It's Not The Camera

It's Not The Camera

My opinion on the universally known myth that "a better camera= better images"…

Tim Vo
Tim Vo

Right off the bat, let me just start off by confessing that when I first started taking photography seriously this year, I was sooo fixated on saving up to invest in top of the line gear (even though it would've buried me in a deep money pit). I wanted the best camera body, the biggest and best lenses on the market, and a whole bunch of those strobe lights that the pros use. But when the total tab of everything I wanted was added up, I realized that the gear could literally pay for one semester at USC…

That honestly was a "smack in the face" moment for me and I realized I had to be more practical and invest in gear that was more in my range. With all my money saved up, I decided to invest in some gear that I know would last me a very long time and would enable me to do a variety of things. So here are some of my tips for you talented photographers out there who may be interested in taking the next step to invest some quality photography gear:

Camera: BODY

This is the area of photography where people get messed up. So many people have a tendency and desire to believe that the latest and most expensive camera bodies have the capability of producing some Vogue quality images with an editorial flare to them. Moreover, what gets people really messed up is when brands flex the number of Megapixels that their camera bodies offer (i.e., 18MP, 24MP, 42MP, etc.) From anyone's perspective, the more Megapixels, the better the camera and image quality is right? Not necessarily. In my opinion, all you need is at least 18MP. Bottom line, don't fall for those Best Buy display traps…

Camera: LENS

Ohhhhhh boy, I can't even stress how important this area is— so many professionals will tell you nowadays to prioritize the "lens and not the body", which is absolutely true. Quality glass makes better-quality images and let's be real— camera bodies (regardless of price range) all have the capability to capture an image in most situations. Granted, the lens is super important and I would recommend investing in either a 50mm f1.8 lens to start off. Not only is this actually on the cheaper side in terms of lens options, but it is a great lens to practice with considering how it forces you to use your feet to zoom and play around with composition. In essence, I genuinely believe that the 50mm will constantly encourage you to exercise your creativity. You'll be very surprised on the results!

So there you have it, that is one topic that is of GREAT importance in the photography world and speaking from experience, I think more and more people ought to know about it too. Don't get me wrong, iPhones have amazing camera lenses attached to them and I am always amazed on how Apple produced such an amazing camera on their phones. There will be a point in our lives where we will find ourselves pressured to invest in those fancy DSLRs, so in anticipation of that, my hope is that this article will educate and give you the confidence to make your selection! Now when you head out to Best Buy, you can actually educate some of those Best Buy employees working at the camera station!

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10 VSCO Presets That Make You Look Tan As All Heck

Because come on, we can't all be sun kissed while also working 40 hours a week.


I don't know about you, but I cannot seem to get to the golden shade that I so desperately want. Think I'm silly all you want, but being tan makes me more confident. Now, working 40 hours a week, during prime sun hours doesn't exactly help this dilemma, so I have taken the matter into my own hands. These are a few of the VSCO Filter pre-sets that make me feel just as sun-kissed and stunning as I aspire to be, from the comfort of my cubicle.

1. E8 +8, Contrast +1, Temperature -1, Saturation -1, H. Tint Magenta +3

2. HB2 +7, Contrast -1, Exposure -1, Temperature +0.5, Saturation +1, Fade +1.5, Grain +4

3. C8 +12, Exposure -2, Saturation -2/+2, Grain +3 (Optional)

4. C1 +12, Fade +4, Contrast +2, Exposure +2, Saturation -2, Tint +3

5. A4 +7, Exposure -2, Contrast +1.7, Temperature +1.7, Tint +1.0, Saturation -2.0, Skin tone -1.0

6. M3 +12, Temperature -1, Contrast +2, Saturation -1/+1

7. E3 +12, Temperature -1, Saturation -2, Skin -2

8. HB1 +8, Exposure -1, Temperature -1

9. C1 +12, Exposure -1, Contrast +2, Temperature +2, Saturation -2, Skin Tone -3

10. G1 +8, Exposure -2, Contrast +2, Saturation +2, Temperature -1, Fade +2

Cover Image Credit:

Erika Glover

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The Peculiarities Of A Photograph

We're all dynamic characters in the stories of our lives.


It is interesting how you can look at a photo of yourself from years ago and decide that the person forever captured and embodied there was immensely happier than the person you are now. You might have had a different friend group, you might have attended a different school, and you might have been more involved in activities that you used to enjoy so much (but can't seem to find the time to partake in now). We tend to reminisce about how life was much simpler during those times, and perhaps, we may even wish we could return to those times.

What is also interesting, however, is how a photo can also remind us just how miserable we were at a certain point in our lives, despite how happy we may look in the photo itself. It may be a cynical way to view it, but sometimes a photo can remind us of how differently we can choose to portray life from our reality. A photo could be deceiving, a glamorous story we've made up as a method of coping with some atrociously messy emotions we are dealing with in our lives. We are all-too-familiar with this phenomenon with our social media usage as well.

However, despite how we may feel about who we were in the past, I think it's important to recognize the significance of that timeless saying, "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." Perhaps we are always romanticizing different times of our lives (apart from the ones we are currently living in) because we only remember the idealized versions of those times and can only presently dwell on the negative aspects of our current circumstances. In this way, there is no winning, but if we reverse that principle, perhaps we can feel more fulfilled in our current lives. If we could think of the present as "ideal," no matter the state of it, accept the past with whatever flaws were prevalent, and hold a profound desire to continue ahead and never look back, we would probably live much more happily.

As beautiful as people may be in photos, they only capture an instant of us. We are much more than that. We are peals of uncontrollable laughter, stubborn tomato stains, random trivia facts, the songs playing non-stop in our heads, breathlessness after an unexpected sprint, the stars pinned delicately to a deep, dark sky, the peace you feel on your way home. And we can always strive to remember that our lives are as ideal as they can be right now, in this present moment. And if we don't like how it is, we can always start moving towards something better.

Attempting to live without idealizing our past selves can be very difficult. Frankly, it makes me a little sad to see photos of me in years past and remember the good qualities I possessed. However, I can acknowledge that a lot of those good qualities I can strive to regain or build upon. I also like to think that the present version of me is a better and wiser person than before. So, I am thankful for the person I was, but I also am even more thankful because she served as a vessel to help me evolve into the person I am today.

And I'm confident that I'll always be evolving, no matter when a photograph was taken.


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