I am an active photographer for more than 40 years now, always been an amateur. My parents encouraged me to spend their money on equipment. Later on when I started to spend my own money I continued the trend, never really thinking about cost. Of course I did not spend unlimited amounts but with each business trip to the USA I always left few hundred dollars or more at a photo store. Either a new camera, new lens a better strobe, there was always something cool to buy.
I had one of the first usable digital cameras that came out, a Toshiba, 3 Mpixel, a point and shoot in today’s parlance, for which I paid $1200 in 1999. Never thought twice about buying it or not. Fast forward to 2012, I have a GH1 micro 4/3 Panasonic camera and I live in the USA so no more shopping trips. On Dreamstime since 2007, I am slowly growing my portfolio and watch the dollars accumulating in my account, 42 cents at a time. I am making about $70 per month.
So what is the point in telling all this?
Since money started to be part of the equation I can’t stop myself of looking at this as a business. Each month there are new and exciting cameras hitting the market. Latest one the new Nikon, or sticking with the micro4/3 family the new Olympus OMD (EM5).
But should I buy? And since this is a business I am asking myself business type of questions.
How long would it take to recoup the investment? Will it make me a better photographer? And most importantly will my sales increase? The answer to these question is no. I don’t see how my sales will increase substantially and I think it will take years to recoup the investment. In other words I will work for free a few years just for the honor and privilege to show off with the new Nikon. In a few month it will not be that new.
Without the DT membership I would buy a new camera now use it few time a year and not worry about cost.
When I started taking photographs I buyed my own equipment and until I entered DT I made a commitment that all my equipment should come from my earnings...So it has been a new way to see and do things, because photography is my hobby but it returns the time that I spend with money to buy better equipment.
It seems along the same lines as why parents encourage kids to get a job. Earning the money yourself makes you appreciate it more, even though you may have more overall as a result of the job :)
I often find myself out buying something and think to myself that that purchase erased a whole day's sales, or week's, or month's :) I also agree on the cameras - I've posted in a many a forum that I don't understand how microstockers justify a camera like the 5D MkIII or D800. I guess for many they would have bought these cameras anyway, so the stock photo income takes a bite out of the purchase. It is very easy to get caught up in the game of getting the latest and greatest - I'm as guilty as the next guy of that! Even my own cameras, while modest compared to the list of full frame bodies and L glass some have in their signature, are still more than I really need to succeed here.
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