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How Important Is It To Learn Photography - Can You Still Be A Photogapher

What is important when it comes to photography? How important are the technical aspects of a camera versus the composition and value of the photos? If you are considering learning photography, these are things you should really settle in your own mind.

I have been on a quest to learn photography for quite some time. That has been a blessing, but it has also been a curse. I have gotten sidetracked with the technical side of photography rather than the creative side.

Is a photographer an artist? An even more pressing question: Does owning a digital SLR camera make someone a photographer?

I have been pondering these two questions lately with regard to my own photography. I do own a digital SLR camera. It's a Canon 30D. I take literally tons of photos with my camera. So, taking photos is not the problem, but I still have trouble declaring myself as a photographer.

The reason for this difficulty is that I incessantly compare my photos with those of others whom I respect. I spend hours looking at the images of others who I view as extremely gifted in the field of photography, and, quite honestly, I consider my own pictures fairly stinky after looking at theirs. But then, someone else views my photos and is amazed at how good they are. The issue, I imagine, is personal anticipation.

My fancy is to capture pictures that can stand up to the likes of Moose Peterson or Joe McNally, a couple of photographers and teachers that I admire greatly. In my eyes, my images just don't rate compared to theirs.

There is no doubt, I am really critical of my own images. But at times, I am even more critical of the work of others who actually do call themselves photographers. Is it really possible that a person declare himself a photographer whenever he does not know the difference between an f-stop from an exposure setting?

Recently, however, I believe I have come to my senses. I have been very narrow minded in my view. It is true that we each have a right to our own view about what is art and what is not. I have come to realize, I invest more time on the technical data and sharpness of the image than on the artistic or emotional value.

An image becomes art when it can inspire or draw out the emotion of a viewer.

A person's ability to manipulate the camera settings, while important, is not art. In addition, if the camera menu is never touched, what is wrong with that? A more important issue is the impact those pictures are making on the intended audience.

Something else I realized as I thought through this issue is that not everyone is trying to get their images accepted by National Geographic or People Magazine. They only want to create memories, and in that sense, they are photographers and artists.

So, as I end my muse about photography and art, let me urge you to continue to shoot those pictures. Let your imagination go wild as you consider the next shot. It may bring a smile to a friend's faceArticle Submission, or it may end up in National Geographic .

Article Tags: Learn Photography

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In an effort to work past my "pixel peeping" tendencies, I figured it would be best to focus my efforts on others who want to learn photography. Would you like to learn photography from someone who has personally discovered most of the mistakes? You can see the value of some very insightful resources by going to my website at

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