It’s all about the gear, until it isn’t
Have you ever noticed that when you don’t get the shot you were trying for it’s always because your gear let you down, but when you do nail it, it’s all about your talent and gear had nothing to do with it?
It’s ridiculous when you see it in set out in black and white isn’t it, but I bet it sounds familiar. Why do we do it?
I think it’s a self defense mechanism. It’s much easier to blame our gear for our shortcomings than to actually admit we screwed up or, even worse, to admit that we reached the limit of our knowledge or ability.
Sure, there are times when gear will get in the way but is it really the gears fault? The camera missed focus, your flash didn’t recycle fast enough or the stupid ISO jumped to 128000 all on its own. All those are gear related but still your fault. Modern cameras are clever and can do many things, but they don’t know what you are trying to achieve. You are driving the bus – it’s your responsibility. Taking the examples/excuses above; The camera won’t change your focus point for you if you are locking on to a distant tree instead of your model. You should know how hard you are asking your flash to work and time your shots accordingly, or crank your ISO so it needs to pump out less light each time. And if you think settings are changing by themselves, you need to sit down with your camera and the manual for an hour or two.
Then there’s the other reason: GAS, or Gear Acquisition Syndrome. In the back of your mind you know it was you that stuffed up the shot, but there’s an insidious part of you brain that keeps whispering “It’s not your fault, you’re awesome! You’d have totally nailed that if you had 2.8 glass and a D4/1DX!” I’ve definitely suffered from this on a few occasions but I like to think I have learned to tune out that little voice inside my brain now. Now it just tells me to try harder!
Of course you should be confident in your abilities but you also need to admit to yourself that you don’t know everything. None of us do, or ever will. Photography is all about constantly educating yourself and pushing yourself creatively. If you think you know it all, put you camera on eBay tonight, photography is not for you.
So stop blaming your gear, own your mistake and learn how not to make it again.