Don’t invest in gear!
How shocked are you?
I may have shocked some photographers with this title, but I really mean it: I feel that photography is not about fancy and expensive gears, but it is about quality of the photographers. What we provide our customers is not a print, we provide experience, the ability to frame an emotion, the ability to make that emotion surface. When, in any of these, have you thought about the specific camera you need to capture it?
Gears are commodities
As I have written last week, in the digital age photography is easier to learn thanks to the immediate results: everyone can experiment, try different approaches and check the results straight away. The downside is that too many people are convinced that the right gear will take better photos: I am sorry to delude you, but this is not true. In order to take better photos you must become a better photographer! Gears are commodities nowadays, and they should be treated as such, not as the fundamentals of our craft.
If I had £1,000.00 to invest in a photographic business…
If I had just £1,000.00 to invest in a photographic business I would try to keep my gear expenses to the bare minimum:
- One cheap digital camera (You can get a great Canon 450D for few hundreds)
- One prime lens (To get the 50mm f/1.8 for the 450D you need just £50)
- One reflector (£15 if you want to be posh)
So why so many photographers have the syndrome of the small penis? They lean towards you, trying to peek and say: “So, what are you using?”. I will say this and will repeat over and over again: it does not matter how big your boat is, what really matter is how good you are at sailing the oceans!
Invest your money in a website, in hiring great teams to help building a strong portfolio, invest in Education! These are the real things that will make a better photographer out of you! With just £700.00 remaining you should go on Creative Live and follow few of their courses!
Fancy gears are a nice-to-have. Many others are a must-have
I have heard many times photographers lamenting the fact that they did not have those fancy lights, or that their lens was not as good as the new super expensive one. If you are one of those, stop it, you are just being ridiculous. Complaining because the focusing system of the 5D Mk II is far from being great is one of the most heard piece of information on Canon; still I have used that camera in every lighting conditions and I love it! I am sure there are a lot of things I may benefit from: some lighting system with shorter recycling time, a continuous light system that does not blew a lamp every couple of hours… but these are just things that would make my life 0.1% easier. Investing my time to become a better marketer, a better emotion-capturer… those are the real things that will make my business stronger and my life easier
Practice Makes Perfect
This is one of my mantra. Practice Makes Perfect.
One of my concern about my 5D Mk II is that its shutter is guaranteed for 100.000 actuations and in the past three years I may have crossed that mark a good couple of times. Sooner or later it will stop and I will simply replace it, but the good thing is that I know my camera front to back, upside down and in the dark.
Practice Makes Perfect
My most used lens is the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 which I have used for the past three years in every shoot I have done. I know that it won’t lock my focus with precision when I shoot backlit (therefore in 90% of my shots) and that it may lead to a soft focus below f/2.8, but I know that lens as the back of my hand and I do not need to bring the camera to my eyes to see its frame.
Practice Makes Perfect
There are photographers that with a very cheap camera can take amazing pictures. They know their equipment so well that they know how to get 110% from them. Do you know your gear as well? Are you making the most out of them?
We are under constant pressure to buy, buy, buy and buy. One day it is one lens, the other day is the new body, the third day is the new tripod. Have you ever stopped for a moment asking yourself if you REALLY need that new piece of equipment? Camera producers always tries to make you think that a better camera will make of you a better photographer, but if you really believe it you should really be ashamed, as you value a piece of gear more than you value your craft.
Photographer are not identified by the gear they carries with them. They are not identified by a brand of lenses or flashes. They are identified by their vision! Everyone who wants you to think that you are a lesser photographer because of your gear does not understand that photography is at gear as cooking is at ovens.