wherewewentwrong asked: Do you really need a DSLR to take good quality photos? I'm taking photos for my local shelter to help get the animals adopted but as a penniless college student I don't even come close to having enough money to by a DSLR. Can point and shoot type cameras have just as good of quality?
There’s two sides to “good quality”: actual technical quality of the image (the image that the sensor/lens produces), and the skill of the photographer.
Photographers pick DSLRs over point-and-shoots because the actual technical quality of the image is higher; you have better resolution which allows for clearer images and larger printing, you can capture a wider range of light, the sensor can handle darks better… It also has more options in terms of exposure lengths, aperture, changing lenses… etc. Think of it like the difference between driving a budget sedan and a Maserati: they’re both going to get you where you want to go—but it’ll be a different ride with different mechanics.
But if you don’t know how to drive, having a Maserati won’t make you a good driver. A bad photographer with a DSLR won’t suddenly be a better shooter; realistically, they’ll just have not-as-beautiful pictures in higher quality. That’s why learning photography is more than just the camera, and why photographers get annoyed when people are like “OH man! I wish I had your camera so I could take photos like you!” It’s the foundations that make the photographer, not the camera.
So, no, you don’t need a DSLR to take good photos. If you were doing a photo series for the Guggenheim, well, then a DSLR would be the better call. But for what you’re doing, a point-and-shoot is going to be great, especially if you’re conscientious when taking your photos! Are the animals lit well enough that people can see them? Are they composed in such a way that you can see the entire animal but it still fills most of the frame? If you make sure you’re taking good photos, then the quality won’t be an issue (especially since today’s point-and-shoots are WAY better than they used to be).
YOU bring the quality. The camera is a tool. And sure, “better” tools can make the difference, but if you have a strong foundation, your images won’t be broken by using a point-and-shoot.
(All of that being said, if you don’t have a point-and-shoot already and are looking to buy a camera, consider looking used—you can get amazing deals on DSLRs or mirrorless cameras at the same price point as point-and-shoots. BHphotovideo.com is my favorite place to look: huge inventory, upfront about any damage, etc.)
Now go pick up your camera and get some wee animals adopted! :)