Hey Everyone! Hope you have been enjoying your week. By the time this Blog is released it will be in the Holiday season! And what better time to buy gear right? Today I want to talk about something I don’t really have any business talking about is how to prevent having gear acquisition syndrome or GAS. I have been caught in the lure of bright shinny things in the past and have seemed to buy everything under the sun related to photography gear. But after the last 4 or 5 years I have come under the conclusion that I don’t need the newest and greatest thing since sliced bread every time something new comes out. It has been a hard realization and I have downsized my gear to what I think is the essential gear that I need for the types of photography that I enjoy doing. My journey in photography started in the 70’s and had continued in some shape or form since then. I have bought my fair share and probably your fair share of photography equipment as my journey has evolved. I have bought everything from studio strobes to Big full frame DSLR’s and all of the top lenses to go with them. I have got all of the cool accessories and gadgets that someone talked me into. Why? Probably because I thought if I got the same camera as my photography hero at the time had I could shoot photo’s like him/her. Did I? No. I was still the lousy photographer that I was without the shiny gear. I just learned how to operate more stuff. Now if you have the disposable income then go for it but if you're like me and don’t this is what I think you should do with all the money you were spending on new and shiny equipment.
Limit yourself to one camera item per year. Lens or camera body. Use it for a year and really learn it before looking for something new. First of all if you have a fairly new camera body whether its a DSLR or a mirrorless one you don’t need another one. Your may want one but you don’t need one! It won’t make you a better photographer it will make you a poorer one. Don’t get me wrong you need a good body but it doesn’t need to be the latest and greatest. Especially if you are only a stills photographer. Most of all of the new advancements in camera’s in the last 5 years is in video and fast focus. If you shoot sports or wildlife where fast focus is important than a newer body may be what you need. But remember people shot sports and wildlife with film and manual focus. If your shooting anything else the camera you have is fine. I personally don’t buy new camera’s when I upgrade for a couple of reasons. I don’t need all the new stuff for what I shoot and it’s cheaper. I shoot with cameras that are both over 5 years old and they work great for me. Now lets talk lenses. Lenses last forever! Buy one good one and you don’t need another in that focal length. Buying used is the way to go you can get a great lens for less than the new one and it will be great. When buying used I suggest a company that specializes in photography gear like MPB.com or KEH.com I have bought and traded with both and have been nothing but satisfied with what I bought at a good price. All the items are tested and inspected and rated on their condition. The better the condition the more they cost but still considerably cheaper than new. So now you have bought your one item this year a camera body or lens now what to do with all of that extra money?
I would suggest spending it on training or travel. I would also suggest joining some sort of camera club. Check in your surrounding area and there may be a club you can join and go on workshops and outings and really learn a lot. That’s what I did. I joined a club over 10 years ago and my photography has got so much better and you get to talk to like minded people about photography. I cannot recommend this enough. Travel , Sometimes to get those great shots or vista’s you have to go where they are. You can’t get them from sitting at your house or just staying in your home town. Although there are great shots around home traveling to a new environment really wakes up the creative juices. I have been traveling more this year and have had a great time and got some great photo’s to boot. Training and Travel will make you a better photographer more than new gear. Joining a club whether its in person or online will make you a better photographer because it will give you techniques and challenges that you never thought of before. Making you a better photographer. Learning new editing techniques and shooting techniques is easily found in a club and annual dues are probably cheap and you’ll meet great people who maybe want to learn something from you. Any kind of training whether its a paid workshop or Creative Live or YouTube content is a great way to be a better photographer.
Gear is great and its taken me a few decades to figure out that its not what makes a great photo. You are what makes the great photo. I went on a trip to Boston this year for 4 days . Two of those days I was using a full frame camera with great lenses the other two days I was using a point and shoot camera. I took just as good photo’s with the point and shoot as I did with the Big Boy camera. It just took a little effort and the actual shooting was the same. We all like nice gear but we don’t need to go out and buy the next best thing when our camera is awesome that we already own. Becoming a better photographer takes time and shooting lots of photo’s. The more you shoot the more you learn and the better you get. So until next week get outside and shoot!