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JMcDonald84
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Loan for camera gear...?


I have a question for you guys. I'm not to far into the wedding photography game. I'm using what I have and it's working... but I want better like most of us. My question is....

Did you take out a loan of some sort to start your wedding photography business...? And if so, how long before you broke even...?




Oct 04, 2017 at 11:59 PM
ahaug
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Loan for camera gear...?


I didn't take out a loan but slowly added the next most important thing. I now have all the toys that I want at the moment. I wouldn't recommend getting into debt to start your business. There are top pros that use minimal gear. You can do quality work with a minimal setup. You are probably more in need of experience than equipment. I would let the income start to pay for some gear. It is responsible to have some back up equipment though ... like 2 camera bodies, a few lenses that cover the same ranges, a couple of speedlights and you should be good to go.


Oct 05, 2017 at 12:18 AM
JMcDonald84
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Loan for camera gear...?


Yea I currently have my a7ii.... 55 1.8, the stock 28-70 ... going to add the 24-70 2.8 GM this week! And I'll use the 6500 for backup for now.... I also use 2 Godox 685 flashes

Edited on Oct 05, 2017 at 01:35 PM · View previous versions



Oct 05, 2017 at 12:51 AM
Ziffl3
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Loan for camera gear...?


I started with a full time job.... this help on gear/Editing software & equipment.
I may not be the best example ... since I still have a FT job but run my business like a Full time shooter.

i.e. studio management software, proofing site for clients, gear, business hustle.
Still learning and refining.
Actually going to roll out an updated website shortly.

I am good on gear for the most part.
Once you get rolling, you will find that you actually need expenses(updating gear etc) for tax purposes but this is down the road.

Like ahaug mentioned... work the craft..... and learn the business.


-Mark



Oct 05, 2017 at 01:29 AM
glort
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Loan for camera gear...?


JMcDonald84 wrote:
I'm using what I have and it's working...


And there is all you really need to pay attention to.
Anything beyond that is a crutch and an ego trip.

I am in a position where I could buy ANYTHING I wanted in camera gear. MF Bodies, digital backs, whatever. When I got a new 6 and 7 D last year my wife was encouraging me to buy 1d's instead.
No point. The bodies I bought will do everything I want and more and infinity surpass my clients expectations.

If you are serious about business ( as against having fun playing tiddly winks with a camera, ask yourself some pertinent business questions.....

Will new gear bring you any more customers?
Will your existing customers spend more on pics?
Will they come to you to be photographed more often?
Does the gear you have cause your problems?
Will new gear make YOU a better photographer?
Anything the new gear can do the stuff you have now can't?

IF there are things the new gear will fix or improve demonstrably, then that's worth considering.
If you just feel a but funny because you think other shooters might be looking down their nose at you, then instead of a camera I'd say you need a new pair of round ones and this probably isn't the game for you.

I guess we all have our ego trips and unsurprisingly, mine is different to most peoples.
Rather than get my jollies waving around the latest and greatest which I could have but is only limited by money, I have much more fun using something others would sneer at and still doing the job and having customers that are stoked with what they get.
In other words, my ego trip is relying on my skill and knowledge, not using the camera as a crutch to compensate for any shortfalls.

If there is one camera i'd NEVER buy, it's a 5D. Don't think there is anything wrong with them, it's just that it's made out so much to be the minimum cam any working shooter needs to have and I like to go against the grain! :0)
That and the fact for what I do, the things would offer no benefits and lots of drawbacks.

Years ago when I was not in the position I am in no and had to watch my $$ I was always big on the time it took to make my money back on the new gear. I also usually had something planned to use the new gear on which the old wouldn't do or do well. More significant 20 years ago than it is today.

The most it ever took me to get my money back was 2 weeks. If you are working regularly and have jobs lined up, I'm not sure you should need a loan. you should be able to set enough aside from your work to pay for it in a month.
If you can't, then my question would be WTF you need new gear for in the first place if you aren't going to really utilise it in the first place?

