Why I got rid of my photography gear

I had everything I ever needed, all the dream gear, Broncolor lighting, the latest Professional Canon cameras, and all the fastest Canon lenses. I had the latest Apple laptop, C-stands, tripods, all the gear I could ever dream of. I had it all, and at the time it was good. So why did I decide to get rid of everything after only a few years.

I used all my gear, I used it all the time. Everything I purchased I needed, or so I thought. I would do a studio photo shoot every weekend for personal work, and client work throughout the week. I got to a point where purchasing everything would be cheaper instead of renting. So over time I purchased all the gear I could ever need.

The problem was and wasn’t the gear, ironically. Using the gear made my life easier, I had a variety of lighting setups I would use. My clients loved my work and paid me for my time. But slowly I lost passion for the work my clients booked me for. The work I was doing wasn’t fulfilling my soul. It was time to change things up. I made the business decision to drop all my fashion work. As a result, my personal style changed. I had a lot of gear, and that gear wasn’t making me happy. I wanted to simplify my life, to do that required letting go.

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I found minimalism which isn’t for everyone. But for me, it was what I needed at the time. I stopped using all my gear and came up with a photography process and minimal gear list.

Photography process

  • Portable (only use what I could carry)
  • Anywhere (be able to take a photo anywhere)
  • Anything (be able to take a photo of anything)
  • Available light (no lighting gear)
  • Minimal (one camera, one lens, one film/preset)
  • Identifiable (have a consistent style)

Photography gear

  • One camera (Leica M)
  • One lens (50mm Summilux)
  • One film/preset (Kodak Tri-X 400)
  • Lightmeter
  • ND filter (no tripod)

These are my limitations and guidelines to my process and style. With these limitations, it forces me to be more creative.

Because I limited my gear and process I began to feel freer. I didn’t have to make gear choices anymore. No more what lens should I use? I only had a 50mm. I only had one camera. I can only photograph with the available surrounding light. I no longer had the option to manipulate the lighting. At first, this was very hard, but over time my process influenced and changed my style. As a result, it became freeing.

In minimising my gear, I have found happiness. Do you use all your gear? Does it bring you happiness, or could you also benefit from a little downgrading yourself?

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