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Reality Check: What Counts as ‘Pro’ Photography Gear?


The short answer: whatever works for you. In this short video/soliloquy, photography educator Matt Granger takes a break from looking at the best pro photo gear, to help define what exactly “pro gear” means to him, and what it should mean to you.

We call this a “reality check” because, given the frantic pace of camera gear releases, it’s easy to get sucked into the trap of thinking you have to use a certain camera, or lens, or accessory in order to capture a certain genre of photography. In other words: if you wanna be a professional photographer, you need the standard professional gear.

There’s just one problem with that, at least according to Matt: there’s no such thing as “professional” gear, just gear professionals use.

To make his point, Matt shares several examples of successful pro photographers from various genres who use a wide variety of gear—some very old, some cutting edge, some different than what you might expect for their genre. And after showing you all of these examples, Matt gets to his point:

The takeaway I want you to get from this is: don’t feel pressured to use specific gear just because it’s considered ‘professional’ or ‘standard’ for your genre.

If a $50 used camera gets the results you need, awesome! If you need certain features or special gear above that, that’s also fine. Don’t fall into the ignorant trap of saying ‘that gear isn’t suitable for professional work.’

So, what counts as professional photography gear? Whatever you need to create acceptable work and make your clients happy as a professional photographer… period. If that’s an iPhone, good for you. If it’s a 1DX Mark II with a $9,000 500mm f/4L II lens, we won’t judge.