Do you need professional photography equipment to be a professional photographer? Does the look you portray mean as much as the images you create? Where do the explanations that it’s the photographer not the camera end and the equipment really begins to matter?
There’s a group of photographers that make the case that the equipment matters and without that huge white lens or 14 frames per second camera, you’ll never make the images you desire. Without thousands of dollars in lighting and modifiers, the final image will suffer and you will never make it as a photographer. Without starting with the best equipment you are just a hobbyist and will make it when you have the kit you “need”.
Then there is another segment of photographers that repeat, "It’s the artist, not the camera that creates the image." The knowledge of where to be or how to pose, and when to click the shutter is where the professionalism begins. The maker of the image determines all things in the photograph and whether taken with a smart phone or a $48,000 Hassleblad they are creating the imagery at a professional level.
In this video from Benjamin Jaworskyj, he details several views that range on both sides of the debate. Jaworskyj explains how that position changes depending on who or what you are creating imagery of. When it comes down to eliciting a response from a subject or a client, I believe the look you portray directly impacts the perceived value you offer. This doesn’t matter for landscape work normally, but when interacting with subjects on the street or creating work with a brand; your kit will matter to a degree.
How do you feel about the debate over gear and technical understanding regarding photography? Do either matter more than the other or is it something else like the way you treat your subject or client that truly communicates your professionalism?