When Gear Gets in Your Way

No doubt, new gear is a lot of fun to play with, but it is not always a better thing. In fact, new gear, too much, or overly complicated equipment can actually become a hindrance to your work. This excellent video essay discusses how gear can sometimes get in your way and stop you from creating your best work.

Coming to you from YC Imaging, this insightful video essay discusses how camera gear can actually get in your way at times. One crucial mistake a lot of us have made at one point or another (myself included) is taking new gear on a shoot. We only have so much brainpower to devote to a shoot, and if part of that is devoted to figuring out how to find a menu setting or the like, that takes away from our ability to interact with the subject or work through creative ideas. Similarly, taking too much gear on a shoot can lead to a sort of decision paralysis in which you end up agonizing more over what to use rather than focusing on creating the best possible product. Sometimes, it's worth it to simplify a bit. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

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Michael L. McCray's picture

When the bed of my pickup truck was loaded for a photoshoot at a machine shop, I began to rethink everything. Today, all I use is what will fit in a one good size camera bag (which I have had since 1984), a bag with one or two lights stands, and my tripod is in another bag. The key is learning to create with what you have, more equipment does not make you more creative. For all other photography, I use a camera and a zoom lens. Prior to digital for photojournalism and street, I used one to two prime lenses and a handheld meter. As far as new gear risking my life to capture images on film going from a Nikon F2 to F3 was the most ignorant thing I have ever done.

Jim Cutler's picture

Spot on. I reached a point where I had the dream: so much stuff I didn't know what to do. As crazy as it sounds if you have too much THEN you can sit in stagnation. The gear gets in the way. Every piece of gear you don't use a lot needs a cheat sheet for how to use it again. Then you feel guilty that you're not using everything you paid for. Find the exact stuff that's right for you and know it inside out. BTW I've been watching YC's videos since he started. He's a pro.