In my experience what separates the real pro photographers from the wannabes is lighting. Light is to photographers what paint is to an artist.
I have a friend who shoots weddings for a living and I asked him what kind of camera he used, imagine my surprise when he pulled out a Canon T2i. It was a head-scratcher at first, until he dragged out his Quantum flash unit. He put his money into the lenses and higher end lighting. He’s booked for the summer months in advance, brides schedule their weddings around his availability, so he must be doing something right.
The secret for getting good results out of any camera is to start with the lighting.
Lee Morris demonstrated how true that is with a series of shots with studio lighting, a professional model and an iPhone 3G for a camera. The results speak for themselves.
I realize lighting isn’t the most exciting subject, but it’s critical for getting the best pictures. Not surprisingly, you’ll reach the same conclusion in the video world.
Amateurs argue incessantly about the “right” camera, the best chip, and judge each other on the number of megapixels their cameras sport. It’s all nonsense. A big chip behind good glass with the proper lighting will yield good results in the hands of a pro.
Some lighting resources that are worth reading: