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“Your Camera Takes Really Nice Pictures” [Delaware Wedding and Portrait Photographer]

Imagine that you’re baking dessert for a party.  It’s your special recipe: the one everyone asks for.  You make it from scratch, of course, never looking at the recipe that you committed to memory so long ago.  Sugar, beaten eggs, sift in the flour…  you’re crafting something delicious from basic elements.  Now you’re at the party and everyone is gushing about your dessert.  The flavor!  The texture!  But most of all you’re being asked, “what kind of oven do you have?  It makes great cakes!”

That’s pretty much how a photographer feels when people look at their photos and say, “your camera takes great pictures.”

Of course it’s not the camera that takes great photos, any more than it’s the oven that makes a great dessert.  Ovens and cameras are just tools that make our jobs easier.  Yes, better equipment does make a difference.  I wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars on cameras and lenses if it didn’t.  However, you must understand the camera to take advantage of all it can offer.  Just because you’re using a professional camera does not mean you are producing professional images.

It’s all about what you know: the technicalities of photography.  You have to determine just the right type and direction of light, position your models to take advantage of that light and create a pleasing composition, utilize the correct camera settings (aperture, ISO, etc.) and work with your models to make them feel comfortable.  And that’s just the first half!  After the photo shoot there is still post-processing to be done.

I decided to do a little experiment.  I used my friend’s daughter as my model and brought my brother with me for a mini session.  Not at a garden or the beach, but at Houlihan’s Restaurant situated right in the middle of the mall parking lot.  (I figured a little challenge never hurt anyone.)   I set my camera to auto (well, technically it’s program mode — but it’s the closest my camera comes to auto), handed it over to my brother and sent him off with my model for 10 minutes to see what he could do.   When they came back, it was my turn (using my camera on manual, of course).  Same camera, same location, same model.  The only difference was the person using the camera.

I was anxious to get home and look through them.  These are all straight out of the camera, with no processing.  You’ll see that there wasn’t a whole lot of thought put into the first set; my brother pretty much stuck the poor girl in front of different trees and snapped away.  The exposure isn’t perfect, the color is off in some and the composition is boring.

Non-professional using a professional camera:Professional using a professional camera:

And just because your session is over, that doesn’t mean the photographer’s work is.  Far from it, actually.  I carefully go through each image and select the very best.  From there, I process each one carefully.  Sharpening, smoothing, dodging, burning, cloning, layering… you name it!  Most of the images from this session look pretty good right out of the camera, but you can see how just a little processing gives them a bit more “oomph”.  🙂

Even turning a color image into black and white is more complex than it seems.  Sure, there is an auto black and white feature in Photoshop, but let’s take a look at the difference of the results between doing that and the way I normally do it.  See the difference?  The one on the left is very flat and dull-looking.  The one on the right has greater depth; there’s a wider range of shades from darkest black to whitest white.

Professional photographers spend so much of our time researching, learning and networking.  We have a tendency to live, eat and breathe photography.  For instance, even when I’m taking a drive out to visit family, I’m always looking out the window, scanning the horizon, taking mental notes of great places to hold a photo session.  And if I happen to drive past a wheat field at sunset?  It takes every ounce of willpower not to drag my hungry, tired kids out of the car for an impromptu photo shoot. Professional photographers put all of their passion and knowledge into every wedding, graduation, birthday and family photo session.  If expensive tools were all it took, producing great images would be a piece of cake.  Amazingly delicious cake, of course.


Jaime - Erin- thank you SO much for eloquently putting this into words. I hope people learn from your post!

Jess - Erin…You are AMAZING! I agree with EVERY word you have in here! Your knowledge and artistic touch but MOST of all your HEART SHOWS through your work…thanks so much for using M for this…she had a great time…and you captured her beautiful and witty character…LOVE THEM!

jamie - Great post!! The biggest difference I see is the cluttered backgrounds in the non-pro pics. It takes a lot of practice to juggle posing, lighting, expression, and paying attention to the surroundings. Thanks, Erin!

Laura - This was so interesting, Erin! Thanks for sharing!

Carrie - Great post! I love all the examples that you provided!

kristin - you computer writes really great blogs! hahahaha thanks for posting this great piece. it’s informative without lecturing (the public).

Catie - Very nice & true! Thanks.

Erin - Great post! I definitely appreciate all the work that goes into custom professional photography. I have a nice camera, but take pics like your brother. 🙂 When I want real family pictures, I’m happy to pay someone who really knows their stuff to get quality images!

Sara - Thanks for doing this blog entry, I love the experiment, it’s SO true!

Kim - Fabulous post Erin! As a non-pro I always knew it wasnt just the camera but I think no one ever realizes the amount of work that actually goes into photography, between setting the pictures up just right and editing them.

Michelle - Very well written Erin! It is so true. I get frustrated so often with the camera we have and the lack of fantastic pictures I often get. Sometimes I get it right, but most times not. But there is so much more than just point and shoot. If only I had time to study this passion too!

Beira - Wow, such a thoroughly visual explanation of the importance of a professional photographer! Your work is beautiful and it is very obvious that you pour your heart into it.

Malia - Erin, I love this blog post! I think it actually provided another little tidbit of encripted information as well… you would make an amazing photography teacher! Seriously. Maybe a new venture on the horizon?

Dana - I saw your link posted by another photographer/friend (Trina Gueck) and visitied your blog for the first time…

and I think I just fell in L.O.V.E LOVE. 😉 Thank you thank you thank you for posting this.

Jen - Awesome Erin!!! You are an amazing photographer..though you already know that I think the world of you and your pictures!! I’m just waiting for my brother to get hitched so he can use you!! You put this into such great words..thank you 🙂

stacey fike - A-men!

and thank you!

Liz - LOVE it 🙂 Shared it on my facebook page 🙂

Lela Fleetwood - Completely outstanding post! LOVE it!

Samantha - Fantastic Erin, love your work and appreciate this post so much! TFS! 🙂

Amy - FABULOUS!!! Ever since I wrote my article on how to pick a good photographer I have SO wanted to do this same type of experiment. Just didn’t have the non-pro to do it with 🙂 Love this!

Ro - the best post eva !!!

Laurie - LOVE this, can I link to here??

staci - Thanks for the wonderful post! Love the example/experiment. 🙂

Tina - This is great! Thanks 🙂

StephMay - LOVE THIS!!!

Cyndi W - I love this article! I plan to post it on my blog – hope you don’t mind?! This is such a fantastic example of a phrase I have heard a million and one times. Thank you so much for putting it together!! 🙂

Bea Kennedy - I heard this twice just yesterday. Took all my willpower to withhold the snide comment. 🙂

Carmen - Amen! Thank you for posting this!

Erin - Wow guys! Thanks for all the compliments. Everyone is welcome to link to my blog — no problem! 🙂

Kristi McMurry - A.M.E.N!!!!

I hear this at just about every wedding. I don’t mind talking about cameras with people, but it gives my self-confidence a little kick when people think it’s my camera that makes the pictures look good…

Ashley - I’m only an amateur but I agree with every word you wrote. I’ve recently gotten more and more requests from people asking me how to take good photos using their new camera that is just like mine. I even had someone say “I know this camera is capable of taking great shots…I look at your pictures and they are great, but mine always come out crappy.” I can’t even operate in auto mode anymore because photography becomes second nature and I would much rather someone say “your photos are incredible,” than “that camera sure does take good pictures.” Great post!

Janine - could you thank your keyboard for the great post today? 😀 very eloquent, and I love the example photo shoot – very telling!

Cali - This is awesome! I love it 🙂 I might have to post a link to this post on my photo page!

Megan - This is fantastic!!!!! Thank you for your post!

Heather M - What an AWESOME read! LOVE your idea and oh how I would love to share this link on my FB! This really, really puts it into perspective 🙂

AmyM - Finally someone puts it into words. Wonderful article, thank you for taking the time to put it together. Gonna have to share this one 🙂

Christy - What a great blog! I am a photographer and hear that all the time, “your camera takes great pictures”. Yes, some is the camera, but the rest is composition, lighting, aperture, shutterspeed, etc.

