Gear Acquisition Syndrome

Almost all photographers find themselves suffering from Gear Acquisition Syndrome (or GAS, if you don’t mind) at one time or another. Whether you are eager to try something new or just stuck in a creative rut, falling into the trap of thinking that buying a new camera or lens will instantly revamp your photography skills is something we have all been guilty of doing. Gear Acquisition Syndrome

What is Gear Acquisition Syndrome?

Do you spend more time researching photography gear than shooting? Do you believe that you can’t achieve a particular look without buying the latest shiny product? Then you might be suffering from G.A.S., also known as Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Step into my office and let me share some prescriptions that can help you cure this debilitating disease! It sure helped me!

In all seriousness, G.A.S. can be devastating for your passion in photography. I’ve known many photographers one of them is me, that have been paralyzed and stifled, blaming their lack of gear for their creation of lackluster images. As a self-professed gear junkie, I was constantly switching between camera systems, lenses, and everything else in my search to create better images.

We all need to pass GAS sometimes, but I am talking about G.A.S or Gear Acquisition Syndrome. I define it as the syndrome that makes you buy more and more without really needing the gear. You just want this…and then that, and then another this and another that, etc. While I am writing as a to photographers, I must say that this article has been of help to everyone in many fields, most notably music. So the symptoms are universal!

Gear Acquisition Syndrome - Amsterdam by Daan Wagner

Only Buy What You Need

The allure of buying new gear and constantly improving your arsenal is strong.  It’s easy to believe that spending more money is a requirement for improving or going further with your photography.  This is certainly not the case.  There are many ways to limit your purchases without limiting your abilities!

Test Before Buying

Many photography stores have gear rental packages or other ways to test gear.  If you’re not sure you need a specific item, go ahead and try it out! Maybe you’ll find you don’t like the weight, or the gears are in an awkward position for you. Maybe you’ll discover a lens is more prone to lens creep than expected, and you’ll decide it isn’t worth the price.

Or perhaps you’ll pick up a new piece of equipment and you will hear birds singing, the clouds will part, and sunshine will pour down on you as you experience a euphoria that tells you this was the item you had been waiting for all your life!  (Okay, that’s maybe a bit extreme, but you get the point.)  Either way, actual experience can tell you so much more than sifting through reviews online ever will.

This is also a great option for traveling!  If you want a specific lens for a trip but aren’t certain you’ll use it often enough back home, try renting. This is the way I love to do it.

New York City - By Daan Wagner

The Switchers

Every seen a Youtube video screaming the headline “Why I switched to XXX” or “Why you should move to XXX”? They are all over the place. Apart from the clickbait headlines these are the most blatant types of Youtubers to fuel our G.A.S.

Now, there is nothing wrong with switching systems. However for professionals and enthusiasts alike, it should be a long term and planned approach, as unless you are very wealthy, this is going to be a decision you have to live with for many years. Yet, two months after switching, the same Youtuber will post another clickbait video explaining why they have returned to product XXX. If you have followed their first advice, you may well be stuck in a system you do not like.

These sorts of Youtube photographers follow the money and the freebies with little or no regard for photographers that are looking for real advice.

Grand Canyon - by Daan Wagner

Spend More Time Shooting

In almost every case of G.A.S. I’ve seen photographers spend countless hours browsing websites doing research on lenses, cameras, stands, and everything else rather than actually going out and shooting. The simple fix is that every time you feel the need to do this grab your camera and go shoot! Set up test shoots during your free time and keep yourself busy shooting. You’ll find that at the very least you’ll increase your creativity and resourcefulness. It will also help you have a better understanding of what you actually need as opposed to what you think you need.

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