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I remember many, many years ago when I bought my first DSLR.
I was excited beyond belief because I was making the switch from film. I was ready to enter the modern age of photography and start kicking ass with better photos.
Of course, my expectations for what a DSLR would do for my photography were way off what the reality ended up being.
My photos weren't instantly better. My career as a photographer didn't instantly take off.
It's only natural to think - even for a fleeting moment - that a fancy new camera will be what puts you over the top.
In fact, I think everyone experiences those feelings when they unbox a new rig.
And those experiences are perfect subject matter for a spoof video, like the one above from DigitalRev TV.
It's an oldie but a goodie, and perfectly captures how I felt when I bought my first DSLR all those years ago.
From thinking that you'll be a world-class photographer to knowing for sure that friends and strangers will be impressed with how professional you now look, there's a lot of expectations that a new DSLR simply doesn't fulfill.
YouTube Screenshot/DigitalRev TV
YouTube Screenshot/DigitalRev TV
That brings me to a more serious point...
Back in the day when I was sure my new DSLR would make me a better photographer and I quickly realized that that was not the case, I put my nose to the grindstone and started learning more about photography.
Back then, that involved taking photography classes and reading photography books (weird, right?) and actually spending time behind the lens practicing my craft.
And while how we learn about photography has changed, the same principles apply - you'll only get better with more knowledge, by developing more skills, and by practicing.
Another point I'd like to make is that the gear you use isn't what will make you a good photographer.
In fact, if all you have is a smartphone, go all-in and use it as your primary camera!
You can learn photography with any camera, and there's no sense dropping thousands of dollars on a new DSLR when the camera in your pocket will work just fine at this point.
Then, only when your skills begin to exceed what you can do with your smartphone, invest in a better camera.
But don't buy brand new...
Image Credit: EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER via iStock
Instead, look for deals on pre-owned cameras. I can't emphasize enough how important this point is.
By saving money on the camera you buy, you can dedicate more of your budget to something more important - buying a higher-quality lens.
Of the two, the lens you use is much more important in determining the quality of your photos, so it only makes sense to dedicate less of your budget to the camera and more of your budget to the lens.
Besides, the more money you save by buying a pre-owned camera, the more money you have to buy other needed accessories, like a solid tripod and a good set of lens filters.
In the end, our expectations of what our gear can help us do might be off, but the reality is if you make smart purchases, actually learn how to use your gear, and practice your craft, you will become a better photographer!