Gear matters

Albert Pedrosa

Before you start the argument that skill is more important than gear, give me a chance to explain. I’ve been preaching it ever since that before you upgrade your equipment, you should upgrade yourself first. Find out if buying a new equipment will match your skills. Do you deserve it or you probably use the excuse that you’d be more inspired if you’re using better gear?

My first digital camera lasted for three years before I added a new one. I even only had one lens, 50mm 1.4 back then. Oh, I also had a dole out 28-105 lens. Basically, these are what I had for three years. Our brains are so creative that they can really find the most convincing reason to upgrade and often times, we all fall victim to it.

When you start shooting professionally, this is when things become interesting. The objective to deliver what the client wants is something you don’t want to compromise. Shooting professionally puts you in a real business environment and all business rules apply. You are now selling a reliable service to your clients.

Like in any business, you need to invest on equipment that will work the whole stretch of the shoot. Reliability becomes your utmost consideration followed by features when choosing between devices. You should be able to trust your equipment the same way the client trusts you to deliver.

One time, we were shooting for a resort for their calendar when our equipment refused to work. It was a double whammy. We were clueless.

Either the trigger was not transmitting properly or the strobe was defective. It was a five-strobe lighting setup. The trigger had no battery indicator, so we had to assume that maybe it was the battery.

After replacing the battery, a few strobes were still not working. The tension was now rising since the client was in the set and wanted to see the shot for him to approve. My team cannot take a simple instruction because everybody was disoriented and confused. Fortunately, we were able to set it right. The culprit was the trigger mounted in my camera intermittently transmitting that caused a lot of confusion.

After that incident, I realized that my equipment when I was just starting can no longer fulfill my requirements when shooting professionally. The P2,000 trigger was replaced by a P12,000 trigger this time. The price difference is quite surprising, but reliability was there together with all the advanced features.

Using the right tool for a specific job will always make sense. Although we can always find remedy to situations where we do not have the tools, that’s where creativity steps in. Gear have limitations, while creativity has its limits. Always challenge yourself and push your gears to the limit.

Keep on shooting, everyone!

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