Welcome to our latest series, Minute Photography, where we explain photography and lighting tips & tricks, myths, and techniques. For more education and detail about this concept, be sure to check out our Photography 101 Workshop.

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In this episode, we consider the value of investing in education vs. upgrading your gear, and why owning expensive gear won’t necessarily make you a better photographer.


Professional cameras and lenses often cost five to ten times more than their consumer counterparts, yet for the most part, you are not getting five to ten times better image quality.

To capture the images above, we used a Canon T5i with the Canon 85mm f/1.8 ($800 at the time of the shoot) vs the Canon 5D Mark 3 with the Canon 85mm f/1.2 L II ($5400 at the time of the shoot). For both images, we used the sun as a hair light and a Westcott 5-1 reflector as the key light for the subject. The image quality is nearly identical, which reveals that it’s the photographer’s use of composition and lighting that really has a stronger impact. You can learn more about how to elevate your photography and make the most of your camera gear in our Photography 101 Workshop.

Considering the marginally better images you can capture for the money you spend on higher end gear, the benefits of owning such gear are limited:

  • Improved resolution
  • Better low light capabilities
  • Increased dynamic range

While advanced professionals can justify the high cost for a marginal improvement, most amateur photographers will never reach the full potential of their gear, whether they’re using point-and-shoot cameras or smart phone cameras.

[REWIND: how to visually change your white balance]


Professional images have much more to do with who’s behind the camera and how he or she chooses to light and shoot a scene rather than what gear is being used to capture it. It is our experience and our knowledge that helps us capture images in unique ways. This is why we created SLR Lounge Premium. We believe the best place to invest is in your education, not in your gear.

Stay tuned for more simple & effective photography tips & tricks in our Minute Photography series!

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