The best way to purchase their equipment is to wait until they hold a sale to clear out inventory. You should be able to save a lot more money with this option.
With the myriad of online photography outlets, you may not have to wait long to find those sales and get your equipment at the price you want.
#2. Use coupons & vouchers
If you know where to look, you should be able to find some great coupons that help you save money. Whether you use the traditional coupon sources or go online and print out from the internet doesn’t matter.
One key is to find the right coupons and vouchers that give you a big enough discount that will help you stay within your budget limits. Another key would be to find coupons and vouchers for stores that are near you. That way you can save gas driving to and from the store.
Watch out for the fine print though as you do not want to miss the deadline or have to buy another item at a regular price just to get the discount.
#3. Borrow the money
You can always borrow money from a legal lender, friend or relatives who will help you finance your photography hobby. Of course, taking the money from a friend or family member is always the better idea. You can ask them for an interest-free loan to make sure your costs stay within your budget. Plus, friends and relatives won’t come after your photography equipment if you are late making a payment.
Just keep in mind that if you want to keep your friends and make sure your relatives do not get mad at you, pay them back as quickly as possible.
#4. Online marketplaces
Besides looking at online photography stores and waiting for sales, you should check out those internet marketplaces that seem to have the lowest prices of everyone around.
You don’t need to wait for a sale with marketplaces like Amazon or Lazada selling just about everything you can think of. There should be some good deals that let you buy professional equipment at a lower cost.
#5. Buy used
There is no law that states that used equipment is inferior to new. In fact, you may be able to find some really top-quality equipment at a very low price if you have the time to look around.
Visit local pawn shops, thrift stores, new and used stores, and so on. Eventually, your search will turn up a good deal that will fit your budget. Also, you may find a good going out of business sale that has the equipment you want at the price you want to pay.
Like pawn shops some auctions come with a bad reputation. But you never know what you will find when you attend one. You are not going to Christy’s or some other high-class auction house but your local outlets.
Their prices will be lower and you can pick up a lot of equipment if you time it right. The key is to watch your hand movements and be patient.
#7. Garage & estate sales
These are always great places to look for professional equipment. It will take visiting a lot of them before you find someone who has upgraded their equipment or wanting to end their hobby.
Prices are usually good at these sales and all you have to do is get up early enough to beat the dealers.
#8. Flea markets
Last but not least. The vendors there know what they are selling but if you take your time you should be able to find what you are looking for at a lower price. Make sure to brush up on your negotiating skills in order to cut your costs.
Some tips to help guide you
Buying professional equipment on a budget requires some good guidelines. The following tips should help you avoid the inferior pieces of equipment that are selling for a price that is hard to pass up.
1. Talk to a friend- it pays to get help in prioritizing the equipment you need. Another opinion will help you sort through your list and cut out pieces you really do not need.
2. New or used- this is a debate you need to have with yourself and maybe a friend. Used equipment is not all bad and it can save you a lot of money initially. Then you can always save up for the new equipment.
3. Ask key questions- it is exciting to start a new hobby or build up an old one. But before you shop, create a list of all the items you want. Then go through the list and ask yourself, ‘do I really need this?’ Think it through before you spend.
4. What about old equipment- if you have older photography items lying around your basement, etc., it may be possible to sell those items off and raise your budget a little bit.
5. Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach- what that means is, buy the equipment you can afford at the time and do not go into debt over them. Stick to your budget as you can always save up to make better purchases later on.
6. Can you make substitutions- instead of buying an expensive backdrop, do you have something around the house that will fill in and save you the money? See what you can use without having to spend lots of money and use your available cash to buy other pieces of equipment
Some final words
A photography hobby is a wonderful activity and it is a very constructive one. You get to develop your talents as well as preserve beautiful images for you or the world to see.
Being on a budget should not stop you from getting the right equipment to do just that. Just be patient, take your time and plan on when you can buy each piece, and then stick to your schedule. Soon you will have everything you need to do great photography work.