What kind of equipment do people usually rent

When and how to borrow photography equipment

Photo and video equipment is expensive. Professional equipment starts at a few hundred dollars and goes up to hundreds of thousands. You could dream of shooting with a RED EPIC camera, but you probably don't want to raise the $ 19,000 plus to own one. The thing is, there is another option: renting it out.

It may surprise you, but chances are that aMuch of the equipment used in your favorite movies and TV shows doesn't belong to the people or companies who make them. Instead, it is rented from a trading agency. Why buy a crane for just one scene when you can rent one for a fraction of the cost? Hollywood is based on rented equipment.

And not only Hollywood productions can rent that stuff. You can do it too. If you really want to shoot a RED EPIC, you can borrow one and the other footage for $ 1,100 a day. Sure, that's a hell of a big change, but it's a lot less than the $ 50,000 and it would cost you to buy it all yourself. Most of the equipment is also nowhere near available for this price. You can buy a $ 2,000 lens like the Canon 70-200 f / 2.8L IS II for the incredibly low cost of $ 84 per week.

When to borrow photo and video equipment

Rentals is a big part of the professional industry, but you don't have to plan any major filming to rent equipment. There are many other reasons.

  • Try something before you buy: Most local photo specialty stores have some popular equipment available for rent. If you are considering buying something that is in rental inventory, you can usually rent it for a few days. If you choose to purchase, the rental fee you paid will be deducted from the purchase price. This is one of the main reasons to support local businesses.
  • To see if there is something for you: It's really difficult to get good sports photos without a telephoto lens. If you think this is a genre of photography that you could have fun with instead of throwing big bucks on a lens you might not be using, you can borrow a telephoto or two for a sports game and see as you like it. I'm thinking about switching to mirrorless cameras. So I plan to rent a full Sony A7III setup for a week and see how it works.
  • If you're only going to use it a couple of times: I have to use studio lights on occasion to take portraits, but I'm not doing it nearly enough to spend the money on a real setup. Instead of spending $ 2,000, I spend $ 150 once or twice a year. That also means that I always take photos with high-quality, new equipment.
  • Just for fun: Let's face it, and playing with great camera gear is fun. If you've got a few hundred dollars and have always wanted to try a ridiculously expensive part of the kit, just borrow it. You can fulfill your medium format or filmmaking fantasies without taking out a mortgage.

Where to rent equipment

The easiest place to rent equipment is from local photo shops. They usually have popular and versatile accessories such as 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses, studio lighting, and full-frame DSLR housings. You can also check the condition and the staff will teach you how to use it. The only downside is that if you seek out something you may not have known, you may not have it.

If you want more choices, your best bet is Lensrentals. They are the largest online photo rental company and have an almost unlimited selection of equipment. You almost certainly have what obscure photography or videography you want. The prices are good and they ship to all 50 states. You can even buy rental equipment that you don't want to send back.

Your final option is to look at a peer-to-peer rental. This is one of the few Airbnb for X ideas that actually makes sense. People who have camera equipment that they don't currently use can list it for other people to rent. This allows them to offset some of the cost of their equipment and borrow it for less. The two largest services are KitSplit and ShareGrid. There may be no one around to provide the essentials. However, if it does, this is likely the cheapest option.

Tips for borrowing photo and video equipment

Insure, insure, insure. Seriously, you don't want to be on board for tens of thousands of dollars because your careless friend tripped on the tripod. Cameras and lenses are simply too fragile and too expensive to offer no protection. If you are a professional photographer, your insurance policy may have this covered. If not, your options will depend on where you are renting from. Ask your local shop for the offer. Lensrentals sells its own insurance (even covers bear attacks). KitSplit and ShareGrid can also take out insurance for a fee.

Examine the equipment before you borrow it or as soon as it arrives. Rental equipment is inherently used, so there is a good chance it will get scuffed and scratched. This doesn't affect the quality of your work, but you don't want to be held responsible for a scratch that was there before you received it. I find the best I can do is take a quick video of the equipment and talk about any issues I see. That way I can use the video in case I ever have a problem.

Make sure you rent the accessories too. Most of the time, you can rent a kit with all the cables, chargers, modifiers, and the like. However, if you order a la carte, be sure to get everything you need. There's no point in renting studio flashes if you also can't get a wireless flash trigger.


Borrowing equipment for the casual shoot is a great way to break into different areas of photography. There's no point owning a telephoto lens unless you exercise week after week. If you only need that stuff every few months, renting is the way to go.