I remember buying my first Digital camera. I lined up some fast turnaround Publicity work and commercial jobs before I bought the thing. Went and got the camera Thursday night, had more money in the bank than what I had Thursday afternoon by the Monday morning.
Now that's a justifiable Purchase!

Probably the most profitable camera's I own are my 2 Point and shoots.
I used them in underwater housings for doing underwater swim school photography. I was pulling 5-10K a WEEK out of that and apart from the first 2 gigs I used my 600D in a bag ( Ugggh!) I used those two cams exclusively and they earned me many tens of thousands of dollars. Not bad seeing the most expensive one was about $400 and the housing about 280 I think it was.

The guy that was the only other person doing that market at the time was using a full blown SLR housing. I got told soooo many times that my gear was much better because what the other guy had scared a lot of the kids with his big outfit.
Biggest and most exy is not always the best choice for the job!

Anyway, probably every other respondent will disagree with what I have said here and rubbish it, but hopefully it gives you a different view you may like to consider.







Oct 05, 2017 at 05:32 AM
MRomine
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Loan for camera gear...?


I have done both through the years and both options offer advantages. Much depends on how badly you need the gear, like perhaps a computer for example. Paying back a loan over several monts or a couple years can allow you to manage a more consistent cash flow. In the end the gear will cost you more with a loan but it will allow you to get what you need right now. You can also build up some credit this way with your business too.


Oct 05, 2017 at 09:58 AM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Loan for camera gear...?


Whether or not you actually take out a loan, I think preparing to apply for a loan would be a good exercise. It will help you see your photography from a business point of view.

Do you have an accountant? Can you do a P&L statement? What collateral do you have and how will it affect your life if you lose it? Do you have enough weddings booked to cover debt service for a year?



Oct 05, 2017 at 11:56 AM
JMcDonald84
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Loan for camera gear...?


Thanks for all of the replies guys, I appreciate the info.

I don't think it's a question of if "I really need" the gear.... it's something I was thinking because I want to expand my business and advertise more.

I work full time building aircraft for the military so I have steady income, but eventually. I would like to do this full time along with my wife's wedding company.

I have a couple clients booked for the coming months, but down here in FL.... the winter is very slow... no weddings. This is a big destination wedding place so from March-November is pure chaos on the beaches lol...

If I bought the equipment on a loan then I'm sure I could pay it off within a year with earning from the business.... my wife wants me to just work with what I have a buy little by little.... She started her wedding company with 1500$ and now they have over 50,000 worth of equipment in 5 years so... she's big on starting small and buying more as I earn more.



Oct 05, 2017 at 01:43 PM
BSPhotog
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Loan for camera gear...?


Loans sound like the wrong idea. No offense, but it sounds like you want to buy some toys. It sounds like you have most of the essentials to do the job, so do the job. It is easy to think that shortcomings in gear are the thing that gets in the way of booking clients or doing more/better work--but more often than not that isn't the reality. Make money, only buy things when there is a need.

Personally, I've only ever bought one camera body and two lenses new, everything else has been used. Let someone else eat the depreciation. This is a business, after all, isn't it?



Oct 05, 2017 at 02:19 PM
Michael Beard
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Loan for camera gear...?


I was tempted to get a loan for gear when my wife and I first started out, but looking back I am glad I didn't. This was about 6 years ago and we both worked full-time jobs. We owned a small amount of gear (40D and a 20D + a few lenses) and would rent a lens or a body here and there as we got more experience, to fill gaps in the gear we had and see what we wanted to purchase once we were able to afford it. By the second year we were done renting and owned everything we needed. I buy most of our gear refurbished directly from Canon and sometimes used on this forum, with a rare new purchase.

I totally get the desire to have newer/better gear, that's my natural inclination. I've been down that road but now I'm at a point where I'm selling off my more expensive lenses and replacing them with much lighter versions that allow me to work the way I want without being over encumbered with gear.



