For this “It’s not the camera” installment, I’d like to demonstrate that sometimes we might benefit with less skepticism. Most important in regards to this series is not to dismiss your ability to capture amazing imagery, regardless of the tools you use (It’s not the camera, after all)… As a bonus, don’t always completely dismiss something that might seem obviously to be “phishing”. If you are planning on putting your work out there for sale, sometimes, you’ll see, it is worth taking a bit of a chance.
So many times a day, I delete emails in our many business and personal email accounts. They are deleted with the same skepticism every time and, are written off as scams, phishing, or inane attempts at marketing. A few months back, I received an email that could easily have fallen under this categroy. I had my finger on the ready, hovering over the “delete” button. However, something told me not to hit delete. I replied to this nebulous request to send some of our watermarked images to a “studio”. The reason was so they could test them in a scene that they were supposedly editing for a network television show. Following my gut this time, I went against common intuition that directs a business owner to “get paid before delivering products”. So, I delivered the product, and trusted my gut that I’d be rewarded for it. (Don’t get me wrong, for the one time I was right, there are at least 5 other cases where I’ve been burned by being too nice.) In this case, I did do a little research and, asked a lot of questions of my requester. I don’t like being taken advantage of, so I wanted to give myself some level of confidence that I wasn’t sending my images out to be stolen.
Always, go through any request with due diligence. However, don’t be afraid to take a chance!
Turns out, my intuition served me well this time. Now, two of my images have been used as a digital backdrop in an NBC/Universal Television show called Good Girls. How exciting! Since I’ll never be a TV personality, it’s cool that two of my images made it to the tube. Even better, I was paid for my work.
Now, I would like to share a little secret with the photographers out there and, I would guess, it is the reason you are here: It’s not the camera. Being a working photographer means that I have some nice tools to choose from. However, for most of my personal work (like the images used in this case), are taken using my most “disposable” camera body. My go-everywhere rig is one that hardcore camera nerds would likely dismiss.
Well, on this night, like many other nights when I’m out shooting for the pure enjoyment of it… I had my trusty little Canon Rebel SL1 with me. As we covered before, it’s not a spec sheet phenom. But, it is small, super light, very fun to use and, something that my pocketbook wouldn’t cry much over if it was lost, broken, or stolen. Even though it’s not regarded as “trendy” like the Fuji rigs, “cutting edge” like Sony or, even premium IQ (image quality) like Nikon; it managed to make me a few dollars and – even cooler in my eyes – has delivered to the world a couple of my images which were used in a network television show. Not bad! Through time, despite it’s limitations, this camera has become my sentimental favorite and rarely fails me – even in cases where it might not be the best choice for the subject matter.
Something I’ve kept secret until now, is that my images were chosen over two images that were taken at the same time and of the very same scene that were taken with a much more capable (and much more expensive) Nikon D750. For some reason or another, even though they had a choice of pictures taken with a much better system, they chose the ones taken with the $350 Rebel.
In short, I would like to highlight again, the notion that it’s not the gear as much as your passion to perfect your art, that makes the biggest difference. Regardless of what camera and lenses you have or don’t have, you can make beautiful images of the world around you. Never ever let your “gear” hold you back. Simply keep shooting with what you have, and use your skill to work around any limitations!
Do you have a sentimental favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
Also, I must give props to my friend Mike Tokarz. Had he not organized the meet up on this cold December night back in 2015 (wow, that long ago already), I would never have taken these photos!
Stay tuned for more! Next week we will begin an expansion on this series which will present examples of specific use-cases and go into more detail about how each image was captured. The theme of our next post will be “Nature”!