From my ebook, Guerrilla Glamour: "You can have the best gear that money can buy and still shoot photos that suck. (That really sucks, doesn't it?)"
If you think better gear, make that the latest and most expensive gear, is going to automatically make you a better shooter, you've been misled by the marketing and advertising guys who make their livings hyping and pimping all that stuff.
There's only one thing, above all else, that will help make you a better shooter.
When it comes to enhancing and refining your photography skills, the latest-n-greatest cameras, the newest versions of Photoshop or Lightroom, those high-tech digital strobes married to nifty devices that trigger them while allowing your camera to "talk" to your lights, pale in comparison to the actual and oft-practiced experience of shooting.
Anything I write (or that anyone else writes) intended to help you reach higher levels of photographic excellence will do little to help you if you don't get out there and employ those suggestions by shooting.
There are many things in the world that cannot be skillfully and artfully learned from teachers and mentors, by reading books or articles, by viewing videos or listening to podcasts, by attending workshops and seminars, by building flashy websites, by blogging, by networking and meeting-up, or by Tweeting, MySpacing, or Facebooking. Photography is one of them.
I'm not down on better gear. I'm not marginalizing learning methods, traditional or otherwise. I'm simply saying if you truly want to improve your photography you need to get out there and shoot. You need to shoot often. It doesn't matter if you're shooting with a Canon 5D Mk2 or a little point-n-shoot. Any camera is capable of providing you with added experience that translates into improved skills.
Yes, post-processing can help make your photos "sing." Sometimes, it can even do so when the raw photo appears mute and incapable of visual music. But skillful production, later coupled with skillful post-processing, will make your photos sing loudly and beautifully. It will make them into music for people's eyes.
Okay. I just thought I'd kick Monday off with a little pep-talk.
The pretty girl on the pool table at the top, coming towards me like a sexy feline, is Penthouse Pet, Tori Black.