Gear does not define the photographer

As hard as it is for me to admit it, I will come right out and say it. I do not own a full frame camera and own none of the lenses with a shiny red ring. I own few filters but they are not high end by any stretch of imagination and my tripod is a fairly basic.

But the reason why it is hard for me to admit this publicly is because somewhere in my mind, I connected owning high end gear with being professional and being a credible photographer (especially online!). This is not true at all. It’s a myth that marketing has created in our mind. It’s time to shatter that myth.

Being professional has nothing to do with the gear (read Steven Pressfield’s War of Art). Nor does not owning the high end gear makes any one any less of a photographer. All of us own much better cameras than all the photographers of the last century. Does that make us any better photographer than those photographers?

As a photographer my biggest asset is my vision not the gear I own. And I feel my current gear allows me to capture my vision. Would my pictures be better technically if I shot with a full frame? Probably. But would they be any better artistically? Definitely not.

Gear is a means to an end. If my iPhone or a point and shoot allowed me to capture my vision as I want it, I would happily shoot with it. But it doesn’t, and that’s why I need to go to the next level up and shoot with the gear I am shooting now.

There will be thousands of photographers for whom my current kit will not be sufficient for them to capture their vision. So of course, they will need to step up to whatever gear they need to shoot their vision. But it is when gear itself becomes the end that it leads to demise of the photographer’s vision.

Do not shoot macros just because you happen to own an expensive macro lens. Shoot what your vision tells you to shoot. Shoot for your muse, with whatever gear is required – be it the iPhone or the 400mm.


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