10 Money Saving Tips Page 2
6 Buy second-hand
You can save a packet by buying your next piece of kit second-hand. Whether on eBay, your local free ads paper or your local photo retailer, savings can be substantial. You do need to be very careful though. If possible handle the item and examine it thoroughly before parting with your cash. Buying from a reputable dealer is the least risky way to buy, as you’ll be offered some kind of warranty.
7 Make your own string tripod
Don’t have Image Stabilisation? Can’t afford an IS or VR lens? While no substitute for an actual tripod, this clever ‘string-pod’ (right) can provide several extra stops of stability, for free! Simply cut a 2m length of string, tie one end to a tripod quick-release plate (and screw this into your tripod bush) and stand on the other end to make the string taut. By holding the camera and pulling gently upwards as you shoot, against the pull of the string, you’ll reduce camera shake significantly. When not in use it can be rolled up to slip into a small corner of your gadget bag.
Reader Ian Wright sent us a variation on this theme, with some examples, just as we were putting this feature together. He explains:
‘Cut a 1m length of string, tie the ends together and put it round your neck (or use the camera strap if you have one). Put both thumbs into the loop when you hold the camera, tuck your elbows into your chest and push hard. Take a deep breath and press the shutter. If you can, set a time delay of two seconds (to reduce the vibration caused by pressing the shutter).
‘The church shot was taken using this method from nearly half a mile away, using my Panasonic FZ18 zoomed out fully to 504mm. The exposure was 1/100sec at f/4.2 with an ISO of 200. The clock face in this picture is blown up to 100%, and has not been sharpened.
‘The croquet shot was taken from about 32m away at a zoom setting of 205mm. The exposure was 1/500sec at f/5.6. I was sitting down.’
8 Economic printing
If buying inkjet paper, try to make the most of it by printing only what you need and fitting what you can onto one sheet. You can always check alignment and spacing of images on standard paper before switching to photo paper for your final print. It’s a great way of using up scrap paper and, unlike photo paper, it can still be recycled after you have used it.
Another way to save a bit of cash on photo paper is to get your images printed online, at sites such as www.photobox.co.uk, www.kodakgallery.co.uk and www.snapfish.co.uk
9 Buy discontinued stock
Most digital compacts only have a shelf life of about six months before they’re replaced by newer models. With digital SLRs it’s usually around 18 months. After that, out come the discount stickers. The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with these older models. Sometimes the models that replace them have only minor enhancements, and if you’re prepared to forsake those you can make big savings.
10 Enter photo competitions
Enter your work into one of the plethora of online, or magazine, competitions (including those in WDC). You might win a great prize, therefore not having to fork out for that new camera you’ve always wanted. And if you enter online, and have broadband, it won’t cost you a bob to do it – just a little bit of time. Obviously you’ll have to pay for postage if you need to send your submission somewhere, but this isn’t usually much.