“The best camera is the one you have with you.” -Chase Jarvis
The biggest hurdle to creating anything is the fear of failing. Oftentimes, we are so worried about it not being the absolute best but we don’t become our best without practicing. There is no way you are going to be good at photography if you don’t actually going out there and shoot some images.
To get started taking photos you don’t have to have a super fancy camera. You don’t need super fancy lights. Yes, these things are super helpful and will make your life easier. These things will also allow you to get shots that you would have difficulty getting before. However, I believe it is of great value to start with a price point that makes sense to you, even if that is your cell phone. These limits will force you to better understand lighting and composition.
I was first given a camera for Christmas when I was fourteen. It was a Kodak Easy Share point and shoot, with THREE megapixels. Three. For reference, the iPhone 6 came with 12. On that camera I discovered photography, and actually produced an image that won third place in a local photographer’s contest.
When I started college my dad gave me a 35mm camera, and then I bought my first digital camera soon after. It cost me all the money I could save up at 19. I was able to shoot on that camera for four years with models and wardrobe stylists- even got into publications using images I shot on it. That experience helped me understand ways to get great photographs without having to rely just on the gear. It groomed my style and creative voice into what it is now, and that is what sets you a part from every other technically good photographer.
The point is, take what you have and create something with it. That camera with the blue tape on it in the photo at the top, that’s a toy camera called the Holga that one day someone just put film into. Turns out the plastic lens creates a super dreamy look and it takes 120 film so the images are square. Now, Holgas are a pain to work with, but when you get it right, it is amazing.
I have a professional level camera now, but I hate lugging it around. When I am out walking with friends, I still want to be able to experience life, and it is sometimes hard to when you are holding a large camera up to my face. Some of my photos are still taken with my phone and sometimes they get just as much attention as the ones shot with my Canon.
All of this solidifies the idea that it is not the gear that makes the photographer, it is your own way of seeing and executing things. Your voice as a human being, is unique, you just have to learn how to express yourself in your chosen medium.
My suggestion for you… if you have been waiting on starting to take photos seriously until you get a better camera, don’t. Plan a photo shoot with a friend, from what they should wear to where you will photograph them at, and then go do it. Try to get the shots in your head with the tools you have. Don’t have enough light? Use your desk lamps or white poster board to bounce light into your friend’s face! Don’t have a studio? Go outside and find an interesting place. Photograph what you like and what inspires you. Photograph a lot, and keep doing it.