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I used to do wedding/portrait photography. I stopped after having my first child. I want to start it back up but be way more professional about it, i.e. biz license, better equipment, & better post-production routine. Anywho, I can't & won't do anything until I have a faster $2000 Mac, the newest Photoshop, & a full-frame camera w/ some great lenses. Should I go into debt & get a loan for about $3500-5000? Or should I save? I figure if I get a loan I could get a computer, photoshop & a camera and start charging the client right off the bat & gain experience faster. Or if I save for about six months to a year I would start my business with zero debt. Debt makes me nervous, but it's also hard to wait, when I could be working. What to do? Sidenote: This would be extra income for my family. We rely & survive off of my husbands income. Another sidenote: My old equipment wasn't good enough for professional photography in the first place. I used a Nikon D50 to it's maximum capacity, but it's definitely not good enough & I don't want to do that again, so I'll basically be starting from scratch in the equipment area.
What do you mean your D50 is at maximum capacity and not good enough? The much older Nikon D100 was good enough in its day and can still produce images of high enough quality for weddings and portraits in any case. Use the equipment you have and generate enough cash to start adding to your system. It is usually not a good idea borrow the money for your business, especially in these times. Buy a good used Nikon D90 as a start or even a D300 (not the s version) as you can put together a little money. I save all my dollar bills at the end of each day and put them in my safe (along with my backed up CD's and DVD's). Some days I only have one single but others, like today, I ended up with nine Over six months that can add up to enough money to encourage you. In the mean time, start shooting weddings again remembering the charge enough for the shoot and sell prints at a price that will bring in enough to help your family and add to your "war chest" Question: Why do you need a $2,000 Mac? You can save a ton of money buying a 4-core PC with 8 gb of RAM and a 1 tb hard drive (under $700) and use the saved money to buy a nice lens, like a 24-70 mm f/2.8. That lens will do more for your wedding photography business than paying over $1,200 extra just to have a Mac. That lens and your D50 would produce amazing wedding photos. There is NO difference in the image quality whether you use a Mac or PC. Frankly I like my PC better than my Mac. The right mouse click to access drop-down menus speeds up my productivity. Sure the 24 inch Mac LCD is nice, but I really don't need it to produce amazing images. Most of that happens in the camera anyway When I was in the Caribbean in 2005 during hurricane season on a 50 foot sailing vessel, I was able to produce images with my D100 - 6 mp dSLR that were later used in brochures, websites and a few 16 x 20 prints for some of the people I met along the way. Here is that camera and your D50 side by side. camera has electronics in it that are almost three years more advanced than my D100, so I don't buy the notion that you cannot use it to produce professional wedding photos I am rambling. Don't get a loan. Start generating cash flow with what you have, charge fees that will give you enough money to start building your new system and get on with your new career the second time
For Finance and credit solutions I recommend this website where you can find all the solutions. :Need to upgrade my photography equipment. Loan/debt? Or save? I used to do wedding/portrait photography. I stopped after having my first child. I want to start it back up but be way more professional about it, i.e. biz license, better equipment, & better post-production routine. Anywho, I can't & won't do anything until I have a faster $2000 Mac, the newest Photoshop, & a full-frame camera w/ some great lenses. Should I go into debt & get a loan for about $3500-5000? Or should I save? I figure if I get a loan I could get a computer, photoshop & a camera and start charging the client right off the bat & gain experience faster. Or if I save for about six months to a year I would start my business with zero debt. Debt makes me nervous, but it's also hard to wait, when I could be working. What to do? Sidenote: This would be extra income for my family. We rely & survive off of my husbands income. Another sidenote: My old equipment wasn't good enough for professional photography in the first place. I used a Nikon D50 to it's maximum capacity, but it's definitely not good enough & I don't want to do that again, so I'll basically be starting from scratch in the equipment area. Follow 9 answers
I don't think getting a new camera will make your pictures better. Some people simply use a backdrop and a couple of studio lights. Others get more elaborate and have umbrellas and 3 or 4 lights or wireless flashes. It really depends on what your needs are and how far you want to go. I would recommend getting a book on studio or portrait photography rather than just going out and buying a bunch of equipment you may end up not even using. As far as lenses, it depends on your camera (but on a cropped sensor the classic portrait lens would be 50mm). Not set in stone but it's a good starting point. Looks like you have a lot of research to do.
Rather than get a loan, consider a long term lease. When you lease, there are a lot of tax benefits, but for all intents and purposes it works the same as a loan. I leased my last computer setup which was nearly $6,000. All major retailers including Apple.com and bhphoto.com will allow you to apply for a lease a checkout. Edit: I leased my first 5D a few years ago. It worked out to $100 a month for 36 months with a $1 buyout. I know that added about $600 to the cost of the camera, but there were a lot of benefits: 1) No sales tax 2) No use tax. (In most states when you use an item for business, you have to pay tax on it every year) 3) No need to itemize depreciation on income taxes 4) The interest on the lease is tax deductible 5) The camera is mine at the end of the lease I also liked the 3 year lease on my computer because when it is up, I will just get another one. It is a great way to keep gear up to date without incurring huge purchases every few years.
Save. Use your D50 doing portraits and rebuilding your portfolio to help you to save the money! If you can use it to it's fullest you can still create amazing images with it and it can make you some money! I don't see how you can do it for under $5000 with the equipment you said you need. You want a full frame camera $2500 You'll need a 70-200 f/2.8 and I'll assume you are going budget here with the Sigma OS version at $1400 A wide zoom 24-70 f/2.8 at $1300 4 batteries for the camera $100 a speedlite the Sb900? $450 backup for the speedlite (CHEAP!) Sigma 610DG Super $250 a back up body (d7000?) $1100 batteries for the back up body $100 back up for the wide lens (Budget!!!) Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 $500 Photoshop CS5 $700 Mac $2000 4 to 6 memory cards (16G) $40 or more each (cheap ones!) $160 I think I am at $10,400 there. Compromise on what you can compromise on in the beginning. The Mac would be my first compromise. Photoshop Elements 10 was just released at $99. The Sigma OS lens for the 70-200 as opposed to the $2400 nikon or canon version; the tamron 28-75 as opposed to the Nikon or Canon 24-70; the Sigma 610DG Super as opposed to the SB900 flash... Maybe buy the D7000 or 7D body before your full frame so you can be up and running doing portraits with a newer camera faster.... You get the idea.
SAVE. Your balance sheet will then show assets and equities, not liabilities. Times are very hard, and all businesses are finding it tough to stay ahead. Don't obligate yourself to payments from revenues you have not yet earned. In addition to the 5K in gear, you will have other costs: phone, letterhead, INSURANCE, auto expenses, et cetera so you will need some cash in the bank as well as the gear. You will need some practice time to hone your shooting skills, a little refresher on photoshop, and time to set up the books (I highly recommend QuickBooks-you can't beat it for the price and it has a very serviceable MAC edition, $200) and take care of the business registration (business license, Fed/State Center Point #s, resale # if applicable). I also recommend you hit SCORE at your local Small Business Administration office. They can hook you up with wedding photogs who can guide you in getting started.
I agree with HisWifeTheirMom EXCEPT about the lenses ... I'm a big believer in buying the right lens once but other than that, use your current camera, pickup a cheap backup camera (dong weddings with one camera is a big no no) and start rebuilding.
No brainier, save. Center Point save faster with a "normal" part time job. As you save invest you TIME learning even more about the business and make up a business plan that you then have gone over. Here the local area the state has two people who help start up companies and helping with the plan is the first thing they work on with "us". I go see them at least once a year with my updated plan.