There was once a shoot-out between a group of professional photographers. Among them was Yervant, one of the world’s top wedding photographers. Unfortuantely for him, he did not bring his camera and had to borrow an old Rebel from a friend. He picked it up, took a look at it, and said, “Good camera.” Everybody else snickered, because they all had their top of the line camera bodies and $1500 lenses and whatnot. But then at the end of the day when they gathered to compared their images, Yervant’s images were by far the very best.
Remember this: The camera is only a tool. It’s not a magic wand that helps us take amazing pictures. It’s not a guarantee that the $3000 we spent on the body will help us take $3000 pictures. The imagery that comes out of the camera will only be as good as the photographer behind the lens, because far more important than the equipment is our own vision.
I have seen amazing photography taken with simple point and shoot cameras. At least one commercial photographer I know of sometimes uses a Canon G10 (a point and shoot camera) for ad work that goes up on billboards across the nation–and you wouldn’t have known if he hadn’t mentioned it. At the same time, I have also seen pictures from a $6600 1Ds Mark III that don’t look any better than if they were taken with a Rebel Xt.
If our purpose is to own the latest and the greatest, or if we have a lot of disposable income, then by all means–we should go out and buy the best equipment we can. More expensive models are generally much better cameras than cheaper models. But if you’re like the most of us with a limited budget, keep this in mind: a camera is only a tool, and the pictures will only be as good as our vision.
So if you are a beginning photographer and don’t have thousands of dollars burning in your wallet, here is what I recommend: Start first with a lower end camera body. Ditch the stock lens, and spend a little more money buying a good lens, because the lens is generally more important than the body itself. If you have money left over, invest in some workshops with talented photographers you respect. This is the fastest and best way to improve your work. It’ll put you leaps and bounds above the other photographer who just bought the 5D Mark IV but did not invest time and money in improving his vision. Keep practicing, keep learning, keep getting better in your work. And eventually, when you start finding yourself being limited by the equipment you’re using rather than a lack of skill or vision, then it’ll be time to upgrade. But by that time, the equipment will be cheaper, the technology will have improved, and your photography will be *that* much better.
For the rest of the answer to this question, click here.
(Note: This is part of a series of Frequently Asked Questions that I receive on a regular basis. Over time, I will be adding answers to more FAQs from brides and photographers. FAQs will also be accessible via a table of contents page, which I will put up … eventually. Hopefully this will be helpful for you guys!)
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