What camera did you use to take that?
What camera did you use to take that? It is a question I am often asked, and I am sure one that many fellow photographers are also asked. But no matter how I try, I have never been able to fully work out the reason for the question!
Would the same person ask a book author; what typewriter or computer did you use to write their book? Or of a chef, what mixing bowls, spoons and oven did you use to cook their dish? Most likely not.
But for some reason they will often ask a photographer; sometimes with a variation on the question. What’s the best camera to take this, as they point out an image they like. I think both questions are most likely asking for some form of recommendation or guidance on camera equipment, but as we all know the best camera to use in the one in your hand, to get the picture you want, at the right moment.
If you want a picture as a screen on your smartphone, to use and post on social media and email to your family or friends; then use your smartphone; it is the perfect and ideal solution, plus all the functions can be carried out with the smartphone.
But if you need an image to be enlarged to billboard size and digitally enhanced, then a more professional camera system will be required. Plus, waiting for the weather condition, sun direction and right time of day when the photograph is taken, then the work on digital enhancements until clients are happy. Which will also need to be supported by the latest imaging software, on some high speed and powerful modern computers and this could easily be several days of work.
Two very different scenarios, but both create the image that is required. In simple terms there is no good camera and no bad camera, it all depends on what you want the camera to do and what you are looking for from the final image
For what it is worth and my recommendation; stick with the camera you have, no matter what it is, and learn to be able to use it better, to understand fully how you can control it and become more creative with it. You may then get someone ask you – What camera did you use to take that?
Note: The photographs here are of The Thiepval Memorial, on the Somme battlefield in France, taken for a magazine commission. The memorial a major war memorial to soldiers who died during the Battle of the Somme in the First World War with no known grave, taken during a photo shoot in France.