Can I Shoot Professionally with a Camera?

By the amount of emails I get with this kind of questions daily here on Photo Tips Brazil, I believe this is one of the biggest anxieties for those who are starting and still do not know the possibilities of your equipment.
I know it’s hard when you don’t have the expertise to perform a job safely, and at the same time not wanting to lose the opportunity, but I know consider your expectation with the who is inviting you to photograph, can be the first step to success. What is professional photography?
Remembering that this is an opinion piece, and as any opinion, there are a thousand different, then base my answers in my experience as a professional photographer for over 15 years and a teacher of beginners.

What is professional photography?

Professional is one who receives remuneration for what you’re doing.This is the simplest definition exists, and of course it is also possible to have many subjective definitions, but this is the primary and which fits best in the questions I get.
I also know that being professional is beyond simply having a professional equipment and get paid for your work, is linked directly with the attitude that is expected of who is providing the service, and understand clearly the questions that I get, that the biggest concern of who is being hired/guest, is to deliver quality photos that you believe to be “professional”.
I “started” in the picture when I won my first professional camera at 15 years of age and remained hobbysta for many years with that camera one day broke, then went through some cameras superzoons to reach the DSLRs, by a whim of fate, when I started working professionally (receive $ for the photos that did), I was with a semipro camera and a kit lens but this time I’ve mastered very well my equipment, and the fact that it’s a semipro camera not stopped so I make money with it.
My motto has always been:

Can I Shoot Professionally with a camera?

The most direct answer would be: it depends on a few factors, not only of the camera. Butamos questions, maybe you identify with some of them, which is only natural, I’ve been on that side, I had to ask the more experienced photographers if it was possible such a result with such equipment, that’s not a problem, it just demonstrates that we are seeking to overcome the challenges that come with at least some preparation. I really try to answer, and you will see throughout this article that is not so simple.
A few questions:
-I was invited to do an essay on (Beach/field/Park/House), but I have no experience, just got a Nikon D3100 18-55 mm lens and a batter, don’t have flash yet. Do you think I should accept? Should I charge?
-I was invited to do my cousin’s wedding that will be civil only, my camera is a Canon SX50, do you think I get good results? Should I do for free?
-I will do my first children’s Party in a beautiful ballroom. I have a T5i with 18-55 mm kit lens, without external flash. What tips can you give me to get good pictures in this situation? I’m not thinking of charging you to decrease the pressure of having good pictures.
-I have a Sony DSX HX1. Need to shoot a wedding night, what setting I use to get professional photos? I charged right cheap and even said if the bride didn’t like, would be for free.
-Have a simple camera with the Kit lens, but I was hired to do the wedding of my friend and I need urgently to buy a professional equipment for doing bad, what do you suggest?
-Need to learn how to photograph at night, because next week I have a party, and I confess that I didn’t get great results like my 18-135 mm lens and D7100.
– I was a gift from my brother a big camera that I don’t know how yet, but I need you to help me in the settings to photograph his birthday this weekend.
-I bought a Canon 6 d with the Kit lens and the pictures of the wedding of my friend were horrible, I can send you for you tell me what happened?
All these questions reflect a natural phenomenon that comes along with a substantial increase of more advanced cameras, and with them the erroneous idea of how much better the camera, the more easy it will give you amazing photo, and it’s not around. Definitely no one with a compact camera if would enable, even for free, to cover a wedding, concert, or photo shoot.
My first tip is: The first thing I see in common in these questions is that the starters haven’t figured out the capabilities of their equipment, so let’s talk about the most common types of cameras that we have in the market and are widely used by photographers beginners and hobbyists.

Camera model

There are several levels of cameras, but I’m going to stick to the 2 types: Superzoom Cameras and DSLR cameras.


