Recently I've seen people commenting on my posts saying how good my gear is and drooling over it for the lack of a better term. It's nice to want gear and always be looking at your next upgrade, but obviously we all have to live in the present as well. We have to live with what we have and make the best of it.
It is a common misconception that good gear = professional photographer = professional photos. This is simply not the case. And yes before you say it, I know every photographer preaches this at some point in time but it is for a reason. Understand your gear and how light works, can be significantly more beneficial to you as a photographer than having the best gear money can buy.
When I first started I spent hours staring at my screen looking at all kinds of gear ranging from bodies to lenses to tripods all saying that if I had them I would be able to take better photos. Yes this is true to an extent but even the most basic cameras can take some amazing photos, IF you know how to work around their limitations (see above).
Let me pass on some tips that I've learnt over the past 3 years about finding your camera's limitations and how to accommodate them. I'll also show you a few examples of different shots that I have got with different cameras and lenses over the years as well.
1. Use your camera in all kinds of conditions and make a note of when you think it is starting to struggle. For example, maybe at night your camera produces very noise or blotchy looking images. This means that either try lighting the scene more using external lights or figuring out another way of increasing the amount of light your sensors receives, eg. a slower shutter speed.
2. Maybe your camera doesn't take many frames per second (fps). This can be tedious, but can be easily solved. Firstly learn how long it takes for your camera to focus on a subject and the time it then takes for a single shot. This is the focusing time. Now when you're wanting to shoot off a few frames quickly, observe the scene and really look for that exact second that you want capture. For example maybe you want to capture someone's expression as they kick a ball. Watch for the split second right before they kick and then factor in your focusing time and start shooting. Doing so will allow you to hopefully have a better chance of getting a great face expression within only a few shots, instead of having to take 100 and go through them later.
3. Maybe your camera can't auto focus for what ever reason. You can either try and manually focusing on your subject (which can be very difficult and time consuming) or you can shine a light onto your subject you want in focus and then try and auto focus on it. This will allow the camera to hopefully have a better chance at auto focusing and getting it correct.
4. Maybe your lens doesn't have as fast aperture as you want, but there are ways to make it work. If you want to let more light in, try slowing your shutter speed to something like 1/50s or even slower. If though you want a wider aperture for a nice smooth out of focus background, you can also work around this. You can do this by using a zoom lens and placing your subject close to your lens and having a background that is far away. This creates the illusion that you have a nice expensive lens that can create a nice smooth background, when in reality you understand your gear.
Now these are only a few general suggestions. I tried to think of ones that would be applicable to any brand and type of camera, no matter whether its a $500 or $5000 camera, these are all relevant.
As you can see with these tips and a few more I'm sure you could come up with, having the best gear doesn't necessarily give you the ability to instantly take better photos. It all comes down to understanding light, knowing the limitations of your gear and how you can 'hack' ways around them with outside the box thinking.