Depreciation for Photographers | Kayla Ryan Photography

Depreciation is very much a cost to your business. It’s the cost of using your equipment and you definitely should record this cost. There are many different methods to calculate depreciation, but I’m only going to talk about two. In my opinion, these are the two that make the most sense for a photographer to use.

The Straight-Line Method and the Unit-of-Production Method.

The Straight-Line Method

Using the straight-line method, your depreciation will be the same each year over the life of the equipment. Say you calculate your depreciation for your camera to be $100, you would subtract $100 of depreciation every year. The unit-of-production method will not be the same each year.

To calculate depreciation, you have 3 main things to take into consideration.

  • Cost of the equipment.

  • Estimated Life of the equipment. (How long it’s expected to last or how long you expect to keep it.)

  • The salvage value. (If you sell it on eBay or to a friend, the price you sell it for is the salvage value.)


You purchase a camera for $2000

You estimate you’ll use it for 5 years before you decide to get another one.

In 5 years, you believe the camera will be worth $800.


Subtract cost from the salvage value and divide that number by the estimated life.

2000-800 = 240

5 years

Here you would record $240 each year for depreciation.

The Unit-of-Production Method

The unit-of-production method takes the output into consideration, like camera shutter accusations or clicks. Depending on how many shutter clicks, depends on the deprecation. This method is my favorite, because I feel it is a little more accurate because it I dependent on use. If you stalk eBay like I do, cameras with less shutter accusations are worth more.


We’ll use the same info in the first example.

You purchase a camera for $2000

Its estimated life is 150,000 shutter clicks.

The salvage value will be $800.


Subtract cost from the salvage value and divide by shutter clicks.

2000-800 = 0.008 This is the cost of each shutter click for the life of the camera.

150,000 clicks

Each year you will multiply 0.008 by actual shutter clicks.

For example, you take 25,000 pictures the first year.

25,000 x 0.008 = 200

Your depreciation for the first year is $200.

The next year wasn’t a good year for you, you only took 10,000 pictures (shutter clicks).

10,000 x 0.008 = 80

Your depreciation for the next year is $80.

And if you wanted you could keep track of your shutter accusations on a monthly basis and use my Income Tracker to keep track of it!

I hope I have taught you something today, or answered any questions you’ve had about depreciation. Feel free to message me with your questions related to this topic, I would be happy to give you clarification. Also for more information about my Income Tracker, click here.

#Depreciation #PhotographyEducation

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