Why You Should Invest in a Quality Camera - and How to Use It Properly

Let me tell you a little story, a story about my “why” - why I started taking pictures, and why I still take pictures today. 15 years ago, I was a student at Assumption College, in Worcester, Massachusetts. I had a professor in one of my photography classes that inspired us to step outside our comfort zones, walk the streets of the city, and start photographing the things and people we saw. I was terrified. I knew precious little about how to operate my camera, let alone take pictures of random strangers. Can you say intimidating?! But it was this task that ignited a fire in my soul, and helped me to see the world in a different light, to see beauty in people, and buildings, landscapes, and even destruction, I may never have even looked at twice otherwise.

It took a while, lots of practice, lots of asking seemingly-dumb questions, and SO MANY “bad” pictures before I began to take pictures I could be proud of. I began to understand light in relation to my subjects, some of the amazing things that light - and my camera! - were capable of. And I began to see the power in telling a story through photographs.

I began to take pictures like this:

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This was one of the first images I felt like I had really begun to understand the basic elements of photography. Seeing and capturing a composition of interest - the color of this woman’s hat, and her contemplative gaze at her reflection really captured my attention - I had started using manual mode on my camera, and finally had an image that wasn’t totally blown-out (overexposed), or underexposed. I had been teetering between those two variables for a while. It’s not perfect. Looking back at this, and my other work from 15 years ago, it’s hard not to focus on all the flaws that stand out so obviously to me now, but it was progress, and proof that understanding how to use my camera, and the essential elements of photography was influencing my results. And it will make a difference in yours too.

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Fast forward 7 years. I got married, and had children. And suddenly my “why” had more urgency to it. If you have children, you know how time - what was once a friendly luxury - transforms into a terrible thief, stealing away days, months, even years before you feel you’ve even blinked. I wanted desperately to preserve my children’s infancy, innocence, and memories. I approached photography with a renewed vigor. If I couldn’t stop time, the least I could do was freeze moments, document little details I never want to forget.

Did I need a quality camera to accomplish that? Probably not. I have thousands - literally, close to 10,000 - images in my iCloud library right now, most of which were taken with my subpar iPhone camera. And they don’t do my sweet Jacob’s beautiful brown eyes justice:

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Nor my Noah’s blue ones:

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Without my DSLR, I’d struggle to document my daughter’s wild, unruly hair as she swings on the playscape in our backyard:

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There are so many reasons to invest in a quality camera, and lens. But the only reason that truly matters, for you, is the one that inspires you. The reason why you feel that pang of joy, or pain, or excitement in your heart when you look at a photograph, be it of your own child, your parents when they were younger, your grandchildren, a beautiful landscape, or some form of documented suffering that speaks to your soul and motivates you to action. Photography can change the way we see the world, and influence our impact on it. Understanding the means to accomplishing that is the first step, and we’re here to help you get there.

Dacia Banda