It’s pretty hard to convince any photographer to lend their gear to someone, let alone a complete stranger. This incredibly fragile, complex equipment has not only cost us a small fortune but it’s our livelihood. However, thanks to developments in the industry, renting out your gear out makes complete sense both financially and socially. Let’s take a look at why, in 2018, you should be putting your photography equipment to work whilst you’re not using it yourself!
Networking is a frustratingly important aspect of the photography industry and one that is often so hard to pull off. You’ve sent emails, swapped business cards and attended conferences: all to no avail. If you’re in this position, renting your equipment could be a game changer. Fat Lama, the peer-to-peer gear rental marketplace, is a gold mine for industry connections. Having amassed a collection of high-end equipment, including an expanding inventory of industry-standard photography gear, Fat Lama is now home to 50,000 creative professionals in London alone, renting everything from gimbals to density filters. Indeed, the act of just signing up gives you access to a tailored list if contacts that would take years of networking to collect. East-London Filmmaker, Tom, described the marketplace as “a lazy networker’s dream’. Having rented I have met great people in the industry, some of which I will be working within the future”. This is the beauty of marketplaces in general. The fact that using the platform demands personal interaction, both online and in face-to-face, means that there are social benefits as well as financial.
- Make Money
If you’re anything like me, you can probably attribute 30% of your yearly spending on updating and expanding your equipment rack. Lenses are always the killer; there always seems to be another lens that you need for a specific shot. If you’re serious about your art, then you’re going to spend, a lot, on photography equipment. But what if your gear could pay for itself? If you start renting your lenses and camera out they subsidise themselves and before long you will have made up the money you originally spent. The average rental price for a DLSR is between £20 to £30 per day, meaning that after two weeks of rental, you will have made up the price of a Canon EOS 1300D. It can become more than just a way to subsidise your equipment though if you play it right renting can become a serious source of income. Some people using Fat Lama have been able to make £3,700 per month by just renting their unused kit out. If you are a freelancer who is often between jobs, this can provide significant financial stability and (most importantly) it makes splashing the cash out on equipment a guilt-free exercise in future.
- Save Money
As just discussed, getting hold of equipment for photography is expensive enough as it is and with lightpainting you’re adding another stack of expenses. Collecting items such as density filters, cable releases, as well as a host of different lenses can take months of saving to amass. If light painting is just a passion that you like to explore in your free time, spending thousands of pounds on gear might be a little wasteful when borrowing is an option. In particular, if you are a beginner, just looking to try light painting out, the only way to feasibly have a go is to find a taster session. However, once you tap into sharing economy, this is no longer an issue. All of these items and more can be found online as a short-term rental on Fat Lama, which if you’re thinking of starting out or just looking to keep the cost down, will come as a welcome surprise.
- Environmental Benefits
The rate at which technology is advancing has unimaginably changed the possibilities of photography; Light painting being an excellent example. However there is always a dark side to progress: waste. We are currently producing 50 million tons of electronic waste per year, which is highly toxic and for the most part, totally unnecessary. The photography industry is particularly guilty of unchecked consumerism; every time the industry advances we all need the newest technology to stay relevant. This is why renting needs to become the new norm. Borrowing rather than buying means you are investing in the ever-growing circular economy, without losing out on accessing the latest technology. It is a vision of sustainability that still allows for luxury, with governments around the world pumping money into anything that supports a sharing economy. You can shop without harming the planet and become an ethical consumer.