Thursday 9 July 2015

A bad workman blames his tools

I was part of a discussion recently about iPhone photos. The lady I was chatting to was asking for "proper" camera recommendations because her iPhone photos were, in her words, crap.

I've seen these conversations from a few people recently, and it always gets to me.

"I need to upgrade my camera, because the photos are terrible"

When I mention learning more about the camera, and taking better photos, most people respond that they don't have time, they just need a camera to take awesome photos.

But the bit that they can't quite grasp is that no camera will take awesome photos if you don't know how to use it properly. Not an iPhone, not a point and shoot, not a DSLR or mirrorless camera.

If you don't take the time to learn about photography and learn about your camera, nothing will save your photos.

There are two ways to learn about taking better photos (for free) - take photos, and read. You will only understand your camera by using it. Digital cameras make it so easy to take hundreds of photos while you're learning that all you need is half an hour and your camera manual and something to take photos of (still life is best when you're learning, a bunch of flowers or a tea cup are great starting points)

And pinterest has made it so easy to gather resources into one place for learning. I've learnt a lot about food photography, which has made taking photos of craft projects much easier; and I'm always reading about iPhoneography, cause it's usually the camera I have with me most; you can even get general photography tips.

Are you happy with your photos, or do you need to learn to use your camera?


  1. I still need to read my camera manual.

  2. I can get some awesome photos with my phone but it depends on the situation. Some days it does macro photos better than my little point and shoot.
    I remember picking up dad's expensive camera with all.the fancy levelling and stuff and still managing to take a blurry awful photo. It's definitely the user.

  3. I'm spending a good bit of time on our vacation to really learn my Nikon D3100. I'm tired of auto and want to get into Manual mode. I've watch the DSLR Camera Basics by Tim Cooper (Adobe Photoshop Cafe) and will watch the relevant parts again, this time taking notes. The camera is only 4 years old and my excuse for buying new is almost always to get the bells and whistles on the new camera.

  4. You make some really great points here, Cate. When Carrie was a baby her dad took some really great photos of her. His composition and attention to light was always so well placed, and I would smile when people wanted to know what kind of camera he had. It wasn't really the camera that made the great shots - it was his eye for the shot that made it special. I have kind of become lazy about using my big camera because I love the results I get with my iPhone. I would say 95% of the photos on my blog over the past 6 months are from my phone!

  5. I know! I was determined to learn how to use my DSLR on manual so I took an online course. It was brilliant because it had small sections each week with challenges and a Facebook group to interact with the other participants. It was just the motivation that I needed.

  6. Both - I like my camera(s) and my phone, but I need to learn to use more of the functions on my DSLR!


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