How would I spend $30k to $50k on my business?

First of all, winning this contest would mean the world to me and propel my business years ahead as far as being able to market and gear upgrades. If you’re reading this before April 1st 2019…. Click here to vote for Epoch Moment Photography in the contest! The more votes I can get the better my chances of being in the top 100 for round 2.

Photography and video gear is crazy expensive so every little bit helps. With winning the top prize (or any level) I would be able to support my upgrades and have enough equipment for my second shooters and video guys to maintain the same level of image quality that I produce using my own gear.

Here’s roughly how I intend to spend the winnings from the 2019 FedEx Grant Contest should I win the first prize of $50k or the second prize of $30k?

Well, below is my list of items that I would like to purchase with the winnings. Some are upgrades to my current shooting system and others are new items to dive deeper into video. All of these items are essential to capturing photo, video and audio and even if I don’t win the contest at some point I will purchase these items or a version of them.

For other photographers or videographers reading this… Please feel free to comment if you know of a better version of the items or if you would like more detail as to why I’m selecting these items.

A very large chunk would go towards marketing

I plan to spend anywhere from $500 to $1000 per month on marketing over the months following the contest. This includes online, video, social media, print, and all aspects of marketing to create more awareness and brand recognition throughout Colorado and beyond.

I didn’t really market in 2018 and before that I bootstrapped marketing with moderate success… So add a budget to that and I’ll be able to scale and grow the business into a wedding and video power house over the next few years.

Marketing comes first… Then the following items based on the level won in the contest.

Photography upgrades and additions...

Nikon D850 (X2)

Two additional Nikon D850’s to allow my second carry camera to be a D850 and my second shooter to also carry a D850 giving all images the same high end quality. This is by far the best camera I have ever owned and largest upgrade I have done to date. I carry one of these now as my main camera with my primary lens for all events. When I dual weild cameras at wedding my second camera is a D750 (a great camera) but there is a difference in image size and quality that I’d like to make uniform by upgrading all cameras to the D850.

Nikon D850 Battery Grip and Batteries

Adding one of these to the D850 does add the weight to the setup, but it allows for far less battery changes and more shots per seconds should you need that. Personally I use it for the added battery life as it adds a second battery to the camera and for the button functionality when shooting in portrait. I have one grip and one battery currently, so I would add 2 more grips for the additional cameras and two additional batteries to have as backup on a longer shoot or travel shoot.

Nikon D850 Extra Batteries (X6)

Eight additional batteries for the D850 (also fits the D750 and the Nikon Z6) because you can never have too may batteries when you’re running 5 cameras at a single event.

Sony XQD cards 120GB (X6)

I shoot on 120GB cards because I shoot both photo and video while shooting a wedding or event. So I need to have 2 of these cards per D850 camera. Awesome card… super fast!

Sony SD cards 128GB (X4)

The second card slot in the D850 holds an SD card vs XQD so these are the backup cards for all cameras. The D750 has 2 SD card slots but does not benefit from having a super fast card… So my current 95/mbs cards work perfectly fine in the D750.

Think Tank Airport Essentials Camera Bag (x2)

I haven’t owned a lot of different bags… this was like the third bag I bought and I really like it… So I’m grabbing two more of these, one for my second shooter gear and one for video gear. Plus these bags are great for travel, fit in the overhead compartment and easy to organize tons of gear for any situation.

Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Lens

This is the latest version of my favorite lens from Tamron. I generally go with Tamron because of the price and quality. It’s a fantastic lens at half the cost of it’s Nikkor counterpart. This is a must have for weddings as you can get in close without interfering with the wedding day. This upgrade would be on my main camera with my current version of this lens going to my second shooter.

Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Lens

This lens is also a must have for weddings to complete the focal length and get great shots in tighter venues and situations. This is the latest version of my second favorite lens from Tamron. I generally go with Tamron because of the price and quality. It’s a fantastic lens at half the cost of it’s Nikkor counterpart. This is a must have for weddings as you can get in close without interfering with the wedding day. This upgrade would be on my main camera with my current version of this lens going to my second shooter.

Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro Lens

I don’t currently have a Macro lens and this lens is my next lens purchase for sure. Ring shots, flowers, and all the small details of a wedding are captured beautifully with this lens. Macro lenses are not a wedding must have but it should be part of your arsenal early to capture unique shots throughout the wedding day. It’s also not a bad portrait lens, but I’d stick with one of the previous Tamron lenses for that.

Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Lens

To round out my lens profile this lens offers a very wide angle for those landscapes and venue shots along with some creative perspective shots during a wedding day. This lens would not be a primary lens but would definitely add some great shots and a little something that I don’t currently have in my portfolio.

Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Lens

This is a variable aperture lens so it wouldn’t be great in low light situations, but in bright light it would allow very close up shots from a distance. Probably slightly more of a personal lens for capturing wildlife… But I’m sure I can find a use for it at some weddings and events.

Godox xPro N Wireless Trigger (X3)

Wireless trigger for the flash when using all OCF. Grabbing 3 of these for both shooters at a wedding and 1 for backup should something happen.

For upgrading my video equipment...

Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm f/4 and FTZ adapter

I used to think that Sony was the way to go for video… Until Nikon launched their line of mirror-less cameras and their upcoming video features. (Eye AF is coming in May 2019 for Nikon z series) This is awesome as all of my current Nikon lenses will work with the new camera and adapter I can save some money on needing new lenses (although I will grab a couple native s-mount lenses for this camera as well as they are designed for low light and have silent motors).

No need to have 2 sets of glass if I can get a great video system from Nikon. The package comes with a 24-70mm variable s-mount and the adapter to fit all Nikon lens F-mount. Plus this camera uses the same battery as the D850 and D750 in body battery.

Nikkon 50mm f/1.8 S Lens

50mm prime lens for filming most situations that allow for the videographer to move instead of the telephoto lens. No motor = no noise and 1.8 is perfect for the reception and low light.

Nikkon 35mm f/1.8 S Lens

35mm prime lens for filming most situations that allow for the videographer to move instead of the telephoto lens. 35mm is close to how the human eye sees things so this is a great lens for most cases. No motor = no noise and 1.8 is perfect for the reception and low light.

DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone

I have not fully looked into this just yet… But from what little information I have on drones this is what I found as the better option for my needs. The choice might change as I research but the concept of having a drone for weddings and videos is something I’ve wanted to get into for a while now.

Who doesn’t want a flying camera?

Manfrotto xPro Monopod (x2)

Monopod, gimbals, steadycams, etc… are essential for smooth footage and mobility on a shoot like a wedding. The monopods will be purchased first, then add the other items as we need them and find uses for them.

Go Pro Hero 7 Black + Accessories

This is one of the best action cameras that have come out to date. Has hypersmooth footage and records in 4k and everything else you would need. This can be easily mounted on top of the camera during an engagement or providing an interesting angle during a wedding and any other shoot.

GoPro Hereo 7 Black + Batteries (X2 - 3 total counting the previous)

With three GoPros I could increase the variety of angles at a wedding or event without doing anything besides initial setup. Plu swith the hypersmooth footage I could carry one on me and capture video while also shooting images.

Other smaller accessories...

Leather dual camera straps

Nothing too fancy or custom, but a nice leather dual strap for my cameras so I look a little less like a swat team member and more stylish when shooting a wedding.

Single strap system – (x2) when myself and my second shooter are not dual wielding cameras

Other potential items as time goes on...

Podcast equipment

Microphones and equipment to setup a small podcast studio in my office. Podcasts and recording in office will become more relevant as I grow the business into 2020.

Audio equipment (on-location)

Additional audio capture devices and mics for on location weddings and events. Wireless lapel mics, field recorders (h1N Zoom) – H6 etc.

High end custom built computer

Build a monster workhorse computer for editing photo and video (Roughly $5k including monitors)

Wardrobe... Needs an upgrade for sure!

I look good at a wedding or event but I could definitely use some sense of style as a whole when it comes to how I dress and the options I have.