I am sure virtually anyone that goes around taking pictures, anyone that is the photo-geek of their circle, or just anyone that has ever tried being creative with a camera has heard the million dollar question. "Wow great picture! What gear did you use?"
In the photo circles we have quickly come up with the parallel of going to a five star restaurant and after a delightful meal asking to speak to the chef to complement him. As the Chef comes up he is praised "that was the best food we ever had! What Oven do you use?"
For sure the equipment is an important tool without which we would have a much harder time creating images. however, at the end of the day, it remains one of the many tools to create images.
Tools I consider at least as important and my camera gear.
Light: natural, artificial and modifiers (shape and color).
Moodboards: These days I usually just use Pintrest but I still also will get swatches of fabric, magazine clippings... when such things inspire me for a project.
Models: having quality models that are comfortable with you will make all the difference in the shot. A "subtool" of this is directing the model. Letting them know what you are looking for include them on the creative team, show them the moodboads.
Styling: sweat the details even if it's just a snap shot it's good to train yourself to see details that may be out of place especially hair and teeth. For more elaborate shots style the shoot plan it ahead. I know this sounds like something that is going to coast an arm and a leg but it really doesn't have to last week I shot a model in a paper dress we made out of old magazines.
A great source for more tips on styling is Frank Doorhof he is a genius with light model shoots and photography in general but he also loves teaching.
Allot of his materiel is available on his you tube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/FrankDoorhof
In the industrial age there is in my opinion an idolatry of the machine. Especially in fields that used to be considered artistic. An arrogance advertising processors and features as if they replace the eye, the mind, the creative process and the emotional implication of an artisan.
I usually don't get into it with people who try to go into the Gear debate. Within my creative team we refer to those people affectionately as muggles (for those of you who never saw or read Harry Potter, they are the normal people with no magic powers) I know this might come across as really arrogant, but smart, kind people can get so mean and stubborn when it comes to talking to creative people.
Yes the camera makes a difference! I would LOVE a Hasselblad with a 60Mpixel back to make my huge prints look better. But the flip side, since the dawn of man kind need has stimulated creativity. I don't think we will see the day of when a society and a culture as a whole appreciate and understand creative minds. Our societies like the idea of art and culture, but so long as it's for their entertainment as if behind the bars of a circus cage so we are forced to play into their game a minimum just to be able to Function.
Then again have I completely missed it? So let me leave you guys with a couple questions,
First off: DO YOU GUYS ACTUALLY THINK THE QUALITY OF A PICTURE ACTUALLY COMES FROM THE NUMBER OF PIXELS ON A CAMERA?
Secondly is there a piece of equipment or a tool YOU couldn't live without?