Oct 05, 2017 at 03:20 PM
 

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JMcDonald84
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Loan for camera gear...?


BSPhotog wrote:
Loans sound like the wrong idea. No offense, but it sounds like you want to buy some toys. It sounds like you have most of the essentials to do the job, so do the job. It is easy to think that shortcomings in gear are the thing that gets in the way of booking clients or doing more/better work--but more often than not that isn't the reality. Make money, only buy things when there is a need.

Personally, I've only ever bought one camera body and two lenses new, everything else has been used. Let someone else eat the depreciation.
...Show more


I do want it for a new toy.... lol... but to be honest... the main reason I wanted the a9 was because I hear horror stories about SD cards failing and I don't want to be one of those stories and not have a solid backup option. As soon as I am done with the wedding I run to the car where I have my laptop and immediately back up my photos.

So yea I would like the "cushion" I guess you could say to have the comfort feeling of having a camera with 2 SD cards.




Oct 05, 2017 at 03:32 PM
Jefzor
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Loan for camera gear...?


No.


Oct 05, 2017 at 04:28 PM
BSPhotog
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Loan for camera gear...?


JMcDonald84 wrote:
I do want it for a new toy.... lol... but to be honest... the main reason I wanted the a9 was because I hear horror stories about SD cards failing and I don't want to be one of those stories and not have a solid backup option. As soon as I am done with the wedding I run to the car where I have my laptop and immediately back up my photos.

So yea I would like the "cushion" I guess you could say to have the comfort feeling of having a camera with 2 SD cards.



I have a soft spot for the 2 cards argument as I'm one of those that feels that this a required feature for a primary wedding body. That said, it still doesn't seem like a valid argument to go out and buy a $4500 camera body. Up until the A9 existed, Sony simply wasn't the right choice for wedding photography (IMO) because of the single card slot situation. By buying into the Sony system and getting an A7ii with the intention of shooting weddings, well, that seems like the wrong call to me--or it seems like the single card slot wasn't an issue for you. Either way, you can buy a wedding ready setup from Canon/Nikon (or even Fuji now) with 2 bodies with dual card slots and a suite of lenses for much less than the cost of a single A9 body.

It comes down to this: Are you shooting weddings with the hopes of making money and building a successful business? Or are you shooting weddings to rationalize buying a bunch of new tech and camera stuff that you otherwise couldn't rationalize? Either way, are you comfortable taking on debt for equipment that will depreciate rapidly? Nobody else can make the decision for you, but I have the point of view of the boring pragmatist using bodies that are 1-2 generations old, with extra money in my pocket.



Oct 05, 2017 at 05:03 PM
TheyCallMeJ
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Loan for camera gear...?


It is fair to say that the OP's intention is to acquire fancy camera equipment through wedding photography (as opposed to building a long term viable business).

Either way, I don't understand the point in getting a loan.

You already state that you have what's needed for the job. Shoot 5 weddings at $1000 each then buy your A9.

If you absolutely feel the need to shoot with the A9 now, then charge $1200-1300 to allow yourself to rent one. 5 weddings later you still get to purchase one brand new.

Nothing kills passion like GAS, enjoy the never ending chase for better gear while it lasts. So many jobs out there that will help you bring in $5000 for your A9, much quicker (and easier) than wedding photography.



Oct 05, 2017 at 05:37 PM
JMcDonald84
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Loan for camera gear...?


BSPhotog wrote:
I have a soft spot for the 2 cards argument as I'm one of those that feels that this a required feature for a primary wedding body. That said, it still doesn't seem like a valid argument to go out and buy a $4500 camera body. Up until the A9 existed, Sony simply wasn't the right choice for wedding photography (IMO) because of the single card slot situation. By buying into the Sony system and getting an A7ii with the intention of shooting weddings, well, that seems like the wrong call to me--or it seems like the single card slot
...Show more

I will say that the only reason I went Sony is because my friend who was big into photography swore by the Sony Equipment, he shoots with the A7RII. My original purchase was going to be a Nikon D750 and that purchase fell through so I got a sweet deal on the A7II from Best Buy.

