Camera gear does not a photographer make!
There. It’s out there for the world to see. I, too was once a believer that a photographer was one who had the best cameras and lenses. He had a high class studio with all the special lights and backdrops, the underwater gear, access to an airplane to take the aerial shots.
It just ain’t so.
The truth about photography is that it is not about gear and knowledge. It’s not about a degree from a university. It’s not even about a special artistic gift.
Photography is about capturing the light. It’s about being able to snap the shutter at just the right time and from the right position. Photography is about life.
Think about the great images that have captured your imagination or moved you to some different emotional state. Aren’t they images that have life in them? Even the photographs of still objects that grab your attention do it by stirring your emotions. They stir up the life inside of you.
Photographers can do this with the best of gear or a home-made pinhole camera. They have a passion and desire to capture and portray life on film or on a digital camera sensor. Then they go out and do it.
Some of the ways you can identify a photographer:
- He looks at the world artistically and notices things like light and shadows, color and design.
- He appreciates nature and can photograph it so that everyone else can too.
- He is extremely observant of his surroundings and will stop to shoot a picture at the drop of a hat.
- He is willing to share his experiences via image display so that all of us can see what he saw.
On the other hand, there are some things that are not necessarily true about one of these passionate picture makers:
- She is not just lucky. Being at the right place at the right time does play a part in the game, but it is not because of luck. It is because she is dedicated to her passion.
- She is good because she has the newest and bestest of gear. Many folks think that if they don’t have that new digital SLR that just came out with the super-duper prime lens, they will not get the best shots. Although having good gear is important for a pro, it does not define a photographer.
- She does not need to be a born artist. It is true that some people have a better eye for picture making, but it is also true that the eye can be trained to see the creative images.
- She has a natural knack for things that are technical and difficult. One of the myths about photography is that it is very technical, and therefore it is hard to learn. Not true. You can take great pictures with a cell phone. Some cameras and studio setups are quite technical, but, once again, they do not define a photographer.
Great photography is really very simple. Be ready to take a picture when the opportunity presents itself (hence the term “photo opportunity”). “See” your surroundings in a different light. Be familiar with some basic guidelines about shooting technique. Shoot.