Instagrammer to Photo Junkie: Preparing a Game Plan

Here's the situation, I take hundreds of photos with my phone. Ski trips, snowy mornings, weddings, and sunny beaches: the iPhone 5's camera captures anything I throw at it, consistently providing results superior to my aging point and shoot. Much like the rest of iOS, the stock camera app just works. Tap to focus and then shoot. Fast, simple, and effective; more times than not, I get the results I want. Results that satisfy my Instagraming needs.

Perspectives changed and the one-two (stock camera app and Instagram filters) system I was accustomed to just wouldn't cut it. The ambition for great images (or what I thought was great) ended in the purchase of Camera+, accompanied by Snapseed. Tinkering with photos allowed me to produce ultimately "fake" looking images to satisfy my saturation-hungry standards.

Then, as a photographer, I grew up. Months have passed and I've begun to recognize the beauty of an unedited photo, only resorting to alterations to instill a particular emotion. I appreciate edited photos, but my opinion has changed.

Furthermore, I've realized I have a lot to learn and that the photos I take aren't any good for much besides mobile interaction. I want more than that and I'm willing to invest in a camera. Learning how to photograph effectively, with a dedicated camera, is the intention.

Now here's the point of this whole post.

I value photography now more than ever. And, I want to be more than just an Instagrammer.

So, how did you guys transition from being beginners to "photo junkies"?

How did you guys learn how to take great photos and manipulate great cameras?

Links on everything one needs to know about photography are very much appreciated.

After I ingest all the photography info, and better yet, after all the players in the industry release their new line of cameras, I'll return again asking for advice, regarding what camera to buy, to complete my transition.

So, that's the game plan.

Please excuse any errors, of any kind, and even the unfocused nature of this write up. This is my very first forum post, not only to The Verge, but also to the Internet, and I'm glad to be part of such an awesome community of people who care about tech/culture. Thanks!