Photography, not Cameras
Hi guys. I’m sorry that we have no Wallpaper Monday today, I shall have to post that tomorrow. In the meantime, a certain discussion came up this weekend, one that has been in my mind for long now. It’s about cameras and beginning in photography. I mean what was the most important thing while starting out in photography? I wonder. A camera? A flash? A cool lens? A cool camera bag? A creative eye? Susan Wong on twitter shared “Not being afraid to snap away”…I don’t have an answer myself. You know me, I just ramble away here and probably leave you guys with no solutions. Take my words with a pinch of salt, or if they are too bitter, bite into a slice of lemon.
Anyone in Nairobi now knows that there is a photography/photographers boom. I don’t know what that means but I know that I am excited about it, a lot. It means more people doing what I love to do(less chances of being lonely). Unfortunately, it also means more people who want to front as something they aren’t and in so doing give a wrong picture of what photography is. I mean, we still live in a society where having a really huge camera means you are a really good photographer. I was shooting a wedding using my 50mm lens which y’all know is a small lens and one of the quests had a 70-300mm and one of the ladies on the bridal party expressed concerns. She just wondered how my small camera would match the huge camera considering I was the principal photographer *face palm*, i digress.
So the main point. I don’t have too much experience but if you are starting out, get the simplest DSLR you can. With an 18-55mm stock lens. Why do I say so? I meet many people who think good cameras make good photographers. This is true as saying good cooking pans make awesome chefs. If you really wan’t to be a good photographer, never ever be restricted by your camera. Don’t do things just because the camera can. Understand photography or at least seek to understand photography, shoot until you discover what you love to shoot. Until you discover what your camera can or can’t do. Ken Rockwell always says that he regrets spending 20 years of his photography life(he has about 30-40 years experience) focusing on cameras instead of photography. Thankfully I took his advice early enough and now i’m learning to focus on photography and not tools.
If you already have your super cool expensive camera, make no mistake of thinking you have done half the work because you haven’t. I have seen people with $2000 cameras that make $2 photographs…I have also seen the opposite. When you have a simple camera, you can get your head off thinking of settings and technicalities and thinking of composition, exposure, patience, colour, tone, texture, dynamism…and so much more. All this comes with time. I hope this doesn’t sound like I have an issue with expensive cameras because I don’t, I’d like to have one too. But in the meantime, I shall use my cheap camera to learn how to make amazing photography instead. You wan’t to get respect for what you do, you need to respect what you do first.
I realized that the people with lots of experience, the older photographers are using simpler cameras with time. I guess it shows that the more experienced you get, the more you realize how to make everything simple. I look forward to being at that point where I understand the utmost basic, enough to be able to focus fully on good photography.
Feel free to leave any thoughts in a comment below. Do have a photogenic day won’t you.