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  • Writer's pictureMichael Spatola

What Kind of Camera Do You Use?

I often get the question- "Your photos are so beautiful, what kind of camera do you use?" It’s almost like they believe that it’s not the skill or the experience, it’s some piece of equipment that makes the subject look good.

The photo above could have been taken with ANY camera. I could have taken it with a simple point and shoot. The outfit is simply a white robe, on a white comforter. The lighting is natural light. But it's the understanding that one of the most important things in this image is it's simplicity, AND how comfortable the woman looks. That comes with the subject's confidence in the photographer, not the camera he or she uses.

It’s not the camera or lenses. It’s always the photographer. Think of it this way- The camera is only a tool (like a hammer). In every possible case, it’s the artist using the tool that creates the images, not the tool itself. How about a simple analogy? Give 10 people a pencil and ask them to draw a portrait of you. 9 will draw stick figures, 1 person will draw you a beautiful sketch. It’s not the pencil’s fault if 9 of the drawings are bad. So, if someone creates a bad photo of you, it’s not the cameras’s fault. And, if someone creates a great photo of you, it wasn’t the camera that made it great.

The camera is a dummy and only records what you show it. It doesn’t know or care what the subject is, or what the lighting is like. When you press the button, the shutter opens, allows light to hit the sensor, and the image is recorded. That is it.

Honestly, it’s the lighting that makes the photo. The literal translation of photography is “Writing with light” -A photographer that masters lighting, will always produce a better photograph than someone with a good camera. Same for video. The camera does almost none of the work. There is a hundred little things to know to create a good video other than having the right camera.

In the photo above of my wife Jojo, it's 100% the lighting that makes this photo stunning. Any camera in the world, if left to the camera meter decision, would have exposed this image way to brightly because of all the darkness the camera would see. Cameras do not know it's supposed to be this dark and moody. So, they'd try to average it out. Camera meters try to brighten dark scenes, and darken scenes that are too bright. The photographer must know how to light beautifully, then control the camera properly to expose the image they way their mind's vision sees it.

Now, if you really want to know what equipment I have, I use Nikon and Fuji cameras and lenses, and have for over 30 years. I have 2 Nikon D810s and a Fuji XT-3 and XT-4 and a great line-up of lenses for both camera systems. All my lenses are f2.8 and larger apertures. The larger the aperture, the more light collecting ability they possess, so it’s possible to shoot in lower light. That being said, pretty much all cameras today are pretty incredible and capable of taking great images, as long as there’s a good photographer using it.

The client's experience during the sessions and throughout the process is also super important! The photographer that knows lighting, posing, and most importantly, making the client comfortable in front of the lens, will always produce better images.

So, to sum it up, the things that make a great image in order of importance-

1) The photographer’s experience

2) knowing how to pull the best expressions out of a client (making them comfortable)

3) Knowing how to pose a subject to flatter their figure

4) Amazing lighting (not the lighting equipment, but understanding how to control light)

5) Having an amazing makeup artist, and staff to make the client look great





37) The camera, lenses and equipment

So, now I have the answer to “what camera do you use?” in an informative blog post. The next time someone asks the question I only need to send the link.

Go to my RAVES PAGE - you'll see that the number one reason that all the clients agree on is that they were COMFORTABLE with me as the photographer, the situation and the staff.

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