Your Camera Takes Great Pictures

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Your Camera Takes Great Pictures

I just got the following comment on my blog, “Your camera is incredible. Every time I see your pictures I am blown away. Truly beautiful.”

If you were the writer, I do not mean any offense by quoting you…  I appreciate your compliment and I know you meant it as one.  I just need to say that the camera does not make the photograph.  It records the image that the photographer tells it to and shows the vision of the artist behind the camera.

On that note, here are 2 “What the Duck” cartoons on the subject:



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  1. August 10, 2009 at 9:30 pm —

    What a great bunch of comments!

    You must all have some really nice keyboards.

  2. August 10, 2009 at 9:25 pm —

    I love the duck cartoons! so right on! So in light of the post. I wish my brain and talent could do what your brain and talent can do!

  3. August 10, 2009 at 8:52 pm —

    Donna, we get irritated because people are directly relating the quality of the picture with the equipment. I even had someone say to me once, “If I had enough money for your camera, I’d be able to take pictures like that too.”

    Nobody here is silly enough to think equipment plays no role. The fact of the matter is that my expensive digital SLR gives me a flexibility a small box camera never will. But this is pointless if I ever never learn how to take it out of green mode and shoot manual, if I am unable to see lighting conditions and make adjustments, if I don’t know how to maximize the potential the camera has.

    The annoyance comes from the idea that all these people need to do is put an expensive camera in their hands, and their photography will match that of a professional. It’s like saying all I need to do is hold Stevie Ray Vaughn’s guitar and I will be able to play like him. Or all I need to do is sit in Mario Andretti’s car and I can drive like him.

    The equipment IS important. It’s why we spend thousands of dollars on it. It gives us the flexibility to take our photography to the next level. But without learning how to use our equipment? Our pictures won’t benefit from the equipment and the quality of our work will not progress! Trust us, we can tell when someone respects the equipment AND the talent. But so many times, the respect is given solely to the equipment and none to the person controlling it. It’s something one needs to experience to understand. Just wait until you have taken a beautiful photograph, combining all your knowledge of composition, lighting, client interaction, camera settings, and yes, nice equipment, and someone says, “Wow! I wish I had your camera, then my pictures would look just like this!” and see if you don’t get a little annoyed!

  4. August 10, 2009 at 8:18 pm —

    I LOVE the first comic strip! That is so funny! Thanks for the great laugh!

  5. August 10, 2009 at 7:35 pm —

    LOL I’m going to have to print those out and put them above my desk!!

  6. Samantha
    August 10, 2009 at 6:51 pm —

    i had a girl once tell me if she had my camera she’d have fabulous family photos too so i lent it to her. didn’t get one similar result. now she’s taking exposure classes 🙂

  7. August 10, 2009 at 6:47 pm —

    So funny and true!

  8. Donna
    August 10, 2009 at 6:39 pm —

    If it was only the person behind the lens, there would be no need to buy expensive cameras and lenses. In fact, it would be a waste of money. All you’d have to do is pick up a disposable and get fabulous pictures. It annoys me when people have this reaction to this kind of comment. If you truly believe that it is just the person behind the lens, then why aren’t you shooting with a cheap camera? Would people be making this kind of comment if you were shooting with a polaroid?

  9. August 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm —


  10. August 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm —

    Yes, your photos are beautiful! The camera is a tool. There are good tools (my point and shoot) and better tools (whatever I’m getting next, eventually). You’d get great pictures with my P&S. But I’ve been running into the limitations of my camera this weekend (wanting to shoot without flash inside a convention center) and I can only get so far with the lens and ISO limitations I have.

    You have a great combo: great equipment, and artist behind it!

  11. August 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm —

    Those are two of my favorite What the Ducks! I really do hate that “compliment” even though it mostly comes from a good place.

    And I’d like to mention – you can take a great photo with a point and shoot as well as an expensive DSLR, if you know how to use them and know what you’re doing.

  12. August 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm —

    I think these are amazing. I had a friend say that to me just the other day and I wanted to ring her neck. Ughhh

  13. August 10, 2009 at 6:09 pm —

    File that under ‘backhanded compliment’ or ‘left-handed compliment.’ Though evidently intended as praise, it insultingly elevates tool over talent.

    Was Julia Child admired because her oven was incredible?

    Do Itzhak Perlman and Jascha Heifetz have incredible violins? (OK, of course they do … but still.)

    And how ’bout those incredible guitars that John Lennon and George Harrison played, and that Paul McCartney still does?

    That’s why I hope no marketing communications client ever tells me I have an incredible keyboard.

    What unfair for you and other lens artists is the misguided belief by non-thinkers that because we all snap images . . . now more than when you began, thanks to digital . . . camera size and sophistication are all that separate pros from snapshooters.

    It’s like the ol’ line about an abstract canvas, overheard at a gallery or museum: “My kid can paint better than that.”

    Says way more about the speaker than the artist . . . in your example, too.

  14. August 10, 2009 at 6:06 pm —

    Amie, I totally want people to express opinions here so thank you. It is not easy to speak up.

    And I agree that good equipment helps – but it only helps when you know how to use it. Trust me – I can prove this with pictures of myself that my husband took – with the exact equipment 🙂 LOL

    I actually did a post about this a while back and showed my progression – and as my skills and equipment got better so did my picture. It is a combination of things. I have taken a few pretty cool iphone pictures, but yes – if my “big camera” was with me – they would have been even better. But if someone had shot without regard to lighting and composition in mind – iphone or SLR – it might be bad…

  15. August 10, 2009 at 6:00 pm —

    Lol, seriously!! It’s like saying to a cook, “wow, that pot and stove make really good food.” Yes, better equipment will create better results, but a bad cook with a $300 pan isn’t going to make great food.

  16. August 10, 2009 at 5:59 pm —

    OMG, how true is this? I get that comment every once in a while, and I just giggle. It’s like telling a painter “Wow…you must have amazing paint brushes!” 😛

  17. Amie
    August 10, 2009 at 5:58 pm —

    I don’t mean any disrespect, I think you are a fantastic photographer…but in my opinion people tend to get overly defensive about this subject. You can’t deny that a great camera does play a role in the clarity and overall awesomeness of a photo. Obviously it doesn’t compose pictures for you or control the settings and if you mess those things up a great camera isn’t going to fix them magically. But it does factor in.

  18. August 10, 2009 at 5:44 pm —

    My husband says that to me all the time! Now he says it because he knows it irritates me! I love this cartoon. Thanks for sharing!

  19. August 10, 2009 at 5:43 pm —

    That is a cute cartoon. It is true that it is the talent behind the lens- however- I must say that having a good camera and good lens does help the quality of the photograph. But I have taken great pictures with a point and shoot- and actually with my camera phone as well! but point and shoot and camera phone can’t get a photo like my SLR can..

  20. Allison
    August 10, 2009 at 5:41 pm —

    HA!HA! Those are great!

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Your Camera Takes Great Pictures