Buy Books Not Gear

Recently I’ve had some questions about the camera and lenses I use. Regardless of the brand I recommend using a small camera and one or two lenses. Having your camera with you at all times will get you more “keepers” and the use of the camera will become second nature. The main thing I recommend is using what you already have and concentrating on the images you are producing.

Constantly buying cameras, whether thats digital or film will not improve your images. You’ll spend all your time relearning how to use the camera and will miss shots because changing settings is not second nature. Also you probably spend a fair chunk of spare time on a certain auction website! I use social media and do occasionally look at new gear (mostly Medium Format), but when I’m not out with the camera I tend to look at my photography books and one or two blogs.

If you constantly use social media the temptation is to compare yourself to others on there. Ultimately does it matter if you are “better” than they are? The main mechanism for improvement is to compare your current images to your previous ones. As long as you are making small incremental improvements, that is more important than comparing with others.

If you really want to compare to other photographers then look at the best. This allows you to see where you need to be and to gives you “bar” to aim for. I have a lot of photography books but there are two or three I keep going back to for inspiration. What are they? I’m not telling you, they may not speak to you and inspire you. You need to see which books/ photographers inspire you. Books may initially seem expensive but think about how much you would pay for a print by a famous photographer? A book contains a whole project or a whole lifes work by one photographer, so they are relatively cheap. The one book I would unreservedly recommend is “On Being a Photographer” by David Hurn and Bill Jay. This describes the practice and mechanics of photography and dispels some myths.

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