If you are shooting anything that is a ONE TIME event that cannot be rescheduled, you should have two camera bodies. Not having a backup camera body for a wedding, a family reunion, a large corporate event and anything else that you cannot reschedule is setting yourself up for a stressful time not counting the way your client will react to you saying "Oops, I'm sorry. My camera died and I don't have another one with me. I guess that I'll have to refund your money."
There are several options for having a backup camera body:
1) RENT - There are numerous online camera rental companies that offer some great rates. If you are in a large enough area, the local camera store may have a rental department. I know that where I am at in the Raleigh market that a body only rental is about $65 to $85 per day and the weekend rate is a better daily average than that. You might just have to add that to your fee. Wedding price + camera body rental = X. You don't have to tell the Bride that and line item it, but you should factor it in and not lose money. Oh, and this post is not getting into a back up flash and other backup gear. Hmmm... no backups ... cannot afford rental ... sorry to say this, but YOU SHOULD NOT shoot something that only happens ONCE when someone is relying on you as the PRO (getting paid).
2) GET A USED CAMERA BODY - Pick up a used body EVEN if it is the camera model 1 or 2 below what you shoot with. A backup that works is better than NO backup at all.
3) SAVE FOR A NEW CAMERA MODEL just like your main body. It's best if you can just grab the same camera body out of your bag that you are used to shooting with all the time. If you are not charging enough to save up the money over time to get a new camera body, maybe it's time not to compete on PRICE but to actually make enough money for yourself and for equipment that you may need over time.
Catch 22 - The catch 22 is that you have to RENT but need to SAVE for a NEW 2nd body. That is a key reason why you definitely need to factor in rental cost to your fee so that it's not coming out of your pocket. It's also a key reason why you may need to raise your prices to be able to get something sooner rather than later. Grant it, the back up does not have to be new or even your current model which is why option 2 may be best for you especially in the short term with the immediate solution being RENT.
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