How to Cure a Bad Case of G.A.S.

Hello. My name is Austin and I have G.A.S. I can’t resist the shiny new toys of my trade. The latest lens with beautiful bodacious buttery bokah beckons to me. More modifiers than man can measure producing legendary lovely lustrous light that lulls me to a shopaholic comma. Take all my money!

I do it all in hopes of achieving the “look”. You know the one I’m talking about. We’re all chasing that great white whale. I ride atop this ship of mine like a crazed Ahab that’ll stop at nothing until that whopping whale is mine. Only then can this captain rest. It’s entirely possible I’m exaggerating, but you get the point.

To be honest, in the past I have suffered from G.A. S (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), and I probably will struggle with it again. Early in my photographic journey I wanted to know how great photographers achieved the “look” and thought it was entirely based on the gear they were using. Sure, talent and vision were involved, but there was no way I could produce the same quality of work with my dinky camera and a kit lens. I was dead wrong.

black and white of woman smiling to the camera
A portrait using two speed lights and an old blanket for the backdrop.

I’ve seen photographers drool over the latest and greatest new piece of gear as if they are nothing without it. They claim their work is drab and ho-hum because they don’t have the right tools. That’s simply is not true. I can almost guarantee those photographers are spending more time researching gear and techniques than actually shooting. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with being a gear junkie. The problem arises when too much emphasis is placed on the gear and not enough on the person operating the gear.

What can we do to combat this terrible compulsion? I’ve got a couple ideas. They’re simple and yet so very hard. These are the two activities that help me the most when I get in the G.A.S. rut.



This can be anything. Try a 365 Day Challenge or 52 Week Challenge. Better still, try a 30-Day Challenge. No matter which one you tackle, the key is that you should tackle something. Give yourself a set of guidelines to follow throughout your challenge. Use only one light, use only natural light, use only one lens, etc. In doing so, you are forced to focus on what you have and learn the limitations of each piece of gear. In the process though, you will become more creative and resourceful. Try it. I bet you’ll see your image quality and consistency grow.

It worked for me and is still working. I recently started a new challenge. I’m brushing off the cobwebs and stepping away from my computer to join the real world of creativity.

man with plunger
1/52 for my 52 Week Project. The theme was red.



Seems like an obvious point to make, but the simple fix for G.A.S. is to get out and shoot. Stop researching lenses, cameras, lights, modifiers, and all that other crap. Grab your camera and shoot the images you want to make regardless of what you think you need to make them. As soon as you feel the hankering to drool over the hottest gear, grab your camera instead. Set up test shoots in your down time. Don’t just talk the talk. Walk the walk.

out shooting pictures with my fuji
Get off your ass and just shoot!

What’s the worst thing that happens? You get better at your craft? Sign me up. If you have any recommendations for things that help you kick your habit, drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.


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