Why Expensive Camera Equipment Doesn’t Matter

Author: EmilyiPhotography Tutor

When we’re learning about photography, and we’re desperate to level-up our skills, it can be so tempting to splash out on expensive camera equipment.

We are here to tell you: expensive camera equipment doesn’t really matter! It’s always much better to learn the equipment you already have, inside and out, than to buy something new before you’re ready.

Levelling up our photography doesn’t come from a new shiny purchase. It comes from practice. It comes from being enthusiastic and creative. It comes from study and critique.

There are no shortcuts when it comes to photography. And that’s why it’s loved by so many people!

Credit: Emily – iPhotography Tutor

This image was taken on iPhone with a macro clip-on lens. 

1. The Final Product Is What Matters

Making music is about the song at the end; photography is about the final image. Cameras and lenses are just tools to get the job done. If a photo moves you, makes you think or feel, then who cares what camera it was taken with?

Here is a saying you might have heard before: The best camera is the one you have with you.

And those are words to live by! Often, more expensive cameras and lenses are left to gather dust at home because they’re too bulky to take out. Sometimes the best memories we capture can be on our camera phones or compact cameras.

For example, the two images below were taken on phones.

Credit: Emily – iPhotography Tutor

Credit: Emily – iPhotography Tutor

2. How we consume photographs

Gone are the days of dark rooms and photo frames. More often than not now we view photographs on screens. This could be Instagram, Facebook, or here on the iPhotography gallery.

Even for professional work, images are delivered digitally rather than via prints more often than not.

So long as we have enough data in that image, photos will look perfectly good on a screen. For example, a top-of-the-range 4K television is only the equivalent of around 8MP. Most cameras now are at least 12MP or higher. Even our phones!

Of course, resolution isn’t everything. Larger camera sensors will give us cleaner images in the dark and the quality of the lenses we use will affect the picture quality. But even the most basic camera now is brilliant quality.

TEST! One image below was taken with a £3000 camera setup and one was taken on a £300 camera setup. Which do you think is the more expensive camera?

Credit: Emily – iPhotography Tutor

Credit: Emily – iPhotography Tutor

Both images are nicely composed and tell some sort of story. The image on the first was taken with the Lumix GH5 with a pro 12-35mm f2.8 lens, which is worth around £3,000 in total, and the second image on the right was taken with the Lumix GX80, which is an entry-level camera.

Hopefully this illustrates that the story, composition, and lighting matter much more than the price tag.

Anyone can take a great photograph if they learn about composition and keep practicing!

3. Photography is all about story

Stories in photography can come in many forms. The story could be something we all universally understand, or something as simple as a holiday memory for you and your family to share. Story is king! It should be at the heart of every photo we take.

Dwelling on expensive camera equipment is like asking about the types of brushes a painter has used. There are people in the industry who would be interested of course, but 99% of the world just wants to see a nice painting!

Photography is about capturing fleeting moments, telling stories, and sharing our stories with others. It’s about capturing reality, or inventing a hyper-reality. It’s about freezing emotion and bottling it up for future generations to experience. It’s about making unique pieces of art.

Every photo we take is unique to us, and how we see the world. What a beautiful concept, and what a wonderful hobby to enjoy.

Read about some composition techniques here!

Credit: Emily – iPhotography Tutor

Credit: Emily – iPhotography Tutor

Two more photos taken on phones.

So when DOES camera equipment matter?

Investing expensive camera equipment certainly has its time and place. Once you know your camera inside-out, and you’re a master of composition and storytelling, you might find love of wildlife photography for instance. Investing in a zoom lens might help you get the shots you want.

But we have to know ourselves enough first and foremost, we have to know our own interests before we can venture out into different photography genres.

Professional photographers will need specific lenses to capture their subjects to the best of their ability. A wedding photographer might invest in an expensive portrait lens, or a macro photographer might invest in some new lighting. There is a time for expanding our equipment as our skill grows, but only when we’re ready.

Choosing the Right Tool for the Job

If you’re shooting live concerts in low light, a full-frame camera and a fast lens might be what you need. If you’re shooting sport you might want to invest in a camera that has a fast burst mode.

But you’ll be happy to know, most cameras will cover most genres perfectly fine to begin with. A more budget-friendly camera can take you a long way!

Check out the iPhotography Flip Cards to help you with your photography when you’re out in the world!

A tale shot with a £200 camera

Here’s a photo sequence that tells a story. It was shot on a second-hand Lumix G7 which cost £200.

A group of friends drive out from Las Vegas. They head into the blistering desert heat to Zion National Park and hike to the top of Angel’s Landing. At the top, the weather turns. It gets cloudy and windy. They hurry down and head to their log cabin for the night. In the night, there is a snow storm, and when they wake up, the world is totally white. What a change 24 hours can make!

Credit: Emily – iPhotography Tutor

That was just a small example of story in photography. The quality of images, and the story they tell, wouldn’t have been improved with expensive camera equipment. They might not be perfectly composed, but the photographs conjure up memories and life experiences. They’re unique to the photographer. And you really don’t need a lot of gear to achieve this.

Check out some travel photogrphy tips here!

Summary

Never feel as though you’re at a disadvantage if you don’t have the most expensive camera! We can guarantee that there are photographers out there with thousands of pounds worth of equipment that never gets used. Some people like to throw money at hobbies rather than do the hard work to improve. Here at iphotography, we encourage you to do the latter.

Go forth, and find some stories to capture! Use your equipment and learn it inside out.

And most importantly: enjoy the process. Look back and see how far you’ve come. Every last one of us is still learning. There is always something new to learn in photography.

Imagine how amazing your photographs will be next year, or the year after. Keep chasing greatness!

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