Forgive me, I am not against photographers or photography classes. In truth, I am a strong proponent of eductating yourself as much as possible, particularly when it comes to photography. However, due to a recent change in attitude on my part, I must say this.
Photographers are not necessarily the by-product of great camera gear!
Believe it. I said it, and I'm sticking with it. I, too was once a proponent of the idea that one must have the very best of gear in order to be a photographer. He needed a well equiped studio that had all the lighting equipment and technical aids for any kind of photo setup.
I was mistaken.
The gear does not define the photographer. Neither does the college degree define the photographer. And, a special "gift" does not make one a photographer.
Photography is real life. It's an individual who knows when to press the shutter button on the camera. It's about "seeing" the light that will make a difference in the photo.
Think about the wonderful images that have captured your imagination or moved you to some different emotional state. Those are the images of a photographer. They have life. Even the photographs of still objects that attract you do it by stirring you emotionally. Those pictures call out to you and grab you.
Photographers take these kind of pictures. They can do it with great gear or mediocre gear. They can do it with a pinhole camera, if necessary. They have a passion for it. When they see the photograph, they press the shutter button.
Some of the ways you can identify a photographer:
• A photographer looks at the world artistically and notices things like light and color values, and he incorporates line and design in his photographic compositions.
• A photographer appreciates nature and can photograph it so that everyone else can too.
• A photographer is exceedingly observant of his surroundings and takes lots of images of it.
• He loves sharing his pictures so that others can experience the emotions that they bring out.
But there are also some common misconceptions about photographers that you need to get rid of:
• He is not just lucky. Being at the right place at the right time does play a part in the game, but it is not because of luck. It is because she is dedicated to her passion.
• He is good because she has the newest and bestest of gear. Many folks think that if they don't have that new digital SLR that just came out with the super-duper prime lens, they will not get the best shots. Although having good gear is important for a pro, it does not define a photographer.
• A photographer does not need to be a born artist. It is true that some people have a better eye for picture making, but it is also true that the eye can be trained to see the creative images.
• A photographer is savvy about technical concepts. A misconception about photography is that it is very technical, and therefore it is hard to learn. Sorry, but this is just not true. A photographer can take remarkable pictures with a cell phone. Some cameras and studio setups are quite technical, nevertheless, once again, they do not define a photographer.
Great photography is really extremely simple. Be willing to take a photograph when the opportunity presents itself (hence the term "photo opportunity"). "See" your surroundings in a different light. Be familiar with some basic guidelines about shooting technique. Shoot.