The “Gear Isn’t Important” Conversation
Plus over $20K of Moment credit up for grabs this month!
Hot takes are not new to the photography space but I find it
interesting poignant how some creatives will dig their feet into one side of what they believe is a binary conversation. Actually, this may just be what our insanely-connected, online discourse and social algorithms are pushing us towards in general. Things have to be this or that. You’re either on Team A or Team B. There is no middle ground.
Well, most things in life are not simple. And thank goodness because that would make a lotta things boring as sh*t. This week, I wanna visit the idea that your photography gear isn’t important to what you do. Or the less popular, new age belief that your gear is absolutely important to what you do.
So which is it? Is the gear important? Or is it not important? The answer is both.
When you start your photography journey, the gear isn’t important. You’ve shown an interest in this wild thing called photography and you’re learning to walk. What’s important at this stage is to accelerate the learning and build a foundational understanding around photography. How do aperture, shutter speed, and ISO work together? What do different light sources do to a subject? What is inspiring you to keep shooting?
Use the tools you have available, keep costs down, and just put in a sh*t ton of reps to learn as much as you can. Not just about photography but about yourself as well. As you start to discover more about what you enjoy creating, you’ll start to really understand where you’ve outgrown your gear. Especially if you start getting paid work, you’ll start to see where your work can become more impactful, more disciplined, and more effortless. This is when the gear becomes important.
Once you’ve started to figure out your voice and what you love to shoot, it becomes easier to know what type of gear will make a meaningful contribution to your growth as a photographer. Further, all those months and years of reps have put you in the proximity of other creatives that speak to you; giving you even more tidbits on what equipment might give you that growth you seek. Suddenly, you don’t need to watch any of those “Top 10 Cameras of the Year” type videos because your journey has already has already brought you toward a few options. It’s just a matter of saving up and pulling the trigger.
The major benefit of newer, more specialized gear is that it can introduce major efficiencies into your creative workflows and deliver a visual improvement that—even if it’s only to your eyes—makes you want to keep investing in your journey. A camera that makes you wanna keep shooting is absolutely valuable to a photographer. But finding that camera shouldn’t be rushed. Take the time to make do with what’s available and learn what are the two or three things that matter most in you craft.
If anyone tells you that the gear doesn’t matter, that’s only part of the story. If anyone tells you that the gear absolutely matters, that’s also just part of the story. The reality is that the gear you use matters as much as it needs to depending on where you find yourself on your creative journey.
The HUGE December Contest
Each month, I run a contest for the Church & Street community and try to feature something that I think people will appreciate. To celebrate our first 1,000 readers, we’re doing our biggest giveaway to date!
For December, we’re giving away $21,500 worth of credit on the Moment store.
$500 shop credit for 3 lucky winners
$20 shop credit for the first 1,000 to enter
All you have to do is be a member of this community and create an account for the Moment Store (so you can receive the credit).
If you already have a Moment account with the same email as the one you have here, you’re already entered. For the rest of you, make sure your subscribed to Church & Street and sign up to the Moment Store here. At the end of the month, I’ll be selecting 3 winners that will receive an additional $500 each to the Moment Store.
Once again, this contest is void where prohibited by law. Good luck!
My thanks to the team at Moment! Not only for this contest but for being the longest supporter of my work online. They’re a lean team of passionate individuals that truly believe in supporting creators on their journey. Whether it’s a new camera, lens, workshop, or just some great articles, visit ShopMoment.com today.
Some Much Needed Updates
Some of you may have noticed some new logos across the Church & Street community. To celebrate us hitting our first 1,000 members, I wanted to create two logos that could be used to help define the visual language of Church & Street. I put out a call on social media and my search for a designer led me to Brian Moore. After a month of conversations and scrutinizing, we landed on two pieces.
The first is an icon that’s simple and gives the viewer a clear understanding of what’s ahead. The hard part—at least for Brian because I was just giving him the directions—was to create something that was synonymous with photography but had elements of who I am.
He knocked it out of the park!
What we have is something that clearly speaks to photography but also has elements drawn from Tamil scripture. If you look closely, there’s even a few Easter eggs in there that some of you may catch.
The next logo will be used in other places where there’s already a bit of an understanding of what Church & Street represents. The goal was to take the name and throw on street signs in a clean way. Again, he crushed it.
Knowing me, these logos will grow and evolve over time but I’m so happy with how we’re starting off. And this wouldn’t have been possible without Brian’s help. If you’re in need of some design work, I highly recommend reaching out to Brian and starting your conversation there.
As some of you know, my frequent trips across India are because of the book I look to publish at some point in the next five years. With that in mind, I’m trying to figure out a better way to collect the best images from each stint and start sequencing some of the stories that will absolutely make the final cut.
Turns out—at least for how my brain works—this was much harder than I thought it’d be. If any of you have experience cataloging or sequencing images for a book, please reach out to me and share some of your insights.
Anyway, that’s enough for this week. See ya next time!