Photography Dollar Store Gear
Photographers, lets embrace the dollar store (or $.99 cent stores) with open arms in the new year! The quality of dollar stores have gone up, they really came up after the last recession and more name brands now stock the dollar stores. In this post you will learn which items I suggest photographers purchase for their photography needs.
Some items are better from the original camera stores or hardware box stores. Other times are completely overpriced at the local camera shop, and I would advise you to shop at your local dollar store. This post also comes with a youtube video, where we go shopping together to one of my favorite dollar spots to get photography gear.
WHY SHOP AT YOUR DOLLAR STORE FOR PHOTO GEAR?
Shop Local: There are varieties to the dollar/discount stores and each offer something different. In my personal opinion, I like the “mom & pop” versions because they offer more unique content and also it’s a small family run business. However, I do check the bigger named options too.
Same Quality: As we know, so much of pricing is relies on the branding. The same company makes it and then different labels are attached. With some of the basics, it’s all the same quality!
How much more quality can a pencil pouch at Target have vs. the one at the dollar store? I priced both and it's nearly triple the price at Target and Walmart. No thanks, I would rather support my local family business and pay 1/3 less in costs. Imagine walking out with 5 pencil pouches instead of one? It’s ridiculous to spend your hard earned money on something when you know a different store down the street gives so much more value. That’s what I try to push in my photography courses. If you do smart business, you’ll make smart business income. If you blow through your cash, you can kiss your profits goodbye.
Some items aren’t as good as others. In the video, you'll see that I recommend car sun visors and even cake sheets. Those are emergency substitutes or for people with a tiny budget. I was there too! Start where you can, make it work and as your business grows your budget will also increase.
Some of the items recommended are the same quality. I recently went into my local camera store and found a simple white foam core board around $4-$5 per board. Wait! You want me to spend $15 on 3 boards, when I could get the same boards down the street for $3? NO THANK YOU!
In this video, I'm talking about products that are used often and should be purchased at a lower cost like pencil pouches, foam core boards, tape, etc...
WILL IT BE PROFESSIONAL QUALITY GEAR?
Not always, and that’s being 100% upfront with you. On items like the foam core boards, yes they are exactly the same quality! Don’t overspend your money.
On things like reflectors where I recommend cake sheets and car sun visors, they are subpar. But you can make it work with some creativity. Remember that I photographed big named celebrities with the flash of my iPhone and lights from the hardware store. The only thing that matters is the final photograph and you will do fine also.
If I’m being honest with you, being forced to improvise makes you a stronger photographer and business owner. It’s a blessing in disguise.
WHAT SHOULD YOU BUY AT THE DOLLAR STORE FOR YOUR GEAR?
Here is a list of some of my favorite things to purchase at the dollar store near you. They are about the same quality and useful for a variety of shoots.
Trash bags and cutlery for your crew to eat
Spray bottles to make the model look sweaty or the food look juicy (always have these in your kit)
Pencil Pouches to house anything and everything
Notebooks for each shoot, keep it all in one place and never lose it
3-ring binders/paper for the printer
Pencils, pens and highlighters (hole punchers, scotch tape and paperclips too)
Bounce boards in white, black and color
Things that reflect, glisten or shine for your photographs
WHAT BENEFITS WILL THE PHOTOGRAPHER SEE BY SHOPPING CHEAP?
As mentioned earlier, photographers who don’t have everything at their disposal and have access to the latest & greatest are often forced to improvise. They want the affect of the pricier reflector but don’t have the budget. Fret not! That means you’ll put that brain to work, trying new things until you find the perfect alternative. The dollar stores are a great place to find new and inexpensive gear for such experiments. Remember when I told you that I photographed celebrities just the flashlight of my iPhone?
Here’s a photograph of Usher’s hand, with the flashlight of an iPhone and tiny red gel covering it. It was used for his world tour book.
PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS BENEFITS OF SHOPPING AFFORDABLE
One of the many things you’ll learn in my photography course which is a mentorship online course, is that every dollar has strength. Why would you put $15 on 3 foam core boards at the camera store the you can get the same 3 boards for $3, and have $12 to spend on facebook ads to benefit your business?
If done correctly, that $12 spent on advertising could bring in your next $2000 in new clients for your photography business. See how that can be a positive income cycle?
HOW ELSE CAN I LEARN PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE BUSINESS OF PHOTOGRAPHY?
You probably get an idea by now that I am passionate about helping photographers make more money. I am obsessed with it and I want you to have success like me.
Go shoot celebrities and weddings in Hawaii. Go photograph for National Geographic or Sports Illustrated. Go help every blogger and help them create relevant content. I want you to win, and there is enough for all of us to win! I promise.
That’s why I started my course in photography. It’s not just any course, but THE course you need to start a photography business. In fact, if you follow all the steps the way I say it you should have a photography business in 30 days. I walk you through every step necessary and in the right order.
Is that all you learn? No. You will learn how to use social media to get clients, how to do paid ads, how to network and how to narrow down your portfolio to increase the chances of booking paid clients. You will learn the most popular lighting setups, beauty retouching to submit to magazines, and I will tell you all the equipment necessary. Like I said, I’m walking you through every step. Each month you will build on what you’ve learned the last month.
It’s a complete transformation from hobbyist to professional and paid photographer. Lets get started! The best way is to sign up here.
I also have some free resources to help you. Here they are…
My Instagram is where it all started. Join me and the rest of us there! It's called @HowtoPhotograph and we post daily tips on photography, the business of photography, how to start your photography career and more.
I also post IG Stories and now IGTV (though I find it somewhat useless in the current state of IGTV).
PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP:
This is my newest extension and I love it! My PRIVATE Facebook group is exactly that, private and filled with great people. Every day new people join and all of them go through a questioning process. You must promise that you will be respectful and not spam. Hang out with us, ask questions or post your questions. I am very involved in that and contribute also. Also on Thursdays, we do a really cool and free photography portfolio review. The whole community joins and gives notes to those that want to post images. I'm also usually involved in that. Join us!
If you’re in the car or on a walk, listen to short podcasts that will teach and inspire you! I’m giving you my best tips and advice to help you make more money from photography. I’m also bringing along industry friends who can help you create a stronger income stream from photography.
Join my Youtube channel and learn. I don’t sugar coat and I share a lot of information. Your photography business will grow from it!
Podcast about this blog post.