You may have noticed a Facebook post several weeks ago about my acquisition of a new camera. Since then I have given it a good workout. The question is; does it make me a better photographer?

The answer is no, it does not make me a better photographer. Being a photographer is more than just the tool we use. It is the time to practice and learn our craft. It is the vision and style that we develop over time. It is about using light and shadow, color and contrast. It is the art we make.

If I were a carpenter or a cook, it would not be the tools of the trade that allow me to make a piece of furniture or a wonderful meal. It is the skills I have developed with time, learning and practice that make that possible. Sure, the new table saw or the new food processor will make the process easier or allow me to do things not possible before but I must be competent in my skills first. If I don’t know how to measure or any of the other basic skills my table will wobble or my bread will not rise.

So yes, like any new tool, my new camera will allow me to do things not possible with my previous one. Once I press the shutter the file will be technically better thus allowing me more flexibility in the editing process. Yet the skills to compose and capture the image, and the skills in editing are still necessary to create an outstanding image. With continued practice, study and an interest in developing my skills, my images will continue to improve over time.

So, this brings up the question I routinely get; “I would like to get into photography, what camera should I get?” There is a saying that “The best camera is the one you have with you.” To a degree this is true. If you are just getting into photography then you most likely already have a camera with you that is fairly capable to make good images and that is the one in your cell phone. You already have it and it is almost always with you. Your use of composition, light and shadow, texture and contrast can all be developed using the camera in your cell phone and many of the new ones have some amazing features, so why not use it? After you have spent time developing your skills and learning about the art of photography you will also gain the knowledge of what you may need in a camera to further develop as a photographer and improve your images.