The Hobbyist Photographer’s Lament

I bought my first SLR a few years ago, a Canon XSi, an entry level SLR that was meant to replace the XT/XTi series. I remember when I first got it, I wanted to start using the manual settings from Day One, realizing soon that that wasn’t going to happen.

I told my photographer friend this, expecting a rolling the eyes or a hint of disappointment in her words when I told her that I was going to have to use the automatic settings for a while. Her response of “Well, what else would you be using?” caught me off guard but she had a point- I couldn’t automatically know how to do everything right away. With these things, you have to start from the beginning, y’know? I couldn’t expect to just get an SLR and become an Ultimate Wonder Photographer (UWP for short!) overnight and so I had no choice but to get over myself and understand that I would have to learn things.

A couple of years passed and after having worked my way through the various settings, I upgraded my camera to a snazzier one based on my friend’s* advice. I then became a hobbyist with a camera that actual photographers use.

And I gotta be honest, it makes me feel weird sometimes…

I bought my camera because I enjoy taking pictures. I’ve always been into taking pictures and this has allowed me to take it all to the next level. I take it to some weddings or parties or just around because I try to take advantage of some opportunities and practice. The problem is that when people comment on it, I feel like I have to justify why I even have an SLR. I always disclaim my camera saying that I don’t consider myself a real photographer, that I only play one on TV (It’s a joke! Laugh!). I end up downplaying it by writing off any skill I may have so I don’t come off as this arrogant person who thinks I’m awesome because of the nice camera in my hands.

But I realized I shouldn’t downplay things so much to the point that someone actually has to ask me if I know how to use it, which has happened. Why yes, I do know how to use the settings! I’m not a UWP yet (I still have a ways to go before I become a true Jedi Photographer) but I shouldn’t sell myself short, as is a trend with me in my life. From here on out, I’m not going to act like I don’t know how to use the thing, but I hopefully won’t be arrogant about it. For example, the other night I was talking about the features of the camera to someone at a party who had inquired and I think I was able to do that in a manner that didn’t reek of pompousness. I hope, anyways :)

So if I’m at a thing and I take out my camera, my lenses, and start to mount my flash on the camera body, it’s not so others could see me and think I’m awesome, but because this is simply a hobby and I like taking pictures.

Before I end this random post on a sometimes random topic, I have one more thing to say. You know what else weirds me out? When people with SLRs make others feel bad when the other folks are using automatic settings on their own cameras. It’s their camera! Let them use it how they want, it’s all good and there’s room for all of us with our fancy cameras.

The End

The first time I went on vacation with the camera upgrade - At the Sydney Opera House

*As a good friend who is also a good photographer, I pretty much do whatever my friend Monica tells me I should do when it comes to photography. Check out her site –

For further reading, check out A Photoshoot of Kids OR: It’s a Good Thing I Don’t Drink

8 thoughts

  1. Keep doing it for you! You don’t have to explain your awesomeness to anyone. I don’t think you could do cocky even if you tried. It would come off as sarcasm.

    Great writing.

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