“Wow great picture! You must have a good camera”
If you ever want to really piss off a professional photographer, alongside calling them ‘my photographer’, ‘just a photographer’, not paying on time or asking them to work for a photo credit, just say those words… Far too often in this industry is the concept of camera equaling quality banded around, and unfortunately it’s sunk in to many photographers themselves, often in the form of Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS).
Sure expensive kit can help, especially in extremes of lighting or environment. But for the vast majority of jobs, it doesn’t matter whether your body is pro & full frame or if your glass is 2.8! It’s entirely possible to create terrible photos with good gear just as it’s easy to create good photos with less high-spec equipment. It really does not matter, it’s down to the skill of the person using it. Asking a photographer what camera they used to get such a good photograph is much the same as asking a writer what pen they have… I’ve included two amazing and, compositionally, similar images that are years apart. One taken with a modern full frame DSLR and the other with an old manual SLR.
Now, I think these are both great pictures, in different ways. However none if this is to do with what they were shot with is it?
It may seem like i’m stating the obvious here but the amount of times someone sees a good image and I hear them say it must’ve been a good camera is truly staggering. But, saying all this, selection of equipment is important, however what camera or lenses you have shouldn’t be used as an excuse to limit your photography. Finding ways to work around gear limitations will often make people better photographers.
The same applies across media work, you don’t need a Mac pro to do design work and nor do you need tens of thousands of pounds worth of video equipment to make a film.
Photographers are often very geeky, and Gear Acquisition Syndrome spans the spectrum of students, amateurs and pros. Often the worst has to be the huge amount of things purchased in the pursuit of the holy grail of the perfect camera bag! This is something i’m incredibly guilty over, and i’d probably be far worse if I could afford it! However, the difference between the fairly normal GAS we see in the vast majority of photographers and the kind that’s used as an excuse for poor images is massive. If things work then they probably don’t need upgrading.
The basic point i’m trying to make in this post is threefold. Firstly, don’t let equipment restrict your photography, try to work around limitations and create good work anyway. Secondly is never say a good photograph is the result of a good camera or you risk a punch in the mouth. And lastly is if you have a concept, story or issue you want to document, you can probably do it with what you have, be it a 350D, D700 or OM-2…
Now, in the context of this blog I will be reviewing and talking about equipment, but please try to remember this.