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What makes a good photographer?

UserRemoved 18 4.2k
13 Jun 2005 3:22PM
Are you judging them by what is published in the papers or what they actually produce?
If its what is published in the papers then its more to do with the pic ed than the photographer or the reporter compiling the story.

Each paper has its own style and its own agenda for the photographs it prints (I'll not go into details here) but sometimes its not in the papers best interests to publish the 'best' pictures it receives.

I know fine rightly when I go out for a particular publication what they are likely and more importantly what they arent likely to publish.

If the photographers are providing the clients with exactly what they want then thats the sign of a good professional photographer.

Expensive cameras are just tools of the job, if I was coding a routine for a major software house, they wouldnt supply me with a 486 and a 14 inch monitor, they will provide the proper tools for the job.

Also you might find that most photographers on small papers will have to supply their own gear and many small papers will force the choice of gear onto the photographers.
vtoth 18 271 Croatia
13 Jun 2005 3:42PM
give me some credit.
i am not making a general statement about how journalism photography is ****.
i only happen to know a couple of people who do that job, and whose work im familiar with as i went to school with them and i know their background and general (actually poor) interest in photography, and i wouldn't say theyre great photographers. theyre capable of producing a technically allright photo but that's it.

the question of the thread was, if i got it right, does having a good camera make you a good photographer, and that was my example for why it doesnt.
sabretalon 18 1.9k United Kingdom
13 Jun 2005 11:46PM
But with the same equipment you could be a good pap but crap at glamour, portraiture, wedding or landscapes. That does not really make you bad!

I think there is another take on the question? If you look at each genre in their own right rather than the whole of photography. Press photography, what is needed for that? Documentry photography (some people confuse this with press photography) what skills are needed? Glamour photography, what skills are needed? I think you get the gist now?

Each style requires a different skill and each style has a camera better suited for that job.

Landscapes, I could go out with an Hassleblad and shoot landscape and they will still be crap, because I don't really do landscapes. Take the same equipment into a studio for a portrait shoot and the images would still be I mean I would be able to produce a far better portrait than a landscape image.

If you have been watching the recent program on BBC4 then you will have seen Joe Cornish taking acceptable images on a 2mp camera phone. So no the equipment in that case did not make him a better photographer but you can argue that his knowledge of photography helped him!

A better experiment would be to give some non photographers the same bits of kit but make them swap after they have captured several images, that way they will have all tried the same bits of kit.

You can not teach a camera about composition, better lighting conditions etc.. This comes from the photographer, some have it naturally and others have to work hard at it, whilst some don't understand it at all!

We talk about having the "eye" for a picture. Some people can see a photograph and instantly know it is exceptional and tell you what makes it work for them. Ask them to go to the same place and you may find they create a different image.

The original question was not "does having a good camera make you a good photographer" It was someone saying that they have been told that the camera they have is just a snappers camera! They admitted to only going out a snapping away with great joy. So in the end was the comment made because the person giving the critique was talking about the camera or the photographer?
vtoth 18 271 Croatia
14 Jun 2005 4:42AM
fair enough if i misunderstood the thread. i would just appreicate if people stopped defining journalism photography to me as if i attacked it. because i didnt.
sputnki 18 10 Canada
15 Jun 2005 11:42AM
Well, I know this horse has been beaten to death, but I just found this thread, so whackity whack!

For an example on a photographer making the most out of his camera, check out David Burnett. This article talks about his experimentation with an old Holga. In case your wondering, a Holga mod site refers to the Holga as follows:

"...It's still a Holga! And because of that, It's a safe bet that your Holga will leak light, take out of focus pictures, possibly vignette seriously around the edges, the shutter may stick, the back may fall off ruining your film if you don't tape the heck out of it, the flash may fire twice or not at all, etc.

Most people will say all of the above will happen if you're lucky."

