In the past month, I’ve been answering questions from photographers looking to make a small upgrade in one way or another. In every conversation the names that constantly seem to be coming up are Sony, Fujifilm and Canon–with every single photographer suffering from some sort of Gear Acquisition Syndrome symptom. After carefully talking about things with each photographer, it eventually gets to the point where I make them realize something very big that at one point or another they tend to forget.
I’ve written about this before: there is no such thing as a bad camera. In the digital photography world, it is possible to make an image from a Nikon DSLR look like the output from a Fujifilm X-series camera. VSCO has tons of presets that allow this if you want the Instant film look, and there are loads of others like Alien Skin that can also do similar tasks.
While we’re on the issue of gear: lenses and lighting matter far more importantly than any camera that you use unless you need specific features like a fast shooting frame rate, or you’re one of the rare ones amongst us that has a genuine need for over 50MP.
But it’s time to look at the significantly larger picture here.
Your camera really, really doesn’t necessarily matter, and overall content is king. Your gear can help you tell a specific story in a way that only you can visualize, but there are ways in which stories can be told with a phone, too.
This idea applies more to the world of simply capturing a moment vs creating a moment and a scene. Photographers who capture tend to look for very humanistic and emotional moments that will look great when immortalized in a still photo. Photographers who create scenes on the other hand put far more of their own creative vision into a job on average. The creators in that sense may absolutely need more gear; but the folks that capture don’t necessarily need it.
Think of it this way: consider how many people are absolutely in love with the output that they get from their camera phones. If you’re still of the belief that proper images need to be created with traditional cameras, you’re doing a serious injustice to yourself when you consider that there are photographers on Instagram who make their living from their following by working with brands.
In 2015, the camera doesn’t matter anywhere as much as the story. And it has never been any truer.