It happens to many new photographers around the world. After months and months of looking at amazing pictures posted by their friends, on social networks or simply online, many decide that missing on the opportunity to buy an expensive DSLR and start impressing their friends, the friends of their friends, relatives and family members cannot be postponed anymore.
After all, who doesn’t want to get whaos and “love it” , “stunning”, ” amazing” accolades for himself. Everyone of us deep inside has the self promoting and self loving drive, which is most likely the self-preservation instinct we all carry in our DNA. This instinct helped us every day to stay alert and survive during the years of human evolution.
But the inevitable happens: A brand new camera and lens (or lenses) arrive and then the struggle begins. Settings, camera controls, downloading and cataloging images, post editing the images, uploading and sharing. Suddenly there is so much to learn and despite all the money, time and energy spend, the final images still doesn’t look near to what we see online.
So most new photographers, do what is the easiest to do in this situation: Decide that others must have better gear and they are still lacking the latest and greatest lenses which will make their images better. So they go, do more research, spend endless hours reading forums and asking questions on which is the best camera body and lens. It must be the gear they are so convinced, that the obsession soon transforms into what is known as: GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome).
And there they “march” to the nearest online web store, buying and buying new gear until no lens they want is out of reach anymore. But as many soon get to realize, no gear in the word can make great images alone. It is the same as buying a new stove and expecting to become a better chef overnight by simply cooking the same way and the same recipe. The gear itself is never the solution.
So the doubts start to emerge:
- What to do next after buying brand new DSLR or mirror-less camera?
- Why after spending lots of money one still cannot make amazing images?
- What is the holy grail of amazing photography?
Well, there is a no single answer to these questions, but in essence new digital camera is just a tool which by itself is not enough to make stunning images. One needs to have creative ideas on how to create images which capture the attention. It also needs to know how to create interesting composition which include elements arranged in an interesting way. It’s a just too big of a discussion, so I will focus on just one point to consider when deciding what digital camera to buy as your first camera.
There are two camps:
- Get the best you can afford and plan to use it for a long time.
- Get the cheapest you can get and learn how to use it before you are ready to commit more time and money.
I am in the second camp. If you wonder why, here are few reasons to consider.
A single, used 50 mm lens and used mid or low range camera is a much better choice to make all the errors and do all the learning on “the cheap”. One can free its mind from worrying too much about damaging brand new expensive camera and focus on the creative part of photography instead of on the technical side first. This would allow one to find its area of interest and type of photography which best fits one’s personality and likes.
I see so many photographers in the field missing wildlife shots by simply keeping the lens cap all the time on their new $4K shiny lenses because of fear not to get their lenses dusty. Or taking and putting their new looking $3K camera in their backpacks when outside, so it doesn’t get dirty. They worry more about protecting their gear that freeing their minds and letting the creativity flows.
So why not get cheap used lens for learning and making all the mistakes you need? Why not use cheap and used camera to make all the shutter clicks you need to learn and master the photography techniques? Doing the opposite (buying and learning on a more expensive camera) would be like taking driving lessons on a brand new Ferrari. The fear of failure and damaging the expensive tools is crippling the progress of so many freshly minted photographers.
New photographers can learn much faster the foundations of photography and master the craft, if they focus on learning composition, learning to see light and expect moments, rather than wasting their energy and money on acquiring the latest and greatest camera bodies and lenses. GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) is the biggest threat to new photographers and in my opinion should be avoided at any cost.
Or using the cooking analogy, I used before: A better stove (camera body and lenses) will not make one a better chef (photographer). Understanding the ingredients (light, composition, time, posing), learning different recipes (natural light, artificial light, AV, TV or manual modes, etc) and countless hours of practice is what can make a difference.
About the Author:
Trifon Anguelov Photography is a premiere wedding and events photography business based in Mountain View, CA 94040 and serving clients in San Francisco Bay Area, CA. You can read more about the author and review his portfolio on his website. For complete list of services and to book your wedding, visit his Wedding Packages page.