Okay, yes, I did just rewatch Speed again the other day. And, yes, I have been referring to everyone from the mailman to my understandably perplexed mother as “hotshot” for the last 48 hours. But don’t let that dissuade you from focusing on the question posed. If you only have a limited amount of money to spend on your art this year (which I think pretty much sums up most of us), what is the best investment you can make?

Now, be honest. You’re really hoping that I’m going to say that you should buy a new camera, aren’t you? Or course you are. It is human nature to think that all of life’s ills can be solved with a credit card. Not getting the shots you want? Just buy the new camera with the built-in flux capacitor. Having trouble getting a certain kind of light? Just shell out some hard-earned cash, and you can turn from William Leibovitz into Annie Leibovitz overnight with zero additional training or hard work. That’s how it’s supposed to work, right? Or, at least that’s what advertisers and many an internet influencer would have you believe.

But the truth, of which I suspect you are well aware, is that new gear means Billy Bupkis in your journey to be a better artist. Sure, it might make you more efficient or add a feature that you need to accomplish a specific task. But, in the grand scheme of things, improving as an artist has very little to do with the products you buy and far more to do with the knowledge you can acquire for free.

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