Stacey S - Fab – I just love your experiment! Great way to get a very important point across.

Melody - Thank you for so eloquently articulating this oh-so-common misconception, both visually and verbally!

Tanya Rudman - I think its amazing you did this comparison! I wish clients could see it this way!!

Brandi - Wonderful! Great post, thank you!

Laura - You’re computer writes AMAZING prose! That was the best article I have read about photographers. I am a fan for life!

Shelby - That is sooo true! The camera is only a part of the recipe!

Rebecca - Well demonstrated! 🙂

Christy - Erin, I really appreciate the thought that went into this post! It’s educational without being insulting. Thanks for sharing!

Susan B - Great demonstration and wonderful article! Thanks so much!

Melissa M. - Great post and examples!

Crystal - Great post! thank you for sharing!

Marianne - Great explanation and cool experiment! And I’m inspired by the pictures you took in the Houlihan’s parking lot!! wow! This little girl is adorable and looks like a ball of personality.

Kathryn - Every word of this post is true. Couldn’t have said it better myself!!

amy mcmaster - Fantastic and the pics are an awesome illustration to support the knowledge vs camera and how they work together. <3

Amber Debyah - Great post, Erin! I shared it on Facebook 🙂

Krista - Thank you so much for posting this!

becky - fabulous post and great examples!

Shutterbelle Photography - Very nicely done. I hope you don’t mind, I linked to it on facebook after reading it in a post that a friend made on facebook too. – Amanda Hagler, Shutterbelle Photography

Jolie - Awesome post!

Greta S. - YES, you are sooooo right!!! I loved this article. I really get annoyed BIG-TIME when someone says to me, “You’re camera takes really good pictures!” That is like saying Picasso’s paints painted really good paintings. Or I could say right now to you, your computer writes good articles. C’mon!!
Most people are in the dark about how much it takes to get photos just right before (AND sometimes after) your shots, and how much education we endured, one way or another, to get them that way!
Also, having a great camera doesn’t make you a pro, as you stated. I see a lot of people with nice cameras that are just stuck in auto mode. If you buy the camera, one should take the time to learn it right.
Thanks for the time you took to put into this article to educate others!! Rock on!

jasmine - this post is perfection, erin! well said 🙂

Wende Trew - Thanks for posting this!! Soooo TRUE!!!

Crissie - This is glorious.

Andi - Fifty-nine comments! Wooooo! That’s great. 😀

Haley - Very nicely put together. You must have a nice computer (just joking!). Thanks for this 🙂

Marta - Thanks so much for putting this into words so eloquently and well as great visual aids. I hope you don’t mind but I am linking to this on my facebook. I think it is great for people to SEE the difference custom photography can make.

Vicki - This is a great post! Thanks for sharing.

Erica Peerenboom - Perfect!

Life with Kaishon - Wow. Love this so much. Brilliant. Thanks for writing it.

KatrinaLee - Thanks for this! Well said, and well done!

Julie Thomas - Brilliant post!!! So well written and so, so true… thanks for sharing

Jessica - This is so eloquently stated and I’m so glad you had the guts to post it on your blog. Thank you so much and I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to link this to my Facebook!

Teresa - This is fantastic! I recently read a post on some ladies facebook in which her friend told her that she needed to go pro because this woman’s photos were so good in her opinion (they are not at all!!!!) and the woman replied with “I know, my camera is just so good!” I was all…come on lady! First off your photos are not good and going pro because you have a good camera doesn’t cut it.
Thanks for sharing this post!

Hannah Arnold - So right!! I love this and oh how true. Thanks for your time.

Julie Brzozkiewicz - Thank you for putting this so eloquently. Your visuals are also helpful in illustrating the point without sounding like you’re lecturing. So well done.

Angela Boone - Well said, THANK YOU for this article and examples!!

Shay - Great demonstration!! It’s so true too! Thanks for the post 🙂

Nadia - Great post! Thank you for sharing 🙂 I’m going to link it to FB as well.

Jamie Halstead - THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much!!!

A. Dennette - I love this! Thank you so much for sharing. I linked it on FB as well. This needs to get out to people!

Jen Parker - Nicely said and so true! Thanks for the post. I’m going to link it to fb, too (that’s where I found you!)

Julie - THANKS!!! So fun to see the results.

Mark Eric - What a great post! Thank you Erin 🙂

Ava - Love it, very well put.

hope - wow!! very well put. ur pics are fab!

Rachel Clare - amen, amen, amen.

Valeria - Very well done

Toni Johnson - This is perfect. PERFECT. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us want to say on a regular basis. Kudos! I’ve re-posted and linked to you… 🙂

Amanda Ritter - Bless your heart! This is so wonderfully said!
Thank you for sharing your words, photos and the time it took to put this post together.
So many non photographers really do not have any idea what goes into capturing an image. I had to sit here and laugh after I read this…as I’m up past my bed time editing and trying to put together a print order.

Nekane Owens - Awesome post! Thank you!!!

becca - thank you so much for posting this! i would love to post this to facebook if you dont mind!

Kelly Q - Thank you for a very well written post! It truly shows the work, thought, and intention that goes into our work!

Amanda Ritter - 87. Should read: So many non-pro photographers. 🙂

Amanda Zika - You said this beyond perfect! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this and hopefully people will now get it in their heads what it takes to be a “real” photographer!

Megan Turnidge - This is AWESOME! Thanks for sharing! So true!

Fabiana Beatriz - AMEN.

Jill Phillips - WOW! First time here at your blog. What a great read Erin! So very well put, and so very inspiring. LOVE LOVE THIS!!

Nicole - I couldn’t have said it better myself! Great post. Thanks for including pics. 🙂

Funky Photography - oh my heart sings when I read this! Good for you for putting this out there! Wonderfully put and demonstrated! Big love to you girl x

Staci - Ouch. Great point, but what about all of those beautiful moments between professional shoots? Now I’m pretty embarassed about sharing my non-pro photos with my friends and family on facebook and my blog. This was a fun read for photographers, but a little hard on the rest of us.

Robyn Regan - Oh that is so good!!!!! Great analogy!!!

Kate - Fabulous blog post! Love it and I hope you don’t mindthat I have linked it to my Facebook?


Erin - Oh no, Staci — the point of this wasn’t to say that the only pictures you should have are professional ones. it was to show how much work goes into a professional photo session. There are many people who are shocked at how much a professional photographer charges and I was trying to provide a little insight as to why we charge what we do. I would never, ever (EVER, EVER, EVER!) tell someone that every single picture they take has to be of a certain caliber. Heck, I’ve taken (and posted) many shots that I took with my cell phone! I was just trying to show that it takes more than just owning a fancy camera to be a professional photographer.

Chuck Provonchee - I don’t know how many times I have had people ask me what kind of camera I used for a particular shot, like using the same camera will make them a great photographer. What kind of brushes did daVinci use? Could I buy the same brand and be a great painter? I guess many people don’t realize that there is more to photography than just pushing down on the shutter button. Thanks for sharing this. Best of luck with all your future endeavors.

Lisa Hill - What a great little blog!! Thank you so much for sharing. I have a friend who says to me oh the colours come out great with your camera, your camera takes great pictures etc! I agree so annoying lol. Thanks again xxxx

Beth Daane - What a wonderful post, Erin. Thank you for sharing!

Jodie - I saw this posted on a friend’s FB page and was excited to read such a great post… Thank you for such a well written and demonstrated article. I plan to post this to my FB page and my blog, yet I also plan to do this experiment with a non-pro. What a fabulous idea. Let’s get this message out there so we don’t have to justify why we need to charge what we do to run a successful photography business.

