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Camera Gear Basics: How Much Do You Need to Carry?

Updated on May 25, 2020
Photography Focus profile image

I am passionate about photography and love to teach what I've learned during my 30+ years of working as a professional photographer.

Camera gear is the main focus for many photographers. Especially guys. How much camera gear you need can be answered by how much you actually use.


Understand how you most love to use your camera and the question of how much camera gear you should carry is answered. What equipment does a photographer need? Only what they can make good use of.


Let’s have a look at this problem of being weighed down by too much camera equipment.

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Focus On Camera Gear Will Not Make You A Better Photographer

I’ve so often heard photographers telling others their photos would be better if they had the best photography accessories or camera.


This is rarely true. Concentrating on wanting new camera gear is a hindrance to your photographic development.


The more you crave camera gear you don’t have, the more you’ll be distracted. Constantly thinking that your camera is not good enough will not help you learn to use the camera that you have.


There are always more photography accessories you can buy. A new camera body. New lenses. There are so many things you can add to your photography camera kit. But how many of them are necessary? How many of them would make a significant impact on the quality of the photos you take?

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Having Too Much Gear is a Problem

Carrying a lot of camera gear will slow you down and wear you out. This may not bother younger photographers so much, but it becomes more of a problem as you grow older. You should only carry camera gear you know you’ll make use of.


Camera gear is heavy. No matter what kind of bag, case or jacket you use, if you’re carrying too much you will be uncomfortable. Discomfort can mean you’ll not be fully concentrating on your photography.


Camera gear is bulky. When your bag is stuffed full of gear it’s more difficult to move about because of your camera gear. This is a problem when you’re in a busy place or confined space. Being able to move freely is often important. Having to negotiate your way through a crowd with a big load of camera gear is no fun.


The more camera gear you carry, the more choices you have to make. While you’re deciding what lens to use, you might miss the best photo opportunity. Carry gear you know well and are confident to use in any situation.


Picking and packing the lenses you’ll need for a photo session requires some planning. Think about what camera gear you’re most likely to need and only pack that. Leave everything else behind.


If you can’t make up your mind to pack a particular lens, think about the last time you made good use of it. Will it fill the same need for what you plan to photograph? If in doubt, leave it out.

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How To Minimize the Camera Gear You Carry

Leaving camera gear behind can be a tough decision to make. What if I need that lens? What about my tripod? I might need it. Once you change your thinking and aim not to carry so much gear the process will become less stressful. It takes a little practice, but you’ll learn the benefits in no time.


Think about what camera gear is in your bag and what you typically pack. How often do you use each lens or photography accessory? You’ll find that you are not using some of it nearly as much as others.


If you’re uncertain about this, start by making a list. Write down everything that’s in your bag. The next time you go out to take photos, cross each piece you use off your list. Next time you head out, only take the items you crossed out. Leave behind the camera gear you did not use.


As you begin to reduce the amount of camera equipment you carry you will become an expert at using your favorite gear.


You’ll discover new ways of using the camera gear you love the most. When you have less gear with you thinking outside the box becomes more of a priority.

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Be Content and Creative With the Gear You Have

Get radical. Only take one lens and one camera body next time you go to take photos. Push your creativity. You’ll be forced to think about the process of taking photos differently when you carry minimal photography equipment.


Take only a prime lens, one that does not zoom. Then you’re stepping into territory that may be somewhat scary. The ‘what if’ question will be constantly worrying you. Don’t let it. Guard your mind against negative thoughts and press yourself to be creative with whatever is in your hands.


Step away from a reliance on the ‘right’ gear to take the photo. How can you take the best photo with what you have? You will find most of the problem is in your mind.


Don’t worry about not having a portrait lens or a macro lens. You probably never use them often anyway. Push your thinking towards positive creativity. Don’t worry that you aren’t ‘properly’ equipped.


This approach takes some practice, but you will reap what you sow. The amount of creative effort you put in gets reflected in the quality of photos you produce. Once you learn to concentrate more on photography and less on the camera gear you’re using, the better photographer you’ll become.

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Invest in Learning Photography, Not in Buying More Camera Gear

That common problem of thinking your photos aren’t good enough because you don’t have the right gear is rarely true.


Professional photographers carry more gear because they are bing paid to take certain types of photos. They must cover their bases. But this does not mean they need to spend a lot and have all the most modern equipment.


Learn to use the gear you have. Study and become a better photographer.


If you are thinking about buying a new camera or lens, consider investing that money in a photography course. Committing to study and practice photography is far more likely to make you a better photographer.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Photography Focus

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