As a photographer just starting my own wedding photography business, I quickly realized how much pro gear really costs. I don't shoot often enough to afford all of the gear that I need but when I do have a shoot, I like to use professional gear and I like to have backups in case something breaks (especially for weddings). For those of you who are just getting started like me, or those of you who need specialty equipment, you may want to consider renting gear.
Why is renting a good idea? For starters, you may simply want to try before you buy. A new wide angle lens may get great reviews but you may find after you use it that you simply hate using a wide angle lens. If you are a casual diver you may want to to try out a professional underwater housing before spending thousands to buy it. It may also be worth renting specialty gear that you don't shoot very often. I shoot weddings occasionally but the money I make from these weddings does not warrant going out and buying 3 camera bodies, a range of 2.8 lenses, and 5 speedlights. In the future it may, but for most of my shoots, a single body and a standard zoom lens will suit me. Let's say you randomly book a sporting event to shoot. Are you going to run out and buy a 400mm 2.8 lens for $8,000? Of course not. As with any business, we need to decide when renting is a better decision over buying.
If you do decide to rent I would highly suggest checking out LensProToGo. I'll preface this story by saying that they are not an advertiser with Fstoppers and this is not a sponsored post. Back before I ever started working with Fstoppers, I saw a video that stillmotion had created where they featured LensProToGo. The first time I called, I got a real person on the other end; not some computerized voice asking me to punch 1,2,3, or 4 to get to a department. Right off the bat I could tell this guy knew what he was talking about and based on my questions, he was able to get me exactly what I needed. He said he would write up my order for me and told me the lens would be at my door step in 2 days.
When my Nikon 24-70 lens arrived it came in a small pelican case that was fit to size just for that lens. It also included a tootsie pop, a prepaid return shipping sticker, and a nice note thanking me for renting from them - pretty cool in my book. It was that easy.
In February at WPPI, I was lucky enough to meet the crew and quickly understood why customer service was their main focus. It turned out that every employee is either a professional photographer or videographer. While I haven't rented from any of the other companies out there, I know that every time I call Lensprotogo I will always get great customer service and gear that has been inspected and very well taken care of.
So if you're ever in need of a crazy lens or just want to experiment with a brand new camera, I highly recommend renting it from them.