While staring rather mindlessly at my TweetDeck Twitter feed early this morning, I was jolted out of my part-Twitter-induced, part-just-got-up trance when someone in the #photography Tweetosphere Tweeted the obvious, "I need a camera to improve my skill in photography."
My first reaction: "Well, d'uh!"
Then, mostly because I have too much time on my hands, I began considering what this Twit might actually be trying to say. After some caffeine-aided deliberation, I decided the aforementioned Twitterer who so successfully grabbed my attention and snapped me out of my morning stupor probably enjoys taking photos but doesn't do so with a camera. Leastwise, with a camera they consider a "real" camera.
With that thought in mind, I decided this person is either someone shooting with a point-n-shoot or perhaps with a cell phone when routinely capturing their precious Kodak moments or whatever it is they mostly point their image-capturing device at. (I could have sent them a Tweet asking for clarification but I sometimes prefer making up my own answers to the burning questions I also make up. Can't help it. They draw me this way.)
The notion of needing a camera -- i.e., a "real" camera like a digital SLR -- inspires some not-so-important questions like, "Can someone learn photography with a point-n-shoot or a photo-capable cell phone?"
The obvious answer is yes. Heck, you can learn a lot about photography with something as lo-fi and low-tech as a pinhole camera and most point-n-shoots and cell phone cameras have way more photographic capabilities than pinhole cameras. So yeah, of course, quite a bit about photography can be learned without owning one of today's new-fangled "real" cameras.
To a point, that is.
If you're really serious about learning photography, there will come a point when you'll probably want more versatility and capability than most point-n-shoots or cell phone cameras deliver, the iPhone 4 and all its apps notwithstanding. In fact, much of that versatility and capability will come from the ability to do things like having more manual control of your camera, the ability to swap out lenses, to fire remote strobes, and more.
You see, most point-n-shoots and cell phone cameras are purposefully designed in such a way that users can snap some pretty decent pics without the bothersome need to learn much of anything about the art and craft of photography. Nothing wrong with that. Everyone snapping pictures doesn't need to be a "photographer." For those people, i.e., the non-photographer photographers, here's the best part: The less they learn and know about photography, the less their good photos actually need to be good photos for them to consider them good photos. (If that makes sense.)
I suppose I should also mention that most "real" cameras, you know, those nifty digital SLRs that have become so popular, are also designed to operate much the same way, that is, minus the need for the user to actually learn photography. (Much the way their smaller point-n-shoot and cell phone cousins operate.) You see, most "real" cameras also have many of the same auto-functions and NB modes (No Brainer) thus alleviating the pesky necessity of actually learning much about photography in order to snap some pretty nice photographs.
Having said all that, I believe most of you who are reading this are more than a little interested in learning photography and/or increasing your photography skills so, to you, as well as to that unknown Twitter person who inspired this (kinda dumb and less-than-meaningful) blog update, please allow me to also state the obvious: "If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend you get yourself a camera, a "real" camera, in order to improve your skills in photography."
Again, I'm not saying you can't learn photography without a "real"camera but, so far, no one has been willing to pay me to shoot using a point-n-shoot or a cell phone. While that might someday happen, it hasn't happened yet. Beyond improving one's skills, I think that says something about what sorts of cameras are considered a requirement for being a serious or "real" photographer, leastwise by most of the people who pay other people to shoot photos... and probably by many other people as well.
Like so many other things in life, perception is everything.
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The string bikini-clad pretty girl at the top is Alexa Lynn.