Friday, November 13, 2009

Today I Reach Some Sort of Blogging Apex. I May Never Out-Do It.

Back to yesterday-

When I hear, "What kind of camera do you have?" or, "You have such a nice camera! Wow!" I am 2 things:
1. Blessed by the compliment, and tempted to let them know how clueless I am.
2. Compelled to encourage them and say all the things I'll say below.

Lots of photographers say something similar to what I'm about to say. And now I'm saying it.

It's like, if you have a baby, and with the baby came "I just had a baby" thighs, and you got focused and determined and ate meticulously and worked out good and hard and faithfully and got those thighs into excellent form within a couple of months, and some well-meaning woman at church tells you, "You're so lucky, the weight just melts right off of you! I never could get the baby weight off like that! I bet you can eat anything you want!" You'd kind of want to slap them. A tiny part of you would. You know they're paying you a compliment, and they have no idea what you went through, but it's a little bit of a diss to your sacrifice and effort- but you say Thank You!! anyway, because you know in their heart, they are encouraging you.

I will move on. This is going somewhere sometime.

Excellent photographs are not accidental, and believe it or not, are not even the product of "nice" equipment. They are the fruit of countless hours of reading, thinking, learning, experimenting and trial and error. They don't just happen. I'd like to be an excellent photographer someday. Maybe you dream of becoming one too. One tiny victory at a time, we can get there, and there's no point that you "stop" growing, so we can look forward to many happy years of discovery together. (Doesn't what I said sound cheesy?? I can't believe I'm not deleting that. Well, I'm not deleting it, because it's true.)

The assumption would be that having a "nice" camera is what you need to have great photos.

Having nice golf clubs doesn't make you Tiger any more than having a microphone makes you Bono or having a glue gun makes you Martha.

I want to really, really encourage you today. The camera you have right now takes gorgeous, priceless photos.

It's true- the artistry and technical attributes of shooting with a DSLR contribute to amazing photography, but it doesn't start there. It starts with passion that inspires hard work. If you don't have the passion for photography, then your DSLR may be a waste of your money that could be saved or given or spent elsewhere. Let me explain...

Loving good photography (which, like all art, is relative and judged by the beholder) and loving the craft of creating great photos- these are not always linked. I just think it's important to say that before I throw this, as promised, bullet-pointed list at you.

It's not about your equipment. It's just not. It's about your love for capturing moments, and your desire for mastering the camera, to show it how to take the best possible images it can.
And I know so many of you love to capture those moments. And you just need to know the LOVE is what it's all about.

Again. You take amazing pictures, and you can achieve greater and greater skill, no matter what camera you have!

So you still think you want to move on up, Mrs. Jefferson?

If you're trying to decide if you'd like to move up to a DSLR from your point and shoot (that's what you have if you don't have a DSLR), here are my two cents, with Bullet Points!
  • Chances are, your point and shoot is like, really smart. I have a Nikon Coolpix that can do all kinds of things. And it takes amazing video. It's tiny and stays with me at all times. Get out your point and shoot manual, and learn all about it. You might be surprised at what it can do.

  • If you survived the manual, get online and learn as much as you can about exposure, aperture, composition, ISO, focal points, posture when shooting, shutter speed, etc. Start out with sites like iHeartFaces, or Pioneer Woman Photography, which are incredibly easy to read and understand.

  • If you feel overwhelmed, that's perfect. No problem. But if you feel overwhelmed and annoyed and disinterested, you may not want to pursue a big investment right now. Maybe just hang out with your current point and shoot a little longer, and with the knowledge you gained from the sites above, I bet your photos are already looking better. Give yourself some time and wait a little. You won't regret waiting, if it means you avoid buyer's remorse...

  • But, if you feel bolder, more determined, more passionate, more excited, even more giddy about getting out and about with your camera...then you might want to think a little more seriously about stepping up. (But don't do it just yet...)

I guess my point (which I am taking forever to get to, even with the bullet points), is that you need to really love photography in order to use a DSLR to it's full, or even partial, potential. Because, if you don't care, you won't be compelled to know your camera, and you'll just use it like your...P and S.

By all means, if you want a DSLR, it's not anyone's place to tell you not to get one. No problem. I'll discuss another day more about the pros and cons of having one, to give you a better idea.

But in a way, to someone who's really put some soul into photography of any kind, it's a bit of a shame to see a DSLR go to waste, basically just being used to take the same snapshots a point and shoot could've taken, simply because the owner didn't take the time to learn some of the tried and true basics, and they just seem to like the idea of having "the best". Like Edward in Pretty Woman. A Penthouse and he never even goes out on the balcony?? Such a waste. (But see, YOU can take the time to learn those basics and YOUR point and shoot will take really, really nice pictures because of it, and if you take the $$$$ plunge and get a DSLR, you will LOVE it and work it like a pro!)

It's a litmus test, if you will. If you don't feel excited or interested in learning about photography and working on the "basics" now, you won't feel excited or interested in learning about it once you purchase a DSLR. Even if you spent a ton of money and feel "sure" you'll want to once you've got one.

It will be just like the fancy ThighMaster you bought eight years ago, because you were so inspired by Suzanne Somers' rock-hard bod. You might like how her thighs look, but it will take more than that, and owning the ridiculous contraption, if you want to get those thighs. Otherwise, it's just money gone forever and a dusty piece of equipment somewhere in your closet.

Only blogging geniuses can segue from DSLRs to ThighMasters. I impressed even myself today, peeps. I better quit while I'm ahead.

I'll be back to answer yesterday's question...on Monday. Yes, Yes, OF COURSE, I'll bring back the bullet points.


american mum said...

Love it! I would have never thought to compare DSLRs to Thigh Masters. You're awesome, Megan, and so is your photography!

Danielle said...

Great advice, Megan! I know so many folks who already have a D40 and only ever use it on auto and want to buy more lenses. I'm like, "learn to use your camera in manual first, please!" If you've got a camera that great, it's a waste of money to only use it in auto mode!

Erin A said...

Just found your site, love the pointers! I am newish to all of this as well, still trying to make the most sense of my camera and all that it can do. Cue Jerry McGuire, "Help me help you..." I feel this way often with my lovely DSLR gem. :)

Looking forward to reading through your other posts!

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