Does New Gear = Better Photographs?

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

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1/1000 sec at f/9 and ISO 400

Recently a reader wrote asking one of the timeless question that all new photographers ask: Would newer, better equipment improve my photographs?” Since I get this kind of e-mail from time to time, I wanted to share my response with any other readers who may have a similar question. Please keep in mind that this is not THE ANSWER but is instead just my answer. Feel free to ask other photographers their opinion and at the end when all is said and done, you have to make up your own mind.

The answer to the question is— maybe but maybe not. Ultimately it’s the photographer who makes the picture, not the camera. The most important photographic accessory is the one between your ears, so the best thing you can do is practice by shooting pictures on a regular basis. Make a picture every day but I know form experience that’s actually harder than it sounds.

More importantly, don’t be afraid to make mistakes because that is how we all learn. Don’t chase perfection, instead work on gradual improvement. Tackle a subject that you think is hard, like macro photography or infrared photography. And don’t look at the most expensive ways to accomplish these things; instead look at the cheapest methods such as camera filters or close-up filters. Don’t be afraid—the old fear factor again—of purchasing used gear on eBay or from friends. I’ve had great luck purchasing used equipment from KEH Camera.

This blog and my other blog—Saving the Wold, One Pixel @ a Time—has daily posts with many basic tips. There are several hundred hundred posts here and there. Find something that grabs your attention and learn more about it from magazines, such as Shutterbug and don’t forget your local library, they probably have lots of how-to books as well as books featuring the work of classic photographers. Find somebody whose work you like and let it inspire your own image making.

PS. If you’re wondering about the top image, it’s a digital recreation of one of the first photographs that I ever made when I was eight years old using a Kodak Brownie box camera. This one was shot with a Pentax K-01 mirrorless camera with a 18mm lens and an exposure of 1/100 sec at f/9 and ISO 400.