I’m a Nikon.

I’ve mentioned before that one of the perks that I enjoy at my job is that I get to try out a large amount of photography gear for free. Our Communications school has been blessed with a good-sized equipment room, where students can check out gear including cameras, lenses, lighting, audio, and accessories. It’s a fantastic resource for the students to have and it definitely benefits the quality of our programs.

I have definitely used my privilege to work with all of this equipment to my benefit, trying out different types of lenses to better know which ones I might want to buy later on, using the expensive lighting gear to capture great images for various genres, and even using equipment I might never use again just to get the experience. The one downside I have encountered in this opportunity is that while I use a Nikon camera and I love it, the school gets great deals from Canon, and therefore an overwhelming majority of the cameras and lenses available to us are Canon.

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My camera (Nikon D200) and a Canon 5DIII from work.

Many photographers are all too familiar with the Nikon vs Canon debate. It has been going on for years and years, people going back and forth with why each brand is superior and why the other brand falls short. Each brand continues to produce “new and improved” versions of their bodies hoping to become the best choice for all photographers.

The brands even have an impact on our identities as photographers. When two photographers meet the question ultimately comes up “Nikon or Canon?” At work we have photographers on both sides, and we tend to refer to each other as “She’s a Nikon” or “He’s a Canon”.

One difference I’ve noticed between the two groups of photographers, however, is that only one group tends to have a problem with using the other brand (that I’ve encountered personally, this may not be true everywhere.) Since our school uses mostly Canon gear, sometimes Nikon users need to use Canon cameras and lenses in order to try new types of gear. But I’ve never really heard the Nikons complaining about this. They might wish out loud that we had more Nikon gear to try, but as far as using Canon gear, they’re ok with that situation. The switch from Nikon to Canon isn’t a big deal, most photographers learn all of the settings quickly.

Ask the Canons about their experience trying Nikon gear, and it’s a different story.┬áMost Canon photographers I know say they can’t use Nikon cameras, they’re just “too complicated.” It’s interesting how that works out.

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For me, I don’t mind using different types of cameras from time to time. As long as they work well and produce great images, I’m a happy photographer. I’m going to take advantage of any gear available to me right now, and besides, it’s fun to experiment.

Photographers, which brand is your preference?

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Becoming a Real Photographer

I’m a photographer, that is not a secret to anyone. I have social media accounts for my photography business, I post pictures I have taken, I often talk about ideas I have for photography projects, I work at an equipment checkout facility where I deal with photography equipment almost every day, I go to school and take photography classes… my life is full of photography in all of its various aspects.

Well, sort of.

It’s funny to think, that if someone were to spend a full week with me, go to school and work with me, take part in my social events, see me while I’m at home, follow me wherever I go, and know nothing about me… they might not consider me to be a real photographer. They’d see me studying photography, working with the equipment at my job, sure. But actually taking pictures? It might happen the last day of the week for a project that’s coming due.

It’s a terrible thing to admit.

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I promise, I do actually take pictures!

My problem is, I’m a timid photographer. It’s not that I don’t like taking pictures, or that I’m lazy about it, or I have no time, etc. But I’m nowhere near being considered a paparazzi. I tend to avoid taking my camera anywhere because I’m afraid it will freak people out. If I do take my camera to events I try to blend in and stay hidden instead of coming right out and letting people know I’m taking pictures. I try to stay out of the way and out of sight, which is hard to do when you’re trying to get a specific angle or lighting.

I’ve been at plenty of events or even just out and about on the town where I see photographers casually taking pictures of anything and everything. They usually don’t try to hide, they don’t seem to be worried about what people think about them taking pictures… and they get their shots, specific angle or lighting and all.

One of my goals as a photographer is to become more active in photography. Even if I’m not taking pictures at events, I want to take my camera out more, become the person who “looks” like a photographer. Perhaps I’ll gain more business that way, I’ll definitely build a better portfolio. When I went to New York, I let myself become a tourist, taking pictures of everything I could, and I think maybe I should consider that to be a normal characteristic of mine.

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Some of the wonderful equipment I get to work with.

I think it’s my last step into belonging into the “world” of photography. When I first started in the photo program at my school, it was hard for me to feel like I truly belonged in the world of photography. I just wasn’t at the same level as so many of the students around me, but I learned. I definitely think that changing my “photographer personality” is the last thing I need to do to feel truly a part of it all.

Not that the learning will ever stop, of course.

Photographers, what’s some advice you would give someone diving into the world as a photographer? How do you keep your camera out and your images flowing?