In any discipline, you will have what many think of as “the purists”. Purists are those who revere the way things have always been done and view new innovations in the field as upstarts and obviously of poorer quality than the tried and true methods. This is nowhere more true than photography. For decades the film and chemical processing method has undergone continual refinement to achieve higher and higher levels of sophistication and to find higher levels of quality. Small wonder that when the digital revolution came along, “the purists” were, to say the least, a bit snobby about the idea of professional photography moving in this direction.
There are several compelling arguements for incorporating the digital revolution into traditional photography. Most of the professional level studios in both the portrait and film worlds have gone the digital route in favor of these arguements. The amount of equipment needed in digital photography is minimal in comparison to the older methods, creating less complication. And in a world where the average cell phone has made possible a digital camera in every pocket, digital is simplistic enough that anyone can create a photograph. Both the professional photographer and the common person can use digital technologies to capture images.
The strongest points in favor of digital photography are usually time and cost. Re-shoots can be done quickly and there is the advantage of taking a multitude of shots at practically no expense in order to capture the right one. In a portrait session for example, the customer has the ability to view the images almost immediately, then knowing what to go back to correct. With traditional film, results are not discovered until after processing necessitating a return to the studio. Digital photography can provide the customer with instantaneous results and satisfaction while saving both time and money for the photographer.
The impression we get when a technology delivers so much value to the public is that quality will go down. But, amazingly, this is not the case with digital photography. If anything, the quality of the photographs is as good or better than any we could do with prior technologies. And the cost both to you as the photographer and to your customer drops off so dramatically that the age old complaint the customer has had about professional photographs costing too much can be eliminated making the customer want to use your services more often.
As computers and internet technologies are advancing, digital photography has become part of this wave. Personal computers have become an ingrained part of our lives and with the combination of the internet superhighway, photographs have become common communication between people. With only a click of a button, photos can be delivered by e-mail, saved to a DVD or CD, or displayed in an online gallery. Customers then have a basis for ordering additional photos for the same cost and have more immediate delivery in a much more convienent way to view and store them.
Digital technologies have also made possible for the amateur to edit and enhance their photos through readily available computer software programs. Digital editing isn’t cheating, it’s the modern darkroom by which the message the photographer wanted to pass along to the viewer is guaranteed. Programs such as Photoshop can modify coloring, easily crop photos, add amazing effects, and adjust brightness just to name a few. But most importantly , it can correct common mistakes so that what might have been a ‘bad picture’ can be edited into an acceptable photo and the time involved is not lost.
Although the ‘purist’ might not always agree, their are undeniable benefits to the use of digital photography that would win out even over the old ways. By working smarter, not harder, the digital revolution benefits the photographer in its simplicity, profitability and time involved. For the customer, it too creates a lower cost and provides an instant gratification in that the pictures are available almost instantly in a variety of forms such as e-mail. We can still respect and utilize the ‘purist’ view in photography, but the fact is undeniable that digital photography is here to stay due with overwhelming support.