|Click to Enlarge|
The more time I spend on some photography forum-style pages, the more it seems like, in spite of the obvious and an incredible amount of information to the contrary, many photographers still believe, to various extents, that great photography is a product of gear, more specifically, camera body and lens gear.
I won't argue there are times when better gear produces better images depending on the intent of the images you're shooting or who you're shooting them for-- it does, well, make that it can. Course, it also depends on one's definition of "better." For me, "better" means whatever gear produces images that meet my clients' expectations, my expectations, and that which makes my production work-flows simpler and more efficient.
I used to play golf. Golf is another endeavor where many of its practitioners, like many photographers, place an awful lot of faith, value, trust, and expectations in the gear they're using. Will an accomplished golfer still make his putts with just about any putter rather than an expensive Ping putter or another of that caliber? Do I really have to answer that? How about the brands of drivers or irons they're using? Again, you know the answer to that. Leastwise, my answer.
Great golfers play the game in enviable ways because they're great golfers, not because of the clubs in their bags or the brand of balls they're smacking around the course. And they became great golfers via learning, practice, and repetition. Not simply by upgrading their equipment or buying into the marketing bullshit of those who make and sell golf gear. I learned as much or more about how to become a better photographer from playing golf -- which I continued to suck at doing -- than with my camera gear cuz I know how to extrapolate the obvious from one endeavor and apply it to another, even if that other is an almost completely unrelated activity. I'll bet most of you know how to do that too. At least I hope you can.The trick, of course, is to actually use that skill, that extrapolating skill, and learn from it.
Learning, practice, and repetition will do more for your photography than any camera, lens, light, modifier, or accessory will. Period. End of story. You can take that to the bank.
The pretty girl at the top is Kayla. I snapped it in a studio about 7 years ago. It's straight out of the camera except for resizing for the web and a few blemishes removed. I only removed the blemishes because, if Kayla were to see it without them removed -- not that they were that big a deal but, you know, Kayla being female and a model and all -- and I happened to run into her she'd probably be pissed and she'd let me know she was pissed in short order. BTW, for my British readers, the word "pissed," in this context, doesn't mean drunk. It means angry. I'm merely qualifying that in case you don't savvy American. I, by the way, do savvy English English having spent three years living on your lovely island in my youth. By "youth" I mean from 20 to 23 years of age.
Kayla's picture was snapped with my Canon 5D classic with a Canon 28-135 IS USM f/3.5-f/5.6 (Depending on the zoom amount.) Not the most awesome lens in Canon's consumer offerings but far from the worst. It was lit with three sources: A 5' Photoflex Octo for my main set slightly camera right, a Chimera medium soft box on the left from a bit behind her, and a shoot-through umbrella, probably a 3-footer, boomed overhead-ish, camera-right and from behind. ISO 100, f/5.6, 125th, with the lens zoomed into 100mm for its focal distance.