Gear Doesn't Matter... Ramblings for the Night

Sun Studios, Memphis, TN

Many of us spend an inordinate amount of time and effort on pixel peeping and gear acquisition. We are passionate about the gear we lug around every day and will usually bore a non photographer to tears with our endless ramblings about Canon, Leica, Fuji, Nikon or whichever brand we've aligned to. It's something we're all passionate about. One of my personal passions is Memphis music. This shows in my library with images that are tied in with Memphis and the music here.

Roller derby girls talk about little else other than derby. Golfers prattle about golf. Car guys talk about cars. Musicians ramble on about their guitars going to eleven. It's human nature. Your photography is your baby... Nobody thinks their baby is ugly. Our photography enables us all to bring a touch of beauty into a troubled world. GREAT! Keep bringing the beauty. Be thick skinned though, not everyone will like every one of your images. Each rejection makes you a better photographer. More beautiful babies.

I propose a shift in mentality. Your gear doesn't matter. Take your pictures, move on, rediscover the adventure, the feeling that first drew you to photography. Find the majestic sunset, find the quirky features in the towns near you. Bring your passions to your images.

Many of us are old enough to remember the darkroom experience, printing and the care we put into prints. Now we devote that same time and effort into Lightroom, Photoshop and other editors. It's a matter of efficiency. The more images you crank out, the better your stock library will be. In the back of your mind, remember when we used to have to get the image 100% right in the camera... on slide film. There was no editing.

Don't rely on gimicks, hdr, or other visual tricks. Aspire for the in camera perfection. Use Lightroom and Photoshop as a tool to enhance your images, to perform corrections you used to not be able to do. The more time you spend in Lightroom, the less time you have available for creating images for your stock library.

The things that do matter? That's easy... Travel to nearby towns, take photos, learn to keyword effectively, be persistent and strong.

Keywords are the real muscle of your images. The better your keywords, the higher visibility an image will have. Synonyms are useful, keywording is an art unto itself.

Think like an ad buyer. In August, they are already ramping up their Christmas promotions and looking for the right images. This puts you on a strange schedule where you might be shooting Christmas images in June and July and finding models willing to dress up like Santa or elves in the hot months of the summer when NOBODY in the outside world is thinking about Christmas. Uploading your 2016 Christmas themed content in June so that it shows as a newest image when a potential customer is looking in August is smart thinking. Think like a creative agency who is creating Halloween content in July and August. Always think like an ad agency... What images look like Mother's Day? (They're looking in Feb/March for this content. In the words of Apple... Think Different.

When I worked for a Jewelry Store, they were planning Valentine's Day promotions in November. December is a busy season and the retail stores have blinders on where they only see their Black Friday through Christmas sales. They've already built their websites out, they already have Christmas content rolling out. You get the idea...

Another thought: Just because a thousand tourists have shot the hokey stereotypical shots in your town doesn't mean you can't shoot the same stuff. There's good reason they are shooting these things... They've seen it on many websites about your town.

With this all said and this being my first blog for Dreamstime, go out, have fun, take lots of photos. I wish all of you well and hope that someone will find this interesting enough to make me a favorite contributor. There will be more content to come as I have time.



Photo credits: Blake Billings.

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October 21, 2016


Thanks for sharing Blake.Appreciate it!

September 12, 2016


Great article.....I would agree with it to a point but gear does matter. If you want photo quality you have to be willing to pay for it.

September 09, 2016


Thank you for this great article David.
I used to own a DSLR but found it heavy and cumbersome to carry around with the variety of lenses and gear to go along with it. I am a tiny person and not young any more. So, I sold it and bought myself a very nice little bridge camera. I am very happy with the photo quality and, because I can still shoot in RAW and in manual mode, it allows me to be creative if I want to be.

September 08, 2016


Well written and very helpful. David.

August 24, 2016


Thanks for reinforcing my feeling that the most important gear is the artistic eye of the photographer. I cannot afford to spend megabucks on super lenses, although I do lust after them. So I use decent equipment which allows me to produce the best images I can.

August 19, 2016


interesting article :)

August 18, 2016


Thanks for writing this blog. Best wishes

August 17, 2016


thanks everyone. I'll probably crank out a few more blogs.

August 16, 2016


I juts get my gears equipment and after that - shoot. But its hard not to think about them after a while. Batteries dead and out of production, flashes burnt out. So its online information mining and checking them out at shops. I don't brag about gears anyway.

August 16, 2016


Very useful information, and motivational - thanks

August 16, 2016


Thats a great first blog!
Also, editorial goes fine to, for educational, non-profit, blogs etc. Most of my sales are editorial :-)
Cheers Blake!

August 16, 2016


Great piece thank you.Well written fun and informative. As a new comer to stock agency work, I found it a great resource.

August 16, 2016


Great post! Thanks for sharing :)

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