26 June 2017

B&C Camera Rentals

Art Model, Faerie
“A camera is a SAVE button for the mind’s eye.”
~ Roger Kingston

In Part II of my Photographer's Block series, "Get Some Gear" was Tip #5 and that covered renting photo/video gear as an option to help you break free of Photographer's Block. I thought it might be a good idea to cover that in a little bit more depth.

B&C Camera is an independently owned brick and mortar camera store, owned by German photographer, Joe Dumic. It is one of the fastest growing stores in the western U.S. and is steadily evolving. The Camera Rental department is what I'll obviously focus on in this post. Joe continues to add more and more camera gear to the rental inventory. You can now get the newly released Sony A9 to rent if you want to try it out before you buy it. Testing gear is one thing. Businesses and professional shooters will rent out a lot of gear at one time. I remember when Matt Damon came to Las Vegas to film his latest "Jason Bourne" movie last year. You'd think those guys would have brought everything they needed, but nope. They came to B&C Camera for gear.

Art Model, Faerie
If I had to guess, I'd say film crews need more lighting gear than anything. Especially out-of-towners who don't want to pay the extra airline baggage fees for lighting equipment. Locals will spend more on camera and lens gear when they get a gig which calls for an upgrade on what they may currently already own, particularly lenses. You can get anything from 8mm to up to 600mm glass. Special events come to Las Vegas all the time. That's when you see the 70-200s of all brands began to disappear off the shelves. The Super moons will make demands of the Tamron 150-600 for both Canon and Nikon models. And its all easy as pie to rent. So how do you get some gear? Glad you asked.

“The eye should learn to listen before it looks.”
~ Robert Frank

The first thing you have to understand is that B&C Camera is a retail camera store who happens to do rentals. So Joe has to secure his inventory with credit card deposits usually for the replacement cost of the rental. We get plenty of people who come in with cash deposits as well. They may need an extra speedlight and will do a cash deposit of $400 or so. You you'll need a credit card and you ID. But first, you online and choose some gear! You can reserve it right there on the spot for the date you need it for. Be smart and make your reservations as soon as you know you'll need the gear. There are multiple availabilities on a lot of rental gear, but not for everything. There's only one A9 at the moment, for instance. So reserve it before some other smart photog beats you to the punch.

Art Model, Faerie
You can see how much the deposit is when you make your reservation. You don't pay anything at the time of reservation. All that's done at the store when you go pick up your rental. So make the reservation online. One the day of pick-up, bring your ID and credit card. The credit hold will go on the credit card. Debit cards are not advisable and they won't usually take them for deposits. For whatever reason, banks don't release the deposit hold very quickly. It can take up to 30 days and that will usually piss some people off. Coming up to the store to complain won't help. Its got nothing to do with the store. Its a bank issue. So bring a credit card.

Art Model, Faerie
You'll usually get an email notification alerting you that your rental is ready for pick-up. Someone will test out the gear you are renting, make sure the battery is charged, and bag everything up, making the process more efficient. All you have to do is sign all the rental paperwork. At this point, they'll run your card for the deposit authorization which will then put a hold on those funds. So if you're renting a camera and a lens, the total deposit might be $2000. You need to have at least that amount on your credit card available to you. Lets say you have $2500 available on your credit card. When they run your deposit, $2000 will be held on that card and you will then only have $500 available to you until you bring back the camera gear and the hold falls off. It may take another day or two for the bank to release that hold, but in any case, you are not charged anything. It won't even show up on your statement.

After that, you simply pay the daily rental fee up front. You rent for 3 days at $50 per day, then you'll be charged $150 right there on the spot. But get this... Saturday, Sunday, and Monday count as ONE day... a weekend rate. So if you reserve it for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, you only pay for ONE day, not 3. Just have it back on Monday before 7pm. So make your reservation online, bring in your credit card and ID, and sign all the paperwork. After all that, you're walking out with your gear with high expectations! Some things to keep in mind, though. You may need to also rent some extra batteries. And if you're getting a high resolution camera, you just might need some extra SD cards. The Sony A7rII is a 42-megapixel beast with large file sizes. I shoot with 32Gb cards. Maybe you'll want 64Gbs. So keep all that in mind. Happy Shooting!

Art Model, Faerie

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