Autumn - Thanks for your article! I sent it to my photographer friends. As a follow up experiment, could you try using a point and shoot and having your brother do the same? AKA, what a professional photographer can take even WITHOUT a fancy camera.

Hayley Johnson - Erin, this is so great ~ You have truly just pointed out in black and white, the VERY way a lot if us want to respond when we hear those words, or anything similar!!

Jim - Great post! So much truth in every word you’ve written. It’s a very quiet pet peeve of mine when people say that very same thing.

Well done!

angie - thanks for this! i was just recently told “what do you think i’m stupid, all it takes is pushing a button to make a picture b&w, you can do it at any kiosk at walmart” i hope you don’t mind if i share this on my facebook!

Jes Gwozdz - Great illustration of why that little phrase (“your camera takes great pictures”) gets under all of our skin!

Jill - Thank you so much for this!!!!

alex - This is great! I actually have so many people, CONSTANTLY saying, ‘oh wow! that’s a great photo, all your photos are so great! you must have a really good camera.’ It hurts my soul, after putting so much work into the photos that I take – the ones I post to facebook and flickr I spend hours and hours in post-processing, after spending a whole day shooting (usually in bad weather), and spending years of learning my trade.

PS, @Autumn: go to Fstoppers.com, they did a shoot with an iphone! It’s hilarious, and so mind-blowing that Lee got such amazing photos with his cell phone – definitely worth checking out for any photographer.

Ray Majoran - Great post!

Melissa Smith - Very nice read!!! I think I may do something similar if you dont mind!! That comment gets really annoying sometimes.

Amy - Thank you so much for this article! I always here that my camera is a better more expensive camera. Yes it was a higher priced camera, but when I first got it I had no clue and could not take a photo any better with it than I could a cheaper camera! It took understanding the functions of a camera and a lot of learning to get to where I am at now!!!

Jessica Deane - Thanks for posting this! Its SOOO true!!!!!

Cheryl Weaver - THANK YOU Erin for posting this!!!! I saw this on another photographer’s page and re-posted! VERY well written! 🙂

Brent Davidson - What a fantastic post. Loved every bit of it! I will post it on my Fb as well, it’s too good not to share!

Rashell Choo - This non-pro definitely needs a pro to run her pro camera 🙂

Brandi - Awesome post!

Cathy and David - Great Article! 😀

Rachel - what a great experiment! I love it!!

Jenna - Thank you soooo much for putting this together!

Michelle Sidles - haha!! This is a running joke between my friend (who is an author)… her computer writes really great books and me (my camera takes really great pics). 😉 love the post and all the examples.

Kristi Swift - Erin, this is a wonderful way to explain to the non-educated eye where the VALUE is in having pictures taken professionally! Kudos!

Allison - Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you for this. I shared this on FB. I wanna tattoo it on my neck. This is what I want to tell people every day when they’ll look at my pictures and then say (you guessed it) “Wow. What camera do you use?” It makes me want to poke my eyeballs out with hot pokers. Consider me a new fan.

James - Exceptional post!!! Love it!
I too saw this on a friends Facebook post.
I will have to share it with others.

Susan - Very eloquent and refreshing. I have linked your post on my own blog, you’ve said everything so well, rephrasing it would never do it justice.

Chris - Very well said. Every pro photographer brings something to the proverbial table that the amateur simply doesnt have, and thats essentially what sets us apart

Kaye Putnam - So wonderfully said!!

Lerin - I had to share this via FB! Great blog!!!

Heather Georger, Round Rock, TX Photographer - Fab U lous post. I’m sick of explaining this to people so I’m just going to share it on my facebook wall. You need to be my facebook friend;) lol

Susie - Thank you so much for posting this!

Scribbletime - THANK YOU for not only writing this, but for doing the comparisons. Perfectly illustrated points.

Becky - Awesome examples! Thanks for sharing 🙂

Your Camera Takes really good pictures! « simplysweetphoto.com - […] written by: Erin Farrell PREVIOUS ARTICLE: Who doesn’t love a […]

Kate Falconer - Oh Erin what a wonderful post! I saw this post from another photographer and so glad I did! There are too many people out there that think just because they have a camera they are a photographer and I appreciate you showing visual proof that that is not the case.

Sheri J - I LOVE this blog post, your story paints a perfect picture and it’s true. I also like what Autumn said above about doing a similar shoot with a P&S camera because pro’s tend to get great images out of almost every camera they use as long as it covers the basics.

Julie - Very well said.

C.K. Layne - Thank you so much for this article. I hope you don’t mind if I post it.

betzy - Wonderful Blog! I shared on my facebook!! LOVE IT!

Christine - Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Susie - Thank you for writing this. It has been said time and again but putting pictures with this make a strong point. May I share this on Facebook?

Joe Sanfilippo - Great post! Thanks for sharing this! Judging from the commenst on this post, it is a pretty popular subject!

Melissa - Thanks so much for writing this! I’m linking to it on FB!

Heather - Wonderful post! Thank you for putting this into words so nicely. Loved your “experiment!”

Amber - Excellent post! I often get asked about my camera all the time. This is a great experiment! Well done!

Denise Snyder - OMG FABULOUS!!! Thank you thank you thank you!

Susan - Very well said.

Kristen - Thank you!! This was a great experiment, and a wonderfully written article. I shared on my facebook page!

Michelle Thomas - YES. Yesyesyes and more yes!

Thank you for putting into words what so many of us frustrated photographers were not able to!

Janice - Well said, and well documented, thank you for taking the time to speak to an issue that is difficult for most of us.
When people get a look at my camera and say that it must take great pictures I ususally just shrug my shoulders and say that it is subject to operator error, just like any other piece of equipment.

Holly - Sooooooo true!

Kim - Thanks for a great post. The best response I have heard to date to this statement was “thanks, your mouth makes nice compliments”. It still makes me smile 🙂

steph - i really liked the way you used examples and as others have said, made your point without being insulting. however read one non-pro’s comment that it makes her feel bad about sharing her own efforts with friends. here’s my take as a pro: i absolutely think that if you want to take photos and you aren’t a pro – please do it! of course your own photos will bring you pleasure and they should. and please share them too, with anyone you like! this blog post is just saying, having good quality equipment doesn’t automatically make you an expert, and, any tool is only as good as the hands that are holding it – which is something that seems to not be understood by many.

Danielle Powers - THANK YOU!!! This is SOOOooo very TRUE! So many have NO IDEA!! I would LOVE to share thi son FB!???!

Cathy - LOVE IT!!!! So well put and soooo very true.

Avelaine Scyrup - Woo, comment # 150! Great post! 🙂

Rebecca Berra - Very eloquently written! I’ll definitely post this on my website once I’m up and running – still in training at the mo and loving every new pearl of wisdom anyone teaches me!

Aaron Reid - I’ve been taking a lot of pictures lately and the number one this people says is “Your camera takes great pictures.” THANK YOU for posting this!

Andrea - Great post! Especially like the comparisons.

Dorean - well put! 🙂

Eleanor - Great post. So true

Melanie - Sing it sister!! I’m not pro yet, but I work damn hard on my images and can’t stand hearing “your camera takes great pictures” when I show someone my work.

Jess O. - Could not have said it better myself!!
I havent had someone say that to me, yet. But i see people with all these pro cameras and just using them on auto. Its so frustrating.
Thank you for showing the difference!!!

Picasso Perfect Photography - Well said. Very interesting post

Miranda Marrs - Great blog post! I especially enjoy the post-processing and inclusion of the custom b&w recipe versus just desaturating the photo.

brenda - Love this!

vikki kourbelis - DITTO DITTO DITTO!!!!!
Brilliant post!

Serena - Love this!!! You hit the nail on the head… Great Job!!!