If you are not sure your camera is a superzoom, they are simple to identify, not switch lens, are more robust than the compact cameras and normally written on them an amount considered great as Zoom 30 x, 40 x, 50 x, 60 x, etc., besides stay with the long lens when using the full zoom.
The most popular models in my courses are: Canon PowerShot HS SX50, SX60, SX530, Nikon P510, P520, P610, P900, Sony DSC-L840-H300, H400 and DSC-DSC-HX400.
The superzoom evolved much in recent years, especially those released after 2014. The older models are compact cameras with zoom and all! Already the latest can, in good light conditions, amazing results compared to their predecessors. They still have a small sensor, which is what determines your majority, the final quality of the photo, and this smaller sensor, deal badly with high ISOS, hampered acceptable results in night shots.
They even remotely can be considered professional cameras or semi-professionals, however I’ve seen some big department stores selling superzoom as professional camera, so be very careful!
So what really is the point of having a superzoom? Simple, are extremely versatile cameras have lenses that range from wide-angle to the superzoom in a single camera in the cheapest way possible, which is not to say cheap, since for a DSLR have the same focal lengths that a superzoom can cost up to 10 times more.
Are cameras designed primarily for amateur photographers photographing his travels and small tours. It is possible to shoot professionally with a superzoom? Unlikely, since in addition to the final quality lower in relation to the DSLR cameras, she has no accessories and settings available for determining good results ever,and here it is important to note that “always” because what makes a professional photographer is the consistency of good photographic results.
This means that you can get good pictures of the anniversary day of your nephew, but hardly you will get, because of the limitations of this type of camera, get good results in all the birthdays that you hire or invite to photograph.
Like all the cameras, the superzoons also soaring exponentially of possibilities if you shoot in manual mode. You can read here more about subject: “3 Reasons to shoot in Manual mode”.
I know a lot of people happy with their superzoons, but many are unhappy with their results and associate it to the equipment you have, take into consideration that when you see those photos in the ad in the advertisements of sales of these cameras, 99% or were made in spectacular light conditions or were made in manual mode and are pós-produzidas, that demonstrates the possibilities that that model reaches but it is not the default photo, that of “automatic”.


DSLR cameras are divided, especially here in Brazil, in 3 categories: entrance, semi-professional and professional. But in this article I will talk only of input cameras.

