Just last week, Fuji released their new camera, the X-Pro2. I have read quite few reviews about the new camera, and I believe that it is amazing, but as every camera is released, I am reminded of the GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and I am reminded of something much more important: you don’t need a new camera to take better photographs!
Now that I am mainly involved in building phlow, a new digital newsstand for pictorial magazines, I am much less involved in the day-to-day photo taking, and from time to time I am struggling in finding my path. The X-Pro2 is a lovely new camera I would love to have, but there is something I am reminded every time a new camera is released: I need my photography to get better, not my gear!
Nowadays, every new camera is great, but every camera is more than simply “good enough“. I tend to agree with those that says that cameras should not be blamed for bad photos, we need to blame bad photographers!
Would you like to know why you don’t need a new camera?
A new camera will not make your photos better
In looking at all those beautiful reviews, reading all those incredible specs, it is easy to think that with a new camera our photos will get better. Well, actually I believe it is absolutely the opposite. The more your camera does everything for you, the more you become lazy and the more you believe that the quality of images are due to the new camera, and not to your experience and style. A million autofocus points which identify the face of your subject in a nanoseconds won’t make the right shot. Every single pixel in the new camera won’t be enough to correct the lack of intensity in your images.
In the past week we received three emails from people getting close to photography, who asked us the same thing: what is a good new camera to take good pictures? A new camera won’t take good picture, so take a “bad” old camera and enjoy!
Be a better photographer: fail!
Another question I was asked few days ago was:
“My photos suck, what can I do to make them better?”
And my answer was simple: take more shitty photos. I will always go back to Henri Cartier-Bresson, who said that our first 10.000 photos would have been our worst. Fast forward to digital, I would say that your first 100.000 photos will be your worst.
The reality is that photography needs time, your eyes need time to settle, to find a style and to capture the right moment. You need time, practice and you need to fail. You need to fail a lot, and to do that you don’t need a new camera.
Take the gear you have, even an iPhone will do, and start thinking more, being yourself more, capturing what you love more. Take photos you are not proud of, learn your lessons and start over. Fail colossally, take photos you are ashamed of and you will start realising that the more experience behind the camera you have, the luckier you will get!
Have you ever taken a photo you were not proud of? Have you ever being in a situation you were not comfortable in taking photos, but you did it nonetheless? Have you ever had the guts to publish those photographs?
It is time to fail, as only by failing you will get better, and a new camera has nothing to do with it!
Why an old camera will help you more
In today’s world, where everything needs to be fast paced, where your photos only get few seconds of attention, it is time to slow down. I am not suggesting you to roll back to film cameras, but you need time to think, you need time to focus more.
With SD cards being so cheap, and storage even cheaper, we feel that we have an unlimited amount of photos we can take. Instead of waiting for the right moment, many photographers “sprays and prays“, looking more like failed videographers than photographers. With doubt a new camera capable of 10 frames per second will help you if you are like that, but you won’t become a better photographer. On the opposite, make sure your old camera is set on “single shot“, take your time to focus properly and set a limit to the number of frames you allow yourself to take, and you will quickly become a better photographer.
Treat your eyes as your new camera, treat your brain as the new processor, treat your heart as the new colours, and you will realise that no matter which gear you use, you will always capture amazing images.