Beth Jennings - Oh My God! i just stumbled across you through some random facebook link…well done, awesome post!!! Every photographer can relate to this, and i feel often very frustrated by the lack of client understanding…this is a great blog to link to…thanks so much for taking the time to do the work and demonstrate what’s happening. At my next shoot I might do a similar experiment…and get the clients to shoot themselves!! thank you

sherry boles - This is the BEST post!!! This illustrates exactly what is wrong with that statement in such a wonderful and visual way!! BRILLIANT~

Matt Heath - This a fantastic post and so so true!

jennie gaskins - GREAT POST!! what an awesome IDEA having your brother take photo’s with your camera…proves a GREAT point!!!

shelley anderson - wonderful post…love it:)


christina - love this!

Amber R - Your acticle is amazing! Best read I have had in a while and certainly very accurate! I can totally relate to the last part, every time I am in the car I an constantly looking at the light and finding awesome locations…even contemplating pulling over. Pure passion!!

charlie - Oh my this is soooooooo soooooooo true..well written..off to link to the world too!

Robin - amen!!! Love it! You hit the nail on the head!

Megan - Thank you so much! This is exactly what I want to tell people when they ask me for a photo I’ve taken. Also… Great images!

Tru - An awesome post and I love the visual explanation..
Thank you =)

Craig - So true. . . but my camera takes shite photos.

Michelle - Fabulously said!

VIctor T - Right On!!! Great Job!

Kelly - This is great!

rwhite - You know I think you’ve illustrated your point to those who may actually believe its ALL about the camera but I’ve been a pro photographer for 15 years and I’ve never had one person say ” Your camera takes great photos “. I mean if I’m to be honest I think your point is a little insulting to the intelligence of the majority of folks out there. People inherently know a great mechanic isn’t the sum of what’s in his toolbox & a talented painter hasn’t gotten there because of her choice of brushes & paints she uses. It’s a skill I believe people deep down know that. Nice work by the way!!

Mandy - I shared this on FB! I always cringe at these words!

Pleasant Vonnoh - Perfect! Thanks for posting!

Kristen Mintz - wow! this is so true!!! thank you! great post!

Niki - Great article. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that comment. I think it’s great that you also provided examples 🙂

Photography By Ann - Great post! I love it. Thanks for sharing.

Dana T. - Wow, Erin. I think you just went down in phoblography history. Your keyboard writes great articles! Now, if we could just get all of the non-photogs to read this, LOL. Thank you!!!

Gretchen - Thank you soooo much for this post!!! You have put my thoughts into words!! BRILLANT!! :o)

Kim - THank you thank you thank you for posting this!

Ray Majoran - Erin,

Just wanted to let you know that I re-posted this on http://www.electricurrent.com/xpiritmental-blog-13713 — I just took your first 3 paragraphs and then linked the full article to your site. Great job!!!


Stephanie McFrederick - Very well written! Love it!

Jasmine Sargent - Great article! I recently had a person buy my digital files and ask if they could just do auto b&w conversion at the printing place. Yikes!

Amy Lunceford - I unfortunately have family members that don’t seem to see that they are insulting my work when they make comments like “I bought that camera”. Like you said…just because you own it doesn’t mean you know how to use it or have the creative eye to apply the true secret ingredient “artistry”. THANK YOU for validating all of this in such a great article.

Shannon Grant - Well said and love the photo examples! Your brother and little model are good sports 🙂

Robin - Oh I’ve heard this and I’ve learned the hard way that the camera is only a small piece of the picture. I’m still learning.

Katherine Masci - This is a great post. I love the experiment!

allison stitt - Erin! I posted you link to this on http://www.digitalphotographyschoo.com we are ALWAYS talking about this subject FANTASTIC idea to do that shoot! Im also going to link you to my blog! I love it!!!!!

Kelly T - Oh man! This is fantastic. I am an amateur photographer and EVERYONE will say that lovely line. This is SO perfectly put! I had a friend post this link on Facebook. WELL SAID!!

What kind of camera do you have? « Life at the Speed of my Shutter - […] Your Camera Takes Really Nice Pictures   Leave a Comment […]

samantha - Thank you for this article. I am a photographer and have been told so many times that its my camera that takes the great pictures that I produce. I feel that its an insult as well and I am so glad that you did this experiment. THANK YOU

Heather - Amen! Awesome post!

Danella - you did an awesome post here.. expect many more hits. Well done!

Christina Lee - I love this post. Well done on the experiment! I’ll definitely be sharing a link on my facebook! 😉

Brooke - Such a great post, I linked back to it! 😉


Michelle - This is fantastic! I love the analogy! The photo comparisons really get the point across.

Natalie Tugggle - *ah!* a breath of fresh air. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I wish more people understood this 🙂

Debra Heschl - Being a Photographer is definitely not an easy job, although I love it & I have fun with it..there is definitely more too it than just clicking the camera & looking through the lens! I enjoyed this post..it definitely looks like it was a fun experiment:)

Brittany - I tell people the same thing all the time and I always get a look like I’m a snob! It makes me so mad. You explained it perfectly!

Amy Cook - Erin-

I love love loved this blog entry. I shared it on my fan page as well! I couldn’t have said it better myself- you just put it into words and pictures what I’ve been trying to share with clients that just don’t understand 🙂 THANKS!! 🙂

Amy Cook
Findlay, OH

Laurajane - best. article. EVER! i’m definitely sharing this on facebook. then maybe people will realize that they can’t take their own senior pictures or whatever just because they have a good camera.

Sarah - This is a great post. The examples you show truly support the message – what a great teaching tool to educate about the value of professional photographers!

Shawntae - Great post!! Way to break it down.. 🙂

Christine Stooksbury - I love this post.. I have been doing my work at the end of the day when everyone is in bed.. and the next thing I know it’s 2am… Great post!!

Scarlett - I had an artist friend tell me the same thing once. She said that it really irked her when people said they wished they had been blessed with the same talent she had for painting portraits – as though she just woke up one morning and was able to do it. It took her years of work and practice. While talent is a part of it, determination is what made her great.

Rendy T - Wow. I’m glad you had the guts to write this!

It is so true! As my politically-incorrect husband always says, “it’s the Indian, not the arrow.” And speaking of husbands- any photographer will attest that a great camera might as well be a point-and-shoot in the hands of a well-meaning spouse. 🙂

Jess - Completely amazing and well said. Loved it and may share with others if you don’t mind.

Stacy - THANK YOU…this literally made me get tears in my eyes….so good to hear someone explain how I feel. I LOVE LOVE LOVE taking photographs…but half of my work is AFTER the shots are taken. Some nights I get 2-3 hours of sleep…can it is frustrating when I hear so many people say…”yah…I like taking pictures…I thought about starting a business too…” I cringe inside and think….you have NO IDEA how much time and effort I have put into my art to get to where I am today….

Can I post this on facebook???? I love it….

Donna E. - Love this! Im not a professional photographer but I love reading stuff like this! I love how you edited out the van in one of the photos from your brother’s set 😀

Kelli - Love it!!!
SO true too… every word.
Thanks for putting into words how many of us feel.

Susan Harrington - LOVE this post! Well said.

Roger C - Love it and excellent point. I get the same thing all the time, “I’ll bet that camera takes great pictures.” … or “Your camera does a great job.” I think next time I hear it, I’ll tell them “Your hairdresser’s scissors sure gave you a great hairstyle.”

And remember this also … “Vingetting in Photoshop doth not a professional photo make.”

John S. Mead - As a nature photographer I could TOTALLY relate to your idea here and I love how well you said it as well as how well you ILLUSTRATED the difference in how different folks “see” shots. I have often said that the brain is the best tool a photographer has!

Thanks and I am going to share this on my blog at http://www.bluelionphotos.blogspot.com

Adriana J. - Thanks so much for posting this and this is very very true. I love the fact that you put up examples of someone who doesn’t have knowledge in photography to know what to do. I constantly hear people say they need better cameras to take better pictures and this just annoys me because they don’t realize its not the camera its them who need to work on their artistic touch.

