Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) has been briefly touched upon in my past posts.
‘GAS’ is the state in which a photographer continues to purchase new (and often expensive) gear in the hope to further improve their photography ability. This of course leads to a lot of money being spent, which is a downside of continuously purchasing new gear. On top of this, there are several good reasons you should focus on your current gear rather than looking towards new purchases.
You need to recognise the fact that if you own a camera and a lens, it is perfectly capable of taking great photos. This is even truer if your main platform for sharing photos is Instagram – due to the size of the photos and common compression. Focus on utilising the equipment you have and learning new techniques surrounding your current gear instead of looking for new gear to help you improve.
@itchban Photo Credit
One of my favourite ways to recognise the potential of your current gear is to use Flickr. You can search for photos taken on specific cameras or lenses. I use this to explore the potential that my lens or camera body has. This really helps to express the fact that you do not need to buy new gear, as you see great photos taken using your gear. Therefore, there must be improvements to be made in terms of technique to help your photography progress.
Now that you have recognised that your gear is not quite the limiting factor that it was before, how do you improve without spending money?
In the digital photography age, there are two main parts of getting the image you like. Firstly, the act of taking the photo, and secondly, the post processing of the image so it truly represents your vision. Use Youtube videos or online tutorials, such as the AOVAcademy, to help you improve the process of taking the picture. Then, ensure you are shooting raw and use similar online guides to help you improve your post processing to get the desire effect. If there is a specific look you want to achieve with your photos, look into using Lightroom presets.
My favourite way to justify a new purchase is to leave it for a certain amount of time and see if I still want or ‘need’ this new item. This allows you to identify the distinction between need and want of camera gear. Every photographer would love to have the top of the range set up, but many realize the degree to which their gear affects their performance as a photographer.
Focus on visiting different places rather than taking the same pictures slightly sharper with ludicrously expensive gear. Make sure you are using the light to your full advantage. Mastering the use of light will improve your photos much more than the new lens.
In order to continue to progress your photos without continuously upgrading your gear, consider partaking in the challenge known as photo 365. The aim of this is to post a photo every day without fail. The need to post every day will force you to find unique compositions and explore new places and techniques in order to create original content. As a result of stretching yourself to post every day, you will improve your photography without the expense or additional gear.
In closing, I would like to stress the importance of distinguishing between wanting and needing new camera gear. If your tripod has broken, or cannot cater to your needs, you NEED a new tripod. On the other hand, wanting to buy a new lens at the hope of slightly sharper images is often unnecessary, especially for a hobby.
Thanks for reading, keep shooting! As always, come say hi on my Instagram!