"I'm In Awe Of Your Photos - Tell Me About Your Camera"

By Frank Rodriguez

That was a quote from an email I received recently. I appreciate the feedback, but I wonder if she was really just complimenting my camera!

I learned how to take pictures on one of those fully manual cameras that you change the lenses on (SLR, or single lens reflex). I was in college when digital cameras were first released. 

During that time, I was intensely focused on my photography classes, spending countless hours in the darkroom and really honing my skills. 

When my peers and I first heard about digital cameras, we swore we'd never replace our film cameras with a digital camera. (If you think that was hoity-toity, you should have met the art school students - now THOSE were some prize winners!)

It took many years and a few key observations to realize that I had the wrong perspective. 

One of the first things that shook me out of my ivory tower was seeing my mom's vacation photos. Despite my insistence that she get a "real" camera, she always took disposable cameras with her and, to my surprise, kept coming back with compelling photos. 

Then I started noticing all of my friends were buying digital cameras and having a great time taking photos with them. I finally came to the realization that disposable cameras and digital cameras have created a situation where more people are taking more photos, and that's definitely a good thing. 

If I shoot a roll of 24 pictures, I'm lucky if I get 2 photos that I really like, so I understand that in some ways, this is a numbers game. The more photos you create, the more great photos you'll end up with, no matter what you're shooting with.

The latest incarnation of cameras is cameraphones, and I admit that I poo-pooed them the same way that I poo-pooed digital cameras in the 90's. So it's ironic that my favorite recent photo was taken with a cameraphone. 

It's a picture of a ghost child that was taken the day before I arrived at the famous Baker Hotel to shoot a TV pilot. In the end, cameras are just tools, it's what you do with them that matters.

About the Author: Taking the time to create meaningful photos is an investment that appreciates with time. Freelance photographer Frank Rodriguez shares his unique perspective on how to maximize the return on your investment in photography.