I Love My Camera! « Five Petals {Photography} - […] http://www.erinfarrellphotography.com/theblog/?p=817 Thanks to Erin Farrell of Erin Farrell Photography for writing this blog! Share and Enjoy: […]

Stacie - So true, and a great post. My poor husband can’t take an in focus picture on auto. It’s almost funny.

Sandra - This is my most favorite blog post ever from anyone! It’s exactly what I have been thinking in my head, but hadn’t been able to put words too. And your project of allowing your brother to take photos as an example is genius! I can not tell you how many people tell me they are going to get a camera like mine so they can take “good pictures’. If only it were that easy!
Great post.

Shari Barnes - Love that you had a visual explanation for this! I hear “what a great camera, it must take awesome shots” ALL THE TIME!

Faith - Thankyou so much! Couldn’t have said it better myself! I am
a “professional” photographer that doesn’t have the best camera and I get alot of flack from other photogs for it but I always tell them, it’s NOT the camera that
takes the picture but you better watch out when I get a new camera!! Lol

Bethany - Thank you for writing this, very well said and so true! I too hope you don’t mind if I share your post on facebook!

Matt - Just wanted to thank you for publishing this… Really good perspective!

Brian - So..how DO you do black and white? =)

Julia Wade - I love you for this, seriously.

Leslie - Very Well Said! Thank you for writing this!

Cindy - Great post – I am forwarding this on to all of my photog friends. We all feel this way, but I’ve never seen someone illustrate the point so well. Great job!

Marilyn - Yes! I am always looking for great shots and taking perfectly framed pictures of my friends and family. But never have I had a picture of me taken without my head in the center of the shot with tons of crap above my head and my body cut off below. I feel your pain!

Kimberly - Excellent post! I am always being asked what kind of camera I have, because people like my photos. I use a very basic model, a Nikon D40, so it just goes to show that your camera is what you make it 🙂

Courtney Jade - Thank you for this awesome article!! Great examples too, and I love your cake references 🙂 I’ll be linking my database to this 🙂

Tara - What a fantastic post! thanks for sharing!

Jeannie C - Thank you so much for sharing. I love love love it. It is circulating all around Facebook.

stacey - wow — well said!!! thanks for posting this!

natalyn - This is soooo validating. So many think it’s just no big deal, you just buy a good camera and that’s it. It’s really not it. It takes a whole lot of work to get memorable shots, and people just don’t know.

Alisha - Best blog post EVER!!

Amanda C. - Thank you! I get so frustrated now days with everyone being a photographer because they have a camera. My question lots of times is as simple as what mode do you shoot in. I will certainly be posting a link to this article.

Carlye Morgan - I love this! You couldn’t have said it better!

Gail - Awesome demo, thanks for taking the time to do this and write it out!

Sinead - Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!
May I share your very eloquent thoughts with my friends and clients?
Well said!

Alicia - Very well explained and great examples!

Danielle Bailey Photography - Great blog!!!

Danielle Frank - Very well written! Thanks for sharing!

Jenny - Great experiment!! I love the comparisons & everything you wrote for the article!!

Crissie - You nailed it, Erin! Thank you for taking the time to do this…both the experiment itself and the eloquent post. You know I think you’re amazing!

Jennifer - I really enjoyed your article! I am an amateur photographer, working my way to become professional someday. I love photography, and I love it when others love my photography. However, it burns me when they ask what kind of camera I have and then proceed to tell me that must be why I took such a good photo!

Robin - Great post! I almost love it more than when someone tells you their uncle has the same camera…well then have him do your photos! That or when you show up for a shoot and the people add shots but don’t expect to pay more. That’s like showing up at a restaurant, ordering your food and then expect getting the dessert for free… “since we’re here”

great post

Sarah - Well put. Thanks for showing the difference. I love the experiment.

brooke bowland - thank you much. i just got the “oh your camera must take great pics”…again the other day. seriously!? i just dont get it. love the examples. fabulous work.

Jenny Crandall - Couldn’t have said it better myself! So good that I re-posted it on my blog! http://thecrandizzles.blogspot.com/2010/07/so-true.html
Thank you for saying what I was feeling!

Sheree - You go, girl! My hat is off to you! Both for the writing…and especially the photography. Yes, indeed, that’s a pretty nice camera you have. Must have spent a few bucks on that one. *grin*

Jessica - Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve often wanted to scream this at people…this is much better 😉

Kelly Decoteau - Excellent post! I hear this one a lot and it takes every ounce of my being not to fire back, “Your mouth says really nice compliments!”

Judene - Exceptional blog. I love the experiment. I have photographer friends and you are so right, they live, eat and breathe photography!!! Keep up the good work!!!

Juliana - Thank you. This is so perfect. I posted it for my family, and my clients to read. Your right. I never nailed that feeling when someone says that, but it does sting a little doesn’t it? When you invest your time and energy into just the right image and then it’s not appreciated just rips my heart. *sigh* I get irritated when people think they can just pick up a camera and start taking pictures on the side. because it looks so easy. ya right! anyway…Off my soapbox now lol. thank you xoxo

Beck - Love it!!! I just posted your link on facebook for people to read!! this info needs to get out to everyone! haha thanks!

Julie W. - Great article! I am not a professional photographer…Yet! I’m working on my skills and constantly reading about photography and searching for new information. And, just like you, I am always looking for great photo locations while driving. I can’t believe I haven’t driven off the road..yikes! Hopefully some day I will earn the right to call myself a professional. Until then, I’m just gonna keep going! Thanks for a great article:)

Victoria - I came across this post from another photog on FB…the title sparked my curiousity & I’m glad I clicked and read it. Wonderfully stated and obviously you’ve read the minds of so many of us creatives out there-considering all the comments left 😉

Maggie - Saw this linked from another pro photog. What an excellent post! Thanks for sharing. I think a lot of people out there need more education on what goes into professional custom photography.

Pondering - It would have been a much fairer comparion if you had used auto and done the photos in the exact same spots your brother did. Then we could see what the real difference is. Using manual and different areas to shoot in doesn’t make for a fair comparison.

christy - Hi Erin, I saw this on a friends facebook page and think you got it spot on. If i had a dollar for everytime said to me, your camera takes a great photo, Id live on a tropical deserted island. Private of course. LOL

It is alot of thinking, thinking thinking that goes into photography. I often am sweating just trying to get it allr ight on a shoot. Its hard work sometimes.

Thanks for sharing this fantastic article.

Al - Well said.. you’d be surprised how many times I hear “wow, I need to get a nicer camera” when people see my photos. Pfft.

JDP - Great read! Found this on DPS and decided to read it. Not sure why or how a person could possibly be offended by it at all. I love to take pictures, and I am learning all kinds of stuff on the DPS site. But…. I will NEVER be a photographer no matter what camera I have. LOL. Just want to take the best pictures that I can. IF I want quality prints, I will hire someone to take them. Like anything else, If you want a profressional job, hire a Profressional! There is a reason why they charge what they do. I’m a licensed Plumber. Most people have no idea what that really means. It’s alot of work and study, to keep up with local and national codes. So, I can really relate to what you are saying here. Good Job! And Great Photographs by the way. Smile.

JDPelfrey (sorry that was long winded. Just trying to help make the point. LOL)

Claudio - I fully agree. I’m an amateur photographer and I respect your (and others pro) work.

elijahssong - I so appreciated what you had to say…and the demonstration… I get very tired of people saying you have such a wonderful camera…. nobody knows (except for another photographer…) Just how much work it is… Thank you!

{aino} - Super article and perfect examples!! 😀

Laura - I couldn’t have said it better myself!!!! THANK YOU!!!!

B - Okay, so people want to compliment you and don’t really understand the right way to do it (though I’ve heard “that’s a nice camera” and never “your camera takes great pictures”, maybe that’s just me). Seems like you’re laboring the point a little here. I mean, we get it.

I wonder what this would look like if your brother were allowed to pick and choose the photos for comparison?

