THE INFLUENCE OF TECHNOLOGY ON PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY
In 1827 the French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce introduced photography to the world. Photography has evolved from a science experiment to a fast paced digital platform. Starting with silver nitrate, copper and other chemicals, the process of developing photographs was much more complex than that of today’s digital routine of memory sticks and laptops. Don’t get me wrong. This profession is packed full of digital tasks challenging me to produce powerful industrial images for my clients and digital photography allows me to expand my services into 3D rendering and photo re-touching.
The notable aspect of the technological influence on photography is how it is changing the profession. The demand for high quality professional photographs is diminishing, technology is shifting the way people perceive photography and technology has made digital photography more accessible. Every skilled and dedicated photographer knows the most expensive camera does not replace the value of professional experience or a pair of trained eyes.
Technology doesn’t create professionals
Take for example this comment from Barry Hayes, a 35 year old pro photographer in Vermont:
“We all started as amateurs. But some of us developed our craft and improved our art. And while technology may produce a camera that can make a technically perfect exposure, it cannot yet produce an artistically satisfying image or revealing portrait without the eye and mind of a skilled professional.”
Acquiring new business for professional photographers is more of a challenge than ever in the digital age. Businesses have adopted a “Do it yourself attitude” because it’s easy to access digital cameras and professional photographers are competing with point-and-shoot and smartphone cameras. Now is the time to show clients the potential in hiring a professional photographer. Professionalism extends beyond the images I create and leads into the fine details I put into every project. Professional photographers are those that put effort into bringing out the best of your company brand and push the envelope for every project. You hire a pro to visually connect your company and service to your audience.
Digital photography has become more widely accessible and improvements in technology are lowering costs of digital gear. As digital photography grows and taking pictures becomes a part of everyone’s life, the need for professional gate-keepers has vanished. I don’t fear the idea that everyone can have a digital camera. This is pushing the limits and keeping me accountable to deliver better work and bringing a new energy to the field.
Here is a snap shot of the widespread digital camera growth:
- From 2005 to 2009, the use of camera phones in the United States grew from 41 billion to 141 billion
- In 2000, the percentage of U.S households with at least one digital camera was 10%. This grew to 68% in 2008. In 2012 the percentage of U.S households with digital cameras was 84%.
With every evolving industry there comes new opportunities to expand your services and talents. Many companies are beginning to use video to connect with their audience on an emotional level and the demand for video is growing. Creating the perfect scene to highlight the best aspects of your business is one of the most challenging parts of my job and video allows me capture high quality HD footage to pair with your company vision. As an industrial photographer it’s exciting to know that industrial activity was first depicted in photographs at the beginning of the 1850’s. These powerful industrial images have captured generations of progress and innovation spanning over 160 years but the professionals taking these pictures are now experiencing the change that comes with such progress. Professional photography is not dying, it is just evolving and I will remain persistent by not letting my ability to “capture” overshadow my passion to “create”.