Equipment alone will not make you a better photographer + what you need to do instead

Equipment alone will not make you a better photographer
Photo By Christina Greve

I still laugh at myself, when I think back to when I got my first camera. I had this idea that it was the camera, that would do all the work, I just had to press the button! Boy, did I have it all wrong!!

I also thought that the more and better equipment I had, the better a photographer I would be!?!? Even more wrong!

The most important lesson I have ever learned in my photography journey is this:

To grow as an artist and photographer, practice your photography skills on a regularly basis. Set time aside in your schedule to practice specific things like; editing, retouching, controlling the light, posing, and shooting in manual – it´s very important! Equipment alone will not make you a better photographer!

In many ways photography is such a technical art-form, there´s so much to learn and understand. For beginners it can be very frustrating at times!

Even the advanced photographer struggle, because with photography you NEVER stop learning and there´s always something you can improve.

I get many emails and questions from photographers asking which lens, camera or photoshop-action will improve their photography, and my answer is always the same;

Don´t go out and buy new expensive photography gear, to try to make up for a skill you don´t master yet. Use what you have and push yourself to practice. Instead of spending money – you need to spend time!

If you put in the hours, I promise you´ll see big results, but don´t fall into the trap of thinking, that you can buy your way to better photography.

After buying, trying and testing almost ALL photography equipment out there, I learned my lesson; Equipment alone will not make you a better photographer! Today (80% of the time) I only use one camera, one lens, natural light and photoshop adjustment layers, to do my photography.

I set days aside every month to practice new skills, and to improve my most used technics. Because I´m still learning and that´s what I really love about photography – it´s a never ending journey…a never ending love story!

Of course new and better equipment can help you in some ways. It can help you fine-tune your skills or style, which is nice  – but it will not make you a super brilliant photographer, for that you need to practice.

So I guess my message today is this: Save your money and put in the time – you´ll thank yourself for it in the end :-) Remember you don´t need to be perfect to get success.


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10 thoughts on “Equipment alone will not make you a better photographer + what you need to do instead

  1. Great advice, thank you. I did just make an investment on a camera body upgrade but I did so having no expectations of it improving my photography skills. In fact, I expect the opposite to happen while I learn the ins and outs of the new technology. However, my philosophy behind the upgrade is that it gives me NO EXCUSE to devote the time and energy to practice and learn as much as I can as fast as I can. It’s a motivational tool for me. :)

    x, Shan

  2. I totally agree with the skill. I don’t think a photographer’s kit have to be expensive. I know some friends who have the most expensive cameras and lenses but you can’t say they capture the best photographs. It’s definitely has to do with skills and creativity. I believe in the saying practice makes perfect. So keep on practicing to perfect your craft.

  3. Thank you for remind me this… I think everybody know this but in your learning path as a photographer is so easy to forget that, you just want the “easy way”,
    Thinking that better equipment will do it.

  4. I agree with you so much. I am glad that someone actually shares my point of view. If I plan on a nature hike that requires one of those huge ($17,000) 400mm white zoom lenses, I go out and rent one for a $100 or so. Marketing for these products makes you think that professional photographers own them. Most likely that famous professional photographer or author rents the lens or the company gives them a lens as payment for the endorsement. Over the years I have collected quite a lot of gear. The fanciest piece of gear is my tripod and ball head.

  5. I agree that practice is essential, and not so much the equipment. I once read that you shouldn’t upgrade your starting camera until you understood why you need to. That sounded wise, but I didn’t really get it until about a year later. I discovered my entry level camera was really grainy in low light (& 800 iso was it’s noise free limit). That message now made sense. I now had a reason that I might upgrade. To have better iso capabilities and grain-free images in low light. After a year of saving I jumped from the 600d to the 6d. It’s known for its low light capabilities and was a full frame sensor. Much better. I also didn’t make the move, until I was completely comfortable shooting in manual mode. I agree, practice was essential in making a wise buying decision. Had I not understood enough I might have spent an additional $2K thinking I needed the Mark III. I’m more than happy with my upgrade. And love that I took my time understanding and practicing first.

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