Cranky Photographer Factor

Da Goddess @ 13:02

Hey photogs: quit making bigger problems for yourself by thinking you NEED everything you see someone else use for a class or read about in a magazine. Most of this stuff is wholly unnecessary. Think of a way to work with what you have or to create something better that’s less cumbersome and much cheaper to obtain.

If you’re insistent upon spending all that extra money, let me know and I’ll send you my address. I also take Paypal.

~ * ~

I’m pretty close to quitting a photography group because the vast majority of the togs are so thick they can’t seem to get past the “I GOTTA buy that!” mentality. They attend a class or read an article featuring some expensive or wieldy item (4 inch foam core boards for backgrounds, a new lens, a contract bundle, every bit of editing software/plugin/action) and they think it’s THE THING that will make them a photographic superstar.

Um, no. It won’t. All you’re doing is putting money in the pockets of those who are selling these items.

For the 4 inch foam core boards (6ft tall by 4ft wide), why not just use a plain white door? Or, maybe, hmmmm…a wall? Why not grab some clearance sheer drape panels or plain fabric from Walmart or Joanne’s? You can tape that stuff on the wall and have an inexpensive backdrop that won’t give you a herniated disc from trying to move it. Nor will you need to rent a truck to transport it. Worse, the photographers are thinking they’ll take these heavy items to a hotel room for boudoir sessions. *THUD* To me, that’s like saying you’re going to get a nice hotel room but bring in all your own linens. MAKE USE OF WHAT YOU HAVE THERE, PEOPLE!

As for every class, bootcamp, photoshop action, template, etc that someone is hawking: if you use it, you’re going to look just like every other photographer who’s using it, too.

I get the desire and the need for lenses and lighting, but for people just starting out, you don’t need the most expensive gear — you just need to first learn how to use standard gear and determine if the other items are truly necessary. As in, you don’t need to buy a fisheye lens if you really want to shoot lovely family portraits. Waste of money. If you simply want to try a lens for an effect, rent one! Calumet, BorrowLenses.com, and many local camera shops have rentals available. They don’t require a huge outlay of cash and rarely result in over-eager or newbie or gear hound buyer’s remorse.

It all comes down to common sense and some creative thinking.

And during the time it took me to elaborate on my thoughts here on the blog, I’ve gently taken the entire group to task in our forum.


  1. Yeah, what she said! There are people who make amazing photos using a $25 Holga with plastic lenses, so if you’re buying all the latest, fanciest stuff, I can only assume you’re compensating for a lack of talent. :roll:

    Comment by Jan — 2012/11/27 @ 19:40

  2. well put, Jan!


    They never learn.

    Comment by Da Goddess — 2012/11/27 @ 19:50

  3. I’ve tried lots of cameras – I’m still a pretty lousy photographer …

    Comment by The Gray Monk — 2012/11/27 @ 23:25

  4. But you don’t keep buying EVERYTHING on the market, do you? You don’t keep spending more and more on gear and then believe it’s what’s going to make the difference, right? See, too many new photographers think that’s what it takes to become the best: expensive gear. They should just invest in actual photography courses…and start with film.

    Comment by Da Goddess — 2012/11/28 @ 00:31

  5. I’ve got… a camera. Don’t even have a bag in which to keep the thing. But I totally understand the desire for more stuff. ;)

    Comment by pam — 2012/11/28 @ 06:45

  6. More stuff…understandable. But you don’t go apeshit nuts over a huge piece of foam core that you’d have to lug around and truly don’t need just because you saw Photographer X use it during a class.

    People don’t think. They don’t realize many of the items teaching pros use are meant solely for studio use.

    I simply don’t comprehend those in the creative arts who can’t think their way out of a paper bag. They make the rest of us look bad.

    Comment by Da Goddess — 2012/11/28 @ 17:37

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