• Rodrigo Montiel

I don't care which camera you shoot with...but what do you shoot with?

There is no way you can be a pro with that camera, no one is going to take you seriously.


I remember the start of my photography journey, it was full of youtube videos looking up gear I couldn't afford. I was still in college and buying a piece of equipment that could easily set me back two thousand dollars was a tough thing to pull the trigger on. Every other youtube video reenforced this idea that nothing is worthwhile unless you shoot in a full frame body, and with an equivalent in price piece of glass. At least that's what these photography channels lead me to believe.

Looking back I don’t blame them, and to their defense as a rookie photographer learning about gear is just sexy. Camera porn if you may, and as a beginner you can't wait to shoot with one of these beautiful creatures, even thought you couldn't handle that type of fire power. I was shooting in full auto at that time, and my dream was to one day have my everyday camera be full-frame with a heavy prime piece of glass. Looking back at that now, I would say, I wouldn't want to be that camera.

What a person wanting to take pictures for a living comes to understand right away is that, being successful in this business might be tougher than trying to get a job at a bank.

The pro photographer's journey doesn't really exist. In most cases this journey starts with the fact that you enjoy and end up taking lots of picture, or at one point started an Instagram account and just embraced the idea of capturing great moments. You see, photography falls under this category of professions that have no clear path. Sure, school is a worthwhile endeavor, however it's a risky investment to make with the very little security it will provide in the future in comparison to other areas of study. What a person wanting to take pictures for a living comes to understand right away is that, being successful in this business might be tougher than trying to get a job at a bank. At least banks hire people just starting off, I thought to myself. I came to realize that this might take time to develop.


And to develop these pro skills, I need to have pro gear right?


No... but yes.


This is one of the biggest questions that a rookie photographer has on their journey, what type of gear do I buy. The start to this journey most likely than not starts in front of a screen, trying to decide what to buy and what to shoot. And because of this my advise to this age old question of what a rookie photographer should buy is the gear that inspires you to shoot the most... It's that simple. Let's not over look the fact that gear is expensive. Buy/get your hands on anything that will get you moving and learning. My first camera was a point and shoot I was still borrowing from my parents. I took this camera and learned all the basics. After a year or two of shooting with this camera I became really good at making content with this subprofessional piece of gear and realized that this need for top of the line gear had gone away.

Even after I had the budget for pro gear I chose to just purchase gear that was still not considered pro, because in my experience no one is coming up to me and asking me what gear I'm using.

I had trained my eye so well that I was getting paid for taking I Phone pictures. Fortunately for me I managed to incorporate this activity with a service I was providing as I was going to college. I realized that I can work on small business's social media as a way to gain experience in this field. Even after I had the budget for pro gear I chose to just purchase gear that was still not considered pro, because in my experience no one is coming up to me and asking me what gear I'm using.


It wasn't until I finished college that I moved up to pro gear, and by that point the attraction to pro gear had cooled off. I realized that the improvement these new tools brought where minor compared to the tool of experience. To the untried eye the difference in quality was miniscule. I saw the difference of course, however the average person can't distinguish work done by pro gear vs. something that wasn't, if you know what you're doing. Up to this point I was working for myself, no one was dictating how I could photograph, therefore the gear i used wasn't important. All the work I had done with a simple point and shoot and my phone put me in the position to take on pro jobs. I didn't even know how to use a DSLR on my first pro photo gig. I did some Youtubing the night before on the camera I was going to hold, and found the settings I was going to play with. A few minutes with the camera before hand and it was set, it was as if this was my daily cam.

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