I wanted to touch upon this subject for a while now, but with all the travel and photography posts never found the time for it. What makes a good photographer? What is considered to be a good photo? How important is gear and how much can you achieve with simple cameras?
The beginning of my photo journey...When I started out in 2008 with this blog I had a point and shoot Olympus camera (I got that camera in 2005). Looking back now, I didn't even have a good camera with the standards back then, much less nowadays. But still I was as happy as could be, that I had moved on from my film camera. I took that point and shoot everywhere with me. No holiday, no vacation was safe from me and my clicking. And why should it be? A point and shoot is as simple as it gets. You can take it anywhere, it doesn't take up much space and you can get good results. Of course, once the photography bug catches you there is no stopping, and further advances had to be made.
An important upgradeMy next big upgrade was into the semi professional dslr class, with the Canon EOS 350D Rebel. I got it back in 2010 and used it for the next three years (and it's used even today by my sister when she travels without me). That was a revelation. I had arrived into the big league. Or so I thought. Jumping from a point and shoot to a dslr is no easy thing. I was happy with the Automatic setting on the dslr for a long time. It wasn't until 2011 when I finally bought some good photo literature, that I started exploring Manual mode or those funny Av and Tv letters on my dial. Yet, with all of those advances in gear my style didn't really change. I basically had the same type of photos on my computer. After discovering the RAW file format, things changes quickly. After editing and polishing those simple images I wanted to learn more. Like with all things that are interesting to us, once you get to the limit of a thing that interests you, you move on to the next one...
Entering the "professional" sphereIt was back in 2013, during our visit to Budapest, when I got the Canon 6D. It is full frame, it is professional, it is great, yes, yes, yes...but with that also comes higher costs for additional gear, like lenses and other accessories. Everything comes with a price. I discovered timelapse photography, dslr video, and many other things. So the conclusion would be that better gear made me a better photographer. But that isn't the case. It's the drive to better yourself that makes you good. You simply play in the price range that you have to. But this doesn't mean you are limited.
Here is an example. This next photo was taken with my old iPhone 3GS. Caveman technology when compared to today's phone cameras. But still, I love this photo. I love the warmth, love the feeling I get when looking at it, I love the place it depicts. It transfers emotions, it brings out feelings. That's what counts. Could I have taken a better image with the Canon 6D. Yes. Would be regarded as a better photo. Yes. Is it a better photo. Not necessarily.
What makes a good photographer?Often I get e-mails or comments that ask me what gear I use. I typically shy away from telling and not because I think I'm high and mighty, but simply because to me it doesn't matter. Of course I do tell everybody, but I also tell them, don't expect to take the same kind of photos just because you got a good camera. Excellence (and to be very clear, I don't consider myself to be great or professional at all!) comes with experience, and they can never exist without each other.
Even with my point and shoot back in 2005, ten years ago I was a happy camper. I cherish those images today and think they are good. Here is one from the archives. The shot was taken in Hvar in 2007.
the old town of Mostar. I love these, they not only bring back memories, but also show, you can achieve a lot with little things.
ConclusionMy point is, and I do think I have one, is that there are no rules. If you want to be a professional photographer of course you will get good gear, don't think you will make it with a point and shoot, but also semi professional shooters and hobby photographers should expand their gear if their love for photography is big. In the end my points are:
- Good gear can get you better shots, but it doesn't make you a good photographer
- If you are inexperienced or are just starting out, get inexpensive gear
- As you are advancing your photography invest in better gear
- Better yourself by reading, learning and simply doing.
- Go out and shoot! Compare and make notes.
- Read up online for techniques and different styles of photography
- Take photos you want to see!
I hope you enjoyed this unusual ramble on this blog and I hope I didn't come off as preachy, because that wasn't my intention. I wish you all clear skies and sunny days.
P.S. If you are in the mood for some photo inspiration, head over to the Tutorials section of this blog, to get some.