I most definitely want to make money and build a successful business. I am definitely NOT doing weddings to buy the latest and greatest gear, that is not my intent. I am 100% invested in making this a lucrative and joyful adventure.

I am not dead set on the a9... I just figured since I already had Sony products that I would continue since I am familiar with them.... however...

I have been eyeing up the D850... I just really like the mirrorless cameras.




Oct 05, 2017 at 06:22 PM
Dragonfire
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Loan for camera gear...?


Some shops have there own credit card and will occasionally offer No Interest - No Payment for 6 months.

I purchased 2 - D300's + 3 Nikon lenses + 2 Nikon flashes for a friend that was shooting weddings and he paid me back a month ahead of schedule. About $5,000. He was trying to shoot with a D70, D80 and a Tamron and a Sigma and his work improved dramatically.



Oct 05, 2017 at 06:24 PM
JMcDonald84
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Loan for camera gear...?


TheyCallMeJ wrote:
It is fair to say that the OP's intention is to acquire fancy camera equipment through wedding photography (as opposed to building a long term viable business).

Either way, I don't understand the point in getting a loan.

You already state that you have what's needed for the job. Shoot 5 weddings at $1000 each then buy your A9.

If you absolutely feel the need to shoot with the A9 now, then charge $1200-1300 to allow yourself to rent one. 5 weddings later you still get to purchase one brand new.

Nothing kills passion like GAS, enjoy the never ending chase for better gear
...Show more

It's not fair to say that my intention is to buy fancy equipment and not focus on building a long term viable business. That's why I'm here asking questions and what not.

And I agree with not getting a loan after reading everyone's comments, my wife included.




Oct 05, 2017 at 06:25 PM
eke2k6
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Loan for camera gear...?


I've broken out my zero interest credit card a few times for some pieces I wanted. Not because I didn't have the cash, but it just makes more financial sense to spread out a purchase over several months if you can do so without any penalty.

I've never heard of any decent business that buys all supplies in cash, no matter how solvent they are.



Oct 05, 2017 at 10:30 PM
glort
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Loan for camera gear...?


JMcDonald84 wrote:
I don't think it's a question of if "I really need" the gear.... it's something I was thinking because I want to expand my business and advertise more.


What in the hell makes you think that buying gear is a good idea when you want to advertise and expand the business? Did you read anything in my last post?
I spelled out why buying a camera would have zero effect on your business and being that you want to advertise, why in hell would you tie up capitol you don't even have on equipment when you say what you have now is doing the job?

What you need to be doing is putting money ( borrowed or otherwise) into promotion not equipment that is satisfactory!
And.... there is a LOT of promo that is very low/ no cost you can do that will bring in worthwhile amounts of work and it's not social media.

If you spend more than about 10 min here, you'll see me harp on about this all the time....
Forget about equipment, forget about trying to learn how to take prettier pictures, forget about everything else to do with photography, start educating yourself in basic business skills.
It will mean the difference between making pocket money and being a real success that you can make enough from full time to be very comfortable.

I'm an average shooter at best but I have very happy clients and I make far better profit from my work than the great majority of shooters. I can walk in to see people and walk out with the gig against people that are far more talented than I am and usually cheaper too. I can do it because I understand that photography is 10% of the deal and business is the rest.
Some people say they don't want to be a "used car salesman" like me which always makes me laugh at their indignant ignorance. Of course the people that say that are not the ones with shopfront studios on main roads driving new cars.
That's OK though, I don't want to be a starving artist scratching for every dollar like they do.
Been there, done that hard yards, I like being profitable much better.

