4 (+1) things you need to be a photographer in 2022
There’s a ton of advice on what gear to buy and what gear not to buy as a photographer. It’s written from a billion different viewpoints, each with a slightly different take. I didn’t feel any of these articles resonate with me, so here’s one that I hope will resonate with you, whatever genre or niche you’re looking for.
A landscape photographer is unlikely to own a softbox, just as a fashion photographer is unlikely to own a rig to track the movement of the stars. It’s fair to say that every photographer has their own niche, which requires specific equipment. If you’re here for advice on which tripod to use for landscaping, you’ve come to the wrong place. I will give the most general advice that applies to all genres of photography, whatever it may be. I can’t name the exact piece of gear you should buy, but I can tell you the category and what to look for.
Good computer with good editing software
We live in the digital age, okay? Having a good computer is an absolute must if you want to work on images or even do something as simple as importing and exporting them. I started with a fairly old computer that barely ran Lightroom. The time it took me to just import and make a quick edit can only be compared to waiting for a flight that kept getting delayed due to bad weather. I was frustrated because I was working in a very inefficient field.
Things changed once I upgraded my computer and started working fast. The hardware I was using was able to meet my high expectations and provide the level of speed and efficiency I demanded. For example, when selecting images, I had to be able to fly through an entire shoot in less than an hour. Due to strict and tight deadlines, my machine had to be able to process things on the fly. In an age where speed is one of the key factors, you really can’t be a pro without a decent computer to edit with. Taking it slow just isn’t enough.
Proper editing software is another must for you. My recommendation is Capture One. It is much better than Lightroom in terms of color processing and ability to create accurate color quality. In particular, there’s something Lightroom does to photos that bring out skin tone. Sure, you can get a pretty good tone in Capture One and Lightroom, but Capture One’s is better right off the bat. I won’t go into details, but Capture One is better at the time of writing.
A decent lens will go a long way in creating good images. No matter how good an image sensor you pick up, a bad lens is a bad lens. On the contrary, a good sensor will capture all imperfections. Lens technology is not developing as quickly as cameras. Sure, a lens from the 90s won’t be as good as a recent lens, but it’ll still be fine. For example, my EF 70-200mm IS is over 20 years old and so far no one has complained about poor image quality due to optical imperfections. So, I strongly encourage you to spend some money on a decent lens that you will use to capture images.
Decent used body
As I pointed out earlier, camera technology has never developed so quickly. There is always a new camera coming out or being announced. To this end, it has never been easier to get good used cameras. There are always people who want to buy the latest and greatest, even if they only need a few hours to compose and light up images. No, especially if they need a few hours of practice.
A used body can be found on websites such as Facebook Marketplace, B&H Used, or your local website where people list used items for sale. The reason I say you should buy a used body is that it will be much cheaper than a new one and it will do most of the same things. After all, if you’re trying to be a photographer, all you really need is a camera that takes pictures. You are unlikely to care about video specs and codecs. So, save some money and spend it on one of the other four items on this list instead.
Decent storage and archiving system
I lost data. One of my biggest regrets is perhaps not having a proper ranking and saving system. Not only are my early works unorganized, but they are also partially lost. Although there is little commercial value in this work, there is a lot of sentimental value for me personally. Some images I only have in web resolution, while others are only available as an archived Instagram post.
The way I do it is to use a 3-2-1 save system. There are two drives that mirror each other: drive A and drive B. Both of these drives are backed up whenever something is added to drive A. Finally, this all goes back to Backblaze. I don’t get paid to say this, but Backblaze really is a lifesaver when it comes to cloud storage. I used it not only for backup, but also as a kind of cloud storage.
The last thing, but the most important thing that I value a lot is a good education. A good education or mentorship is important as it is the greatest help in the process. I mentor photographers because I know the difference a good mentor can make in your career. I also have a mentor myself. No matter how good you are at accumulating equipment, if you don’t have the skills to use that equipment, you can’t be a professional photographer. Education is not only about technical aspects, but also about business and marketing. Artists often overlook the importance of knowing how to write and sign a contract, send an invoice, register a business, etc. I’m not even talking about networking, social skills and marketing.
So all you need to start taking pictures is a camera, a lens, a decent filing system and a good computer. The +1, and an important one indeed, is education. Perhaps a good place to look for such education is the Fstoppers Tutorials. No matter your skill level, you’ll find great advice on a topic of your choice. Even though I work as a photographer, I always found the information useful and new, so I can only imagine how such a tutorial would be a breakthrough for many beginners.