In a previous blog, I stated that creativity is the greatest equipment you can have, and it is. Creativity is what gives us the framework for everything we do, but you can’t build a house without a hammer. In order for us to accomplish what our creativity gives us, we need tools.
I could have never accomplished the photograph I mentioned without a camera. As far as cameras are concerned, advertisers will tell you that you need 10 mega pixels or higher, but you can get a great 8×10 print out of a three mega pixel. Unless you’re turning a photograph into a wall mural you don’t need anything larger than six mega pixels for posters.
In writing, for someone who just wants to keep a journal, all you need is a comfortable pen and paper. I use a regular wire notebook. For the more serious writers, if you already have a word processor, basic is better. There’s no need to buy a word processor for 300 dollars, with an instruction manual that rivals “War and Peace” in size, when a 50 dollar program will do everything you need.
If you would like to save money on tools, you should ask yourself some questions to determine what you need to accomplish your projects. While equipment searching I go through a series of questions that lead me to the right tool, at the best price. Of course I start with, “What can’t I do without?” Then I start brainstorming on the tools. Sometimes I end up with a list two pages long. Then I go through the list and remove anything I already have. That brings the list down to about two or three items. From there I determine what features are needed, with cameras that includes versatility, maximum print size, and ease of use. With word processors, I look for ease of use, spell check, grammar check, and word count. The more features a word processor has, it increases in both complicated use, and price. Then I do a little research on brands with those features. (Just a little tip. Avoid consumer reports, they push any brand that pays more) I get the most reliable information from industry standard magazines like “Writer’s digest” and “Popular photography”, and I go to stores that specialize in the industry.
Through these simple steps I get the tools I need at a price I can deal with. I don’t rely on advertisers, and I don’t pay more than I need to pay. The best part of this is I get the best quality from what I have.
Challenge: When buying equipment, ask yourself “What tool do I need?”, “What features do I need?”, and don’t be afraid of a little research. You will be guaranteed the best equipment, at the best price.