Why it’s Important to Have a Good Relationship With Your Camera

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I don’t like upgrading my camera; I’m rather content with the old one I have. I’m not one to worry so much now about the changes in technology. These days it seems there’s nothing really new under the sun. My trusty Nikon D800 is like a close friend, we have a good relationship.

The Importance of Having a Good Relationship With Your Camera

The advancements in camera technology have now slowed down and we already have more than enough megapixels to overflow our hard drives. So in my opinion, being content with a (slightly) older camera can help improve your photography more than if you are continually hankering for an upgrade.

Is your camera good enough?

Recently we had a customer on one of our photography workshops tell us they’d bought a few new lenses and were happy with them and next they wanted to upgrade their camera. I pointed out the camera they already have is way more advanced and can produce higher resolution photographs than most of the cameras I have ever used, (over the last 35 years I have used quite a few).

The Importance of Having a Good Relationship With Your Camera

My wife also loves her Nikon D800.

Having a close relationship with my camera is important to me. We need to know each other. The feeling I have for my camera enables me to obtain more interesting, dynamic, and relational photographs than I could make if I was using a brand new camera, (especially if was a brand of equipment with which I am not familiar). Having such a close and good relationship with your camera will make you a better photographer.

Use your camera with ease

If you can get to know your camera so well that you don’t have to consciously think every time you want to change a setting, you will have more energy to focus on your subject and the creative aspects of picture making. Being able to enjoy photography without your camera being the main focus of your attention is far more conducive to making great photos than having a brand new camera that you are unfamiliar with.

The keys to any good relationship are:

  • Compatibility
  • Frequent connection
  • Meaningful communication
  • Positive feelings

The Importance of Having a Good Relationship With Your Camera

Working with a camera you are just not comfortable with will not result in a good relationship. If you have small hands and your camera is large, you will struggle to operate it easily and it will be uncomfortable for you to hold. Likewise, if you have large hands and a small camera you will not find the experience of making photos as pleasurable as when you have a camera that suits you better.

If you find the controls awkward to manage, the image resolution disappointing, etc., you might want to consider a camera that’s more compatible. However, most cameras these days are well designed and crammed full of technology that produces incredible quality images. So you are probably better off committing more time to getting to know your current camera better.

Use your camera often

Frequent connection with your camera, as with your friends, will produce a richer relationship, especially when it’s a meaningful connection. Finding a subject, a location, or style of photography you really enjoy will ensure you want to spend more time with your camera in your hands.

This can take time, and can change over time, but when you have a passion for something or someone you naturally want to dedicate more of your time to that relationship.

The Importance of Having a Good Relationship With Your Camera

When you are so familiar with your camera that your attention is more focused on your subject, the timing, composition, and lighting, you will find a far greater enjoyment in photography. You will also likely see a big improvement in the photos you are producing.

Know your craft

In our modern consumer societies you are constantly reminded by advertisers there’s something else you must buy. I believe if you constantly upgrade you are potentially missing out on the depth of artistry that can be achieved by being intimate with your camera and your craft.

The Importance of Having a Good Relationship With Your Camera

A while ago I had a wonderful experience photographing two men putting finishing touches to some beautiful artworks. I was in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul looking for the copper workers quarter which I had read about. I spent quite some time searching for it and literally walked around in circles and ended up back at the same place more than once. But I was determined to find this place as I really love making photos of craftspeople working.

Eventually, I heard a “tink tink tink” sound and followed my ears down an ancient arched alleyway. I went up a staircase, and into a courtyard surrounded by two-story buildings with hundreds of pots, pans, lamps and other items all crafted in copper.

The Importance of Having a Good Relationship With Your Camera

I continued farther to the source of the sound and was welcomed into a small workshop. With no common language, I gestured to my camera and received a thumbs up for me to take photographs there. The two men working on the art pieces were being watched by an older man, (I learned he was the father of one and uncle of the other.)

Another man arrived after a while and some discussion took place. That man was a customer coming to buy their art and he spoke some English. I asked him to help me because I had a question. How long, how many generations, had this family been working with copper and creating such art?

The lost art of generations

My question was translated and a long discussion ensued. Then all three family members looked at me and shrugged. They did not know. Their families have been copper craftsmen for so long and been passing on the skills of this lifestyle so long that nobody knew the answer to my question.

