Photography Discussion

Can Today’s Technology Alone Produce a Great Photographer?

Do you need to be a great photographer to take great photos?

Gareth Willey
4 min readSep 15, 2022
Image by author.

A few days ago, my non-photographer friend asked me a question that I haven’t thought about for years. Does gear matter?

We’ve all been there. Every photographer goes through the ‘gear head’ phase. Especially when we’re impressionable beginners. We watch a few YouTube videos, which said YouTubers will recommend expensive lenses.

But they assure us it’s a guaranteed way to get better photos. Simply click the affiliate link in the Comments Section below!

I was very much caught up in that brand loyalty not 3 years ago. Thousands spent “on the very best”. My photos were certainly sharper. But to my disappointment, it didn’t make me a better photographer. What the hell!?

I don’t want to spend this whole article bashing photographers who love gear. Gear is a big part of each photographer’s process and can be what motivates them to be creative in the first place. A new piece of gear can also help photographers get out of a rut.

If someone has the money to spend £9,500 on a Canon 500mm f4 because they like sports photography now, I’ll be more than happy for them. But I’ll be just as happy for someone who spends £14 on a Tamron 85–210mm f4.5.

The problem lies in the reliance on gear. This is why so few Greats are produced these days. Back in the days of film, photographers had to work much harder to find and produce great photography. It was because of these limitations that they had to push those limits themselves.

In that respect, camera tech can actually suppress the progress of beginner photographers, while halting the creativity and freshness of professionals.

Today’s photography gear produces sharper, more correct images. Lenses have none of the imperfections they used to, such as chromatic aberration, pin-cushion distortion, lens vignetting, etc.

Photos now look so clean and sharp. But a technically correct photo is not necessarily a great photo. I often come home with 100 or so correct photos, but I consider myself lucky if I come home…



Gareth Willey

Shit Talker • TED Talker • Yodeler