Week 3 / Project 2

Photography FRESH START

Week 3 / Project 2 – Why the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) Could be affecting your photography.

This week we’re talking about a topic I don’t see a lot of people cover – FOMO (or, the Fear Of Missing Out).

In today’s world where everything is moving and changing fast, it’s easy to get caught up thinking that we’re missing something or some key piece of gear or camera.

I think this week’s video can really help shed some light on the photo industry, and how the content you see and watch can be affecting your photography.

As always, please share your thoughts below. Do you suffer from FOMO or do you have ways to help avoid that feeling?

DOWNLOAD: Click Here to Download PDF mentioned in the video.

If you click the “gear” icon in the video player, you can speed up the video too!

56 Comments

  1. David

    Thank you for sharing your keen insights, Matt. This is a helpful video.

    Reply
  2. Tim Hammar

    Matt, Another excellent video. The entire ‘Fresh Start’ was very helpful to me, as I had fallen into some of the habits you talked about. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  3. Trey Foerster

    FOMO — haha! I come from a newspaper background so our gear was always 60 miles behind the tech truck! I learned to create award-winning photography with the gear I got. It’s in the eye, the heart, and in my case, the deadline.

    Reply
  4. Margaret C Nicosia

    Matt, this was a great video. I have links and emails that sound like I can learn from them, that just keep getting older and collecting dust. I will go thru and delete them. You are right on this…… I have my favorites (You are one of them) I feel like there are people I can HEAR and it makes sense. thanks again

    Reply
  5. Sharon Brownlow

    Great video once again. I admit I have fallen victim of FOMO. I had a Nikon I loved D800, but I was starting to hear the noise about mirrorless cameras, Sony in particular. So I sold my camera and a few lenses bought the latest and greatest Sony. At the time it was a A7Rll. I took a trip to Yosemite And got fabulous pictures with it. The problem was I wasn’t having fun with it, it felt very awkward in my hands, the function buttons were in weird(to me) places, and it just felt unbalanced. Tried it for 2 years, then just sold it all and went back to Nikon with a D850. Tons of people love their Sony camera, but it just wasn’t a good fit for me. Really happy with it along with a Z6 I use for hiking. It was an expensive lesson learned. I’m not one to read forums or websites on gear, but if I need some information on gear, I will do my own research from trusted sources. I appreciate your honesty, it’s the reason I’ve followed you since your Kelby days.

    Reply
  6. Kathy

    Great advice! Too often we photographers (I know I am vulnerable) are drawn to gear envy, but, as you’ve said before, the equipment doesn’t take the photo. First I have to get better and you’ve given me some good pointers on how to find people who want to help. Thanks!

    Reply
  7. Richard Browne

    Bravo, Matt! Wise observations and they needed to be made. Life’s too short to spend time on such websites when we could be out photographing instead.

    Reply
  8. Vincent

    Hi mate. You are spot on with what said. Great video

    Reply
  9. Rich Simonis

    Matt, you ARE one of those people who in my opinion is doing it the RIGHT way! You are teaching from the heart and what you believe to be true! I want to say “THANK YOU” for being true to yourself and to us! Please keep up the great work.

    Reply
  10. Martin Z Hull

    On the 23rd, I made a major switch of all my gear but it was not due to FOMO; it was due to ROMO. Reality of missing out. :p The gear I had simply was taxed to the maximum abilities and the reality was that I had to move on to a different brand to improve. It did take over a year of reviewing my abilities with my gear to see that I was definitely getting the composition but the quality of the output could not be improved upon with the gear I had. Making the change now was good because it gives me till April to gain skill in knowing my new cameras and lenses.

    Reply
    • Matt

      I love the new word Martin… ROMO! That’s great you did your homework though. And yes… while sometimes we may make decisions based on the fear of missing out, you are absolutely correct. The reality of missing out is also a big factor. As an example, if you’re in to wildlife photography and you really want your photos to look like the amazing photos you see from various photographers out there, guess what. You’re not going to get there with a crop sensor camera and a 100mm or 200mm lens. As they say… “It’s not about the gear… until it’s about the gear”. Thanks!

      Reply
  11. Peter

    Matt: I appreciate your honesty and candor. Great that you’re helping cut through the noise. I wonder if you’ll
    get much flak from the the subjects of your comments?
    More Dirty Harry quotes … You made my day.
    Peter

    Reply
    • Matt

      Hi Peter. Thanks and I’m okay with it. I don’t care if either of those sites share my content again. I don’t want their viewers/community as I think they’re just not good people – and I’d rather my content not bring traffic to their site and help make them money.

