U4D: Reposting That’s a Great Camera

I had all these plans to write a post for you today, but I don’t know, the time just disappeared, but it does give me a chance to redo some older posts. It is good to repost some knowing that what was said is still really relevant today. Today I thought we could take another at a post I wrote in response to people thinking that my camera does all the work. I hope you enjoy seeing it again.

Have you ever been out taking photos and someone has looked at your camera and said, “wow, that’s a great camera, it must take great photos”? I’ve had it said to me many times.  Yeah, I do have a great camera, but is that camera going to take great photos for everyone? There is an assumption by many people that it won’t matter what I do, I will get fantastic photos, like it has nothing to do with me.

When people, and by people I mean those that don’t really know about photography, see photographers with cameras, then the assumptions happen.  I was teaching a woman photography one day and she had a bigger camera than mine, and people would say to her, wow I bet you get LeanneCole-macro-20140530-9927good photos with that?  She had hired me because she didn’t know how to use it.

I try not to be insulted when people say things like that, I know it’s ignorance, but seriously, really, do they not think that I have anything to do with it.  I have spent years and years learning my craft, how to use the camera to get the best from it.  Composition, figuring out what works and what doesn’t.  Then there is working out how to photograph different things, like landscape photography, or architecture, now stars.  I have spent, oh I don’t know how, many hours over the last scpointlonsdale-8809few years learning to use Photoshop so I can also get the best out of my camera.

I do have a great camera, and it does take great images, but that is because I know how to use it and I know, well most of the time, what I am doing with it.

I also think that you don’t have to have a great camera to get good images.  I have seen photos here on WordPress that have blown me away, and then found out they were taken on a compact style sccity-canon8877camera.  Top cameras do have advantages, and they will do things that are great, but in the end, it doesn’t matter how you got the image, it is all about the image itself.  If you learn how to use your camera, and use it well, then who will know what you are using.  At the end of the day, people don’t look at a photo and say that must have been taken with a great camera.

Have you experience that reaction? Do feel that way when you see someone with a bigger camera than you? When you look at photos that people have taken do you wonder what sort of camera they have?


On another note, if you are interested in writing a U4D post for me, send me an email. Would love others to start writing for me again.

The photos in this post are from the original one and were taken almost three years ago.

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  1. I smile back and say “yes its GREAT – I don’t have to do ANYTHING at all! It drives itself to the beach and takes the most amazing sunrises and I get to sleep in, its fantastic”

    People are dumb and thoughtless and mostly uneducated and also not interested in changing any of that. So I have given up on being nice and trying to educate them that way, instead I say something along the lines of the above, and they get the point. If there is opportunity for further discussion then I will take the time, but most people don’t care.

    1. I would love to see the look on their faces when you say that to them.

      I think ignorant is the word you are looking for, lol. I just don’t even bother anymore, I just smile and leave it at that. Though I don’t get told that as much anymore, people just look at my camera and comment on the size of it. Thanks Stacey.

  2. Hi Leanne, I started out with my Photography life with a box brownie, which I took some lovely photos with btw lol, then moved up to a Canon EF film camera, which took me a while to learn how to use it , but, because it was film and not digital, you really had to learn as you say, to be able to use and understand how it works as it was an expensive thing then to send away the film to be processed.
    Now in this modern world we live in I dont think people take the time to learn the basics and just think that by buying the best equipment out on the market all will turn out great.
    The best bit about any camera or lens is the persons brain behind it lol
    My box Brownie, poeple always used to say what a rubbish camera but to me it use to take great photos lol

    1. Wow, I have one of those somewhere. I agree, I think that a lot of people just think it doesn’t matter they can fix it in post, but that isn’t always possible. I have to agree, the best gear is a waste of money if you don’t really know how to use it.
      I have never tried taking photos with a box brownie, but it sounds like it would be a lot of fun. Thanks you Philip.

  3. Automation has made it possible for “anybody to be a photographer.” Of course, that’s not true … but I know people who have equipment I would kill for and they just it entirely in iAuto. They don’t know an f-stop from their elbow. And they don’t want to learn. They figure they don’t have to. It is very frustrating. I don’t even know why they have cameras.

    1. That is so true Marilyn, I don’t understand them either. I had a client who did that, had a very expensive camera, but used it on auto, so I said to him, how can you have a camera like that and not know how to use it. I taught him. They have so many possibilities and give you so many options. Thanks Marilyn, good to hear your thoughts.

    2. I think that’s the fun and enjoyment of photography, figuring out the f stops & shutter speeds for a particular subject, and to see the final result is even more exciting.

  4. I had to smile at the discussion on what type of camera we use. I have been blown away, like you, by pictures taken with compacts and phones. Just a coupe of days ago I ‘revisited’ my trips to Egypt and all the pictures I have (even from 2013) are either taken with a small Canon Powershot or with an early iPhone…and all of them are not that bad 🙂

    1. It is amazing what people can achieve when they know what they are doing. That is great to hear Tiny, thank you for sharing.

  5. Back when I was shooting film, I would occasionally bring along a disposable camera for grab shots and having prints to show (slide film was in the other cameras). People would always be shocked that the prints I showed came from a plastic camera with a plastic lens. You shouldn’t be insulted when someone judges you by what equipment you are using, just point them to your website instead.

    1. I’m not insulted, I understand it, but I just wish people would understand that there is more to it that just pointing the camera and clicking the button. I am not rude to them, and I just smile and say thanks.

