What My Crappy Cameras Taught Me

Hey y’all. How’s it going?

Today, I want to talk about gear.  More importantly, I want to let you know that you should stop thinking about buying a fancy camera — especially if you’re just starting out. Why? You don’t need it.

A camera that comes with all the bells and whistles is great. But if you really want to hone your photography skills, stick to the basics first. You’re better off finding a book, reading it, and studying the techniques you want to be good at. 

Learning, and the drive to keep learning should come first. Ultimately, what you learn is what you’re actually going to use with whatever camera is in your hands. Your camera is only as powerful as what you know you can do.

My Experience With Crappy Cameras

The first camera I ever owned was given to me. It was a point and shoot Nikon Coolpix 7600. It was crap, but my dad got it for me and it was my first dive into digital photography. I didn't buy my own "legit" camera until 2016. Most of what I've learned about photography, up to that point, I learned using second-hand, consumer digital cameras and mobile phones.

What My Crappy Cameras Taught Me

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Be observant, focus on what you can capture and not how to capture it.

Point and shoot cameras are limited. There aren't many settings you can play around with or even have control over. That's literally why they're called point-and-shoot. For the most part, they're automatic and the settings will (or won't) adjust to your surroundings. I've found that when I have less say on how an image is going to turn out, I pay more attention to who/what I can capture. I'm more present and I take in the experience. I people-watch more, and I learn more about reality as it is. I don't worry about capturing it how I'd like it to be.

Be content with what you have. Everything is a work in progress anyway.

Not every shot is going to turn out to be a good shot. Hell, even with a good camera you're not going to have 100% great photos all the time. You're not going to capture everything you want, and no good piece of work is ever really going to be finished. As a creative, artist, or whatever you are, you should know that your best work hasn't happened yet. Make your photographs and move on. Don't pick away at them when you could be shooting more photographs. Save that for later.

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No camera, no matter how good it is, will do justice to any experience.

You ever catch yourself trying to enhance a blue sky? Making the details a little sharper? Trying to match an image to how you remember seeing it in person? You wanna know why that is? It's because no medium can encapsulate what you experience on your own. Nothing can communicate an experience more than what you can say about it. Keep it simple. Don't always feel the need to enhance what you've been lucky enough to see for yourself. 

All in all, however you choose to make photographs is up to you. Just remember that it's who's behind the camera that makes the camera work.


What crappy cameras have you used?


By the way, these photos were proudly captured on a Samsung WB250F.  The featured image was captured on an iPhone 6.