Generally I only post photographs here, but from time to time I will post some editorial material. Today is one of those days.
Recently I have had a few people tell me that they liked my pictures and that I must have a great camera. Then today I read a post entitled, “Saying a Camera takes Nice Pictures is like Saying a Guitar Plays Nice Melodies” and it reminded me of what I have been saying for many years, you don’t need an expensive camera to take good pictures. All you need is a little understanding of what the camera you have can and can’t do, and some knowledge of what makes a good photograph. A little talent helps as well.
Over the last 50 years, I have owned and used everything from a state of the art/expensive camera to a disposable camera, and have come away with nice pictures with all of them. Yes, it is true that I cannot do with the disposable camera all of the things I can with an SLR or DSLR, but that does not mean that good pictures cannot be taken with it.
Currently, I am using what is generally called an entry level camera, but although it can be used in Auto mode, I can, and do, use it almost exactly the way that I used the state of the art camera I once had. That is to say that I use it in Aperture Priority mode mostly – or manual mode. The main difference is that today my lenses can focus themselves – though I always tell them where to focus – while my state of the art camera was before the days of auto-focus. Yet I often find myself focusing manually.
But, if I find myself without my camera, I have no problem buying a cheap disposable – film in the old days, digital today – and still coming home with photos I am proud to show.I can do it because the primary factor in how good a picture is, is not the equipment, but the photographer. It’s true that I cannot take the macro shots, or the long exposure shots or many of the other types of shots that I can with my DSLR, but I know that and don’t try. I look to take the best photos I can within the capabilities of the camera in my hand.
I have a friend who has the same camera and lenses that I do but really knows little (okay, nothing!) about the technical side of photography, and only uses the camera on Auto, yet she takes some of the most magnificent photos of anyone I know. Is it because the camera is so very smart? Not at all! She has a good eye and a great sense of composition. She was taking wonderful photos before she got this camera as well, using only a point and shoot … also only on Auto settings.
So next time you find yourself without your fancy camera, try buying a disposable camera and see what you can do. And don’t tell someone that their photos are great so they must have a wonderful camera, instead ask, “How did you take that photo?”