5 Reasons Why Every Professional Photographer Should Have at Least Two cameras
Whether you’re a 9–5 photographer, own your own photography business, or you’re a photographer who books gigs outside of your regular job; you should own what I call an “everyday camera.” If you’ve been in the business for a long time there’s a possibility you own a multitude of cameras. The majority of photographers I know own two to three full-frame DSLR’s from one era or another. You may also be the type of photographer who upgrades his camera like one upgrades their smartphones. When the new model comes out, you sell your current one and buy the new one. You may also be the type of photographer who just collects cameras of sorts. Whether it’s vintage cameras or just anything with a shutter because you’re just that obsessed. No matter what type of photographer you are, you should own an everyday camera.
The 5 reasons
Photography like any craft should always be improved upon. You ever wonder why doctors “practice” medicine? It’s kind of a weird thing if you think about it. Why would a doctor who’s graduated medical school, finished their residency, and finally works as a full-time doctor refer their work as a practice? It’s because they need to ensure their skills never become dull and ensure they only get better as time goes on. The same goes for any sport like basketball, golf, car racing, and many more. Athletes have to continue to go to practice to ensure they are still performing at the professional level along with improving and developing new skills. A photographer is no different and must shoot every day.
Like anything else, the art of practice needs to evolve with the photographer. Just because you’re a working photographer doesn’t mean you’re getting the practice you need. I say this because more than likely you’re shooting in redundancy (same thing, same manner, same style, same locations, same subjects.) Whether you’re a product photographer, portrait photographer, or street photographer; you’re probably shooting the same way all the time. Because of that, you’re no longer being challenged, and when you’re no longer being challenged, you’re no longer improving; and that becomes death. Comfort makes you lazy and challenges make you better.
An everyday camera helps with the practice. An everyday camera should be brought with you where ever you go: the market, the gas station, and whatever mundane location occurs in your day to day life. As Chase Jarvis said, “The best camera is the one that’s with you”, couldn’t be any truer. If there’s a moment that you need to capture and you don’t have a camera on you, then it doesn’t matter what camera you own because you didn’t get the shot. If you’re a skilled photographer then you can make a shot out of any camera.
These days (I’m not sure if that’s the correct term anymore because we’ve had smartphones for a while now) everyone has a camera on them as long as they have their smartphone with them. So technically speaking you always have an everyday camera on you, but for me, that doesn’t count, because as a professional photographer you want to be able to control your camera settings; that is limited with the cameras on our phones (That is if you don’t purchase any fancy app.)
2 - Too much gear kills the motivation
You may be saying, “well, I can just take my full-frame everywhere I go? Why do I need another camera to just take with me every day?” That would be a great question and the truth is that when the time comes to picking up your full-frame, questions will come into play.
What lens do I bring? I’m just going to the grocery store do I really need to lug around my Canon 5D MK 48 (I’m kidding with the “48”?) Should I bring my camera bag or just carry it around on a strap? Will they let me in with this camera?
I pose those questions because it’s the truth. When you’re heading out you don’t want to have to think too much, it’ll prevent you from bringing your camera at all. (same goes for mirrorless, for those who are saying but my mirrorless isn’t as big as a full frame.)
Your everyday camera needs to be simple in its form and shouldn’t be fussy. It’s a tool that you should be able to pick up and go. No frills kind of camera. Essentially your every day should be an advanced point and shoot. Preferably with a fixed lens. Think Sony RX100, Fuji X100F, or Canon Powershot G5X MK III. Those cameras allow you to control all the settings while being nimble and friendly to carry.
3 - Photography is no longer fun and your creativity died
You may not have realized it yet, but photography no longer gives you that excitement or passion you once had when you first started. Like I mentioned earlier, you’re photographing the same thing over and over again. And while you may be happy that you’re doing what you love for a living, that raw feeling is gone.
With an everyday camera, you’ll be forced to shoot the mundane. You’ll be looking for interesting subjects, interesting lighting, and just anything interesting to shoot. Which in turn is working your creativity muscle. When you’re in photographer mode, you become an observer of life. You’re constantly scanning for moments, situations, and juxtapositions (at least you should be.) Being in that mode is forcing your creative brain to work and evolve. It’s allowing that muscle to get stronger.
4 - Holding something different gives you a different perspective
Sometimes all we need is a different lens to see something in a different way and having an everyday camera will help you do that. Imagine owning a sports car and an SUV. Imagine the difference in perspective when driving each of those cars. In the sports car, you’re low to the ground and probably driving fast. In the SUV, you’re higher up and maybe in a more relaxed driving position. Or maybe imagine the difference in wearing boots versus sneakers. You have a different perspective while wearing those shoes as well. In the boots, you may walk a little stronger and feel a little bit more confident in your step. Where in the sneakers, you may feel more nimble and more relaxed in your walk.
The same applies to the camera you hold in your hands. When you’re holding your full-frame on a job, you have a much different perspective as to when you’re holding a simpler camera walking the street. Not only is your environment different but so is the physical feeling in your hands.
5 - “The best camera is the one that’s with you.”
As I mentioned earlier that quote/statement couldn’t be any truer. I know I’ve found myself in countless situations where I wish I had a camera on me. A camera that allowed me to adjust the settings in order to really capture the mood of the moment. When you have your everyday camera on you, you’ll never have the regret. It eliminates all possibility of “damn, I wish I got that shot.”
I also believe that when you start to carry an everyday camera around with you everywhere, you sort of go back into time. A time where you photographed everything because you wanted to. That feeling tends to go away as time goes on. I believe when you have your every day on you, you start to photograph the simpler moments. Moments that you may be having with your dear friends, significant other, kids, or even a moment alone. The everyday camera allows you to capture those special simple moments.
At the end of the day, I wrote this article to help wake some of you up. To help you realize that you’re no longer shooting from the heart. I found from experience that carrying a simpler camera with me everywhere I went, opened up my creativity.
Some of you may also be saying, but I don’t have the funds to buy another camera, and I can totally understand that. I am a firm believer that your camera doesn’t have to be fancy. So get creative on how to obtain a second camera. Whether it’s thrifting, yard sales, waiting for Black Friday, or just simply saving. Within time you’ll have it.
For myself, I took my Canon T3I and put a pancake lens on it (28mm fixed) to help make the camera less cumbersome, and that seemed to do the trick. I carry the camera with me everywhere I go. I may not always shoot, but I’ll always have the option.
As always, keep shooting!