Also, in my opinion, your “custom B&W conversion” is worse than the auto one; you washed out so much of the gradation and tone from her face!

I think maybe this just goes a little to far to prove your point and ends up sounding holder-than-thou, to me. Just rubs me the wrong way. Anyway, best of luck and keep shooting.

Stephanie - Great job! I love how you totally broke it down! I’m totally going to Link back to you. You deserve it!

Paul - Great post! You know, people go to the same places, at the same time of the day and year, under the same weather conditions,and try to take the same picture as Ansel Adams. They can’t do it. There is a lot of knowledge, time, and talent that go into this wonderful business of ours.

Christina - I actually felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I read this. I literally had an argument with a friend about knowing his equipment and being familiar with the technicalities and history of photography. When another friend asked what he used to take pictures of “hot girls”, his answer was “about $1,500”. Now, as a self taught photographer, I was really insulted by his answer. Said friend recently bought a decently expensive 12-15mp camera and believes in photoshopping an image until it’s “perfect”. When I told him that the art isn’t about money, he became super defensive and accused me of being threatened by him. I had to laugh at his accusations, naturally. I then had to explain that a tool is a tool is a tool and that whether your tool is a pencil, a paintbrush, or a camera, it’s not how “expensive” it is, it’s how YOU use it to create your vision. If a person buys a $10,000 camera but doesn’t know how to use it, they may as well be using a disposable.

Chris - Wow you must have a really nice camera!

Becca - great great read! thank you for taking the time to post this and with the photo visual, well done!

Treena - Love the article. So TRUE….

Cathy - Hey Erin, you really did nail it. Well said. Yes, good equipment is important but there is a unique art form to photography that can’t be handed to someone. I often say that a good picture is one that catches the eye even when the viewer doesn’t know the subject. You have done that!!

Angela - What a great post!! I hate it when people say “Great photo but you have that expensive camera to use so the photos will always be good” ??? What the ???

Sarah Henderson - You nailed it girl! Thank you so much for this post. It will be one I share and refer others to.

Brittney Kluse - You took the words right out of my mouth!! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! thanks for taking the time to write this, I gave you credit and posted this blog on my FB wall!!! THANK YOU!

Emily - This is a fabulous post! Thank you for taking the time to write. I’ll definitely be sharing it with my friends!

jodie allen - this is spreading like wildfire! everyone’s emailing it and posting it! PERFECT blog post and I think we all should do the same thing ourselves and post it… i’m so so so SICK of people questioning our prices and having to explain all of this! You rock!

Michelle Kane - BRILLIANT! the proof is in the pudding.

Karen - AWESOME! i love, love, love it~ you hit the nail right on the head! and i loved how you took the scientific approach to demonstrate! i think i may have to perform an experiment of my own! been thinking i want to start a series each week on my blog of taking pics in an undesireable location…should be fun! 🙂

Krista Photography - Amen!!!! Awesome post!

PicturesbyTracy - Wonderful post!!!! Thanks for sharing.

Greg Cleaver - this is like, the Gospel according to a photographer! Wonderful!!!

tdok - I agree that your photos look better than the ones your brother took. However, I might be the minority in pointing out the vanity in the point of view being put forth — “pro photographers are better than amateur” Sure, most of the time. But what is your definition of an amateur vs a pro? There are many, many, many photographers I know who out shined most “pro photographers” I have seen. Because someone is not making money taking photos does not mean they don’t breath photography or don’t know compositions. Now, don’t get me started on the “pros” who think think there are only 2 types of ovens exist, Canon and Nikon, and the rest are unworthy to be called a pro-camera.

Erin - tdok – oh, I completely agree with you about there being plenty of amateurs who are better than some of the professionals out there. The main point of my post was just to show that using a professional camera does not equal producing high quality images. I’ve seen plenty of “professional” photographers with pictures worse than my brothers on their website. But using the term “professional” was easier than saying ‘someone who knows all about the ins and outs of their camera’. 🙂

Richie - Great article

Its even the same for pet photographers.
Look at this photo comparison

Isaac - Perfect. Photographers around the world say ‘Thank you!”. Couldn’t be better put. Keep loving what you do xx

Reatha - Brilliant post! Yes this happens a lot on a shoot. Thanks for putting it all down in such plain language.

Indica Photography - Such a great post!!! I’ve got to share!

Laura - I so enjoyed reading this. Everyone says it is not the camera, but the photographer, yet it is one thing to hear it and another to see it; analogies only add so much clarity to the matter. Thank you for taking the time to do this! It really proves there is more to photography than just pointing the lens at something and hitting the shutter button.

Nancy - Ohhhhhhhh soooooooooooo true! Thanks for educating the population!

Jessica - Great post!

MJPhoto - Your focus (pun intended) is spot on! Keep cooking! x

Patsy - I hired a local photographer to take a family photo of us. We are now grandparents and wanted a photo of the little guy…well just being him. My daughter found this photographer as she was a regular in her Starbucks. I am so glad she did, we have awesome photos, the photo shoot was natural, relaxing and we got some amazing photos. ME photography you rock – you put LOVE in your pictures and it shows.
I found this through a post on Facebook and thought I got to have a look. I love before and after photos and it proves that it does not matter how expensive the equipment is the person behind it is key. It shows how much love you have for what you do.

I can design that! « Julie Saraceno - […] blog post was inspired by a wonderful post “Your Camera Takes Really Nice Pictures” by Erin Farrell […]

Anna - Oh how true, your words speak volumes! Thank you for your hard work and dedication to your field and others happiness to capture moments in time.

Cindy - Thanks Erin, I loved reading your article and your photo’s were “the icing on the cake”!

Al - Erin – I’ll be sharing this with my students this fall – it’s a terrific explanation of what it means to be a professional photographer! Nice work!

Mark - What an interesting exercise, thanks for posting(and I’ve heard the saying so many times…)

Ben - Marvelous words. Your computer writes good blog posts! (Kidding, of course.)

Showing the difference illustrated your argument better than any well-crafted paragraphs could have. I know I’m not a pro, have no desire to be, but I hear the same praise. I’ve only recently started to shoot in full manual, but still often opt for aperture priority on my SLR.

matt (blueflash) - awesome post, really well done. i liked your approach to the subject. people are probably getting annoyed with hearing the mantra about the camera isn’t what makes good photos, but what you’ve done by showing examples was a great idea that hopefully clearly illustrates the difference.

maybe this will wake up the gear junkies too!

nice work…

Mel Haynes Jr - Over the years I have been told by everyone that my camera ( with the lens and grip make it look like a massive beast compared to their slim collapsible point and shoot ) must take wonderful pictures. I’ve never actually tried the experiment mentioned in this post, but what a fantastic exercise and explanation. Thanks for sharing this with us.

João Luiz Lima - I agree with you 100%!

MelissaF - Fantastic article!! You hit the nail right on the head…with examples even 🙂

Chris Ward - Other than liking the post. I really like how you tell a story in your masthead. Very nice.

Ag - Amen.


Antonio Carlos Ribeiro - Wow, thank you for this amazing article! Sharing with the world!

YOUR HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT. » hazelbeephoto.com - […] by erin farrell of erin farrell photography […]

DaGoddess.com » It’s Not the Tools, but the Craftsman with the Tools - […] “Your Camera Takes Really Nice Pictures” […]

Jessica - Wow…very well done! Sure wish you could give me photography lessons! (Or tell me where to get a camera like yours. 😉 )

Jarrod - Couldn’t agree more! Thanks for writing so eloquently of a photographer’s ‘job’! And ditto to Mel Haynes Jr (#319).

david johnson - I wrote a similar post a while back 🙂


Brady Dyer - As a professional photographer I cannot agree more with this blog!! Awesome little experiment you did too!

