Portrait photographer Miquel Quiles says he has seen new photographers make a lot of mistakes as they get started with their new hobby, one of which is where they choose to spend their money. In this 10-minute video, Quiles highlights five items he says new photographers should never buy.
Number one: Don’t buy a UV Filter. “UV filters don’t work any better towards protecting your lens than something like your lens hood that comes packaged in the box,” Quiles says. “It makes no sense to me why anyone would want to put a cheap piece of plastic or glass in front of their expensive lenses. They simply don’t do what the salespeople are telling you they do.”
Most cameras don’t have particularly good margins for resellers. Dealers make most of their money on volume when it comes to cameras and lenses. However, there is a lot more to be made in the accessories market. One reason a salesperson might try very hard to push a filter on you is that the margins of those filters are much better for them. The specific salesperson might not know this, but the Dealer they work for does and in training will likely instill the need to push products like UV filters onto their salespeople.
The next item Quiles says not to purchase might be a bit more contentious: AI retouching programs.
“I’m not going to name names, but you’ve probably seen ads that promise to retouch your portraits, make them look ‘flawless’ by pushing a button,” he says. “Here’s the truth: the results you get from programs like that are not acceptable at a commercial level.”
Quiles makes it clear that he believes these programs are a detriment to new photographers.
“There is no artificial intelligence that exists today that can make artistic decisions the way that a skilled photographer would.”
The third item builds on the last, as Quiles says that in addition to avoiding AI retouching programs, you should also avoid presets. Quiles says that many YouTubers will sell presets with the promise that with the push of a button, you can make your photos look like theirs.
“This simply isn’t true,” Quiles says emphatically. “Unless you shot the same type of photo they did under the same lighting conditions with similar gear, similar settings, your photos aren’t going to look like the examples that are being shown to you.”
Quiles says that while presets may help give you a good starting point, new photographers generally lack the knowledge and understanding to see this and will find themselves frustrated or confused instead.
“Hold off on buying presets until you’ve gotten comfortable using Lightroom, and by that point, you may decide that you’re better off without them.”
Don’t buy cheap memory cards. Quiles says that while you’re definitely going to need a memory card to take photos, obviously, but the allure of saving a lot of money on a cheap memory card is a bad trap to fall into.
“It didn’t make much sense to me why there was so much of [a price difference] and to be honest I didn’t care to learn, since I was saving so much money,” he says. “Here’s the thing though: not all memory cards are the same.”
Quiles says that it’s important to familiarize yourself with the numbers and symbols on memory cards and purchase the best card for the kind of work you are aiming to produce. If you do not, you may find that the card you purchase isn’t up to the task. This is especially the case if you plan to shoot any video.
The last thing Quiles says to avoid are camera bundles. “If you buy your camera from websites like Amazon, you’re guaranteed to see sellers offering these bundles that have tons of different things included for a few hundred dollars of the camera alone.”
But if you take the time to research all of the items being offered in those bundles, you’ll find that the value might not be as impressive as it first appears. A lot of the items may also end up being “cheap knockoffs” that Quiles says will very likely “end up in the garbage.”
His recommendation is to specifically just purchase the gear you actually want rather than roll the dice on bundles where you might be wasting your money on things you don’t want or need.
What do you think of these recommendations from Quiles? Have you made any of these mistakes before and regretted it? Let us know in the comments. For more from Miguel, you can follow him on Instagram or subscribe to his YouTube Channel.