I’ve been learning photography for around 4 years now. I love looking back, sometimes through hands covering my face, at old photos I have taken and seeing my progression over time. It is one of those skills, like writing consistently, that seems like it should be effortless but in fact is reasonably complicated. I’ve had frustrating times when it’s been a struggle to keep motivated, but I haven’t acquired these new skills by buying something.

All I want to be is a good photographer. That's all I really want from life. Take photos, edit, and go to interesting places that allow me to do those things. When I started, deciding it was time to stop using my phone and buy a ‘proper camera’, I wanted the best thing available. Spending hours reading all over the internet, having a look at what I could afford, and pushing my budget further and further up. I decided eventually that wasn’t the right move, and spent a lot of time with a small Sony A5000 before moving up the range.

Learn how to do the things you want to do instead of buying things hoping it will allow you to do the thing you want to do. — Patrick Tomasso

I still get these feeling now. The number of times I have thought “that lens would make my images so much better” I prefer not to admit. When in fact I don’t need to buy anything, I just needed to practice, review and learn the skills needed. Buying a thing doesn’t get you anywhere, new apps don’t make you more productive, new platforms don’t make you write more, and buying things is just an endless loop.

Purchasing instead of learning gets you nowhere apart from deeper in debt. You don’t need to spend anything to become something, just time and effort — which is perhaps the most expensive thing you own. I wanted to become a good photographer (I still do) but there is nothing I can buy to make me one.