Have you ever said or heard someone say, “Wow, that’s a great picture! I bet you have an awesome camera!” or something to that effect? That’s like telling a chef, “That creme brulee was delicious! I bet you’ve got an awesome stove!” I don’t know about you but that’s rather naive and somewhat insulting. The assumption is that being a photographer is easy. “Anybody can do it!” Yes, anybody can do it but anybody can’t do it well. I started out as a self-taught photographer. I read, studied and practiced when I could. All of this was with a point and shoot camera. I didn’t get my first single-lens reflex camera (a fancy way to describe a camera that allows you to switch lenses). By the way, there are some very successful, self-taught photographers, so don’t knock it. Basically, they busted their butts to learn their craft just as if they went to school for it. In 2000, when I decided to switch careers, I attended the Art Institute of Atlanta because I didn’t feel that I could learn what I wanted to learn quickly enough. Perhaps I was impatient, but I wanted to make this work.
Another misconception is regarding the tool. A camera, like a drill, paintbrush, computer, is a tool. We all would love to have top of the line tools but that’s not always possible. When I started, I had a Canon EOS Rebel film camera. Then, I was hired to photograph a church anniversary for three hours. I knew that would be quite expensive because of the number of rolls of film I would have to not only buy but have developed as well. That’s when I purchased my first DSLR…a Canon Rebel XTi. It wasn’t snazzy but it did the job. Below are some of the images I captured with that camera.
What made me select that camera? Well, I chose a Canon because of the Canon film camera I already had. Why switch to a new camera system and buy new lenses when I already have what I need? Also, the camera did what I needed it to do (I did research and read reviews) and it was at my pricepoint. Even though these were taken almost 10 years ago, I don’t think you would know that it was with a prosumer camera. The reason being is that if you know what you’re doing, then the type of camera you have doesn’t matter. Now I’m not saying just buy any ole camera because the camera doesn’t matter. That couldn’t be further from the truth. What I’m saying is that you don’t need the most expensive tool to get the results you want. It’s also important to know that the lens is probably the most important part of the camera because the image is only as good as the lens used to capture it. Nowadays, cell photo photography is a growing trend. People aren’t really buying cameras anymore because they have decided to just use their cell phone. I can’t argue too much because the cameras on these phones have gotten so much better. Would I photograph a session with an iPhone? That would be a no because I offer products that are printed to be displayed on the wall. Plus, I don’t believe that a cell phone can provide a file to print up to a 40×60 if needed. I don’t have the newest iPhone (iPhone 7 over here) but it still takes nice images. Would I give up my DSLR for it? Nope, but it is good in a pinch for casual shooting. Below are some images from my iPhone.
So, again, it’s not the tool but the person wielding the tool that matters. For those who are just starting out in photography, just know that you don’t need the best equipment. Use what you have. If it does what you need it to do and it does it well, why switch? When you reach whatever limitations that may pop up with your equipment, that’s when you upgrade. No matter what, make sure you’re always working on your craft. If you don’t practice, then the quality of the equipment is moot. There is no camera equipment that will ever make up for a lack of skill.