Being a photographer and owning the latest equipment comes at a price. Sometimes, it is not possible to own every single piece of photography gear you would want for a photo shoot. Amateur or professional, what you think you need may not be suit your style of photography. However, there are different ways to get your hands on this gear without shelling out a lot of money. One of the best options is to borrow or rent the gear to see its usability and have  first-hand experience, before investing on in it.

Here are some benefits of renting photography equipment to ensure that you’ve made the right choice.

  1. Try before you buy – Renting allows you to experience the equipment and helps you judge if the product is suitable for your photography style. This way, you can be completely sure about your choice of gear before investing.
  2. Inexpensive – It is obvious that it doesn’t cost that much to rent a fish-eye lens or a telephoto lens you may require for a one-off assignment. If the usage of a particular gear is rare, renting is the best option.
  3. Impulse buying – Often, we get lured into buying something that may not work for us because it worked for another photographer. Renting can save you from such guilty purchases. It can help you to check if it’s worth buying a photography gear.
  4. Backup – It is a good idea to rent a backup system in case you need extra equipment to cover a specific event like weddings and concerts. Also, this can come in handy when your own equipment is out for repair. This prevents any kind of delay at work.
  5. Travel anxiety – When you are traveling for an assignment, have the equipment shipped to your hotel address. This will relieve you from stressful events like losing your favorite lens or other products.


Where to start?

If you are convinced about renting cameras and lenses, you might now wonder where to start and how. The following four options might be of help.

  1. Online vendors
  2. Lending community
  3. Camera stores & studios
  4. Borrow from photographer friends


Online vendors – There is nothing you can’t find online in the Internet era. Several online vendors offer a wide variety of cameras, lenses and related equipment for rent. It is as easy as buying stuff online. Reserve the dates, enter your location and make the payment. You are ready to receive your order at your doorstep for as long as you want. Ship it back after you are done. Here you would incur extra charges on shipping and insurance.


Lending community – There are online lending communities that allow you to rent cameras directly from local photographers and videographers. This might work out to be a cheaper and faster option, as you will be communicating with the owner of the device directly. But, this service is not available everywhere and you might not get what you want at all times.


Camera stores & studios – You can visit camera stores that not only sell cameras and related gear, but also rent them. You can also check with the local studios you visit regularly and see if they also rent photography equipment. You will be surprised to find quite a few studios that lend equipment and studios for photo shoots.


Friends’ help – If you are lucky to have that photographer friend who has no qualms sharing his equipment, your job is done. If you are part of a photography group or society, you could benefit each other by creating your own community lending service.

And finally…

No matter what method you opt to get a photography gear, make sure you test the products before investing. Whether you are an amateur or a professional, it is better to understand the product and its offering before making an uninformed purchase. Photography comes with a heavy price tag, so it’s better to be doubly sure of what you get into.

Go ahead and hire. You won’t regret it.

~ Zahid Haroon Javali

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