When I first moved to Clifton in Bristol (an area I love by the way!) I decided to make myself a gear list. It was a new start, both in location and in full time career and a shiny, new bag full of gear seemed to be in order. It was a wish list of my most wanted gear. My plan was to take as much of my disposable income as possible and buy the gear now, at the beginning. Then in the coming year the profit would be put back in to the business, marketing, hard drives, a new printer and maybe a wedding fair. O… and wages…
I’ve shot 12 weddings so far this year and I’m turning away clients for 2010 because I’m fairly well booked up. I’ve also done a fair bit of second shooting and have a pretty good idea what gear I need. So it was a bit of a surprise when I opened my gear ‘wish list’ and looked through all of my ‘must have’ items.
It really blew me away that my list had changed considerably in 9 months. Firstly my new list is a lot smaller. A quick estimation shows that I have probably saved around £4,000. Gone are the desires for the 85mm f1.2 L lens, 15mm f/2.8 fisheye and the 50mm f/1.2 L. I don’t need a full set of studio lights, nor ETTL compatible triggers for my 4 speed lights.
I’m even considering selling the 16-35mm f2.8 L zoom lens I own, but it does come in useful at times. So how did my needs change? Practically I simply wouldn’t want to cart the weight of all this gear around with me. It would have been quite a burden and a bit of a worry to have to leave it around because I couldn’t carry it. I also rented a few lenses and borrowed some others to see whether they worked for me before purchasing. Some worked really well and others just didn’t suit my style.
My advice to anyone in a similar position would not be to rush out and buy the gear. You might surprise yourself and save yourself some money if you work with what you have and try renting gear.