Recently I looked over a few images I had taken early on in my photography journey. There were definitely some cringe worthy discoveries, but a few personal gems also.
Here is what I discovered or rediscovered depending on how you look at it. Everything was so simple and to the point. The photos where made with the most basic of camera gear. I was creating great images with almost no fuss. I wasn’t spending part of my daily mental allotment deciding what gear I would use. My choices were minimal.
My cameras of choice were a Canon 7d and Canon 60d. Both were 18 megapixel crop sensor cameras. My technical proficiency with a camera was basic. I could use my camera in manual, but quite often it was guess work. I adjusted my settings until it just looked or felt right. My lighting technique was simple. Position the light. Power up or down depending on the exposure I was getting. Reposition light. Try again.
I had for the most part one go to for every shoot. It was a 22 inch beauty dish, one of the above cameras and a 24-105mm F4 lense. That was it. Whether it was for a close up portrait /headshot, environmental portrait, sitting, standing or even running, it was my go to. It worked or I made it work.
So what has changed? Hmmmm…. Where do I start? Other Photographer’s gear opinions is a good place to begin. There was never a shortage of well intended folks saying how full frame cameras where the benchmark of a pro or serious enthusiast. Me being the noob I was, quickly decided I had to graduate to a camera with a bigger sensor and more megapixels in order to pursue my dreams. Eventually, it was you need more lights, smaller and larger softboxes, c-stands, compact light stands magmod, ttl, hss, reflector holders, sandbags, faster lenses and a multitude of bags to carry all of these essential items. I fell for it….hook, line and sinker. I assumed I needed all of this to release the full creative potential I possessed. In truth, I was imprisoning it and spending way more than I should.
Photography trends were also an influence. Some were and are good, others bad…. for me anyway. I struggled for the longest to stay true to myself and not get on the vintage preset bandwagon. Trust me. My finger hovered many a time over the “buy these presets now” button. I wanted people to enjoy my work because of what I do and not what everyone else is doing. As a creative, that is a hard battle. I rationalized it the same way I do with gear. Jumping on the vintage preset bandwagon, was a trip taking me further away from my own vision. I figured it would be a much easier road to travel if people came to me for what I do, instead of what they have seen others do.
2018 will be my journey to rediscover creativity driven by my imagination as opposed to the contents stuffing a gear bag. Don’t get me wrong. I will reach in to that bag, but it will be less frequently and with purpose as opposed to just because.
It truly is not all about the gear. So the next time someone talks about a shiney new camera or lens and you are tempted, take a long inward look at how your work could personally benefit from it. More than likely you can do without.