I get asked this often, and my answer is always the same: It isn’t all about the camera!
In fact, the camera is just a part of the formula, and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Photography is an art form that requires a combination of critical elements, most of which have nothing to do with hardware. A camera to a photographer is simply the medium, equivalent to a palette and paintbrush to a painter, or a ball of clay to a sculptor. The camera acts as the artist’s eye and helps facilitate an artist’s vision. It’s a vehicle; a means to an end.
If an untrained, beginner cyclist purchases a $7,000 bicycle and some spandex shorts, he is not suddenly qualified to race the Tour de France. The same philosophy applies to professional photography.
Further proof that professional photography has less to do with equipment than it does artistry, is the non-stop barrage of online evidence in this, the insatiable era of non-stop documenting on social media, and especially Instagram. As smartphones continue to improve their built-in camera functionality and overall picture quality, casual picture-takers have been somewhat falsely emboldened by the cool apps and filters. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great one-off Instagram photos by non-photographers out there, but even a blind pig sometimes finds a truffle! The ability to press a button (on a phone OR a camera) does not make one a photographer, as photography requires a level of artistry that reaches over and beyond apps, filters, and selfie-sticks.
My camera is one of many important tools in my arsenal, including (but not limited to!) years of training and experience, continually honing my skills, and a great deal of trial and error. And while my cameras have not changed all that much over the years, my end results definitely have. My early work when getting started looks NOTHING like my work today, and that growth is not a reflection of my camera, but of my passion for creating compelling artistic images.