Feature Friday // What I learn by NOT being a photographer with IPS

Yes. The truth is out. I, Jamie, work for IPS and I am NOT a photographer. Strange as this is, it is not because I don’t like taking pictures. Trust me. I have 327 photos on my Instagram account. Photo snapping does have a place in my life. However, I hadn’t really used a DSLR camera until our recent trip to Europe.

– iPhone picture. I thought about putting in the one with the Instagram filter but I feel like that is cheating. –

Truth be told, before I left for PhotoEx: Austria & Switzerland I took a crash course by watching the IPS lecture videos about how to work all the settings on my sister’s camera (Canon 40D). I learned how to center the needle in manual mode and move the little focus box to where I wanted to focus. Not too hard right? I can see how people can get into this sort of thing.  Somehow, just by holding this big, cool, camera, I feel like I am a photographic genius. Don’t believe me? Ask Rowan. I texted him something to that effect after watching the IPS lectures. True story. But maybe that’s more of a testament to Rowan’s teaching ability than my genius.

For this post I did some reading on what other people are saying about DSLRs. And this is what I have learned from experience and research.

1. A DSLR is rather big and bulky to carry around

In most of those “super, cool, awesome” photo moments I reached for my phone in my pocket, not the camera in my backpack.

Granted, you can get a great camera bag that slings over your shoulder and makes your camera more accessible, but the non-photographer is not going to have that. I also think back to the hike that we did in Switzerland. I was so glad that I was not hauling a big camera, lenses, and whatever else is in that camera bag. No. My bag was light as a feather with my granola bar and water and I was happy as a clam … I have to agree with this article by Dan Nosowitz of Popular Science, on this point.

– This is straight off my phone from that hike day. –


2. If you are a student or a professional, get a DSLR

– This photo was taken with my sister’s camera. Yes, it is better than my iPhone pictures. – 

If you are a student who is learning photography specifically, yes, get a DSLR camera. Because you actually care about f-stops, shutter speeds, ISO and focus points. And of course, if you are a professional, DSLRs are the way to go. Scott Williams says a DSLR is like a gym membership, you use it for the first month or so and then never again. I shouldn’t buy a DSLR. I am not a student or a professional. If you have a nice camera, take a class and learn how to use it. Learn how to actually take a great photo, not just a photo that you think is great.

3. There are some really great cameras that are not DSLRs

I then read this article that has me excited to look into the new technology for the mirrorless cameras. It got me thinking about what I want in a camera and what I will be using it for. I will now share with you my super-secret, top 3 list.

– Accessibility. I want to be able to pull and shoot when I want to.

– Manual controls. The control freak in me wants to change any settings I want to get the picture to look good.

– Price. I need to decide how much I want to spend on a hobby. My iPhone does a pretty good job at the moment. And it’s my phone. And it’s my planner. And it’s my wallet.

The exciting thing is, IPS is currently working on curriculum for students who do not have an DSLR but want to learn how to take better photos with their camera. I think I will take that course. Maybe with my new camera, or my iPhone.

This is also another great reason to use your iPhone. If you aren’t a professional that is.

And buying or even holding a DSLR does not make you a photographer. I would know … I am the one with my phone.


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