Skills or gear? - Weekend

Skills or gear?

Albert PedrosaBy Albert Pedrosa
Photomania

AFTER writing about photographers shifting from one brand to the next, the most asked question I now get is this: Does your gear really matter?

If you’ll give me the option to use the latest equipment out there, without second thought, I’ll take it. Technology is an enabler. Couple it with skills, and you’ll have a broad arsenal in your hands.

In my last assignment, I was asked to shoot personalities inside a restaurant. I remember when I was still using a mid-range camera – this type of shooting would require a lighting setup for the subject and another for ambient light since you can’t push the ISO so much. With the technology that we have today, ISO 6400 is no longer a forbidden camera setting.

I was asked the same question last week when one of my students purchased his first camera.

He was contemplating of buying between a Canon 70D and the 1100s. There was quite a price gap, so he had to ask if the gear really matters when learning photography. My answer was a straight yes. Although it may be true that an excellent photo is a combination of skills and gear, skills are never a product of gear.

PLAYING BALL. This photograph by Associated Press lensman Felipe Dana shows a man controlling the ball on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the 2014 World Cup is being held.
PLAYING BALL. This photograph by Associated Press lensman Felipe Dana shows a man controlling the ball on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the 2014 World Cup is being held.

No matter how much technology you’re going to pour into a camera, it will never help you get the right composition. The camera will never find the right timing to take the shot. The camera will never help you set the mood in the set. Having state-of-the-art equipment in your hands, though, adds to your reputation even before you take any shot.

Photography is subjective so you can’t get away with the thought that photos taken by recognized photographers will always gain more credit even if the shot was as simple as clicking the shutter button. Gear adds to the reputation of the photographer and reputation helps approve quotations.

One thing’s for sure – I learned a lot when I was starting due to the fact that I didn’t have the best gear at that time. I had to find a way to get the shot that I want with the equipment at hand. There were shots that could have been easily done with the proper gear, but the process of finding the alternatives develops your creativity.

My take is skills first before gear. Keep on shooting, everyone.

Shoot me questions in the forum www.grp.ph/forums or email me at photomania.sunstar@gmail.com

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