Does Better Camera Gear Help Improve Your Photography?

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

So, does better camera gear help improve your photography?

Yes, yes it does! Wait, what?

Many people ask me if buying better and more expensive gear would improve their photography. In my personal opinion and 8+ years of experience, I can say that yes, better gear can help take better images.

But, what do we mean by “better images”? Better in quality, color, or better in composition?

Photography is personal, and it is mostly about freezing the moment, creating a unique piece of art that unfolds a story and leaves memories to remember forever in time. Is that all there is? No, I don’t think so.

You can create a piece of art with your smartphone, your entry-level camera, or a more expensive one. So, It depends on what you want to do. It is different if you want to do it for a hobby or become a professional and start making money.

In order to get more feedback, I asked a few photographers on Instagram a couple of weeks ago and wanted to share their opinions with you.

Question: “Does Better Camera Gear Help You Improve Your Photography?”

#1 @jeanbergen

That’s the million dollar question! One I am asking myself right now. A good camera definitely makes a difference in the quality of the image, however, the creative eye of the photographer and the artistry of composition 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 auto focus, etc. But for my kind of landscape photography it’s not important to have expensive gear. The truth is though; life would be much easier because with 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 spending time in photo editing tutorials. This will help you a lot and bring your own personality in your images. So spending time and money to learn photo-editing made me a better photographer ?

#5 @_heather__t

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

#8 @nobaddays50

No, time and practice improves photography.

#9 @terryricephotos

You absolutely do not need expensive gear to improve your photography. If you really 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 really helps people to grow in photography. Getting hands on and bouncing ideas off one another is so helpful and super fun!!!

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


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

#11 @totiltedviewgirl

Hmmm that’s a tough one.  I’m going to say no because I’ve seen some people with the top of the line equipment and can’t take a good photo to save their life.  That being said I think people who have an eye, good equipment just compliments their skills.  Also, I have seen some really amazing non altered photos taken off smart phones.

#12 @kostas.doukas.34

I am one of the people who stand at this point and I believe it’s the photographer who 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. I think you could learn and improve your photography just by taking pictures in manual mode with any digital camera!

#15 @adrien_mxy

So it depends 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 just for 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 ect… 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 just that, we don’t need an 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 than mine, so it would produce better images.

#17 @ap_photography_dxb

To answer your question…. do I need it?  Depends on what it is. I would prefer gear (i.e. flashes and lenses) of higher quality (which typically means more expensive) to improve the quality of my photos but 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 it’s a matter of wanting to learn, to confront with others and to be self-critical. However, expensive equipment can help you overcome some basic kit limits. I think a photographer would be happy to see a wonderful creamy bokeh, or to have sharpness from center to the edges of the image or finally, to have a fast and valid focus engine… what do you think?

My Answer – Tips to Improve Photography Skills – Does Better Gear Help?

My answer is simple: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

There are many ways to improve your photography but to me the most important thing is to understand composition and how to use natural light. You can do this by just using your smartphone. In 2018, iPhone and Android phones are really powerful, producing great imaging for everyday use.

Then, if you want to buy a new camera, you can learn by simply taking photos with your kit-lens. It’s the best way to start and to understand the depth of field and the different settings such as aperture, ISO and shutter speed.

The next thing to do, If you really like taking photos and you want to advance your skills, is to get a prime lens. Read this article if you want to know why you need to own a prime lens.

Better gear or a more expensive gear would give you better results BUT that’s only if you want to become a professional photographer. Then you will definitely need good cameras and lenses, but until then use what you have and try to make the most out of it!

Let me know if this article was helpful to you. I’d like to hear your thoughts and your personal experiences on how you got better! What do you do to improve your skills? Did you know you can learn new photography skills with online courses on demand directly on your smartphone? If you’re interested, you can sign up here and get two free months of premium membership at Skillshare (No charge for two months, cancel anytime).

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