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B&H Photo, like most photography online retailers, has a ‘review’ option for their products. I’ve written a few myself. Some are detailed and thoughtful, other less so but telling in other ways. I recently came across this quote for a Sensei Wide Angle 58mm screw-in lens hood – “It makes me look more like a professional.”

It makes me look more like a professional.

What an absurd comment, yet I know it has a lot of meaning to a lot of photographers. There is this illusion that somehow someone who makes a living out of photography or, to be more accurate given the actual reality of professional photography, appears to make a living out of photography is somehow a better photographer.

This is a patently absurd delusion yet one that is eaten up by scores of beginners as fact. It’s used very effectively to sell camera equipment, the most expensive components being labeled professional level. People buy this stuff convinced that somehow shelling out more cash will make them a better photographer.

It doesn’t happen that way. It’s not the equipment – it’s the user that makes the photograph. A true photographic artist will make art out of a plastic throwaway camera. He or she will also make art out of top-of-the-line equipment too, but in both cases, it is not the equipment that makes the photograph, it is the artist.

This simple lesson needs to be ingrained in every beginning photographer.