What I'd like to know is how does a 19 year old student afford all of that camera gear? Very generous parents or an amazingly well-paid summer job? I'm in my 30s with full-time paid employment, and *I* can't afford that stuff hahah.
GOOD QUESTION ALLOW ME TO BRAG.
TL;DR at the bottom for all you lazy people.
Now in all seriousness, think about my situation. 19 years old, my parents are fortunate enough to afford me going to college. That is their gift to me, paying for my college. With that said, i'm helping them out by becoming a RESIDENT ASSISTANT next year, i got the job and my college housing is free next year. I cut my tuition by $11,000 for my parents.
With this said, i started working at 17, got a good job and worked around 20 Hours a week at 17. A Few months later i got a promotion from 7.50 to $8, 9, when i work as a manager when the boss is out. Again still being in high school living at home with NO BILLS TO PAY. I would work around 12 hours a week year round, bumping up my hours to a max of 25 hours a weed during the summer.
Prior to that i had already saved up around $800 birthdays, i researched for 4 years before finally buying a camera, i originally was going to buy a Nikon D200, then i wanted the D300, then when i worked a wedding with my father, who is a DJ (Also made money on the side with this) , i met a photographer who shot canon, around the time when the 7D came out, he suggested i get that or the 50D.
Did my research 7D was for me. Bought S___ty lenses with it, 50mm, and 28m f2.8. Just stupid stupid naive purchases... Bought the 10mm Fisheye from sigma One of my favorite purchases ever
wanted versatility, bought the sigma 18-200 3.5-6.3. Quality sucked, wanted professional glass. Had my dad SPOT ME A GRAND, picked up the 28-300 L 3.5-5.6.
This combination opened up a new position for senior year for me. The Student Photographer position. I made $9 to shoot sports. Worked 2 jobs. Paid off that lens. Bought the 24-70, worked a buttload and just saved. Saving, saving, saving. It's my hidden talent apparently.
Summer comes, i want bokeh, i go to Allens camera in PA, sell my 28mm, 18-200 (Which i regret right now) and the 28-300. Got the Gary Fong light sphere collapsible pro, as well as a REFURBISHED 70-200 IS USM f2.8 Mark II. IT WAS FLAWLESS.
My friend switched to Nikon, picked up his 50mm 1.4 for like $280?
Finally get to college and i'm shooting a football game with my gear, i see a guy come off the field and i want a field pass i asked how to get one. He brings me up to the box to talk to Sheila. Sheila basically looks at my gear, says we have a job opening let me see your Sportfolio©. I show her, i get the job, i now have a $9 a job at school as a freshman. I'm getting like 10 hour weeks.
And now i'm here, waiting to work weddings, combo up with my father. The killa combo.
But some key facts allow me to have all of this gear.
1.) I Don't pay for a house, bills, college,
2.) I don't have a car, people buy cars, i buy cameras. (Family has 5 people in it, we have 5 cars. 2 from deceased family members)
3.) I'm in college, a lot of kids blow the money they saved on DRUGS, i'll be blunt... and apparently punny. But kids spend a lot of money on alcohol and marijuana. I hustle my way into parties for free.
In the end of it all, i've paid my father back all the money he's loaned me and i now PERSONALLY OWN
all of my gear, and it feels amazing to know that. I've already accomplished something great and it just feels so good to know that I ACTUALLY WORKED FOR IT. If it was all handed to me, i wouldn't love photography as much as i do. So to answer your question now i don't have parents that spoil me!
To long; Didn't Read? TL;DR: I can afford all of my camera gear as a 19 year old because i don't have many fiscal responsibilities yet such as Bills, car insurance, college, and or splurging on drugs. Plus i've just been fortunate in creating jobs for myself or coming upon job opportunities because of my gear/vast knowledge of gear from reading and studying cameras and the technical aspects for photography. Don't just learn how to do it, KNOW how it works/why it works and how to do it. Lastly, i just can stretch a dollar very well, i learned how to get money and keep money. Open a savings account and just leave the money in there. Save as much as you can.
That's my 2 cents. Cheers.