I was thinking about the changes we have seen in the photographic industry over the past 10-15 years, and the new crop of photographers that have stormed the market. Of course I am sounding like some old timer who has been a master of this profession for years. I think I will save my history for another post. The situation I wrestle with, is that of long time established photographers and how they have dealt with the changes in photography.
The digital age has ushered in incredible advancements in the capabilities of equipment. The advent of digital images has reduced the learning curve required to become proficient in photography radically. What weighs on my mind are those photographers who have resisted the change, and now find themselves struggling in a very competitive market. There have been plenty of old pros who have embraced the digital age and are producing incredible work. This dichotomy between the two, is only amplified when you mix in a young ambitious group of upstarts who are pushing the boundaries of photography.
One needs only to have a look at 500px.com or flickr.com to see eye popping work that in most cases is coming from amateurs who do not make their living from photography. The lines of pro versus amateur are being blurred everyday, and all this points to the imperative need to stay sharp. Now more than ever it is important to continue pursuing new photographic techniques, strategies and equipment.
There is no chance to sit back on past laurels and wait for clients to dote over ones work. Photographers have to be sharp to seek out workshops, classes, seminars, and other enriching forms of information in an effort to progress their work and stay on top of the ever increasing quality of work being churned out. Prospective clients are developing a more critical eye and awareness of great photography and they too are demanding better product and premium service.
Post processing has always been present in photography, but it is far more accessible to everyone in the digital photography world. The excitement of being able to manipulate and tweak an image can be enticing. The initial draw for me was to apply heavy effects and manipulate the image to a surreal point. In the process I lost focus on the real art that drew me to photography, and that was creating compelling images.
Progressing in the digital arena and especially with wedding photography, I found through some very wise advice, that I should avoid heavy editing. A more natural and realistic look would be more appealing, and place the emphasis on the quality of work rather than on an applied effect that could be dated. I revamped my approach and concentrated on capturing the image “in-camera“. My goal was to do as little editing as possible, and only in a manner that enhanced the inherent beauty of the original image.
Post processing is, and will continue to be, an integral part of my photography workflow. The ability to push the contrast and tweak white balance is critical to arriving at a final image that is vibrant and appealing. My approach has evolved over time and will continue to change, but always with quality and artistic style in mind.
Have a watch of this video to find out when the first digital image was taken. Meet Steve Sasson, creator of the digital camera, and hear his story that revolutionized the photography industry.
I started off photography in the days of film. Of course it wasn’t that long ago, and consisted of mostly shooting Texas area bicycle races in the late 90′s. Digital has revolutionized photography, especially for the everyday consumer, putting instant feedback and editing control in their hands. We can now instantly share photos, and the technology is so good that everyone is capable of shooting great photos.
For the professional the trends in technology have opened up new possibilities in technique, style, and creativity. A photographer can move from the ordinary to surreal with post processing in the editing software. There is a fun appeal to the ability of tweaking and transforming an image into something different with editing software.
As my photography evolved over the years I have gone through a transformation from heavy post editing to a more natural approach to photo creation. In the days of film I didn’t have much control over the post editing process. I did not have a background in darkroom work and relied on capturing the initial image as creatively as possible. Once the door of digital was open and I had the easy access to editing images I took advantage of it.
As I refined my creativity in the digital era I continued moderately editing my images in post process. The input from a respected local photographer had a lasting impression and changed my approach. His recommendation was to go light on the editing and deliver a more natural image. Like from the days of film the emphasis was on producing a great image in-camera and relying on post processing only to refine what was there.
Of course with the technology we have today there is a lot of possibility for creating fantastic images without the use of heavy editing. Lighting capability has come a long way and offers me the chance to produce some very creative images. I think it has been a fun transformation from film and I am happy to have that as my background. It will be interesting to see what trends continue to shape photography and how it evolves over the coming years.
Before buying a wedding photography package or collection, one of the first questions you should consider is, “what do I want to do with the images”? Answering this will give you better insight into the package and specific items you should invest in.
With the advent of digital photography one of the primary delivery methods for wedding images is on disk. Depending on the photographer, high-resolution images on disk may or may not be included in the collection. In some cases it may only be web proofs not suitable for enlargements or prints. If the only use will be web display then you may be fine with this.
If your goal is archival quality art pieces, then a collection that includes prints or print credit would be a good choice. In cases where high-resolution images are included along with personal printing rights, it would still be a good idea to have prints made through the photographer. Most consumer labs will not produce the same quality of print that a professional lab will. Since quality pro photographers work with pro labs it is a safe decision to have your prints done through the photographer in most instances.
An idea gaining in popularity is the inclusion of print credits within collections and packages. A portion of your investment is counted towards the purchase of tangible print items such as albums, enlargements, and prints. Again make sure the photographer is dealing only with pro labs to ensure the best quality results in your finished order.
Some of the questions to consider are:
- Do I want/need prints?
- If so, what print sizes and how many are needed?
- Do I have access to a pro lab and do I want to make the prints myself?
- Do I want images delivered to other family members?
- What is my budget for photography?
Once you have a good idea of what you want out of the wedding photography package, you can then work with your photographer to build a suitable collection for your needs.
DTownTV is a video podcast I posted about a while back. Being a Nikon shooter, I enjoyed the focused coverage Scott and Matt offered on the Nikon line, but the show only ran for a season before they took a break, a very long break. Fortunately they are back but the show format has changed slightly, going from a Nikon specific format to a more expanded coverage of digital photography in general.
Also, to streamline the Scott Kelby conglomerate, all the web content being produced by Scott is combined into one site, each with its own section. The old URL for DTownTV is still active but redirects you to the new pages here. From the looks of the first show the podcast should be a good weekly program for the digital camera enthusiast to pick up tips and general knowledge on how to use their gear and get the most from the camera.
For the Nikon shooters out there you may have come across the DtownTV website, but if not I wanted to drop a link here on my blog. Unfortunately they have ceased producing episodes, but on the bright side all the content is still up on the site.
Produced by Scott Kelby, they did a great job of showcasing the Nikon digital equipment line and giving some great tutorials on using the gear and what to look for when purchasing new stuff. Even if you are not a Nikon shooter there is still some good information within the episodes on lighting, composition, and getting the most from your SLR.
My wife and I were talking about the value of prints compared to digital media, and I think it is an interesting and valid conversation. While digital photo files have value, they border on being intangible since the digital file itself may be stored on your hard drive or a disk. There is no tangible substance to the digital file like there is with a print. To take the argument a step further, the emotional attachment is minimal as compared to a print, giving the print much more value monetarily and sentimentally.
This point became very apparent this past weekend when I was looking through old photos of my dad with family. Somehow being able to hold the print in my hand, instead of huddling around a computer monitor gave the image an incredible value. Part of this may have been the fact that the image was from 1957, a time when getting a print was a bit more cumbersome than with today’s technology. The fact still remained that the print could be passed from person to person and that tangible aspect of the print outweighed having that image on disk.
I suppose it could be argued that the ease of digital photography has cheapened the photography profession…much could be written on that. As an upstart photographer it can be easy to fall into this classification. The urge for a beginning photographer to shoot and burn a disk means less post shoot work in terms of image processing and album creation. I even fall into this dilemma.
With the idea of print value in mind I feel it is important to seek out ways to impress this value on clients. Price often wins out in the short term, but it is tangibility that holds value. Too often prints are never made from the digital files, preventing the true value of the photography to be expressed. Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on this topic. Digital photography has created a new dynamics within photography and I feel this is one that is very interesting.