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The thought of acquiring more gear is always a positive one, after all, you can up your photographic hierarchy merely by making the purchase – no photographs need be taken. The gear-heads will praise you for what you have, no matter what, so if you appeal to those guys they’ll always compliment you in an effort of one-upmanship (remember to reciprocate when they buy the hot new thing). I’m crazy guilty of it, I just need one more thing and then I can do this, or that, or maybe I could have done it before but this will let me do it better or different, even when I haven’t really done it at all, ever.

The real trick is doing more with less. Being the photographer (or any kind of artist) that can do what the guys with the $10K camera are doing with the entry-level rebel, or a point and shoot, or their mom’s old film body; taking the “inferior” tool and creating a superior product.

The amazing thing is you can be one hell of a photographer, better than anyone I know, just by having the vision, and a tool, not necessarily the right tools, in your hand. This level of adversity (#firstworldproblems) has the added benefit of forcing us to be creative – if you don’t have the tech as a crutch, can you still produce awesome work?

So it’s time to learn what I’ve got, no more buys this summer, no new gear, I have plenty – more than most really – but with one caveat: if my camera breaks, I get to buy a new one.

Are you eying that next new cool thing? “If only I had that I could…” you could what? Have less cash? Do something awesome with what you’ve already got and really impress the world.

edit: A little gear info on this image – it’s about $2,000 worth of Elinchrom lighting (Ranger Quadra through a Deep Throat, not making that up, Octa), shot with a $500 point and shoot G11. I really don’t need more stuff.

6 thoughts on “Ponderosa

  1. mykl says:

    can i please hold you to this? and what is your definition of summer? 😛

  2. You can do it, Justin. I've bought exactly one new lens since last summer. Of course, I've spent quite a bit of money on workshops, since the plan was to "improve the photographer," but I consider that more to your point of making do with what you've got.

  3. MadGoat says:

    Hear Hear! It's really about the man behind the lens with a vision and imagination that creates a truly fantastic picture.

    The gear sencondary, you don't need an $8,000 body to take a great shot. You can do the same with a $500 P&S like you did just now.

    I laugh when I see a noob with a 5D MKII or one of the 1D's with an L lens and take truly laughable pictures when I was walking around with a second hand Rebel XT with a sigma lens and blowing their shots out of the water.

    I will probably never buy into the "you have to have an "L" Lens to be good"… Again. I would rather save my money and still take good shots.

    All I need really is a lighting rig.

  4. Anna says:

    I love it Justin! Both your photo and your post. I don't go on about it too much, but I actually buy very little gear and try to work with what I have.

    I make a deal with myself. If I book x # of sessions/weddings, I get to treat myself to a new lens or piece of gear I am coveting. Until then I just keep plugging away and rent what I need when I need it if I don't have it.


  5. Chris says:

    I know exactly what you mean. Up till now I've been all about the gear – but I've reached a point where I've used, even if I haven't owned, all the exciting gear that I wanted to, and it hasn't magically made my photography better. Right now I've been using a film camera I got for $11 and a lens I got for $30 and the shots, while technically inferior to digital files, mean much more to me for some reason I'm still figuring out. And my wallet feels much better 🙂

  6. faisal says:

    Holy shit how'd i miss this? Well, I know why: Ive been extra busy this week… THis is awesome. THe light is perfect and the focus spot on! I need to get on that Elinchrom lighting (or steal it from my office / studio).