Photography can be an expensive game, but there are some bits of kit that you really don’t need to spend big money on. Here are six bits of kit you can skimp on.
It can be really daunting trying to decide where to spend your money, but hopefully, saving on these items will allow you to have a few extra dollars left over for the things that matter.
Gone are the days of spending a fortune on own brand speed lights, the world wide third party market for speed lights is now amazing. From Godox to Neewer, the brands all have amazingly spec’d speedlights for very cheap. Yeah, they are not as well made or consistent as the main camera brand offerings, but for the price, I would always choose to save those extra dollars and perhaps buy three affordable speedlights rather than one expensive one. The image below was taken with a sheet of tracing paper and a single Phottix speedlight
When I started out, you would have been laughed out of the room if you were using anything but a Pocket Wizard. My Pocket Wizards are now sat gathering dust, while my cheap, unbranded triggers do a great job both in my studio and on location. They are so affordable that I leave a set in every bag, just in case.
There are a few quality control issues, but for the price, it is certainly something that I would recommend skimping on in order to save some funds for your lenses, which you really don’t want to cheap out on.
Admittedly, I hate a 5-in-1 reflector, any gold reflector and anything that is particularly specular, but that is more personal taste than anything else. However, I have owned both the cheap versions and the expensive brand versions. They both look equally bad (to my taste), but if this is something that you do like, then I can certainly recommend that you save your money and go for the cheapest options.
I published a video on this a while ago and I got a lot of hate for it, but I am sticking to my guns. Cheap camera batteries are as good as the brand name ones. I have been running third party batteries in my cameras for nearly a decade. They work fine, my cameras haven't spontaneously combusted, and I have saved a lot of money.
Sanyo Enloop were the go-to battery in the early 00s, but nowadays, the Amazon basics do a great job, and thanks to the Godox battery packs, you probably wont have to recharge them for six months. When I started out, I was a wedding photographer, and the pain of charging AA batteries 24/7 was too much. Nowadays, we can all save time, money, and stress.
I know, half of you are now mad, but hear me out. For a lot of us, the latest and greatest camera really doesn’t offer much more. If you buy a used 2005/2007 full frame camera and you work in food photography, product photography, or certain styles of portrait photography, then you really won't be losing out. However, if you shoot gigs, weddings, or maybe sports or wildlife, then you are going to want those high-ISO capabilities and autofocus improvements that the more modern DSLRs offer.
What are your go-to items to save money on?