Jarrod - BTW, have you tried Lightroom? Makes some of the processing SO much faster (crop / basic colouring / conversion…)

Janettee McCrary - I definately agree with everything you said! Although the equipment makes better quality photographs (I went from a 3mp point-and-shoot camera that would NEVER be able to produce high-quality photographs, as the largest quality prints it could produce were 8 x 10’s to a 10mp semi-professional grade camera that allows lenses and flashes to be attached and can also handle remote shutter release), it definately takes the photographer’s skill level to make the difference.

I’d also like to point out that I’m such a photography addict that I’ve actually gotten laughed at by my husband for photographing the shadow of a chair at Outback Steakhouse:) He just doesn’t get it!

I’m still learning and growing but I hope that many people will agree I have the talent and knowledge required to make my photos about more than my camera:)

Don Taylor - Fantastic….inspires me to want to take better photos. Thank you so much.

muyiwa - Wow… Your WordPress blog makes amazing posts!

Andi Lea - I love your article and couldn’t agree more! I am a mom who likes to take pictures of her kids and not have to drag them to a studio! I bought a nice camera and am taking the time to learn how to use it properly in manual. It’s only been since February and I have learned so much on proper lighting, shutter speed, aperture and ISO….not to mention photo editing! Your article is so helpful and it is not condesending! Thanks!

“Your Camera Takes Nice Pictures” « Dancing Pancakes Studio - […] to be a photographer.  Take a look at this blog post and see if it changes your mind….  http://www.erinfarrellphotography.com/theblog/?p=817 Comments RSS […]

Lynda - Fantastic post! About time someone took the time to write a post of this nature! Thanks for sharing 🙂

Michelle Hutchinson - This is such an awesome post! Really well written, the examples are great! Nice to have such a great resource to point people to (-:

Nikki - I get it! Great way to explain!

Heather Mencer - THANK YOU! I see you’ve made a BIG hit with this post. Just wanted to shout out and THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! (I’m sure this was a lot of work!)

Lou McLaughlin - GREAT blog article. You have said it perfectly! I especially appreciate the sample photos. On some occasions, when I get the “You camera…” comment, I just hand it towards them and say “go ahead”. So far I haven’t had any takers. I think they get the point. Most say they wouldn’t know what button to push. I don’t bother telling them they probably wouldn’t know which way to point it either.

Boston Family Photographer - Awesome post!! So many can learn from this.

Crushing Krisis › Your guitar plays great songs! - […] my contrary angst I clicked through the meme to a delightful blog post from photographer Erin Farrell, who maybe was the patient zero of this wave of strident photogs? Erin put “takes good […]

ashleydellingerphotography - Great post…happened on it by chance but its a great way to explain it. I shoot a lot of weddings and long after the cake and smiles Im holed up in my office for 72 hours editing their pictures! : )

shari - Your pictures are absolutely stunning!! As a very amateur photographer I take inspiration from your photos. One quick note… in your intro… FOREVER is spelled FORVER. Thought youd want to know

shari - ooops…. and photography is spelled phototgraphy

Jenny - great post!

Alan - Great post (and great photos). I am not remotely a professional or even amateur photographer (all the shots I take are with a little compact digital camera set on auto). But one thing I very consciously do differently in taking snapshots than anyone else I know (including my wife, who has a huge Flickr account and takes many photos every day) appears to be something that professionals do as well (at least judging by this blog post): and that’s to get closer up on my subject. I either zoom in or just walk up closer.

I always feel like everyone else I know (and for that matter, most people I see on Facebook) take photos of some panoramic landscape with the person or persons that are intended to be the subject left tiny and almost unrecognisable in the center of the image. It’s even funnier when it’s a group shot (of say a baseball team) and there is still tons of wasted space around the edges, and the faces are truly impossible to discern!

Now, I would have no idea how to use all the fancy manual settings on a camera even if I had a nice one that had all those settings; and I wouldn’t expect other casual snapshot takers to know that stuff either. But anyone can get closer in to a subject. Why do people take shots this way? You can see right on the screen what the photo’s going to look like!

Given this tendency, btw, I’d say a more accurate test of the more subtle differences between an amateur and a pro (and I’m sure there would still be many) would be to coach the amateur (your brother) at least enough to get him to fill the frame with the model, so side by side comparisons would be more meaningful.

Rosie - Fantastic blog post! You did an amazing job with this 🙂

Carol Markusse - Hi Erin. I’m so pleased I stumbled across your blog. I love this post. So well written and what a fantastic experiment. I think i’m going to throw one of my own together 🙂 Thank you.

Ryan Armstrong - As everyone else said, this post is absolutely fantastic.

Kim Kravitz - This such an awesome post!! Thank you so much for writing it.

Becky - Hi five!!! You hit the nail on the head and then some. Thank you!!

Jess Wilson - Great post and fantastic way to illustrate this point!

Un-Chain My Heart » Kiwi Photography - […] few things, actually. First, I realized that there already some great articles about that here and here. I’m not going to explain it any better than those photographers already […]

Ashley Durham Photography - THANK YOU!!!!!

It’s not the camera that makes the photographer – it’s the talent and vision and ability!!

Laura - Love this post, it’s so much work, great and wonderful work, but work, you might be lucky to snap a good picture on auto mode, but you cannot offer services that just anyone can offer with the purchase of an expensive camera. Thanks for a great read this morning :o)

Deborah Besanson - Great post. Love the way you expressed this point! Well done

PhotosbyJen - Love, Love, Love this post!!!!! You did an amazing job… portraying what all photographers feel when they hear that dreaded quote.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and taking the time to “show it”.


teachinfourth - Always on the lookout for another few tips…


Tina - Awesome post! Will be sharing on fb!!

Angela - Worded very nice and I come across this all the time. People mean to compliment your work but it just comes off as offensive to your talent, education and skill.

tanyetta - ** Just because you’re using a professional camera does not mean you are producing professional images.**

Thank You!!!! 🙂

kelsy mccartney - LOVE THIS POST!! Something everyone should read!

Irela - Great post. So true. I am forwarding to a couple of people that have said that to me. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

Adam - Absolutely no offense intended, you do great work….but I’m not sure what all the hype about this is. This experiment is the equivalent to a professional graphic designer challenging your brother to see who could make better digital artwork. Of course the professional with years of experience and the knowledge of how to use their design software is going to make better results. (Except by giving your brother the camera in auto mode, he essentially would have been using Microsoft Paint while the professional designer got to use Photoshop.) Anyway, this whole experiment just pointed out the obvious. Professionals are better at what they do than people who have no clue what they are doing when randomly given the task of taking pictures.

Question – are that many photographers out there really struggling with people making them feel like it’s just the camera doing all of the work? I am surprised how many photographers above act like this. If someone told me that my camera (5D Mark II) took really nice pictures, I would say…you’re right, it does! It better for being a $2,500 camera. But I really doubt that anyone who sees my work would think that I don’t really know what I am doing and that the camera does all the creative work for me. And I would be surprised if anyone who said that to a photographer wasn’t just being courteous or polite in their comment.

I apologize to anyone who takes offense to this but, I’ve seen this article re-posted many times now and photographers everywhere are acting like it is some miracle break through that if only the general non-photog public could somehow read this…they would finally understand all of the talent and skill that goes into our work. I just think that is so silly. The general public KNOWS that we have to have technical skills in addition to our equipment in order to make professional looking images otherwise they wouldn’t pay us their hard earned money to photograph their babies, their families, their pets and their weddings etc. And for those who let their uncle shoot their wedding for free just because he has the same camera…well they will learn pretty fast once they get their pictures back when they look nothing like the professional’s versions. But…are they really wrong if they happen to say “your camera takes really nice pictures” ??? Nah. 🙂 They’re probably just being polite. Loosen up fellow photogs.

Sorry. Just my two cents. 🙂

Annelie - Brilliant post! I love the oven analogy. 🙂

Kyleen - Thank you so much for this post!!

Anita - Terrific post! Thanks from Minnesota

Michel Filion - Your post says it all. Couldn’t agree more!

