What makes a great photo? The photographer or the camera?
I ask because I went to school for photography and my photo's get tons of compliments. The thing that bothers me is my camera seems to always get the credit, not me. Maybe I should've have spent that year's tuition on a really expensive camera? You tell me?
The photo with this question is an example of one of my recent favorites.
Hmmm a very thought provocative question :-)
I say the better the camera the better the pic. But a great camera in bad hands is comparable to a bad camera in good hands :-)
There is a lot of art and artist that go into every great picture. Truly, there is a difference between a good picture and a great picture. When you learn about how to be a photographer, we never settle for good pictures. That attitude is the difference between a good camera and a good photographer. When I look at your example picture, I see the photographer. I see the use of "rule of thirds, the subject just off center, the interaction of the subject within its own surrounding, etc. You do not get those concepts just from a camera. Your years tuition was well spent!
The Photographer is the artist, the camera is a tool.
The camera does not know where to stand, what to shoot, how to frame it, or how to imagine. The camera is under your command at all times.
That is not to completely discount the value of a good camera. The difference between a photo taken with a crap camera and a great camera is almost always technical and almost never artistic. You can take a brilliant picture with a Polaroid from the 80's but it will never live up to the technical specifications of a modern camera. Those are technical differences, not artistic.
A camera does exactly what a tool should - it assists the photographer in a mechanical way.
When people say, "wow your camera is awesome!" it is typically because they don't understand what photography is. They are thinking on a basic level, "the camera takes the picture." Don't take it personal. Or, you're talking to someone who is making a specifically technical remark about your photo.
Don't be discouraged. Don't feel robbed. Be empowered by knowing the answer to that question.
I definitely think it's the photographer first and then the camera. You need a good camera to take shots like the one you show. I have recently purchased a DSLR and am trying to take interesting shots. You really captured something here and the light is great. That's where the artistry comes in!
I say a good photographer will always take good photos and a bad photographer won't take good pictures even if he has the greatest camera in the world. A good photographer with a good camera can make awesome things. Apart from the camera, I know that having knowledge about composition guidelines also helps a lot in creating beautiful photographs.
Coincidentally, I just published a hub on how to use geometry and perspective to make better photographs, a good tip for enriching ones photographic compositions and taking more attractive photos.
Great pictures existed before modern cameras. Therefore it cannot be just the camera.
Have the confidence to go on and do what you know you do well.
The Image is probably the first thing that catches the eyes, then the photo-taking techniques. A photographer always has the unique ability to show the world what he/she sees through the lens of the camera. Each photo has a story to tell and it is that angle, that zoom, that stillness of life which inspired the person behind the lens to take it.
Nowadays, people rarely look beyond the lens to really 'see' who took the photo or how it was taken. If there is a valuable ancient artifact in front of you, would you stop to think who created it? who actually made it? what inspired the human to have made it? etc. Not unless you are an avid archaeologist who is really passionate about those stuffs.
It takes great photographer to take great photos. The camera is just the tool.
The vision of the photographer.... great photographers (Ansel Adams, Bourke-White, Kertesz, Walker Evans, Man Ray) could take a great photo with a shoe box camera.
Both My Aunt & I are Photographers and she takes awesome pictures... Trust me, it's the user, not the tool.
When people look at her pics, she always smiles when they say... "Boy, you must have a nice camera..."
Hmmm..? What Makes a Great Writer..? The Author, or the Pencil..?
I get that question a lot as a wedding photography from guests when I'm working....my stock answer is "If can buy the same set of knives and cooking utensils that Bobby Flay uses...I'm not going to be opening a restaurant anytime soon."
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