Look here for the article on David Burnett and some "snaps" from his Holga (one of which won an award from the White House News Photographers' Association)

David Burnett article

Ok, I'm done....

harikara 17 1 United Kingdom
15 Jun 2005 12:25PM
I think most people are on the same wave length. Its not the camera that takes good pictures... its the photographers eye for a good composition. But also a decent Digital camera does help especially when shooting on location as you can reflect on the shot and re-take if its not as sharp.
alibrown18 18 7
16 Jun 2005 12:11AM
I sometimes have the same crisis of confidence as you heromole. I am not able to afford an SLR, and just have a Nikon 35mm compact and a Nikon coolpix: surely 'snappers' cameras if anything is. Am I, then, a 'photographer'?

The way I look at it is this. Suppose it takes 5 minutes to take a serious photo. Of that five minutes, four minutes fifty-nine seconds of the work is done by your observations, setting up the camera, framing. Another fraction is the moment when you press the shutter (and again here, the skill of the photographer avoiding camera shake is what counts, rather than the design of the button). Only the final, say, quarter of a second of that great photograph is down to what goes on in the optics of the camera itself. Of the great image, the camera has a vital, but physically minute, part to play. (And even here, small modern cameras are still so good optically that the difference between a cheap and an expensive camera may not be noticed by the non-specialist viewer.)

A good photographer will always be able to take good pictures; he or she may be limited by the range of possible images that can be captured (maybe no macro or night shots), but that often forces one to look harder to find the less obvious images that *are* within the scene and within the range of the camera; taking that image can be all the more satisfying when you know others with more capable cameras may have missed it.

Sorry I have rambled! This rant has been therapy for me as much as advice to you; but I hope it helps.
Leo 20 48 9 England
16 Jun 2005 12:55AM
I run a D100 Nikon normally and only recently bought a Canon S70 as well, to slip in my rivals the results of the D100 on macro work and on landscape it too scores very well...where it does fall down is where most similar types do, the shutter lag makes it hard work to capture action images..other than that I think you made a wise choice of that type of camera...don't be put off by snide comments about it's size etc. You'd be staggered at the detail it provides at A3 David!
allanb 18 1
17 Jun 2005 3:40PM
My wife and I got into photography at the bottom end. We have a young family and so started with second hand Ricoh cameras from the seventies. We also belong to a photographic club where the members laugh at us because of the top of the line equipment they own. My wife won the monochrome club trophy in her first year. We have both had success in competitions, and received our fare share of abuse from the above mentioned people for it. The new cameras that we own were all won!! Using the old Ricohs that are sill our work horses. Don't listen to people that tell you what equipment is needed to be a good photographer, it's the photographer that makes a good photographer.

By the way, my favorite camera and my families, is a cardboard box with a piece of pie plate with a hole in it.
Henchard 17 2.7k 1 United Kingdom
18 Jun 2005 2:04AM

Quote:Don't listen to people that tell you what equipment is needed to be a good photographer, it's the photographer that makes a good photographer

Spot on in my opinion!
User_Removed 17 4.3k 2 United Kingdom
18 Jun 2005 2:36AM
It's the photographer - NOT the camera that makes a good photo.
I've seen brilliant photographs made with an old tin can with a hole in it. (pinhole camera)
You can have THE most expensive set of gear on the planet and still take c**p photo's, plenty of proof of that through the gallery here!!!!!
It's great if you've been born with that magical 'eye for a photo', if you haven't then look and learn and aquire the skill to see the image.
20 Jun 2005 5:29PM
the same thing happened to me after getting my 10D a couple of years ago. I was on a ferry in long island NY and was just throwing CF card space out the window for the sheer pleasure of knowing that I wasnt waisting anything at all except my own free time. I happened to take a picture that not only I cherish but my wife aswell. I got 1 picture. The Camera is a medium for recording moments in time. As your day passes you will see millions of photographs you wish you had your camera for but dont. That far more frustrating than folks comments on how you pass your day, use your camera or learn photography.
Keep snapping !!! its the best and only way to learn all the functions of your camera. Just make sure you understand why things go wrong .
Good luck
Warren East
fez 18 262
20 Jun 2005 9:08PM
ive gotten better results here w/ my canon powershot a80 than with my digirebel....

go figure.....

(by results i mean my mind, my photos have improved, thats also true in the minds of the visitors to my website...but hey different sample differnt response)

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