Page D - You are inspiring. I know it’s hard to hear some of the things that people say, and still create beautiful artwork. I love that you even took the effects and put them into practice. It’s hard to imagine sometimes (for people who are not professionals) what all goes into a session (and post session), but you have displayed that beautifully and to the point. I love it, thank you so much!

Nicole Pawlaczyk - Thanks Erin!! I just did an expo and wish i had this article of yours in my hand! Thank-you for putting this article together… my sentiments exactly!! Do you mind if I link to this article from my website? I would like to use your nice and concise information/example to help others understand my pricing. Keep up the great work… you are inspiring! 🙂

Amanda Pratt - Erin, this is one of the best articles with examples I have ever seen. Thank you so much for putting into words what so many thing. Beautiful job!

Josh Maz - Excellent post Erin. People see the big camera and figure that’s why the photos look so nice. A good oven helps, but it’s the cook that creates the food.

Erin farrell | Iworkathomegold - […] “Your Camera Takes Really Nice Pictures” [Delaware Wedding andErin- thank you SO much for eloquently putting this into words. I hope people learn from your post! … Fabulous post Erin! As a non-pro I always knew it wasnt just the camera but I think no one ever realizes the amount of work that actually goes into photography, between setting the pictures up just right and editing them. […]

Kim C. - This is great! The most jaw dropping comment I ever received was this:

Woman: I hear that you take really nice pictures.

Me: Oh? Thank you!

Woman: Well, I mean, it isn’t rocket science is it? You just hold the camera and push the button.

Ha! Talk about a double sided compliment, and way off the mark! I laughed, even though I was in shock, because she obviously hasn’t a clue. I’m still a novice (1 1/2 years) and growing more every day, and I do study, study, study….and shoot, shoot, shoot. I see so many people with good cameras who just use them as very expensive point and shoot cameras. That I don’t get.

Nicole - Awesome – the only thing that would make it better would be if you let your brother edit his pics with picnik and then compared those to your edits as well LOL

Stephanie M - I am SOOO loving this. Thank you soo much for posting this. I don’t think people understand and value what all we do sometimes. I have been studying photography for over 10 years now and JUST opened my business in late 2010. It took me years to even feel like I was at a place where I could justify opening a business and charging people. My busines is still very slow and it’s frustrating, but then I realize that people sometimes don’t value what professionals have to offer. It’s sad really because we put so much time and effort into our work and create such masterpieces!!

I share this on my facebook walls as this is sooo incredibly illustrated, thank you again!

Lottie Essig - BRAVO! Well said! If I had a $ for every time someone complimented my camera, I would be a wealthy woman! Thanks for your eloquence!

Breanne C - I love this. Very well put. I am going to share it on facebook wall. Love how you even illustrated it.

Thanks for your hard work into putting this together. Great idea!

Gretchen - Great post – just don’t give too many of the secrets away. 🙂 When I took a camera class recently this entire thought process ran through my head.. and it made me feel happy and proud of my art and design degree, mainly to know that just since everyone is running around with a digital SLR it doesn’t mean we’ll be getting pushed to the side anytime soon. I am proud of my eye, my sense of color, composition and my aesthetics – that comes easily! Now, if I could just figure out all the tech stuff with the tools we use.. that is the hard part for me! 🙂

“Your Camera Takes Really Nice Pictures” « Joey DeCaire Photography - […] & Copyright to : Erin Farrell  /  Blog Post :  “Your Camera Takes Really Nice Pictures”. Imagine that you’re baking dessert for a party.  It’s your special recipe: the one everyone […]

Celeste - leaving some blog love.. came across it from a link share and i love how succinct you were with explaining this subject.

Cutting my Hair and Wedding Photography {Bride*U} | Denver Smith Photography - […] this topic comes up, I’m reminded of an awesome blog post by Erin Farrell Photography, titled “Your Camera Takes Really Nice Pictures.” Read her post, and see her real life “test.” It’s really quite hilarious, but so true. At […]

Give Me A Shot Photography - Thank you! Loved it so much that I shared !

Lucy Wiggins - My favorite response to when someone says to me, “you’re camera takes such nice photos!” is to simply, with my best southern accent, say “Thank you! Your mouth makes nice compliments!” 🙂

Katja - brilliant article! and oddly enough it made me feel so much better; i’ve been photographing on a more or less daily basis for over ten years, thought of myself as something akin to a photographer for the past four, and yet most of the time i feel my pictures are way sub par, especially when compared with others. i’ve had professional equipment for three years & while i have in theory known that the camera doesn’t make the photographer, this article and seeing the difference in the pictures, really convinced me of that, and gave me hope that i can become better, if i just study and practice a little more, a bit harder! kudos!

Link Love, 1/27/12 - Yes, Jessica? - […] +Your camera takes really nice pictures is a convincing argument that photo quality has more to do with who is behind the camera than what type of camera is being used. […]

Francesco Kothe - This site was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Appreciate it!

Wrap Up! » Dani Leigh Photography - […] the bookmarked files on my computer this week and did some cleaning out of old stuff, but I found this article on why just having a good camera doesn’t mean you can take good pictures. Fell in love with […]

Sarah - This is wonderful! I spent months studying my camera, took a workshop and finally had the courage to post a photo on facebook. As a beginner I was so excited to see nice comments from family and friends until I saw one comment “Wow, great picture. What kind of camera do you have? I so need to buy a nice camera!” For the record I have the lowest Rebel in the canon line and have taken some decent pictures with it.

Tatiana Cabiles - I am looking to get a professional tips regarding how to take a picture of my infants. Anybody ? 🙂

dududukkkkkkk - “Your Camera Takes Really Nice Pictures” [Delaware Wedding and Portrait Photographer] Erin Farrell Photography – Delaware Wedding Newborn Baby Infant Child and Children's Photographer Wilmington Delaware DE I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem. You are wonderful! Thanks! your article about “Your Camera Takes Really Nice Pictures” [Delaware Wedding and Portrait Photographer] Erin Farrell Photography – Delaware Wedding Newborn Baby Infant Child and Children's Photographer Wilmington Delaware DEBest Regards Cindy

Suresh Mano - hi erin this was a nice post and really love it…you did really a great job am not a professional yet im learning and wish to be…but sometimes these people drive me nuts after reading yur post it gives me lot of confidence…thanx for it…

Conference venues west London - dude, can I hug you?! 🙂

Snappy Comebacks to the dreaded questions? - […] from A VIEW OF LONDON – Nicholas Goodden Photography: Quotes) This is a great explanation: “Your Camera Takes Really Nice Pictures” [Delaware Wedding and Portrait Photographer] Er… My most recent response to a question about my equipment today was "I use a Nikon D700 and this […]

Heather - SO SO true! Im still new in photography but have learned alot!!! I wish more people understood.

Libby - This is SUCH a good post. Thank you for articulating that our job isn’t just about great equipment or photoshop trickery. Sharing this around the interwebs for sure. But looks like I am not the first!

Mallory - WOW. I love this SO much. I’ve been told this before, but just having people act like photography is so “easy” makes me want to hit them…just a little bit.
I’m sure they’re not taking into the consideration the hours upon hours of time I’ve put into the craft, and I’m not even close to being “good.” I don’t think there’s ever an end to learning photography! It’s a fantastic craft to learn, but not an easy one. You put that perfectly into words. Thank you!! I shared via Pinterest & will likely put a link on my blog. Hope that’s alright with you!

At times I get the question… | Little Miss Frolic - […] not everyone with a camera can take great photos. Well I found this post and I bet it will give you an idea. I hope you’ll have an enjoying read and a day full of […]

Happy Birthday Gidget! » Emily Sacra {the blog} - […] starting out, learn on your camera now, and focus on the composition aspect and stuff like that 🙂 THIS is a great blog post about […]

Bessie - Howdy! Would you mind if I share your blog with
my twitter group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.

Please let me know. Thank you

Leroy - Thanks for posting this!

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