Some Advice for New Photographers

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Recently a reader wrote asking one of the timeless questions new shooters sometimes ask: “Would newer, better equipment improve my photographs?” I get this question from time to time and wanted to share my response with anyone who might have similar questions. Keep in mind that this is not the answer but is instead just one answer and it’s my answer. Feel free to ask other photographers their opinion on this topic and when all is said and done, make up your own mind based on the kind of photographs that you make.

The short answer to “Would newer, better equipment improve my photographs?” is maybe it will but maybe not. Ultimately it’s the photographer who makes the picture, not the camera. The most important photographic accessory you can have is the one between your ears. The best thing you can do is…

  • Practice, practice and practice. Make a picture every day; that’s actually harder than it sounds but at least try.
  • Don’t chase perfection, instead work on gradual and incremental improvement. And don’t worry about making mistakes because that’s how we all learn and be prepared that some mistakes may give you ideas that can lead to better photographs.
  • Don’t be afraid of taking on a new genre photography. Tackle a subject you think is hard (but maybe really isn’t) such as macro photography or infrared photography. To me street photography is a challenge, yet some people excel at it.
  • Be budget minded: When trying something new don’t look at the most expensive ways to accomplish these things; instead look at the cheapest ways such as using on-camera IR filters or close-up filters
  • If you want new gear purchase used and demo equipment. After all, you’re going to use it anyway not wrap it up and kiss it goodnight. You can purchase used gear from eBay, Craig’s List or friends and sites like Olympus’ are a great source for refurbs. That’s where I purchased my Pen F.

And if it doesn’t sound too self serving, please visit this blog from time to time. It has many tips with different themes that appear each day of the week because to tell the truth I don’t know what I’ll write about until I do it. There are hundreds of posts here as well as on my old blog. I’m sure you’ll find something that grabs your attention.

I’m always glad to answer questions from readers; just click the Contact button above and drop me  a note. I promise to get back to you quickly.

Lots of questions get answered in my books. For instance if you’re interested in black and white or infrared photography, my book,The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography may be out-of-print but new copies are available from Amazon for $29.95 with used copies selling for $7.97, as I write this. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon with used copies selling less than three bucks, which is a heckuva deal.