A big part of my NGO involvment in Ethiopia revolves around the interviewing and documenting of programme participants who take part in short and long-term support programmes in order to test the efficacy of a wide range of aid solutions. These interviews often require a drive, trek, and climb to get to small clusters of homesteads hours from the nearest village. Documenting stories and experiences requires a fair amount of gear, and audio recording, photography, and videography use decidedly different approaches. Whilst some of the gear overlaps, much does not. I tend to go through gear at a bit of a pace, usually opting for the cheaper end of the market in case bad weather or accident requires a camera body or lens to be replaced. I used to think every ‘pro’ needed the best gear but quickly changed my mind once working full time as a photographer. Now the best gear for me is usually in the middle of the spectrum – it’s often quite a bit cheaper than the top end but typically 85% as functional and cheaper to fix or replace. It’s worth remembering that many clients these days focus their attention on social, meaning what was once an essential aspect of professional photography – the high resolution and print-worthy image, is now often lower on their list of objectives. Most of my clients prefer a solid selection of images and drone shots for social plus a couple of detailed and processed high res prints. Changing markets certainly keep this profession on its toes.
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