Art Model, Covenant

New Cameras are coming out every single year. Your camera model will have an upgrade likely every 2 to 3 years, particularly for the higher end and professional models. Sometimes these upgrades will be incremental or marginal. Other times, they will be a huge overhaul with a new sensor and a completely different look. More power. More megapixel. Faster autofocus and it will come in either a bigger or smaller package. That’s chiefly about how it goes. Then they’ll promote the secondary features to pull in the video audience, like 4K video or 4k video at 60/120 fps. Maybe a flip-out screen, or improved ergonomics for a more natural feel in your hands.

Art Model, Covenant

That’s just the way it goes. Advertisers, Marketers, Engineers, and Sales Teams all get their ducks in a row to sell you a product… year after year. It’s what they do in order to keep their jobs. You likely do the same thing in a different field.

But what happens when that 61MP or that 100MP, or that 20-frame per second burst mode shooting beast comes out and, well… shoot. It’s just not the best time for you to upgrade. You watch your peers put in their pre-orders. You hear about how fast-selling the camera sells out making everyone think they MUST get theirs now or they’ll all be gone. How can you compete now that everyone else has the brand-spanking newest, latest and greatest, state of the art, system that has that one new feature?

Well, the first thing to do is chill. It has all happened before and will happen again. Then ask yourself how you were doing before the new camera system was announced. If you were doing quite well, chances are that you will continue to do quite well. It might be wise anyway to let the dust settle and see if the camera has any bugs or defects that need to be dealt with. Let everybody else find this out for you BEFORE you make that investment.

But if it’s already been six months since the camera’s release and you find that your work needs improvement, here are THREE things you can do to UP your game if you can’t UPGRADE your camera.

Art Model, Covenant


I have known photographers who DO NOT OWN A CAMERA!! That’s correct. You did not misread this. I have known a few like this. THEY DON’T OWN A CAMERA! I mean, if you think about it, it’s perfect. They don’t have any brand affiliation. When they get a gig, they ascertain what they need in order to fill that order. Then RENT the gear and space they need and then bill their client for the rental fee and everything else! They return the camera… keep all the money!

These are pro shooters. They already know how to shoot. If you are a developing photo, then you need to go buy a damn camera to have on hand so you can practice, practice, practice. However, even if that’s the case, you can still rent a high-end camera to practice on. Or maybe you want to rent new gear and test it out before you buy it. But if that new camera comes out and you can’t get it yet, but feel you need it, RENT IT! If you are flying into Las Vegas, you can check out B&C Camera Rental for cameras, lenses, lights, tripods, sliders, or whatever you need. Otherwise, take a look at Can’t upgrade your camera, RENT IT!

Art Model, Covenant

2. To UP Your Game… CHANGE Your Game

Change yourself – This is one of the best things you can do for yourself, even more so than upgrading your gear. You can upgrade YOU! I may have to do a blog post just on this topic alone. Improve on your own skillset and you can start with the same thing you’re doing now. If you do pet photography, do it better! Learn how to shoot pets better. Get out of the studio and maybe get the pet outdoors. Catch the pet in motion or doing the things it loves or shooting it in its natural environment. Try a pet night shoot. Introduce water. You can even concentrate on the business of pet photography instead of just the shooting of pet photography.

Ever think of learning to edit better. That’s likely the next best thing you can do after better shooting skills. I don’t care who you are, you likely do not know everything in Photoshop. And I’m not talking about just learning IG filters. I’m talking about actual editing a photo. Learning how to use layers. Learning blend modes. How to make a selection and editing non-destructively. Can’t upgrade your camera, upgrade yourself!

Change your gear accessories – Upgrade by implementing a slider. Introduce timelapse to your game. Use a friggin’ tripod for a change. I don’t know how photogs travel and they don’t bring a tripod. I broke mine and wasted no time replacing it. Get a cable release and do some long exposure work. Can’t upgrade your camera, upgrade your gear accessories!

Change your light – If you are still using only on-camera flash and you’re not doing macro or red carpet work, think about taking the flash off the camera. I’m referring to utilizing OFF-Camera flash, by using a remote trigger and either speedlight flashes or monolights hooked to receivers. Test out some modifiers. My fave for speedlights is the Gary Fong Lightsphere. Can’t upgrade your camera, upgrade your lights!

Art Model, Covenant

3. The Manual

I’ve made a lil’ bit of money teaching photography to people who hate to read. I mean, they may actually like to read, but not camera manuals. And that’s cool. I’m can take you places your manual can’t go. That being said, I’ll wager there are features your camera has that you never even suspected. Let me invite you to go pick up your manual and just read it. It’s not as much as you think. Only read the English part of the section that is written in your language. The manual is thick because its the same thing in 5 different languages! So it’s not as bad as you think.

Okay, tell you what, if that’s not working out for you, do this. YouTube! First, check out YouTube and search for reviews on your camera model. Check out a few of them as YouTubers will often cover cameras differently. They will go over features on your camera that you likely either forgot about or never knew about. Maybe you hate the fact that to change a setting on your camera you always waste time drilling through the menu. But then you find out you can assign a button to that specific setting and WHA-LA! You got yourself a new camera. It’s USED, but now it’s NEW to YOU!

Do you even NEED a new camera? I’ve worked in a camera store. My job may have been to sell you a camera, but I worked at B&C Camera They let me prioritize the customer experience over just sell… sell… sell… which is why I still support and promote them now. I’d often get someone who might complain about their camera’s autofocus and blurry images. I take a look at it, change a setting, BOOM. New Camera! Sometimes all it takes is a different focus setting. Sometimes it is a matter of changing the diopter setting. This is true and on many occasions, all I did was set the diopter back to zero. BOOM! New Camera! So yeah… Can’t upgrade your camera, READ THE MANUAL!

Art Model, Covenant