If you’re in the market for a new camera this holiday season, you need to know these great Black Friday tips for photographers.
Black Friday falls on the day after Thanksgiving and officially kicks off the holiday retail season, and it’s your best bet all year to bag a great bargain.
Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year in the US and the UK with nearly every product imaginable on sale, making it your best opportunity to snag that new kit for an unbeatable price.
If bargain hunting isn’t your strong suit, don’t worry. We’ve put together a brief list of some tips and tricks to help you find the best deals this Black Friday.
Black Friday tips for photographers: 01 Where to shop
If you’re shopping for cameras in the US, Adorama, Amazon, B&H Photo and Best Buy all have a stellar history of offering unbeatable deals. While Best Buy has locations nationwide and Adorama has a store in New York City, you’ll typically find the same – if not better – deals online.
Black Friday tips for photographers: 02 Do your research
A lot of Black Friday online offers are for a limited time only with some retailers, such as Amazon, restricting timeframes to as short as three or four hours.
This doesn’t leave you much time to browse, so make sure you know which make and model you want before the sales start. Most sites will let you to save your favorite items in wish lists so you can access them quickly on the sale date.
Speed is a key when you’re shopping online on Black Friday. Even if a retailer doesn’t impose time limits on their offers you still want to want to be able to find and purchase your camera as quickly as possible because there’s only so much stock to go around.
A good way to avoid being faced with sold-out items is to research all the retailers’ sale prices and special offers prior to the actual sale date.
Stores typically leak their Black Friday ads at least a week before Thanksgiving, giving you plenty of time to determine where you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
You might even want to enlist the help of a price comparison app such as PriceGrabber or the UK-based PriceRunner to do some of the work for you.
Black Friday tips for photographers: 03 Sign up early
While you’re doing your online research, take a moment to set up your customer accounts in advance.
This way all of your billing and shipping information is ready to go when the sales start, saving you precious time during the checkout process.
Also, be sure and opt in to receive promotional emails when you’re creating your accounts.
Your inbox may congest a bit, but with these newsletters you’ll be just a click away from key info such as store hours, sale details and even exclusive offers.
Black Friday tips for photographers: 04 Watch Social Media
In addition to newsletters, most stores have started advertising Black Friday specials on social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram.
Keep an eye on these sites for up-to-the-minute Black Friday announcements and updates.
Amazon in particular recommends that their customers follow them on Facebook and Twitter to stay current on exclusive content about upcoming sales and products.
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Black Friday tips for photographers: 05 Check Coupon Codes
If you see a box for a promo code while you’re checking out, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to track one down online if the retailer hasn’t posted one on the site already.
Simply search for the store’s name along with the phrase ‘promo code’ and click on a site such as Savings.com or Retailmenot.com to discover any active codes.
Taking this quick extra step could score you perks such as free shipping, a percentage off your purchase price or even free merchandise.
Black Friday tips for photographers: 06 Don’t forget shipping
When you’re researching Black Friday sale prices, remember to factor in any potential shipping charges.
While many online retailers will ship items for free during Black Friday sales, there are still some that don’t offer this service.
These costs can be prohibitive and quickly spoil what you previously thought was a great deal.
If you’re particularly eager to get your hands on your new camera, Adorama and B&H both offer free expedited on most orders.
Amazon also provides this service, but only to subscribers of their Prime program. Fortunately, Prime membership – which typically runs $12 per month – is typically offered as a free 30-day trial during the Black Friday sales.
Black Friday tips for photographers: 07 Read the fine print
It’s important to familiarize yourself with return policies before you start shopping. This may seem like an obvious point, but the tempting low prices of Black Friday sales mean you’re much more likely to purchase an item you don’t want or need simply because the deal seems too good to pass up.
Most retailers understand this and will accept returns on these items, but sometimes they charge a restocking fee as high as 20% of the purchase price, which can amount to several hundred dollars if you bought a higher-end model.
Make a note of any retailers that have stipulations in their return policies and shop with caution if you decide to purchase from them.
Black Friday tips for photographers: 08 Beware of scams
Finally, make sure you take the necessary steps to shop online safely this holiday sale season. Each year more and more consumers choose to avoid stampedes and brawling shoppers by taking to the web to make their Black Friday purchases, but thanks to a growing population of cybercriminals this can be just as dangerous as braving the stores.
Beware of pop-ups and email offers that look suspicious or seem too good to be true, and make sure you have up-to-date security software to protect you if something slips by.
Choose unique passwords when registering your customer accounts and only submit your credit card details to sites that are encrypted with SSL technology (identifiable by a small lock icon in the browser window).
It’s also best to do your online shopping on a secured network, such as the one in your home.
You may be tempted to pounce on that great deal while lounging at your favorite coffee house, but making purchases on public Wi-Fi can leave you vulnerable to identify theft and credit card fraud.