I will probably get a bunch of hate for this article, but whatever. Hopefully, my message will help someone. I realize this site is frequented by enthusiasts, professionals, camera geeks, etc. but this post is pointed more at people that want to make it as a portrait or fashion photographer.
I’m a photographer that lives off photography shooting a campaign every few months and I just wanted to share some advice that I wish someone had told me years back. I’ve met a lot of photographers in my time and they always break down into two categories: the ones that are artists, and the ones that obsess over camera gear.
I find that the people who are obsessed with camera gear tend to be relatively bad photographers.
I’m not saying they can’t take a nice photo, I mean generally these photographers are so tied up in trying to get the best camera setup they can, that they don’t focus on the art of photography. There’s nothing wrong with loving cameras, but realize that practicing photography everyday for a week is going to improve your photos immensely, as opposed to buying that new Sigma ART lens.
Stop relying on new camera gear to better your photography. Regardless of whether you’re using a top-of-the-line Hasselblad or not, your photography is not going to improve unless your skills do.
When I speak to top fashion photographers, gear never comes up—it’s always about the art, the story, and the image they’re making, not what f/stop, ISO, or shutter speed they’re using. In fact, the majority of fashion photographers are using relatively cheap SLRs with basic lenses.
I used to be the kind of person that obsessed over camera gear myself, but a few years ago when I really got into photography, I realized that it just doesn’t f***ing matter what camera you use, it’s 100% about the lighting that you’re working with. During the past few years I’ve used the same basic kit and haven’t even thought about changing my camera setup.
Start focussing on creating your own style and aesthetic that makes you stick out from the millions of photographers on Flickr whose photos all look the same, and just be happy with the camera you’ve got. Again, this post isn’t meant to be a nasty dig at anyone. I just wish someone had told me this a few years ago—it would have helped me focus on the important part of photograph: the art.
About the author: This author of this post, which was also published here, has decided to remain anonymous.