Recently, I shared a viewpoint suggesting that the state of the photography industry has been declining, with the decreasing cost of entry, suggesting that there has also been a devaluation in the art itself since everyone has cameras these days and thinks they can do it.  In essence, that there is no real money to be made in photography anymore.  Today, I’d like to share the counterpoint to that argument: Photography is not about money!  Here’s what it’s really about:

The First Deal with Cameras

Cameras are not a means to an end.  True photographers are not after glory, profits, or fame.  True photographers are after the photograph!  It’s the beauty in an image, and shared lovingly with the world that the photographer is after.  Whether it’s the laughter of a girl, the stunning sunrise of a sun across a beach, or whatever other theme inspires them – this is what motivates the true photographer!

A Childs Laughter

Boneyard Beach Sunrise

So, that’s the “deal” with photography and cameras, Part 1…

The Second Deal with Cameras

I don’t care who you are, but if you take an amateur and someone that’s been shooting for a while and give them an identical camera, the one with more experience will produce better photos.  Heck, there’s even been anecdotes where some have gone to shoot an entire event with a P&S and given a relative rookie one of the best SLR cameras on the market…and we know who produced better photos.  So, the second “deal” with the camera is that it’s not really the camera at all – it’s the vision of the person behind it!  Some notables you should be aware of, where I doubt many could even hold their lights, let alone fill their shoes:

  • Ansel Adams
  • Henri Cartier-Bresson
  • Robert Capa
  • Alfred Eisenstadt

So, that’s the “deal” with cameras, Part Deux!

The Third Deal with Cameras

So, you’ve heard about the art of it, and the vision of the shooter, but let’s talk about the gear too.  Is the camera really where it’s at?  You ask any serious shooter, and they will likely answer you with a myriad of things that make them better, but one that always rises to the top is the glass!  It’s not really the camera, it’s the lens.  Lenses are what give you that super sharp focus on a subjects eye, the soft bokeh that blurs a background beautifully, and the wide angles needed to capture panoramas.  Even beyond the gear, let’s look at post production too.  Before there was Lightroom, before Photoshop, and before Corel, there was something called the “darkroom”.  We now call it a “digital dark room” but post production plays a huge role in making photographs the final images you see people publishing on websites.

Point and shoots?  Built in post production?  Psaw!  None of that really can do a true work of art justice.  Give me a computer and I’ll produce a better image than anything native to a camera any day of the week!  (And my skills are even a little rusty in that vein right now!)  I would venture to guess that most photographers would agree here too.


That’s my “deal” with the camera – photography is not about the money!

What about you?  Do cameras matter?

4 thoughts on “Photography is not About Money – The Real Deal With Cameras

  1. Hey Jason
    I enjoyed reading your post and I don’t get to read too many blogs these days as I am still trying to capture that shot – that someone will pay $150 for 😉 …SO you’re saying it’s all about passion then! Certainly it is largely about passion as you have to be really passionate to continue to take photos when people ask if they can have/use them and credit you with your name on the bottom corner- as if they are doing you a favour. I also chuckle that everyone with a photo and a facebook or instagram account- can call themselves ………so and so photography. The good news is that they have even worse challenges to face and will move on to a career in something else when they don’t make ends meet. Phew- it’s tough. I think one has to think ” outside of the box” and look to make a living out of producing great images where others fear to tread. It’s vital to look at all your strengths as an artist and to combine them.
    Keep up the great posts.

  2. Hey Jason!

    Good post. And I agree, the art of photography has been getting devalued. I see nothing wrong or concerning about everyone having cameras, but I do see a significant devaluation of people’s work now.

    The day I hit the road again with the Airstream I was contacted by a person who wanted to use several of my images in a publication promoting real estate in Prescott AZ. They offered me “Exposure” for giving them free photos to use in their for profit publication. I called them back and asked if advertisers paid to be in the publication. They said yes. I asked if the staff that laid out the publication was paid. They said yes. And I asked if the printer would be paid for producing the publication. Once again yes. So why wouldn’t they pay me for my work? Well, they hadn’t budgeted for it and thought exposure would be good enough.

    There’s a good bit of work behind a great image. And it has had its value reduced due to so many people giving it away free.

    Oh, and it’s the glass…. 🙂

    1. And photography is the one field where you can walk up to a woman, say “Nice glass” and not get slapped! 🙂

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