Photography tip of the day
Follow the Mantra of engineers. Keep it simple stupid other wise known colloquially as K.I.S.S. A good engineer knows to keep it as simple as possible to get the job done. Engineers know that more complication means more failure points therefore the simplest solution is the best solution.
Perhaps we could learn a thing or two from the people who design the equipment we use.
How much time do you spend agonizing over what equipment to bring only to feel like you should have brought more or different equipment? How often do you feel like if only you had that one more piece of gear your photography would be so much better? How often indeed. I think this is the curse of life the “What if’s” I have news for you. You can’t actualize all of life’s possibilities. It’s not going to happen. Ignore that little troll in your head that second guesses your decisions and go with the simple answer. Don’t worry about the shots you will miss without X lens Or Y camera. Just pack a small bag and get there and enjoy yourself. Because isn’t that the point? Keeping it simple will bring the joy back.
I picked up a Sony A7riii for myself for Christmas this year. And while I absolutely love this camera (review coming later) I’m not going to use it. It’s not going to make my photography better and in fact I’m pretty sure it will hurt my photography. I believe so firmly in not adding to my stock of camera equipment that I have decided not to keep it.
Let me explain, I have an A7rii (review here) and a Sony Rx1Rii (review here) when I got both I was way to careful with them missing out on a lot of opportunity. I needed new lenses despite adapting the canon lenses I already had. This of course led to new filters for every occasion for every lens, step up rings, straps, clips, tripod etc etc etc etc. I was annoyed by their limitations, and I wanted more features and faster auto focus and more lenses. MORE MORE MORE of everything! I was willing to make these tradeoffs because my wife made me it was the right decision at the time. But make no mistake I NEEDED more. In time, however, I discovered that the real limitations were my own. I sucked at discerning what I wanted from what I needed. I got away from DSLR’s because of the weight and size penalties and I was building those right back up with the new system. My indecision led me to bring too many lenses on long vacations. I started to not enjoy my photography again. I was back to square one, going down same old indecisive road. Too much stuff, too much paralysis through analysis and not enough KISS. As an Entrepreneur I have always had a tenuous relationship with this theory of being paralyzed by indecision as my lively hood depends on my ability to be aggressive without being so aggressive with my decision making that I sink the ship. This leads to a lot of stress and a lot of over analysis. I find this to be something to avoid in my personal life especially with my hobbies. I am also an avid woodworker and let me tell you, woodworkers are no different from photographers. They need that next piece of equipment or they over think something and then the project never gets done because of over-complication.
So with my own empirical evidence of social disorders in hand! I am a social scientist having gone to school for Psychology therefore this is about as empirical as our social science evidence gets. I devised a plan to change the behavior and test it for a year before mouthing off about the cure to Gear Acquisition Syndrome and Paralysis through analysis.
Well here it is: Get the smallest camera you can with either a fixed lens or pick a single lens and leave it on the camera. Get yourself a small water resistant bag and keep in it:
- a couple filters as it’s all your going to need because you only have one lens. A shower cap for rain or waterfalls to cover the camera with.
- A lens pen
- Spare batteries
- An UltrapodII
I have found for the last couple of years that my KISS solution is a Sony Rx1rii
a lens pens, an Ultrapod II tripod, and a shower-cap and of course a stack of extra batteries. With this kit I am no longer burdened by indecision I know exactly what I have and how to use it to the best of its ability and mine. I can grab this bag for family events and kids activities right down to long hikes and months long vacations. All the stress of agonizing over the right lens for the right occasion is gone. No longer do I sift through camera bodies. I don’t get bothered at events anymore to send pictures to other parents and so on and so forth because of my equipment. I am freed to just enjoy photography again. I think you can be too if you stick with the Engineers mantra KISS. You don’t have to go the same route that I did with camera bodies but you get the idea. Stop thinking and start photographing.
I guarantee that you will have more fun with less stress. Now get out there and enjoy yourself life is short!