      Reply
  12. Jim Lassoie

    You speak to truth MattK. You also reinforced an earlier discussion about intimidation by calling out a couple ‘toxic’ websites…but now I’m tempted to check them our to see what they are going to say about you! I’m sure you could care less! (<;
    Thanks for your favs …
    A question…whata' think about dpreview? I've always found their reviews very detailed (to the extreme) and helpful.
    Jim

    Reply
    • Matt

      Hi Jim. I honestly don’t think they’ll say anything. Communities like that just make excuses for what they do and don’t see a problem with it. I don’t care if either of those sites ever share my content again. I don’t want their viewers/community as I think they’re toxic – and I’d rather my content not bring traffic to their site and help make them money.
      As for DPReview. It’s tough… it’s an okay site. It’s VERY techie. I find that when I see a discussion on there about people “tech-ing” the living daylights out of specs, I’ll often go look at their portfolios and they really can’t shoot. It’s a typical forum – if you ask a question you’ll get some good answers and then some people that just ask you questions back. So it’s a mix. But if you’re find good info on it, then great. I’d say out of every 10 times I search for something on DPReview, I may find 3-4 times that it’s helpful. But that’s just me 🙂

      Reply
  13. Anthony

    Important views, Matt. Thanks for taking the time to voice them. Personally I don’t take any opinions from ‘influencers’ who seldom, if ever, show their work. It’s impossible to trust anything from a person who just regurgitates the specs and general opinion of other ‘influencers’ without displaying any idea of their skills and vision through examples. Scott K’s opinions always impress me because his photography is stellar. Same thing with you, Thomas Heaton, Calvin Hollywood, Rachel Tailbart amongst many others.

    Reply
  14. Nils

    Matt, this is my second time taking Fresh Start and it has been a great reminder. I enjoyed it the first time and did some (much/most) of the assignments last year. But as a lazy brain I often (sometimes/frequently) did not follow through, so a repeat is good and it is more likely to stick this time. Sharing my work is very difficult for me. I have gritted my teeth and sent some of my work – sharing some of my favorite images with folks I traveled with – Instagram is still too much of a reach – maybe by the time you are producing Fresh Start v 3.0 I can get there. A surprising hidden benefit of proving to myself the comparative quality of various lenses I have, has prompted me to pare down and sell those that I haven’t used in years (but I might…. really?) But the best parts of the course are the thought assignments: what kind of a photographer am I? what scares me? why do I or do I not approach my work in a particular way? what is holding me back? Good stuff! Thanks.

    Reply
  15. Virginia Jamieson

    Hi Matt:
    Thanks very much for sharing all your wisdom and hard earned experience! It has been a rewarding experience to take part in this series for the first time and I really appreciate your honesty in this video. You inspired me to do a spreadsheet listing all my courses bought in the last year or two, including yours, some of which I still need to complete, along with another spreadsheet to list all the details of my gear for insurance purposes. It has me organized now and more informed on the photo industry “click-bait” trap which I will surely avoid. You are a great guy and stand alone in the industry. Thanks again.

    Reply
  16. Robin K Martin

    Hi Matt,
    Thanks so much for having this class. This is my second time, and your always so inspiring.
    When it comes to gear, however, I have one question. Does anyone use Pentax? I’ve always use a Pentax over the years and loved my old Spotmatic. I just bought a KP, but I never see where anyone shoots with these cameras. When I was setting it up and had some questions it was almost impossible to find any kind of tutorials. I still love the camera, just curious.

    Reply
    • Matt

      Hi Robin. People definitely use it or it wouldn’t be for sale. Pentax can’t exist if nobody is buying. That said, it’s probably not the same quantity as some of the other names like Sony, Nikon, etc… Which is totally okay. It’s kind of like software… every once in a while I get an email from some one asking me if I have tutorials on… say… ACDSee (a raw editor). It’s not widely used, but there are people that use it which is why they’re still in business. But by going with a smaller brand, you’re essentially saying “I’m okay going at this on my own and I understand that it’ll be difficult for me to find a community to learn from”.
      Like I said, nothing wrong with it – and Pentax will still take a great photo, no problem. But it may be harder some times to find information or help about it.
      Hope that helps.

      Reply
    • Ray Jobin

      Hi Robin,

      I began years ago with a Pentax K1000 film camera and loved it, and have had many other Pentax models since those days. I now use and love my Pentax K5 and plan to keep it a while longer before upgrade. I read recently that a newer Pentax model is coming out this year, so they are still cranking them out for sale.

