Investing in premium camera equipment for your business is a chicken and egg situation. In order to build an impressive production portfolio and showcase your skill, you need to be using high-end gear. But until you’re pushing out professionally produced content, it can be tricky to generate enough cash to be able to invest in that gear in the first place. Photography is a competitive field and if you want to earn a full-time living as a photographer, it’s going to take a lot of time and hard work to build an inventory of premium equipment. However, today, an increasing number of like-minded videographers, photographers and drone pilots are moving away from buying expensive kit, towards renting from other photographers nearby allows them to maximise production standards whilst keeping their bank accounts intact. And for those with sufficient cashflow to invest in gear, renting that out to others in need of short-term access can see camera bodies, lenses and gimbals pay for themselves within weeks.
Paying The Rent With Camera Rentals
We spoke to Tom Bryan, a Hackney-based filmmaker who is now paying his studio rent by lending out his photography gear on Fat Lama.
“I earn enough lending my gear each month to cover the rent of my shared office space. It’s nice to know I can cover that expense. At the moment, as I focus on my own projects, I am earning less from corporate work, so this extra income from kit hire is helping me sustain a lifestyle where I can spend more time on my own projects – which is where my heart lies.”
Turning to sites like Fat Lama is giving photographers like Tom a significant secondary income to develop their own portfolio and invest more time into the projects they care about.
Film crews, production houses, and freelance camera people regularly invest in items which they only require for a one-off shoot. From lighting rigs and grips to lenses, these investments take a long time to justify themselves. However, the ability to lend gear to fellow photographers locally whilst it’s not being used means that camera equipment has the potential to ‘pay for itself’ through rentals within weeks of purchase; this enables individuals to focus on important projects and gives fledgling productions companies a stable income during even the quietest months.
A Bird’s Eye View
The platform is by no means exclusive to cameras. Those in need of an aerial perspective can rent drones for just a fraction of their cost price. Whether for a short film, wedding or landscape shot, drones are increasingly popular amongst the photography community and an increasingly frequent rental item on Fat Lama. Camera drones have propelled the art of photography into new territories, but until now, the price of most consumer drones has been prohibitive. In light of the competitive prices now facilitated by peer-to-peer renting, adding drone photography is now a feasible value-add for freelancers and fledgling productions companies alike.