Why yes, yes I do.

But that isn’t the full reason behind why my photos come out nice, and anyone that really does photography knows that. Yeah I know most of these analogies have been stated before but… do you really think “wow, this chef must use some nice pans,” when you eat out at a restaurant and the food is good? Does a baseball player hit homers because the bat is nice or make spectacular catches because the glove is awesome? Does your preacher deliver a powerful sermon because their bible is amazing? Does a painter make a masterpiece because the brushes are awesome? I think the point is clear; cameras are tools and it’s up to the photographer to user them effectively.

Why is that statement so annoying?

“You must have a nice camera,” or equivalent statements such as, “your camera takes nice photos,” are annoying because they are statements that imply that your camera did the work. The photographer does the work! While cameras nowadays can give you some nice looking standard images on auto settings, I shoot all of my paid shoots on manual because I’m trying to create a certain look. Auto modes read the whole scene, then make the exposure that the camera thinks is “correct.” Sure, you might take some beautiful landscapes this way, but how am I going to create a darker feeling image when the camera is trying to force the whole scene to be a middle grey average? That’s when having a photographer that knows how to create the mood by adjusting their settings correctly is critical.

Additionally, that statement is implying that if the photographer didn’t have a professional grade piece of equipment they wouldn’t be taking such nice images.


So for the purpose of this blog I took this image of my friend on Saturday in the accurately named, “Second Bedroom Studio.” I set a single LED light up and fired this one, then used Lightroom and Photoshop to doctor it up a bit. What camera did I use?


My iPhone 6.

Photography is about light and how it falls on the subject. If the light is right, give me an iPhone, a cheap point and shoot, whatever camera is lying around and the image will look good in the end.

But surely having a D810 makes your photos better right?

Yes, it certainly plays a part in getting better photos compared to other cameras I’ve owned and used in the past.

Is it because of the shiny 36 Megapixel sensor without an anti-aliasing filter for sharper photos? No.

Is it because of the latest EXPEED 4 processing? No.

Honestly the #1 reason the D810 makes my pictures better is because I trust the autofocus on it more than any other camera I’ve used and so I spend less time checking my shots to be sure they are in focus. In turn, I’m creating better photos because I’m spending more time thinking about important things like where to place my lights and directing the subject’s face and body to look good in said lighting. That’s honestly the main difference when comparing usage of the D810 to other cameras I’ve owned in the past.

So what’s the point in getting better equipment if the photo quality doesn’t change much?

It’s pretty simple. The best real life example is a power tool versus a standard screwdriver. If you’re putting something together, more than likely you’ll be able to get the job done with both tools, but which is going to be faster and easier to do so with? When I use the D810, I can sync my flashes at a higher speed which gives me more ability to shoot outdoors with a strobe, I have autofocus that nails most of my shots without worry, and I have a body that will shoot over 1000 shots on a single battery charge without quitting. I can’t trigger strobes with an iPhone so it’s limited as an image creation tool to use with natural light or continuous lighting. My higher end camera also gives me the ability to crop more and retain detail with it’s sensor and provides build and feature advantages over the consumer level D5300 I use as a backup body.

Truthfully though, if the D810 (a massive multi-function power tool) ever dies for some reason in the middle of a shoot and I’m forced to start shooting with the D5300 (a less powerful tool that still gets the job done), I will end up with almost the same shots at the end of the day even though it lacks the high end features of the D810. At the end of the day, the captured image is about the light which is going to be the same with any camera in most cases.

So what should be said instead?

Compliment the photo. Tell the photographer they did a nice job capturing the scene. Ask me about the camera if you really want to know the technical features… but for the love of the exposure triangle, please don’t imply that my camera is the one that took the nice photo!


“You Must Have a Nice Camera” | 2014 | Photography | Comments (0)

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