Why You Don’t Need Expensive Equipment To Take Great Photographs

Let’s face it, we all love a great photo. Many of us spend a little too much time on Instagram sifting through beautiful photographs instead of doing our work and we suddenly realize we’ve spent most of the day on blogs that aren’t our own, looking at other people live their lives in an enchanting, aesthetically pleasing environment.

After recollecting yourself, we often wonder, “How do I take a beautiful photograph? What do I need to buy? What do these people have that I don’t?” The answer is actually very simple… nothing. 

Taken on Zorki 4K 50mm lens

Many of the greatest photographs were taken with some of the most basic equipment in the dullest of areas, yet people’s minds and creativity brought those places to life. Here are the most common misconceptions about expensive cameras and photography, and here are a few techniques that will allow you to break the mould and become the visual artist you want to be, regardless of the equipment you use.

Shot on digital FUJIFILM X-T10 

Art can stem from anyone and anywhere, we know it as fact. But before you blindly throw yourself into the world, there are a few things we need to discuss. We can start with the most pertinent misconception that you need an expensive camera to take great photographs. This statement is false for the most part. There’s this misconception that a camera with a large amount of megapixels determine the quality of the photo, which is incorrect. Megapixels determine the resolution for how big a photo can be enlarged before it starts getting fuzzy and there are no more pixels left to spread. Real photo quality is determined by a plethora of things, from the sensor to lighting scenarios to what you determine individually as quality. There are so many factors, and being able to see those factors will make you a better shooter.


Taken on point-and-shoot camera, 35mm lens Canon AF-7

After deciding what you believe is beautiful, decide how you want to approach and capture it. Or, if you’re more of a creator, decide how you want to implement your photography… you can approach it methodically or sketch it out beforehand, but just have a vision in mind. The more concrete the vision is, the easier it will be able to figure out the details and execute it. Saying “I want to shoot pretty clouds,” is one thing, but by taking another step and taking a closer look at your vision, you can start to imagine what it is that you like about those clouds, and take it a little further by saying “I like pretty clouds, so I’m going to shoot when it’s cloudy and there’s an open field so I can see the most clouds.” 

Shot with Zorki 4K 50mm lens

Taken on iPhone 7

It’s the little things like this that can make or break a photo. Your ability to determine what is great to you visually and your ability to deconstruct how you want to shoot will only make those quality memories better. For those who want to learn how to better themselves, there are plenty of classes and basic reference guides on learning the fundamentals of photography in bookstores and even on mobile app stores, whether it be mobile, digital or film.

It’s a cliché to bring up Henri Cartier-Bresson when talking about how to make the most of minimal camera kit, but there’s no escaping the fact that the ‘father of photojournalism’ created some the most iconic images of the 20th century using just one 35mm camera and a single 50mm lens. Too much equipment can be a distraction, and studying the way Cartier-Bresson constructed his images and developed a sense of when to press the shutter when all the elements moved into place, well, that can make a bigger difference to the progression of your photography than an armful of new lenses.

Just remember, don’t ever take it too seriously. Remember why you take photographs, and that will drive you all the way.

Photographs by Mariana Carvalho

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