Tuesday Tip :: Want or Need?


As photographers, our shopping list is fairly large. New camera bodies are always coming out, new lenses, props, backdrops, software, computers….there is always something new and exciting out there to buy.

But, just as in our regular life, we have budgets. We can’t make a profit if we turn around and invest EVERYTHING we make back into things we think we need.

Before you buy something new, you should ask yourself why you want it. Have you outgrown what you already have? Do you find yourself being unable to get a shot in certain conditions because your ISO won’t go that high/you can’t get the zoom you need/etc? That new lens you just have to have, are you sure it’s the one you want? How about taking it for a test drive? There are tons of lens rental places…you may find out that it’s not what you thought it would be and that there is a different option for you.

Most photographers are able to do everything they need with just Photoshop Elements. If you reach the limits of Photoshop Elements, then you can look into the full version of Photoshop. Chances are though, you won’t need to. Using what you have to it’s full extent not only will be better for your pocket book but it will also keep you from having buyer’s remorse.

To help combat that need to buy things…make a list. Go ahead, sit down right now and write out everything you want or need. From the smallest (another battery or CF card) to the largest. Write it down. If you were given a blank check to fill out your equipment, what would you buy?

Then, after you have that list, take a look at it seriously. Why do you want it? Is it something you need? Is there something that could get you by? What about something that could work instead? There will be some things on that list that don’t have replacements. It’s okay to dream big. That’s the only way to grow! But if you can control the dream and how you achieve it, you’ll find yourself much more content with what you have.

And too, you’ll be so much more excited when you get to purchase that item you’ve been waiting for when you know exactly what it will do in your business!

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2 Comments on Tuesday Tip :: Want or Need?

  1. Kate Anderson
    May 24, 2011 at 10:42 am (7 years ago)

    Excellent points. The belief that we need the latest and greatest can be so hard to overcome sometimes, and the consequences of trying to have the latest and greatest can be high also.

    Another thing I wanted to suggest when making the priority list of things to have, ask yourself “Is this worth saving, and how much is it worth saving?” It’s so easy to accumulate a bunch of stuff over time, that we of course think we *need* at the time. But what happens if there is a disaster, or even just a big crisis? Is that new fancy widget worth spending valuable time to save? This is a consideration I’ve just had to start making. Our basement flooded, and we had precious few minutes to start grabbing what was most valuable out of the crawlspace and lower level before it was too wet to be salvageable. We had to make snap decisions about what was worth saving immediately, and what was worth risking losing. We found that we had quite a bit more stuff that wasn’t worth as much as we thought it was to us.

    As much as it sucks having to cleanup, we’ve learned a valuable lesson on what is really important, and what we can do without. And the value of big plastic boxes.

    I’d encourage everyone to add that consideration to the list before buying that fancy new lens or lighting setup. The stuff you need will be worth saving; the stuff you want, probably isn’t going to be worth spending the time to save in a crisis or disaster.

  2. Alex
    May 28, 2011 at 9:52 am (7 years ago)

    This is a wonderful post and is something I think cripples us as photographers – buying unnecessary equipment. I know that we want it all, but do we need it all? Most times the lenses that we crave make a difference that our clients can’t even distinguish. Is it worth it? This is something I think about every time I lust over the 85mm 1.2 🙂 haha. Big hugs xxx


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