I’ve been that guy. You know the guy who’s convinced the latest and greatest camera, lens, flash, flash modifier, strobe light, gel, grid and magnetic softbox will help them achieve the desired result in his (or her) images?
Yeah, that was me and in some ways, it still is. I love gear. There, I said it. Look at this new camera’s autofocus system! Look at those results at 25,000 ISO! I can’t believe the dynamic range! The bokeh that lens produces is buttery! The output from that Profoto is soooo consistent! I gotta get my hands on one of those!
Temptation is everywhere!
I click “checkout and pay” more often than I care to admit. Then like a druggie in need of his fix, I waited, quivering with anticipation for the UPS or FedEx truck to arrive with my latest piece of gear that would change my photography life forever … man was I gullible. Before I knew it, I had a closet full of gear collecting dust. Thousands of dollars wasted.
Does that sound like you? I used to have an itchy trigger finger at the checkout box at Amazon, B&H and Adorama. Spending thousands of dollars in my quest to become a better photographer. I lusted after expensive, fast aperture glass, high powered strobe lights, softboxes, “ice lights,” reflectors … I literally fell for every gimmick, spokesperson, celebrity photographer and their light modifier of choice for probably the first 5-7 years in this business.
However, I eventually learned that experience is a wonderful teacher and G.A.S. is an expensive addiction — and it is an addiction. Fortunately, there’s something you can do about it!.
Tips to control/avoid G.A.S.
There are 2 great ways to control G.A.S.
First, assess the gear that you currently have. Like many aspects of our lives, we believe that the grass is always greener somewhere else but in my camera bag — meaning we tend to value what we don’t have more than we value what we do have. Then seek inspiration on photo websites (think Flickr, 500px, etc.) with images shot with your current gear. You’ll be amazed and inspired by what you’ll find. It’ll literally remind you why you pressed “checkout” in the first place.
Second, I always tell new photographers that the single most underrated piece of gear in your entire arsenal is the one between your ears. There simply is no camera, light modifier, flash or lens than can replace your creative mind for great composition. No piece of gear will make you a better photographer. Consider taking an online or in-person seminar with a photographer that truly inspires you. If you go that route, read the online reviews first and choose wisely! Spending $300-$1,000 on a seminar learning composition, lighting or posing can be more valuable than thousands on a lens or flash you don’t know how to effectively use.
Now go forth and conquer the world with what you already have!