Most photographers are of the opinion that new gear, or a new camera, will drastically improve their photography skills. After all, new gear is….well….new! And it’s shiny. It’s also different, which makes it just that much more appealing. It’s tempting to think that new gear just might be able to solve all of your photography woes and turn you into the next Ansel Adams!

Newsflash: a better camera won’t make you a better photographer. It may improve the quality of your photos, but for improving photo composition, lighting, technique, and all-around skill -gear has almost nothing to do with the results of your photography.

Of course, there are exceptions, and in many cases new gear may be great, or even necessary. While new gear won’t necessarily improve your photography skills, in some cases it may be just what you need to advance in your niche, and it may even prove to be a valuable investment.

So how can you tell if it’s time to invest in some new gear?

Weighing up your options can help you to determine whether an investment will be well-worth it, or if it will fall flat.

Read on to see some questions that you should ask yourself when trying to decide whether to invest in new photography equipment.

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Will New Gear Bring More Revenue?

For professional photographers, it’s important to consider whether the purchase of new gear will bring in more revenue. While it can be easy to assume that new customers will come flocking in once you have a new portrait lens, lack of customers is often due to other factors. Low publicity, insufficient marketing, or even failing to have a distinctive signature style can all result in a low customer count. While the amount of gear that you need will vary depending on the type of photography that you do, don’t count on a new purchase to bring in new customers.

Alternatively, if you know what you’re doing and you’re great with your camera, but you need to branch out and your gear can’t accommodate your needs, it may be time to spring for some new equipment.

Will New Gear Capture Photos That My Current Gear Isn’t Capable Of?

If you feel that you have reached the stage where your current gear just can’t keep up, you may think that it’s time for some new gear. However, it’s important to make sure that you are using your current gear properly, and utilizing all the settings in order to determine whether or not your camera –or lens- is actually being used at its maximum potential.

Purchasing new photography gear can help you to progress once you reach a stage where your current camera, or lens, just isn’t capable of everything you need it do. Remember though, that in order to reach that stage, you will generally need to have had extensive experience shooting, to understand the limits of what your gear is really capable of.

Should I Focus on Improving My Skills or Updating My Gear?

While many photographers think that an investment in gear is the best way to improve their photography, many professional photographers agree that one of the best ways to improve the quality of your photography, is to invest in your skills, before upgrading your gear. Take some online photography courses, or read tutorials, get out of your comfort zone and try something new.

While new gear can help you branch out with your photography, it won’t necessarily make you a better photographer. Knowledge and skill though, are invaluable. Sharpening your photography skills will prove to be worthwhile, and you will notice the results in the composition of your photos.


If you’ve reached the point where you feel that some new gear will help take your photography to new levels, you may want to consider renting gear, before you buy. This allows you to test the gear and see if it’s really everything you imagined it would be. Renting is also a good way to test two, or more, options, and see which one works best for you.

While new gear can be a great addition to any photographer’s kit, just remember, it’s not the gear that makes great photography –it’s knowing how to use the gear that does!

“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” –Ansel Adams

What about you? How do you determine whether or not to purchase new gear? Share your strategies!