Knowledge or Gear?

So, three weeks ago I have an idea for my next post. It was my take on the Knowledge vs. gear argument. What is more important? Having the knowledge to see and capture images properly or having the latest and greatest gear? The problem was I already knew that knowledge is far more important than any gear. And as I started writing, it turned into a long-winded rant about why knowledge is more important. I did not like the way it was going along with that is not the way I want to share. So, I thrashed it, gathered my thoughts and wrote this. What I normally like to do is come up with an idea that challenges my creativity. Then go out and test it. And share my results with you all.

I know just because you have a camera, does not make you a photographer. That’s a bitter pill for some. My opinion(and my opinion only), what makes you a photographer is having the ability to see and capture images properly that speaks to your viewers. And it does not matter if it was shot on a Nikon, Fuji, Canon, if it was shot as a RAW or Jpeg, was it from a full frame sensor body or from a cell phone… All those things are just tools to capture an image YOU see. It’s what the photographer trying to show and what the image says to YOU that matters most. Yes, gear helps. But like anything, if one does not know how to use their tools properly, the results will never be as good as someone who knows what he or she is doing.

My idea for this post was to go down Belle isle in Detroit on two different weekends. And I wanted my images to show three things. One, how cold it was outside using a limited color palette. Two, to show how colorful and alive it was inside the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle. And three, have all the images maintain my look or style of photography. On one weekend, I used only with my iPhone 8 plus. And the other weekend, only with my 7D MKII with my 17-85mm. Each weekend, I shot images with the same three goals in mind. Then in Lightroom, strip the EXIF data from each of the images. With the idea of concealing what camera shot what image. Letting you, the reader, to try to figure out if you could tell what image was shot with what. I did strip the EXIF data from the images because it does not matter what gear I used. But what matters, did I accomplish my three goals?

I cannot stress enough how important it is to know how to use YOUR gear properly. Knowing how YOUR gear sees and captures light as well as its limitations. I also want to stress the important of having an idea of what it is YOUR trying to show YOUR viewers. The next time you’re behind your camera ask yourself, “What is it I am trying to show and why?”

Until next time,


4 thoughts on “Knowledge or Gear?

  1. I like this blog entry. As someone who uses both on a regular basis, I would much rather have my gear over the cell phone. I feel rather limited on the cell but make due with what I can. How do you feel about lens that you can use for the cell phone to create depth or get closer to the subject?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment Mrs. Rogers:) I feel the beauty of photography with cell phones is that you can not hide behind having a shallow depth of field or being able to isolate your subject by getting closer. It forces you to use your “eye” and your knowledge of composition along with other elements of design to create images. It’s a simple and pure type of photography. What you see is what you get. I was planning on getting a small mirror-less camera to use along side my DSLR. But now that I upgraded my phone to an iPhone 8 plus, I don’t thank I’m going to. With mobile Lightroom, One Drive app, MS Word app and my SD card reader, for me, the iPhone is far more powerful tool than just a mirror-less camera.


  2. Now that was a fun exercise Steven!

    I can put it simply…a camera is just a pencil, or a brush, or a chisel…a tool the creative uses…it’s all the same. It’s the knowledge, the skill acquired, the talent learned, the countless hours of practice that makes the difference and uses the tool well. You proved this by taking really nice imagery with an iPhone and a high end camera…for you, the camera is just a creative tool in the hands of a talented artist.

    Good article…thanks for taking the time to illustrate the concept.

    Here’s an interesting case…I have a friend here in Dallas that takes fantastic macro imagery. D850 on a sliding focus stacking rack.He gets amazing images…his knowledge and gear come together remarkably into create stunning imagery.

    He showed me a few images the other day from another photographer…we were both amazed at the uniqueness of the compositions, etc. Turns out this person had connected with him on his Meetup macro site.

    So, he contacted her directly to talk about her photography and what gear she is using, etc. He thought he was talking to another macro professional. Turns out, she’s a young mom that only has an iPhone and knows nothing about the technical side of photography. But, she has an artists eye and her iPhone’…or ‘pencil’…is just the tool she uses to create really nice imagery.

    My friend said he is giving up and tossing all of his gear.

    I keep checking his trashcans. I haven’t found a D850 in there yet!

    Later, Gary

    Liked by 1 person

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