Does a Better Camera Make you a Better Photographer?

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“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

Many people ask if buying more expensive gear improves their photography. In my 8 years of experience, I can say that better gear does help take better pictures. But what does “better pictures” mean? Is it about quality, color, or composition?

Having a better camera can lead to better photo quality, but it’s essential to prioritize the story your photo tells over technical aspects. Before investing in an expensive camera, consider developing your photography skills for a more impactful result.

Photography is a personal expression, mainly centered around capturing a moment and crafting a distinctive piece of art that narrates a story, leaving lasting memories. But is that all there is to it? I don’t believe so.

You can still create art with your smartphone, an entry-level camera, or a pricier one. The choice depends on your goals. The approach differs, whether it’s a hobby or a path towards professionalism and earning money.

To gather additional feedback, I contacted several photographers on Instagram a few weeks ago, and I’d like to share their opinions with you.

Question and Answers from my Instagram community

– Does a Better Camera Make You a Better Photographer?

#1 @jeanbergen

That’s the million-dollar question! One I am asking myself right now. A good camera makes a difference in the quality of the image. However, the photographer’s creative eye and the composition’s artistry are equally, if not more, important than the tool.

#2 @2electric.boogaloo2

That’s an interesting question. I don’t think it improves photography, but it may improve the quality of a photo. But that’s only because you’re buying the technology.

Example: If I buy a real camera instead of using my phone, the photos will likely be the same (even though I’m trying to improve my skills everyday), but the quality of the photo will be much better.

#3 @hrbutler06

I don’t believe so. You can get incredible photos with inexpensive gear and a good eye! All of the money in the world can’t buy you a natural ability to see things others don’t.

#4 @tam.erdt

In my opinion, it depends on your requirements. If, for example, you need to print your photos in large sizes, you will need a camera with a full-frame sensor, and if you need to do sports or animal shots, you will need quick autofocus, etc. But for my kind of landscape photography, it’s not essential to have expensive gear. The truth is, though, life would be much easier because a bigger sensor and higher dynamic range would allow me to take fewer landscape shots, and I would not need to do bracketing in most cases.

Carbon tripods also weigh less, which is much more comfortable during photo tours. But the best way I improved my photography was by spending time in photo editing tutorials. This will help you a lot and bring your own personality to your images. So, did spending time and money to learn photo editing make me a better photographer?

#5 @_heather__t

Not. It takes time and patience to get to learn your camera and lenses. That was key for me and I am still learning.

#6 @psfotografie

No, not really. Most of my pictures were taken with a cropped-sensor camera (Sony a6000), which was not expensive at all. What you need is to implement an idea and be patient enough to execute it with the gear you already own.

#7 @karlmorris_photography

Depending on the level you are in. Better lenses give sharper images, and a better camera can perform better in low light! Cameras with fast autofocus might improve sports photography. On the other hand, you can get better at photography with cheap equipment by improving your knowledge, composition, lighting, editing, etc. Tough Q!

#8 @nobaddays50

No, time and practice improve photography.

#9 @terryricephotos

You do not need expensive gear to improve your photography. If you want to improve, get out there and shoot! Study and practice. Learn the exposure triangle and the rule of thirds. Shoot with other people with varying degrees of expertise. I think collaboration helps people to grow in photography. Getting hands-on and bouncing ideas off one another is so helpful and super fun!!!

The gear helps, but it’s not the deciding factor as to whether you’re good. I shoot 100% manual lenses. No autofocus unless I rent them to do a wedding. Most of my lenses are vintage as well.


It would help to have more expensive gear, but what matters the most is practice, practice, practice.

#11 @totiltedviewgirl

Hmmm, that’s a tough one.  I will say no because I’ve seen people with top-of-the-line equipment who can’t take a good photo to save their lives.  That said, I think people with an eye and good equipment complement their skills.  Also, I have seen some really amazing non-altered photos taken off smartphones.

#12 @kostas.doukas.34

I am one of the people who stand at this point, and I believe the photographer makes the image, not the gear. Although you certainly need special gear to capture certain types of images, the gear isn’t the most important thing.

#13 @pics_california

No, I don’t think so. I think learning more about my current camera and all of its capabilities will improve my photography.

#14 @sweetimes

No. You could learn and improve your photography just by taking pictures in manual mode with any digital camera!

#15 @adrien_mxy

So it depends on what you mean by “expensive”! Photography is not only a passion; it’s also my job. My company provides all the gear… but in some cases, I’ll have to buy gear too. It’s not the same if it’s for business or a hobby!

But my gear is not so expensive! For photography, I have two cameras, canon 6D and 5D Mark iii, and lenses like the 35mm f2, 85mm f1.8, 50mm, 14mm, etc… and after I do my retouching on Lightroom with a good computer, this is the moment when I believe my creativity speaks! You can make so many great things; change the mood of a photo to look like your style. So for that, we don’t need expensive gear, just a little technique and a lot of imagination!

#16 @jasonmillerphotography

That’s tough. I use a Sony a6000. It’s a starter Sony camera. As you can see in my photos, I use it to its limits. I think my photography would be better with a Sony A7Rii. My photos would have more dynamic range and clarity! The Sony a7Rii has twice as many pixels as mine so that it would produce better images.

#17 @ap_photography_dxb

To answer your question…. do I need it?  Depends on what it is. I prefer gear (i.e., flashes and lenses) of higher quality (which typically means more expensive) to improve the quality of my photos. Still, I don’t necessarily need it to improve my photography. I think that photography can be improved with what you have—learning what your gear can and cannot do forces you to find other ways to create and compose, which can lead to taking beautiful photos!

#18 @marioottaviani

It’s not a simple answer, but I would say it depends. Improving photography skills is a matter of wanting to learn, to confront others, and to be self-critical. However, expensive equipment can help you overcome some fundamental kit limits. I think a photographer would be happy to see an excellent creamy bokeh, or to have sharpness from the center to the edges of the image, or finally, to have a fast and valid focus engine… what do you think?

Tips to Improve Photography Skills

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Enhancing your photography involves various approaches, but I believe the key lies in grasping composition techniques and mastering natural light. Remarkably, you can achieve this with just your smartphone. As of 2024, iPhones and Android phones boast formidable capabilities, delivering exceptional imaging suitable for everyday use.

Then, if you are considering buying a new camera, begin your learning journey by capturing photos with your kit lens. It’s the optimal starting point to grasp fundamental concepts like depth of field and settings such as aperture, ISO, and shutter speed.

The next thing to do, If you like taking photos and want to advance your skills, is get a prime lens.

Read this article to know why you need to own a prime lens.

Investing in better or pricier gear can yield superior results, especially if you want to become a professional photographer. In that case, quality cameras and lenses become essential. However, if you’re still on the journey to professionalism, make the most of what you currently have.

I’m keen to know if this article proved helpful for you. Share your thoughts and personal experiences on how you’ve progressed in your photography. What strategies have you employed to enhance your skills?

Extend the good vibes with a share!

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