Why Do Photographers Love New Gear So Much?

Photographers have an insatiable appetite for new gear. The excitement of unboxing a new camera, lens, or accessory provides a rush of inspiration that compels us to get out and shoot. But why does acquiring the latest and greatest equipment motivate us so much?

In the latest video on his YouTube channel, photographer Pat Kay digs into the psychology behind what he calls “new gear inspiration.” He argues this phenomenon all comes down to novelty. When we expose ourselves to something new that energizes us, it sparks creativity by allowing us to make connections we couldn't before. New gear gives us a novel experience that generates this surge of motivation and flow.

While new equipment can provide a short-term creative boost, Kay cautions buying gear constantly is unrealistic for most. And we can’t rely on new purchases to repeatedly inspire us forever. So, how do you keep finding novelty to feed your photography on an ongoing basis?

Kay offers strategies like exploring new places, doing photo challenges, and introducing constraints into your usual style. Changing your process, even in small ways, creates the novel experiences that drive creativity. Consistency over the long haul still matters, but regularly trying new things keeps your mind flexible.

If you find your photography motivation waning, this video offers insight into how novelty and new gear inspiration work. Kay shares ideas to kick-start your creativity without emptying your bank account. In the end, new gear isn’t the only way to spark inspiration through novelty, nor should it be the main way to do. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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When YouTube photographers really have run out of anything truly useful to say.

"When YouTube photographers really have run out of anything truly useful to say."

When content is regurgitated because they have run out of anything creative to write.

Why the need to correct my statement? Both statements can be true and mine certainly is with plenty of examples to back it up.

Maybe if they bought a new computer, they could write more creatively?

Slowly getting fed up with YT, it’s now an indirect marketing tool with so call dev”content creators” being send goods to review or getting sponsored to do something specific. When they can’t do that that churn out meaningless nonsense because they have to publish something once a week, hence we get “content” like this

It's pretty incredible how video quality vs content quality has flipped. The video quality has increased dramatically but the content quality dropped so much more. Back in the early days of you tube it was relatively easy to find some one teaching you cool stuff with out all the garbage, but now you have to develop a 6th sense to sus out crap content before you spend too much time on a video. From my experience lately about 80% of videos have garbage quality content. Google is useless now beyond being an ad delivery service and a user data collection service. Alphabet even admitted that google is pretty much useless with reddit lmao.

I still remember plenty of videos from 12 years ago trying to teach would be videographers that in order to get a filmic look to their videos, they just need a shallow depth of field (with their Canon 600D and nifty fifty set to f1.8). They would then show some footage going in and out of focus on some trees and flowers 🙄.

I guess as more and more people are seeing YT as a way to gain a following and potentially earn some money, the content is going to suffer whilst video quality improves. Anyone can add their $0.0001 worth to a discussion on aps-c vs fullframe or why they only shoot in jpeg 😴 💤.

Because new gear is fricken cool!

Yep! New gear is good because we WANT camera companies to continue to be viable. If all photographers decided that what they have is fine and never need the improved versions of what they now shoot, the camera companies would eventually vanish.

If you have the budget, keep buying the new and improved stuff! After all, it's your money and like Chris says, it's cool!

Photography is not unlike other professions or enthusiast hobbies. Talk to a friend or relative strongly interested in fishing, hunting, cars, electronics, etc. and you will find the same passion for the latest gear. My daughter is a HAM radio enthusiast and come Christmas time, guess what 's on her gift list? New gear and gadgets to feed her radio hobby. It's human nature. YouTube provides an avenue to promote these hobbies, Photography included.

There are so many good old lenses out there waiting to be adapted. How could I let them wait? ;o))

GAS doesn't mean it has to be new stuff, it's just new for me. That's just the ideology we inherit in this system, to be is to buy.

Why do

Model train builders
Tennis players
Graphic designers

Love New Gear So Much?

Because people like shiny new things, and take a little thrill from the (often wrong) sense that to add a new piece of equipment is to add a new ability.

My vote for best reply!

How many photographers live up to the potential of the gear they already have?

Some people have something to say, others have to say something, many YouTube videos fall into the latter category.