Your camera takes great photos!
A phrase that photographers love to hear
I’ll say straight off the bat, I’m not a pro photographer — but I’m probably just about qualified to write this post as I’ve heard the aforementioned words spoken and written on many occasions.
Here’s the scene: you’ve woken up at 5am to get the best light for sunrise, packed your gear and decided to head out to the coast to get a shot. You open The Photographer’s Ephemeris, it tells you which is the best spot exactly to set up so you can get the sun rising in just the position you need it to.
You know you want to get all of the rocks in the shot so you screw on your ultra-wide angle 14mm lens. You’ve spent years learning and memorising the photography fundamentals such as the Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines etc, so you compose your shot as perfectly as you can.
You set your ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed without thinking as you’ve done it so many times. The sky is extremely bright so you compensate and use your Neutral Density filter to get a better exposure. You plug a timer remote into the camera, so you know you will get zero shake from pressing the shutter.
You’re delighted with the landscape you’ve just spent a hell of a lot of time setting up. That’s only half the work. You’re shooting in RAW format, which is a digital negative — you’ve got a lot of processing to do. You bring the image into Lightroom, a program you’ve spent months attempting to master, making adjustments, colour corrections, fringing, cropping, sharpening, retouching etc. You bring it into Photoshop, add some more adjustments and you’re done!
A shot you’re proud of! Chuffed with yourself, you show someone your work and you guessed it…
“Wow, your camera takes really nice photos!”
I know that theres a difference in having say, a Canon 5DmkIII and having a trusty ol’ point and click, but to think the camera is the defining factor in creating a good photograph is just so ill informed it’s insane.
Most people creating images have spent years learning the fundamentals, the technical aspects some others won’t learn - focal lengths, ISO, Aperture and how these 3 things work together. Not to mention the 100's of hours spent on the holy grail of photography tutorials, good old YouTube.
And this is not counting people (unlike me) who have given years of their life to formally study and master the craft of photography.
If you want to see what pro photographers can do with the absolute lowest level of equipment, check out this great series. Also, if you want to see how your camera isn’t the be all and end all, have a look at this years Smithsonian Mobile Photography Award nominees. All beautiful images, shot on phones.
I’ll end on this quote I read while researching this topic, it’s by Jascha Heifetz, famed violinist, who was approached by a woman after one of his shows. “Mr. Heifetz, I just love the sound your violin makes.” He picked up his violin, held it up to his ear and said “Funny, I don’t hear a thing.”