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Frugal Photography by Stylepeterson

Stylepeterson Photography

Frugal Photography Guide

Why Be a Frugal Photographer?

Why not? The market for camera gear makes the goal of frugal photography easier than ever to attain. Digital photography reached a level of maturity nearly a decade ago that makes any gear introduced since then largely superflous. You do not need the latest and greatest camera gear to create amazing photos. A DSLR camera body with 10-12 megapixels from any major manufacturer of the past decade will have all of the capability most photographers require. Camera upgrades are driven by marketing principles that demand new models be released every year. The incremental improvements made are not needed by most of us. This is especially true of camera lenses. You can find lenses made nearly 40 years ago that will produce high quality results for a fraction of the price of their new equivalents.

Frugal Photography

The camera used to make this photo cost $45.00 used. The lens is 40 years old and cost $35.00.

Frugal Photography is Smart.

You remain the master of your hobby, not the advertisers that bait you into jumping on the infinite treadmill of constant upgrades. We are taught from youth on the fallacy that buying new stuff will make you happier. Consumerism is the belief that at the center of happiness is consumption and material possessions. I remember buying a new camera from a leading brand a few years ago and while filling out the warranty card seeing the questions “How does this camera make you feel?” “How does owning this brand of camera make you feel?” Don’t fall for the lie. There is no connection between true happiness and buying new camera gear.

For many of us, frugality is a necessity. The ability to do more with less is an essential life skill. Take heart! You can enjoy the hobby of photography on a limited budget.

The used marketplace has a glut of camera gear with decades of usable life left. Few of us will ever ‘wear out’ a camera. Most cameras on the used market are simply the victims of upgrades or boredom by their former owners. Therein lies the secret to frugal photography! Hopefully, my website will show you how to extract maximum value from that market without burning a hole in your pocket.

Cheapskate Photography

The lens used for this photos cost $15.00 (used) on eBay.

Here are four top reasons to be  cheapskate photographer:

All cameras are good enough! If you have a DSLR camera that provides 6-megapixels of resolution or higher, you’re good to go. Shoot with what you have. Truthfully, it will do even more than your skill as a photographer demands, and for quite some time. Stuffing more megapixels into a camera does not mean you will be able to capture a better photo.  Focus on developing your craft, not on your gear. You will be much happier with the photos you create.

Used camera gear offers amazing value! Because major camera manufacturers now introduce new models on a yearly basis, there is a glut of barely used DSLR and mirrorless cameras on the used market. Most of them are eagerly traded in and sold by consumers who buy with their heart, not their head. Digital cameras depreciate rapidly and are, on the whole, very reliable. Just be sure to buy from a reputable dealer and use all the money you save to see camera-worthy places.

A camera is a tool, not jewelry. Often when people buy the latest high priced gear, they are afraid to drop it, lose it, or have it stolen. They treat it like a piece of jewelry, not a photographic tool. That hinders your photographic freedom. When you buy cheaper used camera gear, you tend to treat it more like a tool, and less like an heirloom.  You worry less about your gear and more about getting great photos. That makes you a better photographer.

It’s only a hobby. Unless you earn your income as a photographer, why spend more than you need to on camera gear?

I am a cheapskate, and I love to create great photos with inexpensive camera gear. By tapping into the used camera market, and looking for low-cost and free image processing software, you can create images that are every bit as compelling as those shot with professional gear. Spend your money on experiences, not gear, and you will have more memorable photos to share! -Don Peterson