Technical Talk

“You have a really good camera!”

  • January 7, 2015

“Your photos are so clear and vibrant…you have a really good camera!”
Or even better…
“Wow, your camera takes amazing pictures!”
And the ever popular…
“My camera doesn’t take pictures like this.”

I hear these comments regularly in my booth at art fairs.  For some reason, people routinely credit the camera for photos that impress them. These statements are no different than telling a painter “Your brushes make nice paintings!” or telling a chef, “My oven doesn’t make food like that.” The camera is merely one tool used in the first step of the photographic process. The end results demonstrate the skill of the one using it, just as with paint brushes and ovens. Like all artistic endeavors, it is the tenacity, vision and talent of the photographer that result in great photos.

To make stunning photos, one must start with a good capture, which requires going to the location at the right time of day, doing so repeatedly until the light cooperates, and then using the equipment skillfully. The camera must be kept stable, which is generally achieved with a sturdy tripod and cable release. Photographers then utilize many techniques–filters, multiple exposures, varying shutter speeds, etc.–to capture images that they can process to fulfill their artistic vision.

Capturing the image is only the first step of the process. Photographers “work” their images extensively–bringing out details in the shadows, making sure bright areas aren’t blown out, and meticulously fine tuning color tones, saturation, contrast, and all other aspects, in every area of the image.

This is followed by test printing to ascertain how these details display on a print. Then, if necessary, further fine tuning of all adjustments until the prints are accurate.

Capturing and processing a photograph for display and sale is a long, arduous, and creative process. The notion that a photograph is good because a high quality camera was used completely dismisses the work and expertise involved.  While most professional photographers do–as do professionals in any field–use high end equipment, it is virtually irrelevant in regard to the excellence of their work. The quality of their photos is determined by their skill, vision, talent, creativity, persistence, and attention to detail throughout the process.


Feel free to post any comments…I love discussions on all areas of photography!

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