Is Your Camera a Hammer?

I read this interview and thought it most apt to share here especially when I see that so many people can afford to buy their own cameras these days.

And I am most certainly NOT talking about simple point-and-shoot cameras. No, the cameras I am referring to are those used by professionals. Those which we call DSLR cameras.

Robert Caplin is a travel photographer and has been published in National Geographic, ESPN The Magazine and The New York Times, and in his interview he shares tips and tricks on getting the right shot. He starts of saying that it really does not matter what kind of camera you have so long that you know what you shoot, when to shoot it and how to shoot it.

He likens a camera to a hammer. It’s a tool.

(Anne Geddes inspired us to blog on this topic too – read “what sort of camera are you using” in this post.)

You, on the other hand, are the master of this tool. It’s how you use it that makes a difference between a poor amateur and a professional. It’s not the length of your lenses.

The full interview with Robert is here but let me summarize some key points for you.

1. A camera is essentially a tool, just like a hammer. You must know what to shoot, when to shoot and how to shoot it.

2. Biggest disadvantage in using point and shoot camera is its automatic exposure which overexposes and loses the beautiful colours, saturation and detail which we normally see with our eyes.

3. If you have a cheap camera, you can trick it to take better photos. Use Caplin’s beer bottle technique or tortilla chip technique to get the inadequate flashes to work better.

4. You can substitute a tripod with a hand-size beanbag.

5. Shoot in twilight. You’d be amazed at the colours.

Yeah, go read the interview here and don’t forget to read the comments left by readers too!

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