Okay, I am going to be honest. I have bought stuff that I didn’t need. There I said it. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but there it is. I’m guilty.
Oh, I could justify the purchase at the time. I either needed it for a job or a project that I was intending to work on. And there was always the voice of my accountant who reminds me that ‘you have to spend it to keep it’. There was always a reason why I would make the purchase, convincing myself that it was a good investment.
But then inventory time comes in the studio. I am looking through all the drawers and shelves and I discover several items, some of which I don’t even remember purchasing in the first place.
If I added up the value of many of those things, they would easily add up to the thousands of dollars. If I ever wondered where all the money goes, I didn’t have to look very far.
Now, I am not a spendthrift. As my wife, will attest, I am frugal, though she would likely use another word to describe me. Nevertheless, I try not to spend money impulsively. Yet, as I go through my inventory and I wonder whether the money would have been better spent elsewhere.
I am thinking about this now, because I considering investing in a new camera system this year. I have moved away from DSLRs, but have yet to commit to a new system. Besides my Fujifilm x100s and a Samsung NX1, I can easily do what I need to do. But as I look at the work that I am increasingly called to do and my personal needs, I am wondering whether it’s time to dive into one system or another.
Thus, I am looking at all the offerings from Sony, Fuji, Olympus, Pentax and even Nikon and Canon, trying to figure out not only what I need today, but what I may need for the several 3-5 years. It can be quite exhausting to filter through the myriad of features and designs offered by all these products and try to figure out what’s the best for me.
But I am also considering whether that money would be better spent on something else other than equipment.
Would some of that money be better spent on creating photographic experiences for myself? Would photo-centric travel or even a photographic workshop be a better investment of money and time than spending more money on more gear.
For the past 12 months, I have been working with the equipment that I already have in my possession. And what I didn’t need, I was easily able to rent without having to plop down a chunk of cash for one-time use. So, I am thinking that I might be able to do the same this coming year and that the funds I have allocated for gear could be applied elsewhere.
Though my wife and travel regularly, it’s not the same as taking a week or two that is dedicated 100% to photography. I might have a job that calls for 2-3 days of shooting, but that’s the not the same as several continuous days of photograph what I want, where I want and how I want.
For the last couple of years, my photography has been mixed in with the business and the personal. This has resulted in less time to just practice what I love for its own sake. I have not had the luxury and just immersing myself in photography, which is ironic considering that I spent much of my time interviewing and producing a show that revolves around photography.
As I begin the year, I am thinking about not only about how I want to spend my money, but also how do I want to spend my time, the latter which I am finding is much more valuable than any kit I could ever have in my bag.
Looking at my white-board which has all my goals for 2017, I am realizing that there is some time that must be made for me. It can’t all be all about the show, the business, the money. That’s important, but there must be a value associated with creating opportunities for me to practice photography, just for photography’s sake. That may mean delaying the purchase of equipment, but it may result in the best investment that I will make this year.