Break the Photography Gear Addiction
There are two distinct approaches to photography gear and equipment. There is the shiny object approach and the process approach. I suspect that most of us start with the former and hopefully graduate to the latter.
The Shiny Object Approach
Buying a new camera because it supersedes the one that you own
Buying photography magazines even though you know that all the articles are recycled every six months and have been for years with only the model and megapixel numbers changing.
Owning more than three lenses.
A pissed off spouse and bank manager.
Spending more time looking at your camera than through it.
A general non specific underlying dissatisfaction and self loathing.
The Process Approach
An acceptance that throwing money at a photography problem rarely solves it.
Knowing that you have to define a problem before you can solve it.
Looking at all the alternatives when attempting to solve a problem including the free ones.
Understanding that once you understand light you’ll never have to read another photography howto again. Almost everything can be deduced from first principles and doing this makes the photographer.
Coffee table books by art historians and theorists and not marketers pretending to be photographers. .
Gear accumulation should always be driven by need and never by want.
Some who claim to be minimalist photographers draw lines in the sand based on equipment, one claims to never use anything other than a camera phone another draws the line at dSLRs and only gives point and shoots his seal of approval. This approach makes no more sense than collecting gear for its own sake. A dSLR won’t make you a better photographer in the narrow sense of the phrase but it will enable you to work in much more challenging conditions and has the flexibility to be adapted further when and if required.
Here is a practical lesson.
Once a day see or set up something, in your house or block, that you think will make for an interesting photograph. Do not, and this is critical, have a camera with you while you are doing this. When you find a scene that may qualify just think about it for several minutes. Think about the light, the composition, would it work better in black and white or color and any other art based criteria that comes to mind.
Then, and only then, think about the technical stuff, likely aperture/shutter/iso combinations, depth of field, whether any extra light or a tripod will be required.
Now you can get your beloved toy and take your photographs and take as many as you like with as many different setting variations as you want. If you don’t have the equipment for the task then and only then may a purchase be in order.
This is not the approach taught by most photography writers as it doesn’t lead to you buying lots of shiny expensive new toys. most photography writers depend, on, to a greater or lesser extent, the sale of shiny expensive new toys.
Yet my approach is the logical one as it directly works on the two most important pieces of photographic equipment that you’ll ever own, the eye and the brain. It relegates the camera to it’s proper place in the hierarchy and that is an important tool and not as a desirable object in its own right. It will also cure the general non specific underlying dissatisfaction and self loathing mentioned earlier.