      Reply
  17. Helen

    Great, valuable information! I have researched the two people you mentioned and am now following them. A question regarding your release of Photoshop System 2.0….Does this also cover Lightroom or is that a separate module? Thanks in advance. Looking forward to next week.

    Reply
    • Matt

      Hi Helen – I’m actually wrapping up The Lightroom System 2.0 this week as well. It’ll launch with the Photoshop System next week so stay tuned and there will be separate prices for each or a bundle price for both. Thanks!

      Reply
  18. Mike Moffat

    Great video Matt. This can’t be better timing for me. I shoot Canon that’s what I grew with I have a 6d, and a 7dii. My glass is ok but I think I’ve outgrown some of it. Example I have a sigma 150-500mm its about 9 years old. I want to step up to a canon 100-400 Vii. For me an average guy who had to put pennies away for this I have a problem or think I do. I keep seeing the headlines from a few places CANON TO STOP EF LENS development. (one of thoses being Fstoppers). This has me thinking do I need to jump to RF and Mirrorless! I think you answered my question Matt. Thanks

    Reply
    • Matt

      Glad to help Mike. And as you just pointed out… so what if Canon stops EF lenses. You have a lens that’s 9 years old and I bet it still does pretty darn good. Buy a good EF lens today and it’ll last you for as long as you’d need it. If in 5-10 years you decide you want something else, guess what – this stuff will all still be around 🙂
      Oh… and hopefully you stop going to Fstoppers and realize they are not out to help you, but instead incite panic, uncertainty, and polarized discussions which is always great for web traffic (hence more ad revenue) 🙂

      Reply
  19. Karen Johnson

    Thanks Matt for highlighting how this affects us all. I decided to make the switch last year from Canon DSLR to Sony mirrorless because of the weight issue. I couldn’t make up my mind on which A7 model to buy as I was overwhelmed by all the specs, articles recommendations etc. You cut through the mire and pointed me to the A6500, something I hadn’t even considered. I went ahead and bought that along with the Zeiss 16-70 lens you recommended. Then I wanted something with a bit more zoom and started looking at the new Sony 70-350 lens because ‘the reviews said it was a great lens’ and friends in my camera group all had big lenses! Definitely FOMO kicking in, but I made myself think about what I shoot, how rarely I had ever used by Canon 200mm with the 1.3 extender and went with the smaller, lighter and cheaper 55-220. It may not be as good but it suits me. Armed with my new gear, which, incidentally weighs 50% less in total than my previous Canon set-up, and your Fresh Start, I’m really looking forward to learning what my new gear can do and practicing. Thanks for all your good advice.

    Reply
    • Matt

      That’s great Karen. I owned the 16-70mm already, but just bought the 70-350mm a couple months ago and love it. It’s what I use when I want to travel light and not bring a big backpack. Especially in good light, I’d put it up against anyone’s full frame. It works great and gets me in close to birds, and produces a great image. Let them snub their noses. You’re enjoying your photography and sometimes the weight affects how much you can (and for how long) enjoy it.

      Reply
  20. sammiesibemom

    HI Matt – Great video and I totally agree with you about the FB Groups trashing whatever the group is about. I made a conscious decision to look at my emails daily and unsubscribes from any of them that I haven’t learned anything important from. Interesting I got sucked in to an specific RV brand group and I couldn’t stop myself from reading the negative posts and thinking I should sell mine and I have not problems, I finally left that group and feel so much better, thank you for letting me realize I was correct.

    Reply
  21. Malcolm Yates

    Was not going to watch this Matt thought it’s not for me after speaking to a good friend who said its worth a watch how wrong was I.Could not agree more thanks for that

    Reply
  22. Jules Picardi

    Matt, on a bit of a related note, I have hesitated to upgrade my Macbook Air to the latest Catalina OS, and I’m just wondering if you have made the leap? If so, did it affect any of your editing software?

    Thanks!
    Jules

    Reply
    • Matt

      Made the leap months ago. Never had a problem 🙂

      Reply
  23. Julie Picardi

    I think FOMO is quite common in any situation where one is trying to develop their skills at whatever passion they are pursuing. I think back to my days in the competitive equestrian arena – it was there and just as prevalent as it is in the photography world. Advertising and marketing gurus know that novices and beginners are easy targets for the companies they represent. As one develops their skills and confidence, FOMO gradually takes a back seat to a discerning eye as the individual becomes comfortable in their own skin, producing images of which they are proud.

