Picking new photography gear can be an emotional experience–especially if there’s almost always a photographer you really admire who used a particular camera or lens to create an image you love. If you want to grow as a photographer, it may seem as if all the ads and reviews out there label you to fail if you don’t own what’s advertised. This is the point where you have to step back and let logic take over. This will help you avoid obtaining that which you do not really need.
What Do You Actually Need?
When thinking about new camera gear you have to ask yourself, “Do I need this?” When you look at what you want to do with your photography, you have to figure out what will best serve your needs. Ask yourself, “Is it a camera you need or just a lens? Can you achieve your goal with lighting?”
Putting your emotions aside can mean the difference between $3000 and $300. When you have gear lust, you will sometimes find that having what you want is not as pleasing as having what you need.
Do You Have Anything That Already Fulfills Your Needs?
Before you decide on new camera gear, take a good look at what you have. Knowing what you have can help you avoid repeating gear. Over time photographers can build up a good collection of gear. You may think you need to buy a portrait lens when the macro lens you have can do a perfectly good job. You may also think you need a new flash when a reflector may do the same trick. Sometimes using what you have can produce the same results as buying new gear.
Can You Truly Afford What You Want?
The lure of new photography gear can be strong. However you have to ask yourself, “Can I afford it? Is it worth going to into debt? Will you make the money back or is it going to be a financial burden?” If you lack finances, be honest with yourself.
How Often Will You Use It?
When considering new gear, ask yourself, “How often you will use it?” If it’s something you will only use occasionally, there are alternatives to purchasing. Renting photography gear you only need every once in a while can save you a lot of money.
Could You Spend Your Money Building up Experience?
Logically, great gear is wasted on the inexperienced. Just because you have $20,000 worth of photography gear does not mean you’re a good photographer. Your photography can be improved by walking the streets, seeing things and creating images. Sometimes we make illogical decisions, and buying too much gear is definitely one of those decisions. Sometimes it’s just better to get out there and work with what you have.