Monday, October 12, 2009


As I frequently think about what piece of gear I *need* to buy next, I thought I'd have a look at the stuff I've already bought. A while back I listed approx $10k in camera, lenses, light modifiers, strobes, flashes, and various other gear. While I use just about all of this stuff, my stated goal here is to use the gear to take pictures, which I then sell as microstock to pay back the cost of the gear. The following is a look at what portion of my purchases are being put to use.

My typical stock shoot setup uses the following:

1 kid, shot on 104-inch-wide white seamless. $160 for the paper and the stands to hold it.
2 AlienBee 400s to light the background, on cheap stands with umbrella reflectors. $580
3 sheets of fiberglass panel to make a durable, white, glossy floor. $90
AlienBee 400 in a 64" PLM umbrella, in a softbox configuration on a cheap stand. $350
48" Reflector on a reflector stand as fill. $100
Tripod and ball head $235
D90 $1000
Nikon 80-200 2.8 $1300 (I love this lens in my current garage studio!)

That's $3800! It would seem I've spent a lot on gear that isn't going to help with the cause here... If I only knew then what I know now, I may have chosen differently.

I definitely love some of the "other $6200" stuff. My Nikon 17-55 2.8 DX is an awesome walkaround lens, and is almost always on my D90, except when I'm in the garage shooting stock. I love taking pictures of bugs, so the 60mm Micro is also a lot of fun. My 2 SB-600's work great with the D90's CLS, I just don't use them to shoot much stock.

Overall, the stuff that is hopefully going to pay the bills and the fun toys were purchased at a roughly 40:60 ratio. I wonder how that compares to others' experience.

In the future, I'll have to weigh how much I want something against how likely I'll be to use it to generate income. Or maybe I need to separate the "toy" budget from the "tool" budget. A 4th strobe would be a nice next "tool", whereas a 200mm f4 Micro would be a totally awesome next "toy"!

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