Today is one of those days when there are no shoots scheduled, no editing to do and I’m ahead with my marketing and social media planning. I’m sitting in my favourite cafe wondering why I like to go to the same place, why is it great to work from here? The only answer I can think of is because it feels great! This makes me think that the same should apply to photographer’s gear.
I’ve spent the last 3 years finding the right combination of body and lens for my professional and hobbyist work and at this point I know I’m 99% happy with what I have found. Nowadays, I feel can work freely and that my possibilities have become endless creatively and technically speaking. The other 1% is always that new piece of gear you always want to get.
Gear is a very personal thing I believe so maybe you should consider the following 7 points if you’re still wondering what piece of gear to get next or if you’re not satisfied with the gear you have and don’t know why.
Gear is just a tool. Like an instrument to a musician or a brush to a painter, cameras and lenses are nothing more than tools to us photographers. The way you use it to manipulate light is going to determine how pleased you are with your photography. Yes, there are better pieces of gear than others but the bottom line is how you use it. How many times you’ve heard of a friend saying they bought X or Y because they thought they would make better pictures. Then keep whining that their work is still shit. It’s them that suck, not the gear.
Gear is like your favourite cafe. Next time you sit at your favourite cafe, think why you like it and why you keep going there. In my case, I like this cafe because the coffee is always good and their cinnamon buns always cheer me up. The light, decoration, music and ambience is right, I can concentrate easily on my work. In other words… it feels right. The same applies to gear. It must feel right in your hands and your style of shooting. If you buy a piece of gear because it looks cool is like going to a cafe because there’s a hot barista making your coffee… I’m sorry to say, you have a problem!
Spend time, not money. How well do you know your gear? spend more time with your camera getting to grips with its functions, buttons, nd dials. Same with your lens(es) find their advantages and see if you can use their flaws to your advantage. When you feel your gear is limiting your creative process and getting on your way while shooting, then is time to consider an upgrade.
Question everything. So you have this new shiny kit BUT you just read somewhere that to create stunning pictures you will need to get X lens… really? Are you going to fall for that and buy it just because your favourite magazine says you should? Do some extensive research first and make sure that piece of gear suits your style of shooting.
Hiring before buying. Hiring lenses and bodies have never been so easy. Nowadays there are plenty of sites doing this so find the one that has the kit you want and try it out before you buy it. Trust me, you will be surprised!
Gear won’t give you a specific”look”. I have a friend who says he can tell what brand of camera was used to take a picture just by looking at it… bullshit! He keeps telling me that this or that guy knows how to get the better Canon or Nikon look out of his gear. Don’t be fooled! Gear has no looks or styles, it’s how you use it and perceive it. Don’t believe me, have a look at this article at fstoppers where they test 3 full frame cameras
Your gear is the best gear. Once you are 99% happy with the gear you have, believe it, own it and live it! Don’t let anyone tell you the opposite; you have spent so much time getting to know your gear and no-one know is like you. Remember, what suits you will not suit your best friend even if you do the same style of photography.
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