Is It You Or Your Camera?

Any Camera Will Do

Is It You Or Your Camera?

While getting my hair cut, the stylist mentioned he dreamed of learning photography but that he couldn’t afford a fancy camera right now. I about fell out of my chair. Wait. WUT? Why do you need a fancy camera to learn how to take pictures and have fun doing it?

Most of us get a bit cranky when someone compliments us on a photo we have taken but then adds that we must have a really nice camera. Ya know what though? Maybe sometimes our camera does have a lot to do with it. Nope, not all of it but maybe some of it. Yes, I agree that if your pictures suck they are going to suck regardless of what camera you are using but the flip side of that is you can learn a lot no matter which camera you are using too.

Can you get a decent shot with a point and shoot camera? How about your cell phone?

If not, maybe it is time to go back to the basics of learning.

Challenge yourself to spend a week working on basic photography composition using nothing more than a very basic point and shoot camera or your cell phone. You can of course still edit your images if you choose to but do not resort to using your DSLR for this challenge.

I can barely wait to see your results. Make sure to stop back here and share how it went for you along with leaving a link so we can see!


J. Cricket Walker


  1. Michael HouldenMichael Houlden02-05-2013

    Awesome Cricket!
    In fact, I’ve been invited to exhibit some of my photography in a gallery this spring and 80% or more of what I’m choosing to exhibit was taken AND edited in my iPhone or iPad.

    • Cricket WalkerCricket Walker02-05-2013

      I am following a photographer that uses his iPhone when he travels. I have been totally blown away by his results. Absolutely incredible.

  2. Nancy HoltNancy Holt02-05-2013

    All images I have posted since joining are with P/S. I’ll post a few & see if you like them… If so, I’d like to encourage others without 1K cameras that if you have an eye for photography, buy a reasonable digital P/S with high pixel & zoom & go have fun! I am a landscape designer, so have an eye for balance, color combinations, composition, so it may have been the reason I began to enjoy photography… If you give it a try without worrying about too many details, try it!

  3. Carol TomanyCarol Tomany02-06-2013

    I’m in. Even though I have a dslr I am addicted to my Canon Powershot and use it everyday.

  4. BeckyBecky02-06-2013

    I’ve taken a lot of good pics with a point and shoot. I used a Fuji for quite a while. I still have it and now that you mention it, since my Canon is drt and will be a while til I get another one, I’m going to pull out that old thing and HAVE FUN 🙂

  5. Alison GrahamAlison Graham02-06-2013

    Excellent post, Cricket!

    Some of the favorite images in my portfolio are ones I shot with my iPhone. I learned many of my basic lessons in composition and post-processing using the phone as well. It is truly amazing what phone cameras do now — I have a P/S camera, but never use it any more. The phone is easier to carry and gives me great results that are immediately shareable.

    Almost all of the photos I posted for the January portion of the 365 day challenge were taken with my iPhone, since I had limited use of my left arm after surgery. There are a few things I can’t do well with it (bokeh, zoom, low light) but I view those as challenges to me as the photographer. Part of the skill set is knowing what you can and can’t accomplish with your equipment (whatever it is) and how to push the boundaries.

    I took an online course called “iShot That” that walked me through all sorts of techniques with the iPhone and apps. If you are interested in making the most of your phone camera, and can find a session, I highly recommend it.

  6. Joyce CampJoyce Camp02-13-2013

    Just realized my all my photos are with a point and shoot. My Nikon P510 isn’t an DSLR LOL

  7. Sumita SahaSumita Saha06-06-2013

    Just stumbled upon your blog – and I must say I am glad someone’s posting about the simpler things too. I started off with a simple 7.2mp/ 8x optical zoom Sony Cybershot in college, got gifted a Nikon D3100 (which someone pinched in 8 months’ time, bugger him/ her) and havent had the heart (or the bucks!) to buy another since. But I did take that up as a bit of a challenge to try and do better with my humble ol’ faithful digicam. And I think I do rather better than some people with really impressive gear. An eye for subjects, the weather gods, a sense of angles and creative pp are what really help, if you have decent lens of 5mp at least. Yeah, that too – I dont know why people just go for the jugular when you mention post-processing. IMHO, that doesnt really make a photo any more ‘fake’ than manipulating your DSLR settings for the perfect image. Both are art-forms of different types, for the same results. Hope I havent opened a can of worms here!

    Will come back and post some pics, if you are still doing this one – I think I got here a lil late?

  8. JerryJerry08-06-2013

    I think people would not believe what camera I use, if, I told them. So, I dont.

  9. I finally made a trip from fb to check out this blog. I love this particular article.

    It’s not the camera. I’ve been playing with photography since I was 13. I started with a 1940’s Kodak 35 Rangefinder with fixed 50mm lens. I used it all through school while my friends were using the newer, “cooler” SLRs with multiple lenses. It took more work to fit my vision into that little camera. I had to zoom with my feet. There wasn’t a built in light meter so I used a handheld meter. I also had my own darkroom where I processed my own film and prints. Basically the same things everyone does on their computers today. Since the top shutter speed of my camera was 1/200, I had to learn to be patient for action shots and wait for the action to peak before pressing the button. My camera did not have a “hot” shoe”. I used bracket mount flash units with a sync cords that use lots of batteries. And of course then it was film with 24 or 36 exposures, very limiting. No winder, so missing a shot was a real probability. Again, I learned to per-visualize the image in my head and wait for everything to fall into place before wasting a shot. Was I disadvantaged in any way. No, I actually think my school mates lost out on the many lessons learned with that little camera. I also had my own darkroom where I processed my own film and prints. Basically the same things everyone does on their computers today. My images from that little camera won top honors in several art competitions. I always got a kick out of peoples faces when they found out the winning images were taken with an antique camera.

    So, I feel with today’s technology, the only reason folks would be taking so-so or even lousy pictures is the lack of studying the art and PRACTICE! Lots of practice. Don’t waste money on expensive gear until you learn how to work within the confines of the camera in your hands. It is, after all, only a tool. You are the master of the tool. The tool can only follow the instructions you give it. When you practice, start with quiet scenes where you won’t feel rushed to explore the camera’s settings. Download the instruction manual to you smartphone or pad so you can access it readily. I’ve even downloaded a third party book from a photographer who delved deep into the capabilities of my cameras. Find an artist who’s work you admire and would like to emulate and ask them if they’d mind sharing tips to help you improve. Slowly move up to more complicated compositions and environments where you’re forced to work under more stress until you know the camera and start getting the images you see in your head into the camera. Once you’ve learned all you can with that camera or it finally quits, then step up to the next level. Don’t spend above your learning level. Nothing is more frustrating than to feel you have to get great pictures now because you just spent a couple thousand dollars and it’s just not happening! Another advantage is to learning with the current camera first, it will give you a chance to meet folks with the bigger cameras who may let you try a couple shots here and there so you can start to get an idea of what brand you’ll want to step into when that day comes around.

    Just my mental ramblings. Happy shooting.

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