"Ballpark" equipment Cost for Professional Photographer?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by dmfw, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. dmfw

    dmfw TPF Noob!

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    I am part of a a group of amateur photographers. We were having lunch this weekend and talking about the average equipment cost of a professional photographer's equipment. Eg. if someone wish to start a business what would be a reasonable capital expenditure for cameras, lenses, lighting, etc.

    specifically, we are curious to know the approximate/general equipment cost for the following areas of photography:

    Gen. photography: single, couple, groups in an outdoor setting. I have observed several, what I assume to be , professional photographers who photograph the subject at our local botanical garden. From my observation they appear to have one camera, 2 to 3 lenses, a fill flash, and basic reflectors.

    Wedding photography: Higher quality cameras and lenses, better suited for the low light nature of evening and night weddings. Backup camera and lens equipment which is mandatory due to the immediate nature of wedding.

    Studio photography: Eg. The purchase of cameras, lenses, and a great deal of specialized lighting equipment.

    Top of the head / ballpark figures would be appreciated.
     
  2. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Camera = $1200 (semi pro)
    3 lenses = 1500 x3 = $4500
    Flash = $450
    Reflectors = $200
    Grip, cards, batteries, etc etc = $750

    $7,050

    1 pro cam = $2500
    1 backup cam = $1200
    3 zooms = 1500 x3 = $4500
    a few primes + macro = $1500
    Flash = $450 x2 = $900
    Grips, cards, batteries, etc etc = $1500

    $12,100

    Add to that some softboxes, stands, pocketwizards for off camera lighting, you are closer to the $14,000 level.

    For the studio setup, if you want 5+ actual studio strobes ($750 a piece) softboxes, grids, gels, stands, backdrops and not counting the actual rent cost for a studio, I'd add another $6,000 on top of the wedding setup.

    But hey, this is totally off the top of my head, not being a pro, not actually owning any of the gear above. :)

    I'm sure amateurs can do some quick digging online or check some stores such as bhphotovideo.com for more accurate prices
     
  3. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Gen. Photography: under 1k. Most of these people have D40-type cameras with bundled 55-200's. Fill flash is $120-$225, reflector, $45-$60 all in all $800-$950

    Wedding Photography: depends. Alot of times, EXACTLY as above. Photographers that actually get consistent work though and are reliable enough to charge more, are shooting full frame. Most likely D700 or 5D(II). 24-70 and 70-200 covers it all for the most part. Might have an 85mm, or a macro, or a 50mm f/1.4, but it would hardly ever be used in favor of one of the zooms. Few thousand, 4k+

    Studio photography: Depends. How high end are we talking about? Portrait? Product?
    Higher end studios shoot 5DII's, 1DsIII's, and MF digital eg. H2D.

    Lights, one of the larger local studios here in Portland has a bout 25 Speedotron power packs, 30 heads, Modifiers out the wazoo, some of the packs you can combine so you can have 9600W/s through ONE HEAD.




    Really, it all depends on what you want to do.
     
  4. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    a 50mp Hasselblad and a set of profoto lights would probably run you about $70,000
     
  5. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    +1, if you're going to do it - do it right.

    Don't forget the cost of the studio itself. :D
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Around 1992, my professional photo supply and rental house did a survey of its customers,and the survey found that the mean "average" experience level for professional photographers was 15 years in business, and $82,000 was the mean average in cost of inventory in camera,lighting,background,and grip equipment.

    Obviously, that was before digital, and there were I would say fewer photographers in the city than there are today. The type of specialty one focuses on would determine how much equipment is needed,and what type of equipment is needed as well. A wedding photographer could probably get by with a lot less lighting equipment than a studio that specialized in catalog and small-product photography,for example. If one wants to be a top-level sports shooter, one needs very costly bodies and at least two super-teles that cost around $12,000 for the pair of lenses, or more.
     
  7. Soocom1

    Soocom1 TPF Noob!

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    It isnt the equipment, its the photographer.... If you have talent, you go far, if not, you wont: (Yes I am raising my hand)

    Any system will run approx. $1200-$150,000+ US depending on how elaborate you want to get and what you are doing.

    The reality is that you best shot is to start off with good used (Nikon D1, Canon 1Ds, or 5D, etc.) Build apon it. The big issue is glass, glass and glass....

    Oh and dont forget glass...

    Lighting helps alot too...
     

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