    2. Photography has been underappreciated for some time now, and that is not likely to change. Because you have studied photography, and have been involved with your craft for a while, you know what you want in your shots and probably make it look easy. To an average observer, you probably don’t appear any more, or any less qualified than any other photographer on the street. Producing quality work repeatedly comes from studying and practice, not luck. Just keep smiling, Leanne 🙂

  6. I read a lot of how some photographers have these expensive $4,$5 thousand dollar cameras and lenses, I use to think it was necessary to have all the up to date gear to compete, and in some cases it is but the overall final outcome is the composition and how you capture the best image which can be achieve with a less expensive camera.

    1. No, it isn’t necessary, especially the camera side of it, lenses, that is a bit different, you get very clear images with expensive lenses, but then again, most people probably couldn’t tell the difference. YOu can have an expensive camera, but if you leave it on auto you aren’t getting the benefit of it either. You do know how to use them, and, as you said, composition is also very important. Thanks for your input.

  7. I have experienced that and I am not even a professional photographer – not even semi-pro – and have a pretty old now and pretty basic DSLR. People make so many odd assumptions. I think so many people just use their phones nowadays that they think anyone taking a photo with a DSLR must have an advantage simply because of the equipment. I find that odd because it completely negates the input of the person taking the photograph, their artistic vision and ability, their skills, their experience, their handling of that equipment. Besides, I have seen some incredible images taken with basic camera phones and some really duff photos taken with super-super DSLRs. As an aside, I also find that in any crowded, tourist spot, people make a beeline for me to ask me to take photos of them as if I am going to take a better shot of them with their phone than any other passerby simply because I have a DSLR hanging around my neck.

    1. It is so true Laura, I remember someone telling me a story once about how their neighbour went and bought the model up from them and then came back to say why aren’t my photos better than yours, I have a better camera. They just didn’t get that it had nothing to do with the camera. Still people don’t take the time to find out. I agree with your about the photo taking and tourists, I think they think their photo is going to be taken with a professional photographer. Thanks for your comment Laura.

    2. My husband just reminded me that when I was taking at least 20 photos of random people by their request at the Trevi Fountain, I was asking them to move to create a better composition or for better lighting. He was so annoyed by the time it was taking. So that’s another hazard when out and about with a DSLR.

    3. Yes, I am with your husband, just take one photo and then hand the camera back, you don’t want to give the rest of us a bad reputation. LOL.

  8. Great post, and glad you republished it. Any camera is a tool that we photographers use to enhance our artistry. And that artistry may show itself a little more in post editing. 🙂 But it is exciting for us newbies who own a “real” camera to capture that zoomed shot that is ridiculously clear 🙂

    1. Thank you Terri, and you are welcome, it is good to listen to what others say, and how exciting too. I hope you are enjoying your photography. “D

  9. I get the same reaction (and automatic assumptions) from others when I’m toting around my Sigma 500mm wildlife/sports lens on my Canon EOS 6D. Getting a great photo has to do with how I calibrate my camera for ambient lighting conditions, compose the image, approach my subject matter, and process in the digital darkroom, not just when I press the shutter button.

  10. I try so hard not to be rude in these situations. One of the best comebacks I’ve heard from another photographer – “And does your stove make nice meals for you?”

    1. I do the same, I just be polite and move on, no point upsetting people, they just don’t understand I think. Thanks Sarah.

  11. This goes right in line with the blog post I wrote today. You can have the most expensive camera, and still take crappy photos.

  12. I’ve heard photographers complaining about this for years. I know what you’re saying, Leanne, because you push your gear to the max with good technique. However some, especially MWACs, get really mental about it. They come up with snotty retorts like, “Your pans must really cook well.”

    When I buy better gear, I take better pictures. I know how to use a camera but the gear still makes some difference even for novices who never get out of auto.People who say I have a nice camera mean to pay me a compliment. I try not to get too worked up if they do so in a clumsy manner. They mean well so I don’t get annoyed at what they didn’t say.

    1. Yes, those comments don’t help either. I think it is about education and that sort of thing. The camera does make a difference, but ultimately only if you know what you are doing with it. Thank you Sharon, I just smile and say thank you to them.

  13. I couldn’t agree with you more! I’m just a newbie photographer, I’m a continuous learner and I know I will never reach the level of the photographers I admire, but still I make an effort to think about the composition, to get a proper exposure, to learn about post processing, to look at other people’s work, to get inspired… And it’s very frustrating that people think you just got a nice photo because of your camera or because it was processed in lightroom/photoshop.

    1. I think we all feel like that when we start out, but you will get there if you continue to push yourself. It is frustrating, but not much we can do except help education people. Thank you and good luck with your photography.

  14. Hi Leanne, when I first had someone comment on my camera and how it must take good photo’s I was not sure what to say at first. Later I began saying that it was not the camera but the photographer behind the camera but then I realised that meant nothing to many people. So now now days I just say thank you it’s a great camera and I’m lucky to have a such good one and just let it go at that. I don’t get too concerned with that comment any more as I know people are just trying to be friendly and start a conversation.

    1. I do the same Aubrey, I don’t want to be rude, but sometimes, well, it would be nice if they could realize that it is not the camera, it helps, but the user has to know how to use it. I have got used to it, now. Though what I seem to get ask a lot more is did you get some good image.
      Thanks Aubrey, lovely to hear from you.

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