It’s not uncommon for people interested in improving their photography to ask me about the equipment I use to shoot my photos once they’ve seen them. Nikon? Canon? Some other brand? The thought is that with the right equipment their photography will improve.
While there is some truth to the thought that good equipment will help make better photos, I’m here to tell you that the equipment used has a lot less to do with it than you might think. It’s understandable that people ask about equipment in pursuit of making better photos. There are better, more important questions to ask, however, but people often don’t ask these questions because they don’t know what questions to ask.
It is far more important to understand photography than to have the best camera. A skilled and knowledgeable photographer can make better photos with less than the best equipment than can be made by a person with a $5,000 camera but inadequate skills. I offer in evidence the photos accompanying this article. The equipment used to shoot these photos was none other than an iPhone, and not even one of the newer ones. It has no aperture or shutter speed controls, no white balance settings, no automatic modes for close-ups, portraits or landscapes. It has absolutely none of the bells and whistles of even the cheapest Nikon yet here are some examples of what you can do with it… IF you know what and how to do it.
I’m fond of saying that for just two letters “if” is a very big word. If you understand something about lighting, composition, color theory, using a histogram and post processing you can do a lot with little in terms of camera gear. Beyond that, a lot of the bells and whistles camera manufacturers include are nothing more than crutches for people lacking basic photographic knowledge and they stand in the way of making better photos! For example, some cameras have a close-up setting. Well, what does that do, exactly? How about the landscape setting, or the sport setting? If you don’t know you need to learn. Do you think pros use those settings? Not hardly. They can do a better job than the automatic settings.
So, if you are wanting to improve your photography it might be better to ask yourself what you can do to learn about the subject rather than what equipment you should have. Have you taken any classes? Read any books? Joined any clubs? Taken any lessons? Ask not what a fancier camera can do for you but what you can learn to do with the camera you have.
More of my photos are here.