I like to say that you should never invest more money into your photography gear than you do in the skills it takes to use the gear.
That means if you want to buy a new camera today that’s worth $1,000, you should first spend the equivalent of $1,000 on classes with your current camera. That way, when it comes time to purchase, you’ll know exactly what to buy, because you’ll know why your current gear isn’t enough.
And $1,000 doesn’t have to be an investment of money. It could also be time.
Take a minute to calculate what you think your time is worth (I’m guessing $50-$250/hour) and then divide $1,000 by your hourly rate to get an equivalent number of hours $1,000 is worth in your day.
Then, spend those hours taking a course online or searching through YouTube for things you don’t understand.
A simple search of these things, for example, will largely prepare you for your next gear purchase…
• Photography composition tips
• Understanding camera exposure
• Focus settings on <insert camera name>
• How to set up my camera the first time
• What is white balance
• How to read a histogram
• Better photos indoors
• What is aperture priority mode
Or, if you’re already past these things, try searching on topics that interest you to invest more time in your skill…
• Tips for shooting portraits outdoors
• Tips for using a wide angle lens
• Storytelling for travel photos
• How to nail focus on the go
• Shooting with window light
• How to choose my best photos for sale
Once you feel ready for new gear, check out our camera-buying guide. It’s free, and it goes over everything you need to know, including links to our favorite cameras and lenses for all levels and budgets.
There is no one-size-fits-all camera just like there is no one-size-fits-all car. So, it’s important to know that this guide was written under the following assumptions:
1. You like to travel, so you need something light in weight.
2. You want a camera that you’ll actually use, not one that’s so complicated you end up leaving it on a shelf.
3. When photography is fun, you’ll do it more often. When it gets too technical, you lose interest and never improve.
When I first bought a camera and took a class on how to use it, I was made to feel stupid for not knowing basic things like what an aperture is and how it relates to my ISO.
I wasn’t welcomed with open arms. I was chastised for being new.
And now, because of that experience, I will never do the same to you. It’s a terrible way to learn.
So instead, we welcome beginners. And over the years I’ve learned one very important thing about photography:
It’s never the best photographers who make the most money. It’s simply those who create the kinds of images buyers need.
And that’s important to know when you read things from us like this camera guide.
We, here at Great Escape, are not professional wedding photographers who need the latest and greatest gear. Nor are we the best fine artists out to capture a million-dollar scene.
We’re just regular folks who like to travel and have fun, and we’re leveraging what we know about different photography markets to make extra (and sometimes full-time) cash.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Five Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]