When you think of purchasing a photo gift for a family member or that special person it’s of utmost importance you know what they already have and what their photo goals might be!

Take a piece of paper and pen into the camera closet when they’re not home and make a list of their equipment to share with your camera store professional or with me! The advantage of working with me is you get 15 minutes of free, balanced, and bias-free advice. After all, I’m not going to sell you anything, I have no axe to grind or boss to impress.

In order to find out what their photo taking dreams and goals might be, ask to see some recent photos they have taken. Everyone loves to show off their images. From here it’s easy to ask questions or make comments like, “I wish you could have gotten closer.” or “Did your camera get wet on that shot?” or “You carried all that equipment the whole 2 weeks?”

Once you have some information I can help. I can also help you chose the right product, warn you what not to buy, and help you find the lowest prices without all the drama. If 15 minutes isn’t enough time to cover your needs I charge $25.00 per 30-minute blocks.

Here are some basic quick do’s and don’t’s:
– Stay away from ‘kits’!  The all-in-one box marketing packages. These kits from the camera manufacturers insert lenses with lower quality construction and hidden capability limits. The kits on Amazon or the web in general with filters, tripods, and tons of little gadgets aren’t worth the money. Many times the gizmos are worthless like a filter pack with a fluorescent filter.

– If the price seems too good to be true, it might be! Many times these purchases go on ‘temporary backorder’ – like forever – and meanwhile, they get to use your money.

– Add-on warranties are important if you tend to drop stuff! In order to cash in you must retrieve the equipment. In other words, if you drop it off the Golden Gate Bridge, there is no coverage. Same with no fault warranties. The photo equipment does come with a Manufacture Warranty covering defects and firmware updates. Many time a vendor or store makes 25% profit on the goods and 40% on the warranty.

– Finally, for this blog ‘watch the blind items! These  are items like batteries, cases, and filters; items that no one checks for a competitive price. Filters are a great example. The standard filter is $15 – $60 but there are filters marketed with language like “Superior, HD, Multicoated and Increased Quality for hundreds of dollars.

If you would like additional help with choosing a particular product please e-mail me, or if you would like to learn how to use new equipment, answer a photography question, or conquer a new skill, I’m available for private lessons.