"Your Camera takes Beautiful Pictures!"

After seeing my pictures I sometimes hear people say "your camera takes beautiful pictures!"  I get what they're saying but I can't help but hear "if it wasn't for your camera your pictures would be bad."  I agree, my camera has the capacity to capture a beautiful image, but I'd like to think I play a large part in what goes in to the camera because I can tell you first hand that I take a lot of bad, bad pictures.  I only share the ones I like.

I'm going to do something risky - I'm going to show you a bad picture I've taken.  I decided to go with a product shot since I don't want to make a person look bad.  I recently did some product photography for a local pipe shop and it was a challenge photographing the pieces.  Photographing glass is a tricky thing so it took a few bad shots in order to get to a good one.

This was my first test shot.  As you can see, it's blown out and the focus is questionable.  It's overall not appealing.  I don't think anyone would look at this and say "your camera takes beautiful pictures!"  They'd say "this is a bad photo" and the full blame would be on me.  Rightly so.

This is an unedited version of what ended up being my final look for this piece of glass.  It's an unremarkable image but you can see the improvement between the last picture and this one.  Focus is there, exposure is perhaps a touch under but it's acceptable, and you can see the full piece unobstructed.  Still, not an image you'd call beautiful.

This is the final edit of the above picture.  Vibrant, detailed, and all you can see is the piece itself.  The camera does maybe 1/4 of the work.  It captures all you need to create a beautiful image, but it ultimately rests on the shoulders of the photographer to make it all happen.  You can buy the most expensive camera on the market and still take terrible pictures.  

If a chef makes you a delicious meal would you say "your oven makes a great dish!"  A tool is only as useful as the person wielding it.  I don't profess to be a prolific photographer but I do appreciate recognition when it comes.  When someone says my camera takes nice pictures I can't help but feel insulted.  I know they don't mean to be insulting, and I don't take a personally, but next time you want to compliment someone on their work, compliment them, not their tools.