When photographers get together to talk shop there’s no end of debate about what equipment to buy. Agonizing over every gear purchase is par for the course. In fact, it’s a universal pre-boasting.

Despite that odd custom, nearly every photographer worth his salt will tell you that what’s in front of the camera is much more important than any technical tool.

Money spent on getting the right subject or traveling to the right location. The mere fact of forgoing an establishment job or career is most often the biggest “purchase” we make.

On a certain day in October, while people near me were in warm offices drawing wages and benefits, I was working outside in a frozen and foggy Missouri morning.

Two things were competing for my attention during this outdoor session. First, will the batteries in the strobe survive the cold? Second, will the model come to her senses and call it quits based on the lousy conditions?

They did and she didn’t and I couldn’t have been happier.

After we wrapped I thanked her for sticking it out. She mentioned that while it was bitterly cold, it’s better than working for a living.

There’s no word in the dictionary that means freezing freedom. Maybe that should change.

About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.

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