The most important part of a camera, part 1

It’s a slightly deceptive title, as I probably should have written “attribute” of a camera, but it didn’t sound right. The attribute you should value most is whatever gets the camera into your hand and your finger on the button.

That’s it, but that’s everything.

It could be a cool film camera from 75 years ago or the latest technowonder or something that matches your outfit or fits in your purse; obviously you need to fill in this blank for yourself. But whatever it is, this is pretty much the only thing that matters.

Like everything else in life, the more you do it, the better you’ll get… the more you shoot, the better your photography will be. For lots of types of photography, it’s essential that you have your camera along and nearby when you need it. Around your neck or in your hand, ready to go, not in your trunk or in the closet at home. And in fact, ready to go again, because it usually takes a couple of clicks to get going.

For me, size is really important. As in, the camera has to be small enough that I can bring it anywhere . Technically my camera is about 10% too big, but it’s close. I have a single lens reflex that I wear over my shoulder whenever I can. I wish I could fit a 8×10” view camera into my life, but it doesn’t match the way I work. Your camera effects your pictures, and I can’t use a big camera right now.

I only bring one lens with me most of the time, and that’s the lens I need most. On those occasions when I carry more equipment, I usually regret it because I don’t use it and I’m carrying dead weight. And that slows me down in a bad way (as opposed to a view camera, that slows me down in a good way).

Do whatever it takes to bring your camera along and make more photographs. Or set aside more days to shoot. Or whatever is applicable to your work. Your images will keep getting better and occasionally you’ll capture something that would otherwise be gone forever.

Shoot more!

Article originally published on Startphoto on July 12, 2013.

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