Home Forums Let’s Talk Photography Let's talk about the cost of being a pro.

Viewing 8 posts - 16 through 23 (of 23 total)
  • Author
  • #8488

    In regards to cost, I think there are a few things to consider. The first is, if you build your business up slowly it’s not going to hurt as much. In my early days I was only using a basic camera and shooting for friends in my spare time. All the money I made from that went into investing in new equipment and training, while my 9-5 job paid for all my other life costs. As time went by I continued to acquire photographic assets, while at the same time I was getting valuable experience as well. Even today besides my photography, I also make an income from graphic design and web development. By establishing myself over time I have managed to keep my current costs of doing business to things like insurance, administration and equipment maintenance. I think today, everyone wants everything instantly to run a business right now. The trick is to build yourself up slowly and ease yourself into what you love. Sometimes I have found that involved doing things you don’t love initially.


    while everyone else has covered pretty much all the bases… am i the only one who saw “Camera strap | $125” and did the head-tilt ‘are you kidding me’ thing?


    Our local store carries a dozen straps that are $99 or more, plus 13% sales tax so $125 does not cause “tilt”, although I mainly use the ones that came with the cameras after years of not using a strap at all.   BTW, most expensive strap?  $270!


    that’s insane.


    I’ve never considered the cost of going pro, but a good strap is an excellent investment if you are the least bit into aerial photography 🙂


    Protection plan for the computer, though?  Really?  That just seems ridiculous to whine that look at all of this stuff I have to pay for when it’s not all necessary or not all costs are accurate.

    And the Mac vs PC arguments in the comments…  ridiculous.

    Professional photography memberships… unnecessary.

    Continuing education, $2k a year… please.

    $400 on memory cards every year.  Right.

    Just looks like a whine fest to me.  (And what’s with all the bold, omg.)

    Trigger Happy Pro

    I started four years ago with an initial investment of around $4,000. I bought a Canon EOS 7D, a couple of cheap EF-S kit lenses, a background stand and one 10×20 white Muslin backdrop. I found a deal on a set of old speedotron lights through a friend. $100 cash and a few hundred in photoshop work. Over four years I have never spent any money on school or memberships. I’ve never taken out any loans or used a credit card. I’ve slowly built up putting whatever money I made, back into the equipment. I’ve been job free for about 18 months and now own a Canon EOS 7D, a Canon 5d Mark iii, the same cheap EF-S canon lenses, a Canon EF 28-135mm (used and free from a friend that thought it was broke….contacts were dity, works fine), a Canon EF 50mm F1.4, a Canon 70-200mm F 2.8 IS l, Canon 580EX speedlight (Craigslist $200), about $200 worth of wireless triggers, the same white backdrop, and a black backdrop. I recently updated my lighting by finding a sale on a set of Bowens monolights.

    Continuing education? Google and a few magazines on my iPad.

    Memory cards? I still have and use the same memory cards I started with four years ago.

    Website? $120 annually ($10 monthly).

    Camera straps? I spent $21.95 each on Ebay with free shipping for a padded shoulder sling type.

    Invest wisely and make your equipment pay for itself and for new equipment. You don’t need to jump in with $4,000 like I did. You can get a low priced decent Canon Rebel on Craigslist for $300. All you need to start doing photography is a camera and a tripod. If you concentrate on the basic fundamentals and camera settings, you can get great pictures with an amateur class camera and basic kit lenses. As for editing software, a lot of the time a new camera will come with Photoshop Elements. That’s enough to get started with and learn with. Or find a friend that’s a college student and have them buy you a copy of Photoshop at their school store with their student discount. Take the time and do it right and your work will pay for all of the other stuff you want.


    I only do photography as a part time thing, mainly because I have 40k of student loans to pay off so a day job takes priority. I still have all of the computer programs I got while in college for free (they came with my majors), and most of my photography equipment that I have were gifts. I do remember maxing out a credit card and moving in with my parents my last term of college to get my first DSLR though 🙂 I had only my 7D and kit lens for a good chunk of time and did quite well with what I had. I’d say I have around $7,000 of gear or so? However, I don’t have studio equipment,  as it is far from my forte. I can pack all my gear into a camera backpack (7D, 70-200mm 2.8, 50mm 1.2, 16-35mm 2.8, laptop, wacom, cords, cards, batteries and chargers, a tripod, 580exii speedlite, and bounce cards/diffusers/other misc items). 🙂

    Websites are dirt cheap if you know where the good hosts are, or can host your own. I also find the easiest format for me to quickly make and maintain a website is with wordpress.

    I’m still a bit of a noob though and don’t have near the collection as my peers. I will be purchasing a full frame camera and another flash in the next year or so.

Viewing 8 posts - 16 through 23 (of 23 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.