Lens Rental

By Esther Shavon Thomas

Thinking of buying a new lens?  Need a Particular Lens for a special occasion, outing, or event?  Try Renting a Lens

I rent lots of camera equipment and am often asked 2 questions:

What’s the benefits of renting a lens?

How do you go about renting lenses or any camera equipment?

Potential Benefits:

One of the obvious benefits is cost. Renting allows you to obtain often expensive equipment for a fraction of the cost. Especially if you only need a particular lens for a specific event or time period.

The second benefit of renting is it’s a great way to “try before you buy.” If you are considering purchasing a lens, renting prior to purchase gives you a chance to explore your potential purchase and really get some hands on feel to how it handles.  There is nothing like taking a lens out and shooting with it in the field to determine if it is right for you as a photographer.

The photos included in this article were taken on an Arizona Highways Photo Workshop “Shoot the Zoo.” I shoot mostly macro so I needed a decent telephoto for the workshop.  Also, given how quickly animals may move or change a particular action or behavior, I wanted a lens that could cover most of my shots. I I rented a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens and found it a versatile option to cover the variety of animal habitats and environments within the zoo.

Best way to go about renting lens/equipment?

The two most common ways to rent a lens are either online or through your local camera shop. Your neighborhood camera store is convenient and allows for immediate possession. It also allows you to view your item before you rent it. Often your local camera shop may have offers to apply your rental fee to equipment purchase.

Online is the other option for renting equipment. There are several reputable companies that rent camera equipment. You can do a simple internet search for “online camera rentals.” Online is a great option for those who do not have a local camera store near, or for increased availability of particular items. I would suggest reviewing each website and their product offerings and fees.

If you are interested in renting a lens, sign up for their respective email newsletters. Newsletters often alert members to attractive deals and coupon codes!  Below are a few online lens rental companies I have used in no particular order.


Happy Shooting!

Esther Shavon Thomas is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops

Portfolio Reviews

By Esther Shavon Thomas

On the fence about having your first portfolio review?  Here are a few Simple Tips to a Successful and Enjoyable Review!

Ever thought about having a portfolio review but schied away because you were scared? Didn’t think you had enough work? Or didn’t feel your work was quite ready yet?

Well, never fear, you are not alone! I remember my first portfolio review at a photo conference and I shared those similar sentiments. However, once I had finished my session, I was pleasantly surprised at the entire experience.

After my session was completed I chatted with several others who had their portfolio reviewed for the first time and heard similar echoes of positive experiences. One of the biggest comments stated repeatedly was how surprised many people were that the session was not stressful but actually enjoyable!

 3 Quick Tips for a Successful and Enjoyable Review!

RELAX – There is nothing to fear and tons to gain!  – Remember, it’s a relaxing atmosphere so prepare then relax and enjoy the experience! It’s a great opportunity to get one on advice from experts in the field.

PREPARATION – Think about what you want to get out of the review. – Would you like more information or tips on composition, technique, style, or equipment options? Being clearer on your goals and what you want to achieve from the review will help guide your session and keep you on track with getting the most out of your time. Also, it never hurts to write down specific questions you have so you don’t forget them!

PRESENTATION SET UP – Check your presentation set up. The style you present is up to you. You can either present a theme collection or an overall combination of prints.  You can show your work either digitally or through a print portfolio.  The most important thing about your presentation is that it’s organized and easily accessible.  

                                             Digital Considerations:

A) Use a file name and saved location that you can easily remember and find

B) Collect your digital prints into one file and save into a PDF. There are         several ways to do this, but if you are in Lightroom you can use the Book tab and place the images in the order of your choosing. Then on the bottom right side click the “Export Book to PDF.”






C) Open your file a few minutes prior to your scheduled time to make sure everything is working properly and that you are set and ready to go.

If you have never attended a portfolio review before and are considering it, I encourage you to give it a try. It’s a great opportunity to get personal one on one advice from experts in the field.

Check out our amazing professional photographers available for portfolio reviews at out upcoming symposium. www.ahpw.org  Grab your spot while they are still available!

Happy Shooting!

Esther Shavon Thomas is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops