We were recently teaching a one to one session, when nearly at the end, we always ask the person on the course if they are happy with what they had learnt. “Yes” was the reply “but it’s not what I expected.” In a mild panic we asked what had they expected. “I was expecting you to do more about the camera and how to use it. But instead you have been talking about light and how people see things.” So our question was, did they think they had learnt anything useful? “Oh yes” came the reply “I understand how light effects my pictures and how to use framing to lead my viewers. I can now go out and take better photographs.” With much relief we left a happy customer.
It did get us thinking about people’s expectations. Lots of people believe that photography is all about the equipment. The age-old argument still rages about what camera is better. We often get asked which camera manufacture we use? Because you’ve got a big camera and lens, that’s what makes you a good photographer. It’s as if equipment makes the photographer. It doesn’t, pictures make the photographer. And all pictures are about light and composition. The real question should be, how did you get this image. What did you do in order to make it.
If you want to improve your photography take a look at photographic competition winners and articles published in magazines. Don’t read the bit that says what camera lens and exposure was used, it will tell you very little. To prove how futile it really is, try not looking at the technical information and guess what make of camera took the picture.
It’s the photographer that makes the difference. Look at the pictures and work out what would you have done differently, if you had been there. Once you’ve worked that out. Get out and take some pictures.
So don’t worry if your camera is not the latest or greatest. The chances are even if you bought it yesterday a newer, bigger and better one will be released tomorrow. Understand light and composition and develop you own style and you are on the road to becoming a better photographer.