Do You List Your Photography and Video Gear Like a Resume?

Do You List Your Photography and Video Gear Like a Resume?

I've noticed a peculiar phenomenon lately that I don't quite understand. I'll be browsing someone's website or Instagram, and the piece of information they lead with is the gear they're shooting with. Why do photographers do this?

Amongst Photographers

When speaking with other photographers, I think it's entirely normal to talk about gear. Some of us do it to understand how images were created, some of us do it to nerd out. I personally text every Nikon shooter at Fstoppers the same message every morning:

It's perfectly normal for people in an industry to talk shop with other people in the industry. It lets you keep up with trends, improve your knowledge, and just straight-up geek out. I love gear. I'll talk about it all day.

For Clients

This is where it gets weird for me. I'll often be idly browsing Instagram or the web, and I'll come across a photographer's portfolio, and it lists their name, followed by a list of gear they're shooting with. I honestly don't particularly care; I'd much rather hear about you, what you shoot, or some other interesting blurb that connects me with your work. If I want to know about the gear on a specific shot, I'll ask.

It's even stranger for me when I see it on a website. An Instagram account is something I can see more as a showcase for some photographers. On the other hand, a website is your calling card for your business. When I see a list of gear on the "About the Artist" page instead of an honest paragraph or two that helps me connect with their work and get to know them, it turns me off to the photographer. People often judge and make decisions at lightning speed on the Internet, and any extraneous information can be detrimental.

And so, for clients, I imagine this effect is ten times worse. For them, they're likely reading a list of technical items they neither understand nor care about. An opportunity to connect with a client is missed. Sure, there are those that do care about the gear you use, namely commercial clients, but they typically know to ask that when they inquire about your services; and besides, I'm speaking more of the portrait and wedding photographer sites I've seen this on.


I personally think all the little details such as this add up to make a difference in how a client views you. What do you think? Am I being too sensitive here? Does a client really care one way or the other?

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Previous comments
Robert Larsen's picture

Sounds like equipment measurebators. They've been around for quite a long time, but seem to have become more prevalent in the digital era.

Urban Dictionary:

Ken Rockwell (and we don't need to get into any kind of discussion about him, do we?) has an interesting article on the 7 levels of photography, where measurebators are only one up from the bottom level:

Somewhat tongue in cheek, but quite a bit of truth in there as well, methinks... :)

Jonathan Brady's picture

I was speaking with a fairly successful local photographer (whom I admire greatly for her work) yesterday and she kept hammering the value of building local relationships (and nationwide and international relationships as well). She talked extensively about working with other photographers on a regular basis, checking out each others work, connecting on social media, etc. I wonder if such a phenomenon is a side effect of such relationship building? Knowing other photographers are quite likely to check your site out...

Denys Polishchuk's picture

"Hey! Remember that awesome shot you did at f/1.2? Oh wait, you don't, because you shoot Nikon. Never mind." Hahaha, that hurts 😀

Anonymous's picture

I don't list my gear. They are just tools.

Peter Timmer's picture

People who brag about their lens being capable of f 1.2 or any other gear related stuff probably brag because they're insecure about their own capabilities as a photographer and therefore try to win by saying they have better gear ;)

Denys Polishchuk's picture

Or they just love their gear a lot.

Anonymous's picture

Which is true. I still love my Pentax K1000 film camera. I've had that thing for ....let's just say a very long time spanning a few decades. ;) I do talk about it, but with other photographers or in posts.

stir photos's picture

Me to! I bought mine (well, my parents did) in 1987 for an elective I needed to choose. Unfortunately though, I don't have it, I'm not sure whatever happened to it...

Alex Cooke's picture

You MUST be a Nikon guy. ;)

Peter Timmer's picture

yeah you're right :P But that's simply because at the time i bought it, it was the best option for me.. I'f i'd buy one today it might as well be a canon.

