Last week we posted Question – should I market gear and technique? in response to a reader’s question about how relevant our gear is to our photography business. Check out that post and then check out this comment from Kitty:
In our market are many photographers who are using subpar equipment and they do love the fact that customers often pick them based on 600px big images on the website. I am not scared to admit that I am gear head to my couples, it is in fact part of my brand. That I am photographer from morning to night and putting velvia next to bread for kid’s breakfast in the mall’s shopping cart. Normal people think I am crazy fascinated and attached to what I do resulting in a booking and those who have photography as hobby book us because they trust we won’t show up with D90 and kit lens, because they know, that what counts are not those 50 pics on the website, but how all will look.
If you’ve been around for a while you know I don’t tend to talk photography or gear very often here. I like to keep the conversation specifically focused because it seems like everyone else is reviewing gear and talking about how to take photos so I tend to think there is a need to fill a different void. Having said that, strap in because I’m going to talk cameras and images for a minute.
I’m not going to judge anyone’s gear-headedness. Believe it or not I think about cameras and photography all the time. I’ve been guilty of thinking too much about gear from time to time. So I totally understand the impulse to talk shit about the photographer with the D90 and the kit lens.
Just think about every amazing photo that’s ever been taken. Think about all the iconic stuff – all the meaningful photographs. The vast majority of them were taken with cameras and lenses that were worse than the D90 and kit lens we’re talking shit about. The reality is that D90 is amazing. So is the kit lens. Sure, there is (WAY) better stuff available on the market by comparison, but compared to what most meaningful photographs were made with that D90 kit might as well be a magical artifact.
We aren’t as valuable as our gear. We’re as valuable as our beliefs and vision. The gear is plenty good, even the worst of it. That’s why I don’t like talking gear – sure it is fun amongst us nerds but it doesn’t amount to a damn thing in the world of value.
I don’t like spending money on gear because it keeps the camera companies in business instead of me in profitability. I could easily do my job with a D90. I don’t, but probably not for functional reasons as much as for how I would feel about myself. My client wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Not because they are stupid, but because how and why I take a photograph matters so much more than what I took it with.
Your camera isn’t your value. Your value is the same whether you have a D4 or Phase One or D90 in your hand. It better be anyway.
Disclaimer – don’t freak out, I’m not saying you should have sub-par gear or spray-and-pray or anything like that. I’m just saying anything that you can throw money at isn’t real, client-focused value.
Want to learn how to build real value? Want to learn how to get hired by the right clients, for the right amount, to do the right work? Check out the SEXY BUSINESS Workshop.