Recently a reader wrote asking one of the timeless question that all new photographers ask: Would newer, better equipment improve my photographs?”
I get this kind of e-mail from time to time and I wanted to share my response with any readers who might have similar questions. Keep in mind that this is not the answer but is instead just one answer and it’s my answer. Feel free to ask other photographers their opinion and at the end when all is said and done, make up your own mind based on the kind of photographs that you make.
To answer the question “Would newer, better equipment improve my photographs?” The short answer is maybe but maybe not. Ultimately it’s the photographer who makes the picture, not the camera. The most important photographic accessory you have is the one between your ears. The best thing you can do is…
- Practice, practice and practice. Make a picture every day; that’s actually harder than it sounds. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes because that is how we all learn and be prepared that some mistakes may give you some idea that can lead to better photographs.
- Don’t chase perfection, instead work on gradual and incremental improvement. One way to do this is to tackle a subject that you think is hard (but maybe isn’t) such as macro photography or infrared photography. When trying something new don’t look at the most expensive ways to accomplish these things; instead look at the cheapest ways such as using on-camera IR filters or close-up filters.
- Don’t be afraid—the fear factor—of using and shooting with used equipment. After all, you’re going to use it not wrap it up and kiss it goodnight. You can purchase used gear from eBay, Craig’s List or friends. That’s why we added the Garage Sale section to this blog.
And if it doesn’t sound too self serving, please visit this blog from time to time or better yet subscribe. (No spam, I promise.) It has many basic tips, with a different theme for each day of the week. There are several hundred hundred posts here. Find something that grabs your attention and learn more about it from publications, such as Shutterbug.
I’m always glad to answer questions from readers; just click the Contact button above and drop me anote. I promise to get back to you quickly. For questions related to mirrorless cameras, especially those that might have broader interest to many photographers will also be answered in the video podcasts that Barry Staver and I do for the Mirrorless Photo Blog.
Lots of questions get answered in my books. For instance if you’re interested in black and white or infrared photography, my book, The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography is currently out-of-print but copies are available from Amazon for around $20. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon with new copies under $6 and used copies less than three bucks, which is a heckuva deal.