Sunday, October 11, 2009

Beyond Lens Envy

I've seen this pattern over and over...people get into photography as a new hobby, experience some initial successes, then start yearning for better and more expensive equipment in order to continue on a trajectory of better and better images.

I followed this route for a while myself. After borrowing and/or owning the best digital SLR equipment Canon makes, I experienced just how far the equipment could take me. I'll admit the equipment helps, but there's still a gap toward success that can only be filled by the photographer's skill and vision...and ultimately it's the skill and vision that yields the success.

If an equipment-related problem is blocking the ability to achieve a particular vision, then it may be quite appropriate and necessary to buy (or make) some equipment.

I get the impression, however, that photographers tend to resort to equipment purchases/upgrades as a default, rather than really thinking the problem through and coming up with a free solution that uses their existing equipment--for example, a change in technique.

Of course the photography equipment manufacturers and retailers--and top photographers enlisted by the photography equipment manufacturers--encourage this type of thinking! But if you're just a little clever and resourceful, you can loosen their grip on your photography-related purchasing.

You don't need the best or most expensive equipment to make great or successful photos. It's much more important that you really get to know the equipment you have and learn how to get the results you want using that equipment. *That* is what you need to know to become a truly successful photographer.

Michael Grace-Martin is a professional wedding, portrait, event, stock, and fine art photographer based in Upstate New York. He is also the author of this blog. All images and text are (c) Michael Grace-Martin Photography. His main website is:


  1. OH I love what you have said here. I don't have a lot of money and have never had the best equiptment. So I guess my eyes have always been the best equiptment I have and they come free.

  2. Absolutely Michael! You are right on the money!!