Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photography Blog by Trifon Anguelov Photography

1090 Clark Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94040 | (650) 930-0743 |

So You Bought a Brand New DSLR camera And Lenses … And Now What?


IMG_20140124_162544It 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.


Author: Trifon Anguelov

Photographer in San Francisco Bay Area, California. Currently based in Mountain View, California, I am specializing in portraiture and events photography. Working with clients to fulfill their needs for personal and business, headshots, children portraits, family portraits, corporate headshots and portraits, commercial photography and events photography. In my free time I also enjoy photography landscapes and wildlife.

13 thoughts on “So You Bought a Brand New DSLR camera And Lenses … And Now What?

  1. Pingback: Analyze Your Lightroom Catalog With Lightroom Analytics | Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photography Blog by Trifon Anguelov Photography

  2. Pingback: 9 Tips For Becoming a Successful Photographer | Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photography Blog by Trifon Anguelov Photography

  3. Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all people you really recognize what you’re talking about!

    Bookmarked it.


  4. One Massachusetts bride saved significantly more than $50 per person by keeping her wedding bridal bouquets, centerpieces
    low cost. A marriage is being judged by you around the schedule of what you find out about the pair.


  5. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head.

    The problem I see over and over is that very few bloggers are writing intelligent and quality blogs anymore. It seems that many are just posting short and very shallow blogs nowadays and there is no quality wedding photography blogs to educate other wedding photographers. You did a great job adding very useful information instead.

    I’m very happy that I stumbled on your blog. I am a fan now. Keep up the amazing job.


  6. Hi! This is my first visit to your blog and I love it!

    I agree with the points you raised and think gear is not the ultimate gear for every photographer. But yet 90% of the discussions on many photography forums are about gear. Go figure. Wish more people write articles like your.

    Keep on educating us. You have done a marvelous job!

    — Aaron


  7. Hello there! This is my first comment here. I am a new photographer from India and found your blog online.

    I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your post. I learned a lot and would definitely come back to read more. Also shared with our local photography club in Bangalore.

    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums this deal with the same topics? Thanks a ton!


  8. I enjoy reading your blog. You brought an excellent points into your blog. Very useful.


  9. Glad to see fellow wedding photographer raise this point. Many new photographers believe it is all about the gear. But as you mentioned it is not. Hope many photographers will read this post and don’t make the same mistake. Keep up the great work here. Big fan of your site.



  10. Thank you, I have just been looking for information approximately this topic for ages and yours is the greatest I have found out till now. I have to admit that your points are bulls-eye right on target. I am professional photographer from Canada and for the last 15 years have seen many new photographers make the same mistake you are describing. Wish there are more “photographers” and less “snapshot catchers”.



  11. I am glad I found this post. Interesting photography discussion. But let’s be frank: Gear is what makes money. Look around and see that every dissent blog nowadays tries to sell gear. Too bad as they are really good photography blogs but yet fall to the “dark side”.

    Hope you will not try to sell us gear one day 🙂 Fan of your blog. Thumbs up!!!


  12. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Opera.

    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The design look great though! Hope you get the issue solved soon. Many thanks!


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