I think we as photographers come across this question a lot whenever we show someone our work or upload it on social media: “Which camera did you use?” It is very common, isn’t it?
People have always had this misconception that it is the camera that mostly does the wonders, but I would really like to talk about this today and address this topic.
I agree that a camera is basically a machine made by engineers and it has everything to do with technology, but it has way more to it than just that.
Is the equipment more important or the photographer? Trust me, we as photographers also ask this question to ourselves at some point in our life. It is a very simple question which unfortunately does not come with a simple answer.
HOW MUCH DOES EQUIPMENT MATTER?
It would be wrong to say that equipment does not matter at all because it does. If this was not the case photographers all over the world would not be spending so much money on buying new equipment and upgrading it along the way.
Here it is a question of how much it affects your photography. Having an expensive camera does come with technical capabilities like; autofocus, high-ISO, high resolution, high dynamic range, and all the mechanical funtions which helps to get really good pictures. But do these make a bigger difference in our photography or us?
Both, the photographer and the equipment go hand in hand. Even if you have the best equipment in the world, it won’t matter if you don’t have the capabilities to use it. It takes a serious set of skills to capture great images and is something that takes years for one to master.
Camera technology might be a part of the equation but this equation would have no solution without you as a photographer.
These days almost every camera has shake reduction, but it takes great handholding skills in order to achieve sharp photos. Image stabilization helps, but if your technique isn’t sound enough then you will end up with blurry photos anyway as you can’t just expect yourself to carry your tripod anywhere and everywhere.
You can’t of course take candid pictures to capture those moments during a wedding let’s say and keep on running with your camera on a tripod adjusting it accordingly.
LIGHTING AND EXPOSURE
Cameras do come with a pretty good sense of identifying the right exposure for the scene, but it is not always what you are looking for or just does not look good sometimes.
That is where the photographer steps in and takes control in order to achieve the desired results. No matter how great the camera is, it cannot tell you the way the light should be used for a great shot and that is something that photographers spend a lot of time on their lives studying and mastering.
COMPOSITION AND FEEL
One of the major reasons why photographers with the most expensive equipment out there can still not achieve great shots is compositional skills.
This is something that is innate and cannot be executed by any camera in this world. If you don’t bring this major skill to the table then you will be the one lost in the crowd with other millions of people out there and your pictures will have no character or identity.
This is a major factor that sets a photographer apart from the others and brings the required drama in your pictures. Trust me, nobody likes plain soulless photographs that do not have a meaning or a story behind them.
It does not just stop there. Having the ability to pull off that composition is an art that requires a lot of practice, hard work, and deep knowledge about the camera settings.
You need to know how to use the camera settings to your advantage. That’s where you need to leverage your knowledge in order to get the perfect shot.
A photographer does not only have great knowledge about the camera and the equipment but also various post-processing software like Adobe Photoshop & lightroom and it is used to cover up the technical parts that are missed during the shoot (color correction, exposure, etc.) but if as the photographer you missed the right pose or the aesthetics are not that strong, no software can edit that for you.
I think you have an idea now why both the equipment and the photographer are equally important. Yes, high-end gear helps, but only when you have the right skill set.
It will provide you with higher chances of getting the shot that you planned for but remember that it is just a paintbrush and you are the artist.
Having a high-quality brush will help you achieve those fine details but it won’t create them for you. The same way the best gear will give you ultra-sharp, well-exposed, in-focus shots but nothing more than that. You are the one in control and it is you behind the camera who matters.