5 Big Ticket Items Photographers Pay For, Then Seldom Use

Yesterday I announced that we had moved from our large suburban home, to an urban condo environment, decreasing our space down to one third of our large home size.

When you do that kind of downsizing, you really start looking at what you’ve put in the back rooms, in the closets, and in the garage, yet have seldom picked up since you purchased it. What’s even more distressing is the items you find in their original packaging. Did you really need it if you never even opened it?

While an occasional office supply is one thing, when it’s a big ticket item, it’s a whole different issue. Imagine what you could have done with that money if you hadn’t invested in that purchase?

As we were looking through things, listing items on Craigslist, and giving things away, we discovered 5 things that we invested in, yet seldom used.

Camera Doodads

If you’ve ever gone to a photography convention, you’ve probably fallen for the shiny object syndrome. When you walk up and down the aisles, caught up in all the sights and sounds projected straight towards you, it’s easy to fall for it. Companies promise miracles, and great tools, gadgets and doodads that will improve your photography, or help you run your business more efficiently.

So you invest in a doodad or two. Two becomes twenty. And so on. Pretty soon you have boxes in your spare closet full of shiny doodads, many unopened and untouched.

Bags and More Bags

As traveling photographers, we are constantly on the lookout for the perfect bag. One that will breeze through security without a glance, carry all of your equipment safely, and give you plenty of room for everything you need to carry.

And of course you also need small bags for when you’re going out on day shoots. Just something for a camera, a lens or two, and maybe enough room for your wallet and keys.

And what about the different colored bags? They’re so cool, and fit all of your styles and moods…

Yep, that’s how you end up with dozens of bags sitting in the back of the storage room. Its not that they aren’t useful. But do you really need dozens of bags for every situation imaginable?

Props and Backgrounds

You wake up in the middle of the night with a great idea. So you head down to the antique district looking for the perfect prop. You find several, and into the studio they go. Then you do a few shoots, and discover it’s not really what you wanted. So into the back storeroom it goes.

Even though we haven’t shot with props and backdrops in years, we still had an unbelievable amount of stuff that we used from portrait shoots. And while some of it did have a useful life, much much more barely had any use at all.

Framing Supplies

With every wall portrait we sold, we included framing and matting options. So we invested in framing and matting tools. Do you know how big mat cutters can be? (And heavy too.) While it’s nice to have options and the ability to do much of the work yourself, sometimes its just as nice to find great suppliers, and rely on their skills … and have more space for the stuff you truly want and need.

Computer Equipment

When you’re dealing with image files, you need a system in place for safety, security, and production. So you buy top of the line computers for speed and storage space. While that may have been necessary in the past, with today’s cloud computing, and more being done online, one laptop is sufficient. Yep, we’re in the process of converting to one laptop each. Right now we have 2 laptops and 6 desktops all setup and ready in our large home. Add in boxes of software, computer tools such as printers, scanners and drawing pads, and you can see why we had a dedicated computer room. But is it really necessary? Nope. We’ve sold or given most of it away, and are converting to our two Macs here next week. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Have you purchased anything for your studio that you later regretted?

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