5 Greatest Investments Street Photographers Should Have

Gears are important. After all, it’s the tool that takes the photo. It’s tool that makes it easier for us to capture life and record it either on a roll of film or a digital file. Basically, none of those photographs would exist without a camera to take it. And due to the ever increasing technology we have, all those new cameras with all the impressive bells and whistles, it gets hard for us not to upgrade and get a “better”, the “most advanced” body, or simply the newer version that just got released.

This article is here to help you get that second opinion whether you need that so called “upgrade” and probably save you from the infamous G.A.S. and of breaking your bank.

Here are 5 investments that are better than upgrading your camera.

~Ok, for the sake of this post, I’m going to assume you already bought a good working camera. Alright? Let's go!~

1. Books/ Zines

 My small but growing collection of books. I try to buy at least 2 books a year.

My small but growing collection of books. I try to buy at least 2 books a year.

Whether it’s a physical book or an E-book, these things pack a lot of ideas, concepts, and inspirations. Most photo books that I own contains the best photos compiled by the photographers that have helped me progress as a street photographer. All of these books helped me see the world differently because of how the photographers translate reality into their own perspectives. It also pushed me to improve my craft and aim to someday create my own book or magazine that I can publish for the world to see.

I’ve got a growing number of books on my shelf. Even though I’ve finished most of them, I still keep on pulling them off the shelf and browsing through pages to study and get inspiration from.

2. Traveling

If you want to further your level of street photography, there is no better way than to go outside your turf and experience the outside world. Be it out of town, or entirely in a different country I’m sure it’s gonna do you good. Unless you went there to shop for a camera! I’m kidding.

If you spend time taking photographs in another country, you allow yourself to be immersed in different kinds of people, beliefs, and cultures. Your eyes get to see different colors of life and how they deal with it. Being exposed to something you are not used to is an opportunity for you to see something new. In fact, everything probably is new to you. Nothing beats great food, refreshing views, friendly people and culture all wrapped up around you.

And you know what? You get to knock out another one form this list. Experience.

3. Experience

 Lantau Island, Hong Kong. 2016  I'm lucky my wife loves to travel. In fact, she's the one pushing me to travel before as I always prefer to stay home and save money....to buy cameras of course. Now, the experience I get from travelling had expanded my experience more than the most advanced camera I get to use.

Lantau Island, Hong Kong. 2016

I'm lucky my wife loves to travel. In fact, she's the one pushing me to travel before as I always prefer to stay home and save money....to buy cameras of course. Now, the experience I get from travelling had expanded my experience more than the most advanced camera I get to use.

Instead of getting a new camera, why don’t you just get a new experience? Travel abroad, try new techniques, or interact with people as you photograph them? You see, a new camera makes wonders. Great image quality and superior technology make photographing a lot easier. But if you lack the experience, the ability to converse with strangers or set your camera’s exposure with ease, you probably won’t have that photo you want. Sure you can try with your Oh-so-good camera, but what are you going to get? A great image quality? Yes. But a QUALITY IMAGE? I doubt it.

4. Time

This is pretty straight forward. If you don’t have this, how are you going to take photos? Sure you can upgrade to a better camera but do you have the time to use it? It’s a complete waste of money if that happens. So I suggest you start investing first with time.

~Remember, no time= no photos.~

Take more pictures, learn new things, take time and earn experience, get to know your camera and build your skill set. If you’ve got time already in your hands and you’ve used it wisely then I guess you can now consider getting an upgrade.

5. Skills and Knowledge

 Bagdhad Road, Singapore. 2017 - A photographer/ tourist taking a photograph of the temple.

Bagdhad Road, Singapore. 2017 - A photographer/ tourist taking a photograph of the temple.

This is probably the number 1 thing I’m always promoting constantly. Invest in your skills and knowledge and your photos will get better. Sure a better camera will help you but when skills are better than the specs of your camera, the quality of the photographs you will produce will be flying off the charts.

If you bulk up your skills by constantly practicing, doing exercises and just ultimately pushing yourself to become better, the quality of your photographs will follow. If you went for a camera that is way beyond your skill set, it’s just gonna overwhelm you. You won’t even use the camera's full potential. By the time your skills and knowledge are so great, your camera can’t keep up. That’s the time you upgrade.  

I myself still have a long way to go. I’ve fallen into the trap of the “better camera= better photo” scheme but when I reverted back into shooting film, I realized how much I need to learn. From learning the exposure triangle to learning hyperfocal focusing. By shooting with analog cameras I was able to read light with my eyes and was confident with it. I was able to focus fast and I'm not worried about getting my subjects out of focus because I learned what aperture I need to get people in focus. It's a trick I learned and use it religiously.

I came to the point that I see cameras as a tool and only a tool I use. I believe in myself 100% that I can take the photograph I want and I just trust my camera that it’ll work.

The best camera is useless if it’s used by a person lacking the skills. And at the end of the day, it’s the quality of the image you produce that will matter.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, you will be the one to decide. I’m not here to stop you buying but I’m here to help you decide. If you think you’ve got all these covered then why not? Get your new camera. But if you are lacking in these investments I’ve listed. Then I ask you.  Why do you need to upgrade?

I hope I was able to give light to you and as always, Share this if you find value in it. Now bulk up our investment portfolio and shoot!