Daan Kuipers's picture

But all seem to forget that Nikon has the NIKKOR AI-S 50mm F1.2 😁

Identifying with equipment is common trait that's by no means restricted to photographers. Lots of people think in terms of 'I am what I own' - it's a mark of status and wealth. A meaningless mark as far as I am concerned but that doesn't make it invalid for others. For some, clients included, it may be important and thus I can see why these lists pop up. But as for artistry - well, that's a product of how creatively you use whatever equipment you have and is mostly to do with your skill and imagination.

J. Chiu's picture

I see it most often with people who aren't established as a professional to show people they are using "pro" equipment. As if this somehow validates their abilities.

Michael Higa's picture

What happens when you switch systems? Do you have to take down all of your photos because they no longer reflect the system you currently shoot with? Or do people tag each photo with the meta data?

For practical reasons, I'd probably not list my gear. I wouldn't want to have to update my entire site because my photos no longer reflect the system I shoot with. Just seems a bit messy to have to deal with such things.

Anonymous's picture

I list my gear along with the location in my house, the security code for my alarm, all under the heading "Thieves Welcome."

user-134633's picture

That is generally my first thought. And yet, this site, 500px and others ask us to provide that information in our profiles. (Maybe they do that cuz they know we love to tell everyone how many toys we have?) I like to know what lenses and settings were used to create posted photos. That is more useful than an inventory of every piece of gear someone owns .. that was not used to create the image I might be admiring.

Jacques Cornell's picture

As a corporate event and portrait shooter for 15 years, I've NEVER been asked about my gear in advance. And, after switching from Canon 1 to Micro Four Thirds, the only client comments I got about my cameras was appreciation of their total silence when shooting in a quiet boardroom meeting.
Strategically, I think it's a big risk to list your gear unless you're using stuff that's widely recognized as esoteric and absolutely state-of-the-art. Otherwise, you're likely to be one-upped by some weekend warrior who's less shy about maxing out his credit cards. Also, it steers any conversation away from what makes you a true professional with a unique product.

Dan Crowther's picture

Depending on where I'm posting I may include exif data about the shot if that can't normally be seen. It was helpful to learn by, so I'm happy to give 'tech-specs' so others can learn too. But as far as an equipment "laundry list"/resume goes the only place I do that is on a couple of photo forums. That way when I ask questions respondents can easily see what gear I've got access to when they offer suggestions.

Patrick Hall's picture

I think it's important to list your gear so people know that Nikon shooters can shoot at 1.2 ;)

Alex Cooke's picture

Damn. Knew I should have added the 85mm part. :P

Chris K.'s picture

Yep, we've been shooting at f/1.2 since 1978 ;)

user-134633's picture

<;) Hmmm! Canon produced about 19,000 copies of their 50mm f0.95 lens in the 1960s and 1970s.
(please.. I have no intention to start a canon vs nikon vs anyone fanboy battle .. but f0.95 .. just sayin)

Sergio Miranda's picture

I have that beautiful same lens (bit softish at f1.2, but lovely bokeh!)

Jason Vinson's picture

I have it listed on my Instagram because i got tired of people asking me what camera I use.

Korey Napier's picture

I agree. I love gear and talking about gear as much as the next guy, but your website isn't the place to list, brag about or show off your gear. In my opinion, your website should be dedicated to showcasing your work. Now, if you have a blog integrated into the website and like to discuss or show gear, that might be a better place to do it (Instagram is the same way).

Do you remember the time when NASA used your camera in space? Oh wait, that'll never happen, cause you're canon. <3

I don't see the point of this article! Sent from my i7-7600 Gigabyte quad core watercooled, overclocked watercooled SLI Titan-X 8GB RAM, 1TB M2 SSD Corsair, Screen balanced by eye one screen calibration typed under daylight balanced flourencent tubes, while sitting on my Herman Miller Aeron with recently calibrated gas lever.

Andrew Richardson's picture

I've never seen a need for it. Hire me for the images I make, not what I use to make them. I often rent gear for my shoots because lots of higher end stuff doesn't make sense to buy when I could rent.