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Five things to spend your budget on


Imagine the program has about $1000 on photo gear. This lesson makes some suggestions for what to spend your money on. Students will plan a purchase based on your staff’s needs.



  • Students plan photo purchases from a small budget.
  • Students will provide rationale for the proposed budget.


Common Core State Standard

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.9-10.6 Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
CCSS.MATH.HSN.Q.A.1 Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multi-step problems; choose and interpret units consistently in formulas; choose and interpret the scale and the origin in graphs and data displays.



1 day



Five Things to Spend Your Money On

Handout – Budget Worksheet

Rubric – Analyzing the Budget Worksheet

Online access to photo retail websites


Lesson step-by-step

15 minutes

Present slideshow “5 Things To Spend Your Photo Money On.” Be sure to read and present the speaker notes.

30 minutes

Hand out the budget worksheet. Define the budget amount they have to work with, possibly $1000 as a baseline number.

Have students work solo or in pairs to develop a proposed list of purchases within the defined budget. The most important portion of the budget worksheet page is the rationale statement. With a limited budget, students need to justify the amount they are spending on each item.

Collect the budget worksheet and grade using the rubric.



Advanced students should start with a discussion, which leads to a separate written document, of the photographic needs of the publication.

Questions to consider:

  • Do we have the ability to shoot in low light?
  • Do we have the ability to control light creatively, the way we envision?

The advanced students’ proposal would also include options from different manufacturers, comparing and contrasting OEM versus off-brand items and making a recommendation. For example, using online reviews to justify the Canon version of a lens or flash instead of the Yongnuo or Sigma version. Additionally, advanced students can explore whether items are gray market or USA warrantied. (Gray market items are items which are imported by the retailer and do not come from the manufacturer. These items are the exact same items, but you must determine whether the USA warranty and service are something you need.)

Lower students can be assigned research price and reviews of a type of lens of flash. For example, have them research 70-200/2.8 lenses, comparing and contrasting original manufacturers versus off-brand, researching prices and online reviews and reporting this out.