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Looking around, it’s almost like every amateur or beginner photographer I see is trying hard to complicate his life. At first, I didn’t understand why. So much money invested into so much gear, so many complex ideas (most of which have nothing to do with real life) and so many difficult ways to bring them to life. I started asking a few of these people why they were complicating their lives, and surprisingly enough, almost none of them thought they were doing so. The response I would usually get , regarding gear anyway, is that by having more lens choices , more bodies, more whatever, they are in fact simplifying their life. Each time I would hear this, my head would get filled with things that I could say, yet I couldn’t find a way to deliver them so that they would make sense. So I wrote this article.
Why is simplicity important?
Basically, the more prepared you try to be for a certain situation, the less you will be able to actually do a good job. Carrying around a case full of cameras and lenses will make you look pro, but what it actually does is cloud your vision. You suddenly find yourself with a lot of options for performing an often simple task, and you don’t know which way to go. Getting caught up in lens choices and camera settings has very little to do with actual photography. Sadly, almost everywhere I go and meet new photographers, sometimes experienced ones, not just beginners and the majority of the talking is about gear: Photoshop plugins, Lightroom filters, iMacs and everything else technical. I can count the times I’ve heard a conversation about vision, mood, or concept on the fingers of one hand. Nobody does it because they’re all busy debating gear.
Photography should be simple. The least equipment involved in the process, the better. The less options you have for technically solving a situation, the better. Why? Because it will shift your brain into gear and make you think about actually taking photographs instead of picking out numbers.
I have nothing against complex ideas. In fact, if you have them, good for you. I just don’t think that adopting a complicated way of doing things is good, yet so many photographers push themselves to do everything as complicated as possible.
At the end of the day, what matters is what’s in the picture, not how it was taken. This is why simplicity is important. All photographers have had bad days, when nothing seems to ad up, for some strange reason. Guess what? It’s often because they make everything so unnecessarily complicated. But you should choose your simplicity wisely. Carrying a zoom lens instead of three fixed lenses might seem like a solution, but it will most likely dull your perception even more. Be careful and be smart. Photography comes from the heart, but between that and the final image, it takes a bit of smart, efficient thinking.
Image credit: sziban / 123RF Stock Photo