How much does gear matter?
It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here once more with something from the world of travel photography. This week is all about gear but first of all, I hope you all enjoyed last nights Facebook outage! I had a wonderful time on Twitter.
Let’s talk tech. I want to preface this blog by highlighting this Facebook post: –
I’ve anonymised it and I haven’t included the image, which was a lovely shot of a USAF F-15 from RAF Lakenheath. But here’s my problem. Imagine the post looked like this instead: –
Dave: That’s a lovely stir fry! What wok do you use?
Scott: Many thank. It’s an older Calphalon Signature 12-inch.
You see my point without me having to elaborate, right? What is it about us as photographers that makes us so obsessed with gear, and when does it actually matter?
I’m trying to learn 360 photography at the moment and for that, it matters. I could use any camera and shoot in every direction from one fixed point, then load the images into Adobe Photoshop and stitch them into a sphere. Or I could use a 360 camera and just get it done in one go. That’s an example of when gear matters. It isn’t the end of the world – I could’ve worked without it – but it helped me a lot having a 360 camera.
An emerging wedding photographer looking to really blow their bokeh might be looking to get a lens with a wider aperture. It’ll cost more than other lenses, it’s a good addition to the kit bag, but ultimately that photographer could continue using a low aperture lens that they already own.
I guess it’s all about what we want versus what we need. What is going to make our life easier? What is going to make our job easier?
But let’s get back on track. The photo was taken by the camera; I’ll take the opportunity to point that out right now before anyone raises any technicalities. But who actually took the photo? Who observed the scene, gauged the light, noted the size, speed, shape of the approaching subject, ensured the correct lens was attached, dialled in the settings, panned with the motion, processed the image and uploaded it to Facebook? It wasn’t the Fuji X-Pro 2, it was ‘M’.
When adding gear to your arsenal, take a moment to consider what value it actually brings. If it makes your life easier, adds value, or it makes you look cool, go for it. But remember, the gear isn’t making the photos, you are.