Be willing to invest

Last week I wrote about taking better pictures. This week I’m writing a series of shorter posts about the business side of photography. I know a lot of people considering or currently trying to make photography their job. This is for you guys.

My first tip is to be willing to invest a lot of money. Most people look at the falling prices of digital SLRs and assume getting into photography will be cheap. You can take very good pictures with a Nikon’s entry-level DSLR, the D40. However, as you grow as a photographer and begin working professionally you’ll very quickly hit the limits of what a D40 can do and want to upgrade. It’s a never-ending cycle. My first camera was a $1,300 Nikon D70s. My second was a Nikon D200 for about $2,000 with all the accessories. My next camera will be a Nikon D3 which will ring up at a bank-busting $5,000.

Do I need a Nikon D3? Yes, I do. Do you need one to start out? No, but just know it’s in the future and start saving now.

And that doesn’t even get into the costs of lenses which will ultimately probably cost more than the camera bodies. Add to that marketing costs (I’ll probably spend between $5,000 and $10,000 this year on marketing), computers (you need a fast rig to process thousands of RAW photos) and more hard drives than you know what to do with (we’re currently up to 5 terabytes; that’s 5,000 gigabytes). And that doesn’t include all the little things required. Needless to say, it can add up fast. Before you know it, that $600 DSLR you have your eye on can turn into a $20,000 business investment.

Photography pays well if you’re good at it, but it can also require a lot of money, so know that going in and you should be fine.



  1. yesbuts says

    I cannot disagree with your blog.
    But (unfortunately for me there’s always a but), I look at photographs taken from the early days of photography and the best of these match the best of current photography. 🙂

    Its like red and white wine (most people in a blind test cannot tell the difference). Most people wouldn’t be able to tell if a photo is taken by a £500 or £5000 camera.

  2. says

    I would tend to agree it’s hard to tell on the final output a difference between higher and lower level cameras if someone is shooting that knows what they’re doing.

    However, the real advantage to nicer cameras comes for the photographer. With a D3, I can shoot in situations I wouldn’t be able to with a D200. It just allows you to create better photos in different situations. Things like faster focusing and better high-iso performance allows a lot more flexibility.

    Could we still be shooting weddings exclusively with a D70s? Absolutely. Could we do it as well? I’m not so sure. The flexibility afforded by nicer cameras allows more experimentation and better photos overall.


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