Discovering You Have a Photography Addiction Can Be Remedied
When the bug bites, it bites hard. Sometimes a little too hard. Do you ever feel that you are over-doing this photography malarky?
Going out a stupid o’clock seven days a week and coming back with little giving you any real satisfaction? There is a good chance that you are on your way to photography addiction.
A Photography Addiction
Now, whilst addiction to photography is probably not on the cure list of the Betty Ford clinic it can dramatically affect your social and even work life. It can be as simple as ignoring your friends for too long or as serious as extreme tiredness due to getting up too early too often.
It can be loading your credit card to buy the latest greatest camera or lens or burning the midnight oil working in Photoshop. There are many hooks that can snag us into an addiction to photography.
Today then, we are going to look at how to recognize an addiction and how to take steps to reduce it. Let's treat the root cause, not just the symptoms
Spotting the Signs
The first signs are often financial. Are you mentally trying to justify spending a considerable sum of money on a new piece of equipment? You spend hours thinking of the things you can do with that new purchase without analyzing whether you could already do them without it or for less money.
Do you get severe buyer regret after purchasing a new piece of kit?
Buyer regret often leads to another symptom of a photographic addiction, chasing images. There is nothing wrong with having a great shot in your mind and trying to digitally recreate it. However, if you are spending hours and hours day after day on the same thing just to justify your purchase, you are only going to go round in circles.
You will tie your creativity up into that one image negating everything else you could take using different equipment, thus having a seriously negative impact on your life.
The financial impact of new equipment, in particular cameras often has an unexpected side effect. Your new camera may have a dramatically larger image size leading to you not only needing to increase your hard drive storage but also, in some cases, a better computer or graphics card.
In all seriousness, it can be a snowball once you buy one thing, it leads to either needing more (and possibly expensive) equipment or become an obsession to just buy-use-sell so that you've always got the latest piece of glass. Be cautious here and think hard about what you really need.
Beautiful but do you need it?
Beyond the financial, you can easily neglect friends or family. Are you taking a full bag of equipment when you take a day trip with your spouse and/or children?
If you hang out with your friends are you constantly looking for shots or worse boring them with the details of your latest photographic purchase? Any of these can have an impact on your relationship with them. No, it really can, trust me on this.
Photography addiction is in most cases not a serious condition but if not kept in check it can cause you social or worse, financial problems. Let’s have a look at some of the things you can do to reduce your addiction.
Are you spending more and more time away from your family?
Taking a Step Back
Having recognized the issue, what can you do. Let’s look at the financial aspects first.
- The big question is not so much do you need this piece of equipment but can I achieve the same thing for less money. Honestly, evaluate whether you can afford this new lens or camera and whether you can buy it second hand or use a cheaper third party equivalent.
- Take a look at your own photographic style and see if your planned purchase really fits into what you do. For example, if you rarely take flash images do you need to go all out on a pair of Speedlights with wireless triggers?
Third party lenses are as good as OEM lenses but often much cheaper.
- If your addiction is more shooting-based, begin setting yourself targets. If you are trying to achieve a certain picture, give yourself a set number of weeks or shoots to achieve it then move on to something new.
- For everyday photography take only one memory card restricting the amount you can shoot. Consider getting yourself a small compact camera or decent smartphone camera to take with you on family outings. Also consider not taking a camera at all.
- When on a shoot restrict yourself to a certain amount of time and locations and stick to them. It's not always a good idea to work on post production straight after a shoot either.Upload the images then come back to them a day or two later to carry out post production. You may well find that you will see the images a different way to when they were fresh in your mind?
Photography can be an all-consuming hobby or even profession. It may well be your life but don’t let it rule your life. By taking a few steps back and working with what you've got and to a timescale, you may well find you boost your creativity, get better pictures, improve your finances and have a spouse that talks to you again.
- Financial troubles are actually a genuine concern for people with an addiction to photography. Yes, we're talking about chasing all that gear (aka GAS) for reasons that are often unjustified.
- Remember to take a look at your style of photography for minute. Before you go and get that sharp ultra-wide 14mm lens, do you enjoy the shots this can enable you to take – whether that be land/seascape, real estate etc. Basically, I am saying, don't buy a lens because you think you “ought” to have it in your kit bag.
- Try restricting your lens choices (over a number of weeks) to develop an idea of your most popular focal length.
- Your friends and family probably love the fact they have a photographer in their lives, but they probably don't want to know the in-depth details of what ISO is and how it affects your shooting (unless they specifically ask).
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