Investing – Part 1

Investing. No, not in shares.

I used to think of investing as getting a return on money spent on something. Shares are the most obvious, you invest money in the shares you think are going to give you a good return. Risk also comes into it. Generally the better returns are had on the riskier investments with a smaller return on the somewhat safer trades.

Now I am not a share trader by any stretch of the imagination but common sense would dictate that a mixed portfolio of shares could mitigate risk and provide some returns. It all depends on what your after really. The same applies to photography and buying equipment to pursue it.

If your starting off on your photographic journey or have decided your smartphone doesn’t give you the creative options your yearning for you could be in the market for some serious gear. And so it begins. The search for equipment that will unleash the inner artist in you. Before you know it you are already making the start of many investments. What I haven’t spent anything yet? No you haven’t but you have made an investment and quite rightly you should expect some return on that investment ( otherwise known as ROI).

For those who haven’t got it yet you are spending something quite valuable just researching any future purchases. TIME. See it is not always money that is invested. I actually learnt this lesson from my son. While on one of our many trips back and forth to his university, thankfully over now, we used to have conversations in the car about all sorts of subjects. Some serious, some light hearted and some putting the world to rights. One day we were talking about video gaming ( of which he is a big fan) and he said gamers invested in playing a game. I wondered what he was on about. You bought the game, where’s the rest of the investment? His next sentenced clarified it. You invest TIME playing the game.

I never looked at it like that. Applying that logic I released that we as photographers actually make a considerable investment of our time. Not only comparing body and lens specs for a potential new purchase but also in investing time in learning their limitations, how they work, what situations they will be useful in and how they could benefit our photography generally. A friend recently asked my advice on a certain make of camera. My first response was to say look at what the whole system will offer you. Will that align with your needs now and in the future? If you decide to specialise are there suitable lenses and accessories available? Think close up (macro) or flash or even underwater photography.

Spending some time on research will give you a return on investment and save you money in the long run. If your serious and moving from a smartphone or point and shoot camera there is an awful lot to think about. Cameras, lenses, bags, filters, tripods, mono pods, remote controls, even computers and software.

Perhaps your laptop might be good enough now but it may not be able to cope with the demands of image editing software or storage.  While we all like to look at getting a new body or lens or other widget, spending time on shooting discipline. Looking into potential locations, post processing and computer techniques can be just as,  if not more, rewarding.

My photographic journey started back in the film days. A dear friend, long departed this world, showed me how to set up a darkroom and process black and white films in different formats. Since digital came about we’ve done basically the same but now use a computer as a darkroom. My interest in photography actually led me to an interest in WordPress and putting this website on the Internet. With a big investment of my time along the ( mostly enjoyable) way.

Buying a camera and a lens or two is only the beginning of the journey. It could take you to a fun hobby, an interest in web design, places you’ve never been too before or even the start of your own business.

It’s really up to you and how much you would like to invest.