It’s not about the equipment, why photography skills are the best investment you will ever make.

Its NOT about the equipment. Its NOT about the equipment, Its NOT about the equipment.

I have been telling myself this faithfully for three years. In my business as a Wedding photographer I have struggled with camera envy more than a time or two. In this day and age, there are most certainly going to be guests attending a wedding with a camera better than yours, more expensive than yours, lenses that are so long and projectile that those around you, as all humans do-  will be making comparisons and assumptions on whose is better.

{Kernersville, NC Wedding Photographer, Winston Salem Wedding Photography}_DSC38232

You can sometimes hear the comments ” wow that is a really great camera ”  People always assume a camera with a battery grip is amazing, because it appears to be so big. They will always think a big ol’ zoom lens is über professional, because it’s expensive. I’m still learning to not care about what people think. To be honest other DSLR shooters while I am working mess with my confidence, and I allow it to happen.This week especially I had a guest with the best DSLR camera that money can buy. A camera that had triple the megapixels, of mine. I was freaking out big time. I just took my shots, all the while knowing that I could never live up to that camera. At the end of the night, this wonderful gentleman introduced himself, and said something to the effect that he has a lot of respect for photographers that do what I do, and that he couldn’t shoot people. It was like an instant relief this man, with the amazing camera wasn’t a threat or competition, he was just a human. He even chuckled a little and said he really doesn’t know what he’s doing with his camera. As he flashed through a few photos on his LCD I could see that he had tuned his ISO up way too high, and allowed the ambient light to flood his sensor, making everything very orange. I however found just the right balance of ISO and shutter-speed and thought my shots looked great in- camera. I learned a valuable lesson that evening, and tried to let it soak in on the long drive home. NO equipment, not even the best that money can buy, can make up for knowledge of your craft. 

So in light of this important life lesson, I wanted to share three ways to perfect your photography skills, no matter what camera is in your bag, these are the things that have changed my life, I still learn everyday and become better at what I do through these practices.

1. Sleep with your camera, and your manual. Read that manual and take practice shots, play with different ISO levels, different shutter speeds , different apertures. Take shots and compare them. Do this thousands of times until you know and understand the exposure triangle completely.

2. Create photo assignments for yourself. For a whole  month, work on just shallow depth of field. Next month make the theme lens flares, or black and white, or whatever you feel suits your style. Each month delve completely into each topic and most importantly practice by taking hundreds of photos.

3. Network!! Get out there and meet your peers, you will find less competition and more brother/ sisterhood than you think. Find a teacher or mentor, take a class, join a meetup or photography club even take an online class but surround yourself really or virtually with other successful photographers.
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Serving Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point, Lexington, Thomasville, and Kernersville in stylish and affordable Wedding Photography, Shanna Duffy, Wedding Photographer. 

Please call or Email me  for more information.

6 thoughts on “It’s not about the equipment, why photography skills are the best investment you will ever make.

  1. This is a fantastic blog post!! I actually do sleep with my camera close by lol. But in all seriousness most of my friends have DSLR cameras and what I find interesting is that none of them ever use anything other than the auto setting. My wife and I were recently invited to one of my best friends bridal showers. Yes I was invited to the bridal shower and I know the reason why lol. But unfortunately Marcus and I had a wedding that day. The host actually has a Canon 7D and the 24-105 lens. When I saw the images that she posted to Facebook I honestly felt bad. The images were not terrible but in quite a few precious moments there was motion blur and the focus was missed completely in others and the white balance…… In the book the Outliers Malcolm Gladwell writes that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery. Not to say that the principal cannot be debunked because there will always be prodigys but I understand the principal. I cannot tell you how many books, blogs videos I have watched over the years but as a photographer I am always trying to improve my craft. The one thing that Marcus and I need to do more of is to network with other photographers in our area. Again love this post Shanna 

    1. I know that feeling!! Sometimes being a photographer can be awkward because when you are invited to an event your camera is an expected appendage! I am always teetering somewhere between a guest and the hired help, and not very sure where that line is. I also have guilt when I do not photograph an event I was invited to…guess it just comes with the territory. YES I love the 10,000 hrs theory!!! I have been cramming my brain for the past 4 years trying to squeeze. my 10,000 hrs. in ASAP, lol!! As far as networking that is my sore spot as well! I am part of a small meet- up group but unfortunately we don’t meet often enough due to all of us being busy getting our careers off the ground. When we do meet it is over coffee informal, and a lovely source of support and camaraderie.

  2. You’re so very right! Whenever I’m teaching a bit of photography I go back to the basics I started with whilst at college using my lovely old practica 🙂 I always encourage people to look for old books on photography in charity shops etc. There’s a lot of snobbery from photographers at some events that I’ve worked at just because I don’t have the best and most expensive kit!

  3. Very interesting post. With your experience with the genteman with the top-range camera it proves what I always think. That is, money can buy a great camera, but not the artistic eye behind it.

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