Invest in Learning and Less on Gear
I remember buying our first professional cameras and thinking WOW this if for real.… We are really doing this. Both of us were super excited. Even though we did not have the most expensive cameras on the pro line (we actually had the least expensive) to us these cameras were a huge deal. We were so proud to be starting our own business, purchasing professional gear and following our dreams.
Gear vs. Craft
But then one day another photographer tried to steal my joy, our dream and my excitement. The two of us were out shooting and another photographer decided to walk up to me and ask, “So what camera and lens are you shooting with?”. With a big smile on my face I told the other photog. Then with a smirk he looked at me and said, “Oh you must just be starting off to be shooting with that kind of gear, you will get better someday.” My heart sank deep into my stomach and tears began to well up in my eyes. Choking the tears back, I finished the shoot with a smile on my face and a dark lonely pit in my gut. I felt not good enough, like a fraud who did not belong behind the camera.
Later that night I told Brandon what the other photog had said to me while we were out shooting. And perhaps our gear was not good enough. However, as the amazing man Brandon is, he reassured me that no one can steal or break my joy. He also said, “if we can take great photos with the gear we have just think how amazing our photos will be once we can afford higher end gear.” As I looked into Brandon’s eyes and wiped away a little tear off my cheek, I decided to capture the most epic photos possible with what we had. There was no way we could afford better gear at the time (to be honest boo, we could barely afford tacos for dinner). This led to the next best thing…we took time to invest in learning our craft well. The best part is learning was free.
You may be tempted to roll your eyes. Trust me the more you know the better you will be behind your lens.
Obviously gear is a very tangible part of photography. New equipment can have the ability to help you creatively tell a story more easily. Higher end gear also improves the technical quality of the images. With a click of a button we can easily find ourselves looking at $6,000 camera bodies and lenses ranging from $500 – $3000 and forget that there are other, more effective ways to take our craft to the next level. Technique, practice and learning does not require new gear. It only requires time, patience and giving yourself the grace + freedom to creatively flourish with what you have.
Creatively mastering composition and light before spending our hard earned dinero on new gear propelled our photography dreams further then we could have ever imagined. For the first 2 years of our business we stuck with our “entry level” professional gear. Once we began to make a profit we invested in better gear. Our gear grew with our business.
We will be shooting at a wedding and a family member will hand me their phone asking me to take a photo. When I hand it back they look at me and ask, “How the heck did you get this photo with my phone! What is your secret?” I like to wink and say, its magic with a great big smile. But I follow that up with inviting them to find me later during the reception so I can show them a few quick tips.
Are you a Photographer?
Maybe it’s your dream or a hobby of yours. Perhaps you LOVELOVELOVE photography but you would never call yourself a photographer because you don’t feel good enough or maybe you have tried photography and feel like it’s just not working.
I say this with LOTS OF LOVE!
It’s not the camera I promise you, its the creative behind it. You are enough, you can do this and let your joy shine! Learn and master it before you let your dream pass away. And never let anyone steal your joy, they can’t have it. You got this darling and we are here to support you. (p.s. I am tearing up as I write this because I truly mean it – sorry I cry easily)
…Now I am going to grab a warm piece of fresh baked yummy bread, because that always makes me feel warm and amazing inside! It also stops the sappy tears.
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