Guest Post: DSLR Photography on a Budget

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DSLR Photography on a Budget
Guest Post: Kimberly Gauthier Photography
The economy sucks, but I still love photography!  It cracks me up, because so many people assume that I’m dropping loads of duckets on this hobby and it is so not the case.  I love a deal and I get great ones all the time.  It just takes know how, patience, and fast fingers.
First things first, make a list of what you’ll need.  On the fly, this is what I use regularly: camera body, 3 lenses (I own 5), lens filters (UV, polarizer) and case, flash and diffuser, batteries (at least 2), battery charger, the cordy thingy to download images to the computer, memory cards, memory card reader (just in case bringing camera isn’t handy), camera bags (one for some equipment, one for more equipment),  a multi sided reflector, a monopod and a tripod, and software.  Then there’s the lighting equipment, backgrounds, and photo printer plus supplies (paper, toner).
Do you still want to do this?  Don’t worry, what’s most important is a camera body and a lens and then you can build from there.
So, how did I do it? – I’ve saved loads of money by shopping online.  I started by going to camera stores and speaking with people and I was stunned by the prices and choices.  I researched the camera for a month and just couldn’t be okay with the retail price.  I found my camera for $300 less online.  Why?  The box was opened; not damaged, opened.  When I found that deal, I was a woman possessed and I kept hunting for deals until I got the great gear that I have today.
Where to shop – Ebay,, liquidating camera stores, Costco; Hint: request an gift cards for your birthday.
Where NOT to shop– I’d be wary of shopping at pawn shops, on Craigslist, at garage sales, with individuals online (I only shop with eBay stores and stores), and at retail outlets unless you really know your stuff.
Regardless of where you shop, I must stress that you shop around, because what seems like a great deal today will be trumped tomorrow. 
I have three rules to keep my spending under control: ONE – If I truly can’t afford it, I don’t buy it, I don’t charge it.  TWO – with the exception of my camera body, I will not pay more than $300 for a lens (I broke this rule once and spent $325) or more than $100 for anything else.  Most of the small things (reflector, battery, memory cards) run less than $25 so it’s easy to keep to this rule.  THREE – I will only buy one piece of equipment per month; if I spend more than $200 on something, then I need to wait 2 months.
What’s nice is that I was able to buy everything I have (and I have lighting equipment and Lightroom) for thousands of dollars less than if I were to go to the store.  By taking my time, doing some research, and talking to people, I saved loads of money.  I haven’t bought anything new since May (smile).  I moon over a few lenses, but I don’t need them.  But Christmas is just a few months away.
Interested in photography by Kimberly Gauthier or have more questions about finding photography equipment deals, visit Kimberly Gauthier Photography; also on Facebook and Twitter.
Thank you Kimberly for writing such a wonderful article!