Gear - That stuff we need as a photographer.
A Camera & Lens. Sounds pretty simple when you put it like this, and it's all you need getting started as well as for a lot of work.
You buy your first camera and start taking photos of everything around you, then you get bitten. That little bastard of a bug called GAS is a sneaky little S.O.B and will strike many times through a photographer’s life.
Once bitten you start looking at new gear…
Photography forums and Groups.
Instead of taking photographs with what you have, you spend more time posting questions in groups on Facebook which leads to a ton of confusion and before you know it you are looking to upgrade that perfectly good 6-month-old camera and kit lens. All before you know what you are doing with it.
The GAS got you good.
What you have is G.A.S – Gear Acquisition Syndrome. A disease that has you constantly looking to buy the latest camera, lens, light, any gear just because you either think it will be the answer to your photographic problems or that person who’s work you like uses that gear.
You end up in Debt.
You end up with more gear than you know what to do with.
You end up lost and no further forward in your photography.
I want you to read this quote and just let it sink in. This was written before digital, way before a lot of you were even an idea in your parent’s heads. Zack Arias said that Weston would have had a popular blog had blogs been around in his time – I think he’s right.
Now I am not writing this having never had GAS… oh good grief no. I have. Thank fully I have gotten beyond it and have stopped looking at new cameras and lenses for the time being.
Look. Equipment upgrades will happen, but they should only happen when the gear you have limits you and YOU know why.
I am going to tell you and myself some home truths now and if you or I get offended I do not care.
THE single biggest problem in your photography is YOU... period, end of story, next!.
“ Oh I just don’t have time to improve my photography”
“ it's too hard”
“ That person has better gear than me so I can’t do it”
“ My camera is old and Its no good any more”
“ I know all the basics and just need to know flash & studio lighting"
" X person in Y Facebook Group said I should upgrade my camera/lens"
All this crap comes from you. Your head, your GAS, your time wasted looking at reviews and new gear that you don’t need.
We don’t need to upgrade.
We don’t need any new anything. – unless something is totally broken or we have outgrown it.
We need to stop running and falling flat on our faces before we even tried to master walking.
What a lot of us need to do is to turn all that noise off and get to work making photographs, making mistakes, learning and growing.
Photography is an amazing thing. It can be powerful, fun, create lasting memories… but it will kick the shit out of you any day of the week and twice on Sunday if you let it. Want to work as a photographer in 2018, 2019 or the future?
Great!. Stop looking at new gear until you..
A. You know the fundamentals of photography and know your gear inside out.
B. Need it & know why.
C. Can afford it. – This should probably be A also.
By the way there is much much more to it than the short list above.
I talk about some of what is in this post and give some suggestions in the video below.
Allow me to put my case in point forward.
Over the last 6-9 months I have had countless conversations with a photographer that I work with about the gear we have/use. I have looked at reviews, watched YouTube videos (which I would not call reviews) and looked at the Canon 5Ds and 5D IV cameras more than I should of. Whilst we have made some changes thankfully they came from the work were doing, but we and most definitely I have wasted too much time looking at new gear.
1. At this point in time I could not make an upgrade happen even if required.
2. The gear I have is perfectly fine.
3. It’s me that needs to get to work and not my VISA card.
I do not need a 50mp DSLR or any other DSLR other than my 5D Mark II’s. Nobody has told me that I can’t do a job because my cameras are now 3 generations old and not one single client has complained about the image quality.
My work does see print but it’s nothing that needs the resolution of the 5Ds or 5D Mark IV.
Also for the past few years I have been a proponent for having a kit with multiple bodies in that are all the same. That means 3 of the same body so they feel and run the same. Think backups of backups and still having 2 cameras to hand if one goes in for service or repair, as a working photographer you must be able to deliver on time and to budget… ZERO excuses.
Let’s say I upgraded my 5D Mark II’s to 5D Mark III or 5D Mark IV bodies.
£4000 is what it would cost to kit out with 3 USED 5D Mark III bodies. £7000 for 3 NEW 5DIV kits. (bodies, grips, cards, batteries)
That’s a huge amount of money and I would be stupid to spend it just on gear. £4000-7000 can do a lot of other great things for my photography and business, not to mention pay bills.
Those camera bodies are no doubt great but they won’t magically make me a better photographer or improve my work to the value of 4-7k.
Some of you will be at the point where you need to upgrade and that’s totally fine, I just hope you know why and finances will allow it.
Let’s bury all the gear noise. What you have is fine and older gear is still plenty good enough for a working photographer in 2018.
Let’s get to work and kick photography’s ass in 2018. EFF the GAS.
( I will be covering how to progress with the technical on this blog over the coming months so stay tuned. )
Thanks for reading.