Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Important vs. Unimportant - What You Should And Shouldn't Worry About In Photography

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In photography, there is a whole lot that you could worry about. There are a lot of things that can grab your time and attention. But what should you really be worrying about? Where should your time and attention be focused?

People will spend a lot of time worrying about their gear. They'll spend hours and hours researching cameras. They'll go back-and-forth on the minor differences. They'll do web searches and read opinions from strangers on camera forums.

Because one camera is a hair better, will that make any difference to the outcome of an image? No, absolutely not.
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That is all a moot point, anyway, because cameras are devolving. No digital camera today can compete with the equipment Ansel Adams lugged around 75 years ago. People don't buy cameras today because of quality. People are much more interested in convenience than quality.

So when someone is trying to decide between the Nikon D800 and the Canon 5D Mark III, they're really deciding between two sub-par "good enough" cameras. If those photographers were truly interested in image quality--if image quality was absolutely paramount--those two cameras would not even be considered.
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But image quality isn't paramount. Have you ever heard anyone say a word about the quality of brushes used to paint a masterpiece? I never have. The image on the canvas is what the viewer cares about, not the quality of materials used to create it.

No one cares what camera or lens or software was used to create a photograph. The viewer only cares about the image itself, specifically what it speaks to him or her or how it strikes them. Equipment is unimportant to the viewer, so it should also be unimportant to the creator.

And that brings me to what is important in photography: creating art. Anyone can snap pictures, but it takes an artist to create something meaningful with an exposure. In order to create art, one must have photographic vision. You have to know what you are creating in order to create it.
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Great photographs are never created with great equipment. Great photographs are created by great photographers. Renown photographer Chase Jarvis proved with his Best Camera project that any camera is capable of creating great art in the hands of a skilled photographer. It is never about the camera. The mind and heart of the photographer is what matters most.

If people would spend the time and energy that they spend researching equipment and instead put that effort into figuring out what they want to create and how to create it, they'd be much better photographers. Don't waste your time and energy with the unimportant things. Focus on what is important, and you'll be amazed at what you can create.

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