How to Rent Camera Equipment

How to Rent Camera Equipment - FilterGrade

Photography and videography are too highly expensive hobbies which often keep individuals from expanding or experiment with different genres. Buying new gear or upgrading current equipment is not always possible. Whether you are in the market for a new camera or lens, or have been debating whether to grab the latest gear to satisfy your creative itch, renting is an option many beginners and even professionals do not consider. You don’t need to spend a fortune on gear and accessories just to find out it isn’t everything you wanted, or for something you may only use a handful of time.  This article dives into everything you want to know about how to rent camera equipment.

Why Rent?

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For Travel

If you don’t travel regularly then you might not have the right lens or accessory to capture the memories you want to look back on for years to come. If you need a lens for a personal or professional trip it might be best to rent gear once you get to the location. If it is a once-in-a-lifetime trip like a safari or cruise to an exotic destination, you’ll want a lens that will capture all the landscape and scenes. Renting can also serve as a safeguard. If you get insurance on the equipment you rent you lessen the risk of accidentally damaging your own equipment. 

Before Committing to a Big Purchase

Camera and lenses can be a huge investment and it is not one you want to make blindly. While you can read all the latest reviews and gather all the information on the specs of practically any piece of camera equipment you desire, this doesn’t match getting real experience with it. You’ll feel more confident about your decision to spend all that money on the gear you know is what you are looking for. Renting before you buy lets you give the gear a test drive. You can take with you wherever you typically shoot and learn the ins and outs of all the functions to make a more sound decision about what best suits your photographic needs. 

Try Something Different

Sometimes you just want to get creative and have more fun with your photography. You may or may not be contemplating making an investment in a new macro lens, dramatic lights, or vibrant filters but they look like a lot of fun to try at least once. Renting lenses or equipment you don’t typically use also gets your creativity flowing. This is ideal for when you are already planning on renting equipment you need for special occasions, you can also add on something fun with your rental to try something out of the box that you might fall in love with.

Need Temporary Equipment

Considering taking some awesome shots at a big event? Volunteered for a gig you don’t intend to make a regular staple? Attending a sports game? There are plenty of times that you’ll need certain gear you might not have. It doesn’t make sense to go out and buy the gear if you don’t intend to get your money’s worth out of it. 

The Renting Process

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  1. Know what you need. If you are going to a local camera rental store, shop smart. If there is additional equipment you will need to purchase as opposed to renting, order it at the same time. You can save a big shipping cost by picking it up in person when you pick up the rented gear. 
  1. Make sure the gear is available. If you are going with an online rental take into consideration shipping lengths so you ensure you get your gear when you need it. 
  2. Know the pricing – be sure to incorporate this into your cost for the project you will be using it for unless it is just a personal project. Also, be sure that you or someone else you trust will be around on the delivery day if renting online. Most delivery services will require a signature to drop off the equipment. 
  3. Check ahead for special pricing. Resting during the week may lead to a reduced price, or there may be a weekend rate you can take advantage of. 
  4. Check your order in house. Mistakes happen and you don’t want to get everything out and ready to use only to find something is missing. 
  5. Know when to return and how to do it. If you will be returned via mail you want to ensure everything gets there in the same way it was sent. Dropping off at the store is more reassuring and gives you greater peace of mind. 

Choosing the Right Equipment Rental Location

Photo by Jonathan J. Castellon on Unsplash

If you are lucky enough to live in an area with a reputable camera store you can often find great deals on rental equipment, Plus you won’t have to pay any additional shipping cost. You can also typically do same-day rental depending on what they have on hand so you don’t have to wait for your gear to get to you. Nowadays you can call ahead to reserve camera rental equipment and pick it up the same day or in a few days. 

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the option of supporting our local camera stores. There are a few options to get your hands on some temporary gear. Check out local photographers who are renting their personal gear out. ShareGrid is a whole community of photographers renting and selling their gear. While this is still only available to locals you might be lucky enough to live near one of the locations. 

KitSplit is similar to ShareGear but appeals to a wider selection of locations to find gear from. 

Online Camera Equipment Rentals

LensRentals - Rent Lenses and Cameras from Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony,  Leica, and more

Lensrentals is one of the most trusted and recommended online camera equipment rentals. Not only do they have a wide selection of products, but they also have a special program that allows you to put your rental money toward purchasing the lens or gear. 

RentGlass - Home | Facebook

This online rental offers a wide selection of Sony, Canon, and Nikon lenses. They are popular and you cannot pre-order lenses to rent, everything is available on a first-come-first-serve basis. If you are in the Overland Park, Kansas area you can opt to pick up your rentals in-person, otherwise they ship anywhere in the U.S.


Parachut - Crunchbase Company Profile & Funding

This is another option, though it isn’t a traditional rental service. Parachute is a subscription-based rental service that provides kits to use. You can start by choosing 3 items for $249 a month and you can “rent” the gear for as long as you want. To learn more about what they offer and if this is the right rental place for your needs create a free login here. 

2 Replies to “How to Rent Camera Equipment”

  1. Its great how you mentioned that if you are going with an online rental take into consideration shipping lengths so you ensure you get your gear when you need it. You make a very good point here, one I’m sure anyone looking to get these rentals will be happy to have in mind. My interest in this came around after having a conversation with my brother on camera equipment rentals. He has a photography project coming up and needs some gear for it. I wanted to help him with some research and that’s why I’ll pass this on to him in a bit! Thank you!

    1. Mike says:

      Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment Dean, so true!

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