Traveling with only a phone camera Locked

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
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lightnchade Contributing Member • Posts: 538
Solutions to can't and won't

There are some photographers who can seemingly produce great images with almost anything.

But often we'll see their work produced using great gear, and we naturally assume the work is the result of having great gear.

It's tempting to say that nothing could be further from the truth, but that's a bit hyperbolic, but the role of the gear can be (and here in the forums usually is) vastly overestimated.

I've used great gear; Canon Full Frame DSLR with a bunch of L lenses and a decent speedlight setup, Sony Full Frame mirrorless with Zeiss glass.

I've got some nice shots, and some I can look at where I can say which feature(s) of good gear played an important role in the capture. But my 'work' (hobby) is not in the same league as many of the professionals and elite whose work I admire and respect.

And because I respect their work, I'll read books, articles and blogs about how some of the icon images were captured. And that's where the real differences become apparent.

The gear's features/limitations don't so much dictate what the photographer can achieve, but rather it informs how the photographer goes about achieving the shot. Which aspects they can rely on the gear for and which aspects they'll have to make happen.

Let's use a foolish extreme to overemphasise the point.

Imagine you want an iconic headshot of a wild lion.

One option is to use almost any camera, visit a place where wild lions roam, walk up close to the lion, wait for it to roar at you and at just the right time click the shutter. Then head out of there before the lion decides to eat you.

But for most people, these would be lengths you are unwilling to go to to get the shot.

And while this example is laughably foolish, it is at least as relevant to getting good photos as good gear is, and almost certainly more so.

Not in the taking foolish risks category, but in the how much effort are you prepared to put into getting the results you want.

In some areas, gear can help. A telephoto lens can more safely get you close to the lion and with less risk of disturbing it. But it's often the non-gear aspects of photography that separate good photos from great images.

Gear can offer some solutions to the things you can't or won't do, but there's much about shot making that's about how much you are willing to do.

If your travelling will be observational in nature, sightseeing, there's no doubt that some gear will help capture your observations in more variety and with less work, and you may feel restricted by a simple phone, although a caveat to this is the newer advanced phone cameras have numerous features that are continually helping it close the gap on premium compacts. I'm reasonably sure I'd get a decent set of sightseeing images out of the new iPhone with a lot fewer compromises than 5 years ago.

But if your travelling will be based on meeting people and engaging in local cultures, it's as likely your best images will come from a phone as it is from any other sort of camera you have with you.

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MOD Smaug01
MOD Smaug01
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