Marketing, advertising and sales are the KEY to how well you do in this game.
I know, everyone else will tell you it's all about being the greatest shooter in the world and taking the best pictures out there. Yeah, in other words you have to do what everyone else is trying to do. That' sound's like an original and profitable concept doesn't it??

If you know how to sell, how to market and promote yourself and the basics of business, You'll leave at least 90% of your endless competitors behind right there at the start without doing anything else. I have been full time shooter for over 30 years with my income totally dependent on photography. They say you can't do that now. Horseshit!
If it was all about pretty pictures everyone would be doing it wouldn't they?

The key to a successful photography business is not Photographic skills, it's business skill.


I work full time building aircraft for the military so I have steady income, but eventually. I would like to do this full time along with my wife's wedding company.


Then -IF- you really are committed to that, having a basic business knowledge in the areas I said are going to be CRUCIAL to you. If you want to play tiddly winks thinking about loans for cameras rather than having the money to go get what you want and knowing when you need one, then hit the net and start learning about the things that are really going to make that happen and it's NOTHING to do with photography.



If I bought the equipment on a loan then I'm sure I could pay it off within a year with earning from the business....


Geezuz!

If it's going to take you a year to pay it off you either don't come near needing it or you need to take a serious look at your business model.
Either way, gear is the last thing you need. Increased profits are what you are really in need of so that identified, work back from there and figure out how. We can dismiss a camera as being something that will help with the real need you have.

There are only 3 ways to grow a business ( This is business 101 Stuff as well but most people have no freaking clue about it!)

1. More customers
2. Same customers more often
3. More profit from each customer you have.

Identify which one(s) you need then address that. Note there is no point having more customers or the same ones more often if you are giving away the farm and making nothing from them. You pricing model has to be right from the start. More Business 101.

What are you doing to get new clients? Sm and ?? If it's just SM, you REALLY need to start learning about marketing and advertising TODAY!

Write a business plan and if the thought even enters your head you don't need one or it's not appropriate for you, that just shows you need it 5X more than anyone who would be open to the idea. It will educate you and make you aware of so many things you are clueless about now and completely change your outlook on things. You'll realise pissfarting around worrying about gear and watching photo how to vids is not the hinge of your success, having a basic clue how to run a business is.

Yes, some people do OK without ever learning anything formally about business.
Imagine how successful they would be if they knew and understood what they were doing nut just blundering along with blind luck.



my wife wants me to just work with what I have a buy little by little.... She started her wedding company with 1500$ and now they have over 50,000 worth of equipment in 5 years so... she's big on starting small and buying more as I earn more.


Sounds like you did well to marry yourself an intelligent woman.
Might be nice to be able to help her and her business grow even more with the business skills you learn and can apply to her or any business equally. I'll bet doing something like that for her would make you the ultimate husband and hero in her eyes.

It's a very satisfying feeling when your anniversary comes up and you present her with a new car and a very nice Diamond ring even if you were back and forth to the designers many times to make sure it was just right and check out the quality of the stones in it. We are not talking store bought retail crap here.
It's not something they quickly forget and it sure beats thinking about the need for a loan to buy more camera crap. I can tell you that from experience.

Sure, you worked your arse off to earn the money, it never comes easy, but there is a lot of satisfaction that comes from that as well. The fact she saw ho0w hard you worked only makes the fact you did it so much with her in mind all the more special.

Now, if you are serious about wanting to have a business, go look up Sale's marketing and advertising for begginers/ small business owners and inspire your self with what you can learn in just an hour and the impact it will have on what you want to do.





Oct 05, 2017 at 11:04 PM
JMcDonald84
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Loan for camera gear...?


Wow! Long winded on that one but I really appreciate it man... after reading your post I can see what you mean. Your absolutely right...and I'm not just saying that. I always get caught up in the little things like "better equipment" ... when marketing and building clientele is the ticket to a successful business.

I really do appreciate all the words you took time to write. That's why I love moving here... people like you to set me back on the proper track lol.



Oct 06, 2017 at 12:14 AM
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