What makes a good photograph? Is it the photographer or his camera? It is almost like asking as to what makes a good painting or a good book. We all understand that an outstanding painting is the masterpiece of painter’s imagination and not his brushes. Similarly, a bestseller book is a result of writers own style of narration (and thought formation) and hardly depends on the paper, pen or typewriter.
In any field of arts, it is the talent of the artist which makes the difference. Just like a good painting is the outcome of painter’s own efforts and creativity; a good photograph is the result of photographer’s imagination. What contributes to a good photograph is not an expensive equipment but it is the photographer’s instinct, intuition, creativity, vision, imagination that make the difference.
The beginners and newbies waste a lot of time in running after expensive cameras and lenses and forget to focus on the integral element of photography — the technique. They get to realize the fact quiet late, that it is the artist that makes the masterpieces and not his tools and equipment. And during this process they often lose interest or get dis-heartened to see that they are not making great pictures.
There’s a particular process of turning reality into pictures — noticing the scene, visualizing the results, capturing them using the tools and showcasing them. A bottleneck in any of these stages will get you poor results. In the beginning the bottleneck is your experience (not your talent or creativity — a lot of which comes from experience). Once you are adept at understanding photography should it come to the camera. It is then when you may realize that under certain conditions your camera could perform differently or better or allow you more flexibility. And until then buying the greatest gear is all about giving in to your temptations — feels good to hold and all.
The primary purpose of photo-gear is to make the task simple for the photographers and learners. It in no way bestows interestingness (and attractiveness) to your captures, until you capture the shot with right technique. The basic element which go into making a mark with your photographs is your imagination.
Photography is the platform for showcasing your talent. Get hold of right technique, develop a creative vision and master your tools to get the desired results. Your understanding of photography concepts (that of exposure, aperture, shutter-speed, ISO, etc) and the way you interpret light makes the difference.
The attributes that set apart the photographs (as good) from the rest are good composition and lighting — none of which can be achieved even by the high-end cameras without the photographer. The camera does matter in making life easy for the photographer. It enables the photographer to easily shuffle between settings to achieve the required results. You can easily sift from aperture priority mode for attaining shallow DOF to shutter priority to capture movement and action. But then knowing the right thing at the right time does matter. What counts in photography is the knowledge of how to take and make photographs under varying circumstances.
It is the photographer, his technique and his knowledge that makes the masterpieces. Your camera can’t shoot great images if you as a photographer can’t envision the result and can’t command your camera to capture it too.