When you are a professional photographer sometimes you just want to leave your gear at home and take a break from snapping pictures. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have at least something with you that can take a great photo. You don’t have to bring your high end DLSR with a million ultra fast lenses everywhere you go but sometimes cool things happen out of nowhere, you may see something eye catching, or end up in a situation that you didn’t expect – hopefully in a good way!
Having a camera with you at all times is also a great way to shoot for your portfolio when you have some downtime. If I’m headed to the city to meet some friends I would generally show up early, take some street photos, people watch, maybe a few impromptu portraits, or some architecture shots. No matter what city you are in there will always be a new way to see something and a corner that yet remains unexplored. You also never know who you may run into; a close friend, old acquaintance, a celebrity, or just someone you really admire. Pictures do tend to make the world go round.
If you have a camera on you and you’re not on a gig you can challenge yourself with shooting things around you in unique ways. This will no doubt open up some extra perspective when it comes time to shoot your next paid assignment.
The other side of the coin is that you never know when a picture is needed of something. God forbid you get into an accident and need to immediately take photos of the scene. The other side to that is that there are newsworthy things that happen on a day to day basis and if you have your camera you can take some photos that would educate people on the events of the day. I’m not saying to run head first into danger (unless that’s your thing) but sometimes great photos come from big happenings around us in the world.
Having a camera on you at all times could also be a great way to get your name out there and connect with people. Having business cards on you at all times goes hand in hand with this because you never know who will strike you up for a quick conversation and connect with you. As cheesy as it sounds your camera can definitely be a talking point. For example if you head into a bar for a drink and lay your camera down on the table there will no doubt be folks asking about it and your career. Kinda weird but totally true. As a photographer our cameras aren’t so much who we are but an extension of ourselves and our passion will drive us to create some great images no matter where we might be.