It’s About, The End Result, But Do Your Research First. It’s no secret, I’m often asked a lot about photography, so I decided to write about the big picture photography questions. Like most professionals in any profession, I’m constantly bombarded with repetitive questions and normally my answer is, “What is your end result? What are you trying to achieve?”

landscape photography

Sometimes the best camera is the one in your hands. The day I drove by this scene, I used the only camera available, the one in my hands.

Yes, I know it’s not eloquent to answer a question with questions, but the majority of the time it’s the only way for me to really answer a person, so hopefully this article will reduce all the common questions I’m often asked.

Vague questions are normally answered with questions because no professional can answer a request without clarity. Second, to clear the air, I’m only familiar with the camera equipment I use; I’m not a photography magazine where manufacturers send me every camera, lens, reflector, and flash unit they produce for my personal trial and review.

In fact, it’s frustrating when someone asks me what make and model camera and lens they should purchase, especially if they don’t tell me the type of photography they intend to produce. I do not frequent camera stores. If I need photography equipment, I go online and see what is available and if I decide I have a need, not a want, I’ll pick up the phone and order it after I’ve done my research.

landscape photography

Photographing landscapes often uses wide-angle lens vs. photographing portraits with medium-telephoto lenses. This photo is from one of my Smoky Mountains photography workshops.

The most common question I get is, “What camera should I buy? Canon, Nikon, or this Canon vs. that Canon, or this Nikon vs. that Nikon?” It really doesn’t matter unless I know what’s the intended result, but again, I can’t recommend cameras I’ve never held in my hand. So, before you ask that question, first ask yourself, “What am I trying to achieve in the end?” Then do your research!

people photography

The photography of models, or people, is different than landscape photography; thus, it’s about using the right tools for the intended results.

If you’re looking at getting into sports photography, it’s a different answer than if you’re looking into shooting weddings, glamour, fashion, editorial, etc., all genres of photography I have shot. Now once you know the genre of photography you are going to specialize in, then research that genre. Find out who the leading photographers are in that specific genre, study their photographic style plus the photography gear they use, and if it appeals to you, then that is your starting point for equipment. Ask yourself, “How are they accomplishing those results?” Though remember, it’s not just the equipment that makes a photographer successful.

As an example, I can purchase Nike Air Jordan court shoes and no matter how hard I try, at 5-foot 8-inches tall, I’ll never dunk a basketball on an NBA court, unless I can improvise (place an apple box or chair under the basket) and obviously I can’t improvise in the middle of an NBA game.

Professionals in any occupation are professionals, especially those at the top of their game, because they have done the research, and quite honestly, they don’t want to do the research for anyone because it interrupts their business plus the little quality time they have to spend with their families. I know it sounds rude, but please realize that printed words sound harsher than spoken words and I by no means am trying to sound rude, in fact, I’m all about spreading the gospel of photography. I have no problem answering anyone’s questions on photography, but only if you’ve done your research first.

You Must Know Your End Goal. So, before you ask anyone what camera equipment they recommend, even the store clerk at your local camera store, make sure you understand what is your intended result. You have to understand that first, before you can make an informed purchase decision on photographic gear; you must know your end goal. It’s always about using the right tool for the right result (job) and if you follow this advice, the only question you’ll have to ask, “Did I achieve what I wanted in the end?” The best analogy I can use is that in college, professors don’t write your research papers, but they’d gladly help you if you get stuck while doing your research.

This is one of the driving forces for my articles on photography so you can understand things like a SUNBOUNCE reflector is a tool, and how to use that tool, and hopefully answer your questions on which reflector size, fabric, shape, etc., that you will need to achieve your desired results. I’ve done the research in my articles for you, plus I’ve used the tools myself and write from my photography experience in using those tools for an end result. A lot of my photography articles are designed to help you learn about many photographic tools and how they work and/or I use those tools so you can make informed decisions.

Rolando Gomez is a professional photographer and author of five photography books that has traveled to 45 countries for assignments. The former soldier and U.S. Army combat photographer has taught hundreds of photography workshops for almost two decades. A 2016 and 2017 Top Writer for Quora, his partial credits include Newsweek, Parade, Playboy, Rangefinder, Maxim, Rangefinder, New York Times, Stars & Stripes, and various other publications.  
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