Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Is It Your Camera That's Not Good Enough, Or You?

Moonstone Beach - Cambria, California
I came across a quote by street photographer Eric Kim, who asked, "Is it your camera that isn't good enough, or you that isn't good enough?"

So many times before I've told myself, "If only I had a better camera!" This goes back decades, well before digital. I had a great 35mm SLR, but I wanted a medium-format camera. And if only I had a medium-format camera, I'd be a better photographer.

It took me a long time to learn that it's not the camera, it's the photographer. A great photographer can capture a great image with any camera, no matter how cheap. A poor photographer won't be able to capture a great image even with the most expensive gear.
Pacific Shore - Cambria, California
It's never about the gear. You camera doesn't matter. It's what you do with what you have that matters.

People often have camera envy, especially in the digital age. A new piece of gear comes out, it's praised on all of the big blogs and magazines (never mind that they are paid to praise it), and it just seems so cool and so much better than what you have. You feel like your are inferior or inadequate if you don't go out and purchase it. That's what the camera manufacturers and retailers want. But at the end of the day that new gear won't make you a better photographer.

Do you know what has made me a better photographer? Photographing. Capturing lots and lots of pictures. The more I do, the better I become. It's that simple.
Leffingwell Cove - Cambria, California
For me, the gear that best allows me to go out and capture lots of images is small gear. It's because I always have a camera with me, and when I have a camera with me I'm thinking and looking photographically. But some people scoff at this. Some people would tell me to my face that the camera in my hand is not good enough to capture good images (and that their pictures are better because their camera is "better").

The people who look at your photographs don't care what camera you used. They don't care about any of the technical data. They only care about the photograph in front of them, and whether or not it speaks to them in some way. It's all about the photograph and what it nonverbally says.

So if your pictures aren't good enough, is it because of your gear? Or is it because of the one using the gear? And if it's not the gear, what are you going to do to get better? Only you can make your photographs better.

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