    My husband and I share our love of photography which is great, but it also means twice the expense. We look carefully at the “latest and greatest” never jumping in before giving the product time to truly reveal itself. We listen keenly to reports from friends and the pros we respect. As a result, I’m quite happy with my results as they appear to measure up in club critiques and other competitions. When an image doesn’t make the cut, I find it is more than likely an error on the part of the photographer and not due to the gear used. That said, I’m concentrating more on developing my composition skills which don’t come easily to me. For me, that’s the hardest skill to develop, even harder than learning Photoshop! But I see progress and that’s all that matters.

    In regards to your list of positive and enthusiastic pros, I’m happy to see Mark Smith at the top of your list. What an energetic fellow he is! And such passion for his work. Both of you are kind, humble, knowledgable and very approachable. Thanks for this course, Matt. I’ve enjoyed your insight and the camaraderie of others through their comments.

    Reply
  24. Justine

    I’m a newbie in following your stuff (and to photography online personalities and forums generally, which I somehow managed to avoid until recently, despite being interested in photography for years). I really appreciate your candid opinions, rather than the blah blah blah of most of them, who need to keep the suppliers happy. You’ve given me good pointers to sort out the wheat from the chaff before I get sucked too far into the vortex. Just one example of ignoring unhelpful online chatter: A couple of days back, I bought some tutorials from someone whose processing methods I want to better understand, and then later thought to read some reviews. Of course, there are discussion groups in which some people praise his photos, but many others diss them. But applying your principles, this sort of stuff isn’t helpful reading. If I want to learn more about those processing methods, the tutorials are helpful for me and who gives a … “whatever” about the naysayers. I will stick to advice and information I find constructive, including of course your material!

    Reply
  25. Julie Boyle

    Great topic Matt and I don’t consider it ‘weird’. I once followed so many sites on ‘how to’ etc but now I concentrate on what I really want information on and ignore all the headline grabbers. Thanks for taking the time to give your opinions.

    Reply
  26. Martin Tomes

    Thanks for this, it was a wake up call to prune my feeds. I am very sensitive to click bait, but not exposing oneself to it in the first place saves time and emotional energy.

    Reply
  27. John Dornellas

    Hi Matt,

    Just wanted to thank you for another great gift in this Fresh Start Program. I have been following you for years and I added you to the list of those who we should follow. I have several of your Tutorials, mainly The Lightroom System and the Photoshop System. You mentioned today about a Photoshop 2 offering coming soon. Will it be just an updated version of the previous program or is it additional processes that were not included in the original? Thanks again.

    Reply
    • Matt

      Hi John. If you purchased the Photoshop System 1.0 you’ll get 2.0 for free. Like I said back then, I wanted the PS System to be the only basic Photoshop course you had to purchase. Just shoot us an email when you see the launch next week and we can upgrade you to 2.0. Thanks!

      Reply
      • Julie Picardi

        I am so happy to hear this! I was hoping for a discount for your next Photoshop program – you are so kind as to offer it free of charge to those of us who purchased the first one. One of my ongoing goals is to become as comfortable in Photoshop as I am in Lightroom. A work in progress. Thanks Matt!

        Reply
      • Raymond Jobin

        Matt, I love Photoshop System 1.0 and getting a lot out of it. Of all the tutorials I have sampled, this is the best because you teach it in small discrete parts that are easy to follow and leave me satisfied that I truly learned something and gained a better understanding of how Photoshop works. I am an avid Lightroom user and hope to use both programs together when needed to improve an image. Looking forward to 2.0.

        Have very much enjoyed these three weeks and gained a great deal from it because you have helped me put things in perspective and how to reflect on how I use my photography as a hobby. A big thank you to you!

        Reply
      • John Dornellas

        Thanks Matt.

        Reply
    • Bente

      Super comments and wise words. All worth just keeping in our heads.

      Reply
  28. Wouter J. van Duin

    I really hope that more people will take some interest in the reason why so many of us are so very enthusiastic about the quality of FujiFilm’s XT camera’s and it’s very affordable and very light-weight 2.0 primes. I have been shooting Nikon for years but never regret the fact the change to FujiFilm that brought back the joy of photography I had when using film-camera’s.

    Reply
  29. R David Parker

    I could not agree more, drop the dead weight. I have slimmed down my feed and coincidentally, I dropped the 2 site you mentioned. I am glad you talked about it because I thought may be I was being somewhat radical. I can hardly wait for your discussion on software.

    Reply
    • Omar Martinez

      Thank you Matt, just thank you very much… This video has just helped confirm what I have been feeling for some time now….funny you mentioned Steve Perry. I have been subscribed to him for some time and had almost the same opinion as you. Great guy, great content and has helped me just as well as you have. Cheers brother….!

