Most will tell you that when it comes to photography that gear isn’t important. It’s all about knowing composition, lighting and the Pythagorean theory. I joke about the Pythagorean theory, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it was actually important. Truth is, if you’re a wedding photographer or sports photographer gear is important.
Have you ever photographed a wedding in a dimly lit church with a lens that has a min aperture of f/6.3? Or photographed a high school football game with the same lens? Chances are that you would have to crank that ISO like Soulja Boy and your photos would be so grainy they would be useless. Try explaining to your bride that all that noise in the photo is artistic.
Yes, knowing the fundamentals of photography is important. Understanding light is important. Gear is important.
Camera or the Lens
Which came first? Which is more important? I’m going to go out on a lens, I mean ledge, and say that lenses are more important. Yes, cameras are important but it’s the lens that will decided whether you shoot at f/2.8 or f/6.3.
And while cameras have a shutter life, in theory, your lenses can last a lifetime if you take care of them properly. It’s like anything in life, if you take care of it, it will take care of you. Unless you tormented your kids when they’re younger and they’re just waiting to return the favor.
Photography is expensive. And it gets really expensive when you’re constantly trying to keep up with the Joneses. And see everyone flaunt their gear on social media doesn’t help either.
There is a term you should familiarize yourself with. G.A.S., gear acquisition syndrome. No photographer is immune. We all want the latest and greatest gear because we think it makes us a better photographer. And yes gear does help in making great photos but you also know how to use the gear as well.
Software and Editing
A crucial piece of gear that all photographers need is editing software. I’m a huge proponent of getting everything right in camera. I’m not one of those people who say, “I’ll just fix it in Adobe Photoshop.” That is the wrong mindset to have.
Are there times where you’ll need to do a crop or fix some highlights? Absolutely. There are plenty of free editing software out there that can help. I believe that Adobe offers me the best products for what I need. Everyone has their own preference which is fine. All I’m saying is that sometimes free software ends up costing you more in the end.
Right Gear Cheap
I know the best gear isn’t cheap and it’s not cheap for a reason. If you feel like you can’t afford the latest and greatest, you can always go the used route. MBP and KEH along with Adorama or B&H are great, reputable places to buy used gear. It’s not a fake it to you make it scenario. It’s more of work with what you can afford.
Granted the gear might not be new, but a lot of these places thoroughly inspect the quality of the gear and won’t sell you lemons like if you were to buy something off Facebook Market or eBay. I’ve bought plenty of used gear and have been extremely happy with it.
Make sure to look for low actuations on the shutters of cameras. You don’t want to buy a Nikon D6 with 450,000 shutter clicks.
When it comes to glass, again, if taken care of properly it can last a long, long time. I rather invest in used glass first and then upgrade to cameras. That is just me because the value in lenses last longer than cameras.
To be successful as a photographer you need the right gear and you need to know the fundamentals and rules of photography. You can’t have one and not the other especially if you’re trying to be in specialized niche like wedding photography.
Invest in your photography knowledge and definitely invest in the right gear.