“Yeah, but if you don’t have a lens with a f 1.4 then why do you even bother?”
“You need a better camera. Have you looked at full-frame?”
“You’ll never make it by taking pictures with a cheap camera or your phone.”
“I’m a professional photographer and unless you use the kit I have you’ll never be as good as me”
I bet if you’re passionate about photography you have heard or seen a comment like this at least once in your life. And if you’re on any photographic groups you probably see one of these at least once a day.
Photographers are a different breed of people. They put a lot of effort, money and time in their work and when they feel like they are achieving the level they were aspiring to, they forget where they all started.
They forget that the first camera they used was a small compact or bridge camera and they can’t remember a time when terms like “aperture”, “DOF”, “focal length” meant nothing for them.
This attitude puts a lot of people off taking photography as a hobby, or even discourages some to share their work, not to mention the bad advice that they can receive and in most cases. And this is how they end up starting their photographic experience in the wrong way.
If you have been doing photography for a while now, you need to remember that everyone’s journey to this passion is different from yours. If you get asked for advice, be wary of the person in front of you and their needs and what they want to achieve, don’t just start throwing camera makes and terms at them because at that point it time they won’t be able to filter that information.
Often I try to stay away from commenting on other people photographs, and even when it comes to advice I choose to be a bit quiet, as the subject is very sensitive. Photography is an art, and like every art, the artist gets attached to it and can get quickly upset if others will disagree with their vision.
As someone that worked for 5 years in a camera store, I learned that it doesn’t matter what camera I have at home or use if the person in front of me is going to use it differently than me.
Had so many customers ask me what camera I have and use, and when it was something different than what I recommended them, they were surprised and the inevitable question will follow:
“So why are you not recommending me that model?”
“Because it will not suit your needs. It’s perfect for myself, but you will struggle to get along with it.”
In those 5 years I had 1 single person return a camera they purchased from me, and the reason will make you laugh “My friend who does weddings said that this model is not good for me and I’ll buy what he has” – should I even mention that they were going to do mainly landscapes and wildlife?
This is an appeal to all you photographers out-there to listen to your friends when they say they want to get into photography and ask for your advice.
Find out what exactly they want to do with their camera, find out their budget and then try and offer advice.
Yes your images are looking amazing coming out of your £3000 camera, but maybe your friend budget is only £300. If you don’t know what camera might suit them, help them search for the right one. Go with them to a shop where you can handle the cameras (if COVID-19 is not around 🙂 ), and help them make a decision. If you feel like you can’t help them out as they want to focus on a different area of photography, just tell them, but please stop recommending wrong cameras.
I have 2 articles on the subject that will help both you and your friend when thinking of getting a new camera, so please have a look at them, or suggest them to your friends: