When is it time to upgrade my gear!?

Question:  When is it time to upgrade my gear!?

Photography gear should be viewed as just tools – much like in the same way that the person who’s working on my house right now. I’m doing a remodel on my house in Seattle and there’s tools all over the place.  I just came from the job site and there are not a lot of contractors saying to one another – I should upgrade my hammer?  

It’s a good question but what I want to break through on is that first and foremost it is not about the gear it has almost everything to do with the photographer and the vision behind the what that you can create technical proficiency being absolutely necessary.  

Sure there are some types of photography where great gear helps for example, if you’re shooting X Games you want to have a camera that’s 8, 9 , 10 frames at the peak action – but it’s not required.  I had 2 1/2 frames per second camera when I started shooting big time sports events like the X Games and it just requires that you be that much better at your timing. So I wouldn’t look at you not having the right gear is some sort of impediment – that is a narrative that a lot of people use as the excuse not to do s***.  Don’t do that!  

We’ve all heard it before – “Oh I need to save up so I’m going to go do some other things besides photography like wash cars, wait tables” – or whatever, which is just a massive distraction. I’m going to spend five or six months save enough money to go away and then buy a new camera.  That is five or six months that you are delaying the success of your career. If you spent instead those six months trying to figure out how to make a great picture with the with the tools that you have you would be a better photographer with with lower-level technology.   It would pull more out of you AND maybe you can make the money by selling pictures that you made as opposed to being distracted with the other thing (that being gear you don’t have).

I just see this in so many industries where we are all writing excuses for why we’re not doing something and I get it – I understand why it’s saying it’s safe to say that you have to have all tools I need to do the job but all that does is create unnecessary distance between you and your goal.  

Lesson summary, in many if not most cases – it is not about the gear.  It is about your vision and your ability to deliver on that vision.  Challenge yourself with the gear you have – and the harsh truth is don’t think for a moment the gear is what is holding you back – it is not, it is you that is holding you back using gear as the excuse.  


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