Entry DSLR

The cameras considered “input” are designed for the novice user, generally who are buying the first DSLR, then barateiam the most companies, including the physical quality, to attract an audience that likes to shoot, but don’t know for sure yet, what it means to have a DSLR, and everything that involves to achieve good results, but like all other , is far from a camera to shoot in automatic mode.
Among her sisters, they are smaller and lighter, to remember the size of a superzoom, but Exchange lenses. And like any camera, including mobile, in excellent condition, you’re going to get good photos in automatic mode. The great advantage of a DSLR for a compact camera or even a superzoom, is that she will have more quality and mainly possibilities depending on the joint between lens and adjustments. Of course she is dedicated, by the manufacturers, to a much higher level of automation than cameras semipro and professional, said the idea is to be friendly, and is an excellent choice for you who want to study photography, because you will be able to have great results and will understand exactly where you’re going to have to go, or be , to which type of camera, when she doesn’t answer any more pro type of picture that you are expecting.
The great advantage of any DSLR, including input, is that they do not become obsolete quickly, unlike other types of camera, so you can buy including one used to see if it is really what you want, or invest in a new camera, knowing that will take some years to improve as a photographer and achieve better results. There are excellent models on the market as the Canons T5, T5i and T6i, or the Nikons D3300, D5300 D5500 either.
The entry DSLR cameras, are tuned to photography students, or amateur photographers who want to experience a DSLR, are not facing cameras photographing events, because they have limitations as a burn speed, clock speed and battery life, essential items to get a professional result, but can be excellent choices for filming as T5i.
It is possible to shoot professionally with a camera? Here, what will determine your chances of getting good results (within the limitations of this type of camera), will be your photographic ability, and as I have said a thousand times, shoot in manual mode for those who are thinking about shooting professionally, is not optional, since even if you switch to other scene modes semi-automatic, as P, AV or TV , you necessarily need to know fotometrar and understand how they work in the Openingset, Speed and ISO. And accessories that can enhance the ability of your camera as lenses and Flash.
The most delicate of investing in this type of camera is the best accessories are usually more expensive than the camera itself. Not long ago a reader asked me what professional lens I would indicate to her picture, in addition to the 50 mm f/1.8 that she already had, I pointed out the 24-70 mm for being excellent and more versatile than some fixed lens for the same purpose. It turns out that her camera is a Nikon D3300, one of the best cost x benefit for those who are starting, and it costs on average $500 (dollars), the Canon lens 24-70 mm f/2.8 costs $1,800 .00 (us dollars).
In this situation my best tip is:
In the case of portrait, have a camera input, a clear lens like a 50 mm f/1.8, a batter, shoot in manual mode and get to do daytime and outdoor tests, can mean raise enough money to invest in more advanced equipment and testing to nocturnal or in closed places.
In short, the conditions under which I can shoot professionally with a camera?
first Mastering the manual mode – indispensable!
2 giving preference to daytime photos or in controlled light.
3 keeping the small events like a civil wedding in an open place, and day.
4 Investing in accessories like external flash, diffusers and reflectors.
What will make you achieve great results is, and always will be, in the case of photography, the light! From quantity to quality, from your domain, this is the daily challenge of all of us who love art so much. If you have that in mind, will have half of the battle.
I saw not long ago an article of a Grand canal photo with a story of a photographer showing how it was possible to get professional results with a cell phone. If 1 1 person reads the story without paying attention to detail, is finding that bought your DSLR for nothing, but in fact it was almost a trick question, Yes, all photos were taken with a cell phone (excellent, by the way), but all the conditions of the pictures were professionals! Starting with the photographer who visibly dominated like no other lighting concepts, model, professional and also very well produced and closing with gigantic lighting diffusers that usually can make anyone look beautiful, even waking up!
In my view, the photos were incredible … for a cell phone, but away from the results that we’re used to our dear DSLR.


Professional photo is usually done by a professional, and that’s not just a matter of camera, but it helps a lot, how much more evolved is that camera, the more she will have resources to give you a better result, but you will need to master these resources, otherwise you will get the same picture you took with superzoom. What I mean by that, is that the evolution of your equipment is directly connected to your evolution as a photographer, you need to read the manual, get understand photometry and what are the real possibilities that your camera offers. The great advantage of knowing all of this, is that you will be able to consider your expectations (or your client) with the camera you have, guess, or be based on the assumption of another person, even if this is more experienced than you.
Will do a night event? Shoot your room at night, gather some friends and mock people partying as the event you want to cover. A day? Don’t let to “train” with your customer, you can visit the site with another person, make pictures in all possible settings, note the place, calmly, without pressure from the result, discover the limits of your camera, your lens, your abilities.
I don’t know what would be the best lens for the kind of photo you want to do? Visit sites like Flikr and 500px and look at the equipment used by the type of picture that you want to cover.
If you have a camera input, before accepting a job, whether paid or unpaid, answer Yes to the following questions:
-What or who I’m going to shoot you can repeat the photo or pose?
-Where am I going to photograph, have time to adjust, change the lighting, or test light in place?
-When am I going to photograph, give me enough time to train the type of lighting that is likely to have to deal with?
-The type of lens, camera and accessories that will use have enough resources to deliver quality photos?
-I am committed to learn to deal with my equipment and to devote time to it before I do the job?
I’ve seen a lot of beginner do miracles with input equipment and I have also seen many bad pictures of professional equipments, which leads me to conclude that the preparation of the photographer will always be above any equipment.
And finally, with all those answers, be honest with who is hiring you or asking you, show some pictures under those conditions, you may be surprised how it’s more peaceful work when expectations are at levels that should be.
I hope this article has been helpful to you, if you like that sort of article, share a lot and tell me here in the comments what you think.
See you soon and we go together!