I was not surprised. Looking at what they were producing and at the pride on the older man’s face, it was evident they were not novices. They know their craft and their tools so well they made it look like what they were doing was somewhat effortless. But this is the result of a generations-long relationship with their materials and tools, (some of which may be generations old) frequent use of them, and an obvious passion for what they do.

The Importance of Having a Good Relationship With Your Camera

Conclusion

For more on loving your camera, watch the video below:

As you are pushed to spend money, rather than time, on your creative photographic expression, I believe you are in danger of losing touch with the depth and meaning that can be obtained by a more conscious connection with the camera you already own.

So if you are tempted to upgrade your camera let me encourage you to consider holding on to the one you already have for a while. Learn to love it and you will see the results in an improvement in your picture making.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Kevin Landwer-Johan

is a professional photographer, photography teacher, and filmmaker. He began his career in newspaper photography in the late 1980s and has freelanced, covering many different genres of photography ever since. He prefers photographing portraits and doing documentary style work.

Please take a look at our Indiegogo campaign for some great deals we’re offering on our online and in-person photography workshops.

Kevin is offering DPS readers a generous discount on his popular online course “Ten Top Tips – Be More Creative With Your Camera”. Click Here to enroll for just $10.

Learn more about the photography workshops Kevin and his wife run in Thailand.

  • Constance

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  • Wanderin_Weeta

    Thank you! I’ve been starting to feel that I needed to upgrade. Not because of problems with the camera, but because I am getting “behind the times”. I needed this antidote to the constant barrage of “Newer! Better! More! Cutting-edge! Newest!” messages.

  • You are right saying. If we build a good relationship with our personal camera then it will be great and make the capture amazing.

  • Kevin Lj

    Great, I;m happy I can encourage you.

  • Kevin Lj

    Yes, it’s you who is capable of making great photos, not the camera.

  • One of the curses of digital photography is that constant feeling of there being better out there, similar to the one felt regarding computers and laptops that seem out of date the moment you buy one. I love my Nikon Df and may upgrade to a Df2 if one ever comes out, but not if they change the feel and functionality.

  • Kevin Lj

    Don’t believe the marketing until you have worn out the camera you have! 🙂

  • KC

    Interesting points. I went through a lot of cameras until I landed on what works for me. I may have some unique criteria for handheld cameras. I’m “left sided”, as in being distinctly left handed and a left dominant eye. The other is a damaged right hand from an accident. Weight, grip, camera balance, and control placement matters a lot. That adds up to some unusual moments and workarounds. But, after a handling or owning a lot of cameras I’ve come up two I can handhold and work. Of, course, on a tripod, little of the handling issues matter.

    Here’s where “perspective” can make you realize that cameras are pretty much all good these days. Yes, some do certain things better than others, and I’m generalizing. But in the great balance of things, there’s a lot of very good cameras out there.

    When we were handling events, everyone had their own cameras. All images came back to me for cataloging, editing and final selection. Unless I took a look at the metadata what camera captured what wasn’t obvious. I could tell from nuances, technique and style, but the image quality? That was harder.

    With class events, where we’d send attendees out with an assignment, then collect up unedited images, the same held true. I’ve seen some brilliant images from all kinds of cameras.

    The trick is knowing what your cameras strengths and weaknesses are. Are they really weaknesses in the grand scheme of things? Don’t easily fall into the “pro” trap. That could lead into “gear acquisition syndrome”.

  • Kevin Lj

    Yes, imagine finding a camera that works for you would be complicated. I am left eye dominant and my monitor is always in need of a clean 🙂

  • Angela

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    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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  • Denise

    Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
    !da176:
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  • Brandy

    Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
    !da127:
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  • Benson Russell

    Very pleased to see this spelled out so well Kevin. I feel it very strongly now that digital photo technology has matured as far as image quality is concerned. There will be unexpected innovations to come no doubt, but many of us are clearly victims of the manufacturers’ need to keep up their turnover. For me, using a camera that I’m completely familiar with is hugely significant.

    If I’m doing fast paced photography — weddings or events etc — I like to work with two identical cameras bodies so that I have no hesitation with controls and can really concentrate on getting the best images. I can switch ISO in an instant, change to manual focus etc and I know what liberties I can take with shutter speeds, irrespective of which camera I have a given lens mounted on.

    On the other hand… it has to be said… that a benefit of new gear is that it can re-energise your passion for photography. A new bit of gear with new capabilities and a reason to spend time taking pictures and seeing what it can do that your previous camera couldn’t!

  • Kevin Lj

    Glad you appreciate my points of view Benson.

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