Do you spend more time researching photography gear than shooting? Do you believe that you can’t achieve a particular look without buying the latest shiny product? Then you might be suffering from G.A.S., also known as Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Step into my office and let me share some prescriptions that can help you cure this debilitating disease!
In all seriousness, G.A.S. can be devastating for your business and passion in photography. I’ve known many photographers that have been paralyzed and stifled, blaming their lack of gear for their creation of lackluster images. One of my good friends, a self-professed gear junkie, is constantly switching between camera systems, different lighting, lenses, and everything else in their search to create better images. Four years into their photography business and they are still in this pattern, struggling to figure out how to “make it” in terms of their art and career.
I have to be honest and upfront with you all. I too have suffered from this. My own case of G.A.S. centered around having lots of strobes. Starting out I ordered two studio strobes in the search of magazine-quality portraits, and when I saw I wasn’t able to create that level of imagery I resorted to spending more money to buy additional strobes. Before too long I ended up with 12 strobes and was farther than ever to realizing my goals (not to mention several thousand dollars poorer). So how did I kick this terrible habit? Here’s my prescription.
Take A 30-Day Challenge
Realizing that I had way too many studio strobes and flashes, I decided to scale things back to the basics and shoot with just a single light and modifier for 30 days. This would allow me to really understand what this single light could and couldn’t do based on the power of the strobe, size of the modifier, distance to the subject, etc. It was an eye opening experience that quickly turned into a three month, six month, and then a yearlong challenge. As a matter of fact, to this very day the majority of my work is shot with just one light! Not only did my image quality and consistency improve, but I was able to reallocate several thousands of dollars in unused gear to spend on other aspects of my business and life. For you the challenge may be using one lens or camera body. Try it and you’ll find your creativity, consistency and quality soar to new levels.
Sell Your Unused Equipment
If you have some photography product that’s been sitting around collecting dust, get rid of it! I’ve found that the more gear I would see around me the more likely I was to horde gear. There was some kind of inexplicable joy I found in seeing my collection grow, thinking that this somehow made me more “legit” in the eyes of fellow photographers and my clients. Taking all of my unused gear and selling it forced me to be more creative in using the things that I decided to keep.
Spend More Time Shooting
In almost every case of G.A.S. I’ve seen photographers spend countless hours browsing websites doing research on lenses, cameras, stands, and everything else rather than actually going out and shooting. The simple fix is that every time you feel the need to do this grab your camera and go shoot! Set up test shoots during your free time and keep yourself busy shooting. You’ll find that at the very least you’ll increase your creativity and resourcefulness. It will also help you have a better understanding of what you actually need as opposed to what you think you need.
These are just a few tips that I've found worked great for me to kick the habit. What are some ways you've found that work for you? I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below!