      Reply
  30. Marilyn Martin

    Thanks… I needed that! I’ve wasted way too much time on the internet because of FOMO… time I could have spent shooting. Great down-to-earth guidance.

    Reply
  31. Thomas M Crook

    Matt, I agree with your thoughts about needless upgrades. However, I have found that as my skills and creativity have increased that some upgrades were necessary or desirable. I started with an early Rebel model. Then I got into a 70D and stayed with it for several years. When the 90D was introduced I found that its powerful focal points produces very sharp images.

    Reply
    • Matt

      Hey Thomas. I couldn’t agree more. I didn’t say something that I usually say to friends about that topic… Don’t buy it unless you need it. But if you need it… you need it! And you know when. When that time comes, you’ll never have buyers remorse because you know you really bought something you needed, and not just something that some website told you was better. But yes, I totally agree. My world has changed since I got the Sony a7R iv. It has significantly improved how I work with my landscape and wildlife photos. That said, if I didn’t have it, I’d still have a great camera to take photos with 🙂 But yes, sometimes upgrades are necessary. Just make sure you’re upgrading for the right reasons (ie. “I print a lot and the noise in my camera is a problem”, or “I can’t get enough reach for wildlife with my current lens, and the quality of my photo is suffering as a result”). But if it’s just “well, I saw some one online recommend it” and you don’t have a good reason, many times you’re left with a feeling of “Why did I buy this”. Thanks!

      Reply
  32. Carl Heino

    I am guilty of upgrading my camera all too often in the hope that it will improve my photography. I now realize that it is far easier to buy something new in the expectation that it will improve my skill than it is by going out often and practicing photography with my current camera. Although getting out in the field can be time-consuming and occasionally frustrating, in my opinion, it is the most effective way to gradually improve my photography.

    Reply
  33. Lisa Tutinas

    Thanks, Matt – this is exactly what I needed! Great video and excellent advice. I’m president of a local camera club. FOMO plagues many members who feel pressured to keep up with the latest and greatest. All the manufacturers coming out with new versions of cameras, mirrorless, etc. it can be overwhelming what to do. I shoot Nikon, and yes I’d like to one day go mirrorless. Why?? The number one reason is I’m tired of carrying around so much gear. It’s weighing me down. Mirrorless camera bodies are lighter and have more built-in features. Lens companies are coming out with better glass, lighter lenses and more options for lenses. I really appreciate your honesty about the good websites and bad ones. Near the end of your video really resonated with me (I will not repeat the 2 bad websites because they don’t need to be mentioned again). There’s too much negativity out there and I want to feel “good” after reading a review or searching for advice. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Matt

      I’m glad it helped Lisa. One thing… when looking at mirrorless, look at the weight of the lenses you intend to buy. So many people are going full frame and then buying the f/2.8 glass. When you look at the weight you realize that f/2.8 glass in mirrorless weighs almost as much as f/2.8 for full frame. So in the end, you wind up saving 8-10 ounces which isn’t a lot. Yes, mirrorless cameras do have some nice features that the DSLRs don’t but just make sure you really look at the weight if that’s a key reason to switch. If you go with Sony, Nikon or Canon, you won’t save a lot of weight. I actually just sold my Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 because I did some tests against a friends 24-105mm and found they are both great lenses. Now I can bring my 24-105 (much lighter) and my 100-400mm and that’s all I need 🙂

      Reply
  34. Jack Gosnell

    I’ve gotten to the point over the last few years that I withdrew from all but a few groups because all I was hearing was this is bad (gear, location, price, or software). Then if you disagreed with an opinion you got berated for it. Now I spend less time seeking answers online and more time in the field shooting.

    Also I may go out with an idea or subject in mind say wildlife but if you don’t find the animals. Look around the landscape sunrise , sunset could just take your breath away. Be flexible with your art things may surprise you as well as inspire.

    Reply
  35. Romaine Bayless

    Thanks for your honesty, a quality that seems to be in short supply these days.

    Reply
  36. Clint Williams

    Excellent advice. Nailed it about getting rid of dead weight and avoiding sources that seem to incite hostility. I don’t really have the budget to keep up with the FOMO, so I’m “forced” to be satisfied with what I have. That’s one way to not let it affect you. 😉

    Reply
  37. Dale Eurich

    Thanks for tackling this tough and probably to some sensitive and controversial topic. I couldn’t agree with you more on your comments in this video! This has been a great series Matt! 💪🏼

    Reply
    • Matt

      You’re very welcome Dale!

      Reply
  38. Gars

    Seems easy enough. Define a goal, find a mentor and that is proficient in your goal, and practice until you’re proficient.

    Reply

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