Don't buy a camera. I know that sounds strange considering the field that I'm in. I don't mean you shouldn't own a camera for personal reasons. You have a family right? So yeah... you should have a camera for each time your kid does that really cute thing, that no one else seems to find that important. You should have a camera for all that stuff.
However, Are you thinking you are going to buy a camera to use for your business? Yeah that's what I'm talking about.
Now let me learn you some knowledge right here. I'm going to teach you an object lesson from the art desk of Chandaree McFricklebittes. Here is a person that fancies herself (or himself, I'm not actually sure) a great photographer. Look at her/his stuff and see if you see anything there that resembles anything like art... Now you're thinking, "how rude, why are you talking like that about someone's livelihood." To that I say, relax I created Chandaree McFicklebittes Photogrphologism to teach this very lesson. The lesson is, that the most important thing you can have as an image maker is a keen eye. Don't be a Chandaree McFricklebittes.
Back to the point. So you're a small business owner planning to buy a camera so that you can do product shots, and commercials. If you're thinking about this I want you to think back through the last few months of your life. Have these words come out of your mouth: "Cameras these days are so advanced you don't really have to be a good photographer/videographer." If you've said these words I will now excuse you... you are to go and wash your mouth out with soap and return here immediately. I have a very important bit of information for you.
I went to the hospital the other day and asked where I can get an Minimally invasive endoscopic surgical machine. They asked me why, and I said, "These machines are so advanced these days, I don't really need to be a doctor. I can slice on any old Joe and it's no big deal." Ok, so that didn't really happen, but I think you get the point. Just because you have the machine doesn't mean that you can do anything good with it. In fact you could actually do a lot of harm.
So you're thinking what damage to my small business can I do by getting a camera and shooting my own web or TV content.... Uh... a lot actually. Just like doing low-cost back-bedroom testical surgery with your new endoscopic machine could really mess someones undercarriage up, you can really hurt your image by creating your own content. Here's why.
I know everyone thinks they have good taste, and in some sense that's true. As long as it's only you that will ever look at your own content, then yeah you have really good taste... The only problem is that your "really good eye for marketing" is probably a little... Ok no... a lot skewed. Look around, do the people that tell you that you have good taste get pay checks that are signed by you? Is it possible that your underlings don't want to tell you that your impromptu videography work looks like someone strapped a hi8 camcorder upside down to a weather balloon in a thunder storm.
I mean sure maybe you're great. It's at least possible but here's my point. If you're good enough to have gotten to the position of "The head cheese" in the business world, it means you understand that there are specialized skills in a number of different areas. You don't turn your secretary loose with the 18wheeler rig. You don't hand your accounting to the 16 yr old delivery boy. There are even areas of the business that you won't even touch yourself because... take a deep breath... they are out of your skill set. Is it possible that someone that has spent years perfecting his skills in the photography and videography business might be better than you... and possibly even worth paying.
I'll share a secret with you... It's not about the camera you have - It's about the eye for the image. You can buy a camera but you can't buy a sense of, flow, balance, color, asthetics... You get it right?
So I was going to tell you how you can damage your business by partaking in the do-it-yourself image making epidemic. You can give a really unprofessional image of your business and not even know it. Heaven Forbid it but what if no one was willing to tell you that you don't have an eye for design, or photography, or videography, and they let you release your sub-par material. So now that's the face of your company. You've just really hurt your public image, which will hurt your sales.
I get the question all the time, What camera should I buy. I usually answer kindly, but sometimes, if it's someone I feel free to be honest with I'll say, "don't buy a camera, hire a pro." It's cheaper, and you'll get something that's great. Now I'm not saying hire your nephew who has about as much experience as a nun has at dating. I'm saying hire a pro. It's such a better investment cause chances are if you didn't have an intense desire to make films from a young age, you will probably tinker with the new expensive camera you bought once or twice. But when you do finally get around to shooting that product video, you'll feel really disappointing because either it looks crappy and you know it, or you think it looks great but no one else seems to thrilled because they can tell it looks crappy and you can't. Remember what I said, it's not the camera it's your eyeball.
Now maybe, just maybe you happen to be a really amazing photographer or videographer with hundreds of outside (nonemployees) votes of confidence. If that's the case, then by all means buy away. However, there is no other reason you should.
So yeah, don't buy a camera - hire a pro.