We read a blog a few days ago from Photographer Thomas Hawk that asked a valid question in the title: “Do You Even Have to Own a Camera to Be a Photographer Anymore?” The question itself leads to more soul-searching in terms of what does it mean to be a photographer.
With mobile phones pushing the limits of pixels every few months (does the new iPhone have a 15megapixel camera?) it is becoming less and less of a necessity to have an actual camera with you everywhere you go. At least for some people. These folks are still photographers. Take a picture, you are a photographer. But, there is a nuanced difference between photographers that take pictures to make memories and photographers who take pictures to capture moments in life where their eye saw something different than anyone else may have seen.
There are those photographers who spend their off time, as a hobby, heading out and about snapping pictures using varying lenses, filters, etc. to capture these moments because they feel a desire within them that is more than just saving memories. Sure, mobile phone camera apps like Instagram and Camera Awesome for Smugmug offer you varying filters to make your picture look trendy. But there is a huge difference between changing the filter after a photo is snapped and knowing what filter or exposure to use when taking the picture to begin with.
There is nothing wrong with just using a mobile phone as your camera. We encourage all people to snap photos wherever they go of events in their lives that are meaningful. You are still a photographer! That is a camera in that phone! The technology has brought us into an exciting time and is opening up the world of photography to a lot more people. But, should you want to delve deeper into more than just snapping photos, a good old fashioned contraption built just for taking photos is your best bet.