Can Photography Survive in the Digital Age

This question is an extremely difficult one to answer. Since I entered the world of digital in 1999 I have seen a definite decline in the quality of images shot by amateurs. And there is a very clear reason, the disease of digital. But, is there an answer to this problem?

There is, and the answer to this is simple, learn digital photography. I am amazed at just how thoughtless amateur photographers have become over the last several years. The problem is with the economics of photography. As soon as the initial cost has been overcome, the hobby of photography becomes dirt cheap. No processing costs and reduced printing costs and the multiple shot feature on all digital cameras.

In order to overcome this there are three basic problems that need to be addressed.

1. Disease of digital

This is the major problem affecting most amateur photographers. What is it? The answer is thoughtlessness. The disengagement of the brain before pressing the shutter button. When photography cost a lot of money in processing costs we all were far more careful when shooting an image. One put a lot more thought into an image before pressing the shutter butter. With the minimal costs involved in digital photography there are no financial hindrances so you don’t have to worry if you take too many images. In order to overcome this problem, take time to think about your composition before pressing the button. In other words use you brain.

2. The Shakespeare effect

You wonder how I got this title. Well, there is a line of thought that if you were to put a hundred monkeys in a room each with a typewriter for enough years, they could corporately produce a Shakespeare quality manuscript. Utter garbage! The same goes for digital photography. The idea is that if you shoot enough images of a scene or subject, at least one of them will be a great image. Rubbish! If you don’t put enough thought into them and use the rules of composition there is virtually zero possibility of a stunning image. Quantity means nothing.

3. The drive by shooter

Quick on the draw and a fast shooter. If it moves shoot it. The idea of a drive by shooter is that you need to get in quick, open fire on your intended victims and get out fast and onto the next job. Hopefully at the end of the day when you review your images there should be some that are great images. This idea is coupled with the Shakespeare effect and the hope that quantity will eventually produce quality. Unless you are a pro with years of experience, particularly in sport, your chances of the quick draw and spraying the area hoping for images of quality are minimal.

So what is the solution to these problems and the answer to the survival of photography in the digital age? Simple, learn digital photography or rather the principles of good photography. Take time to think about what you are shooting and in the longer term time to learn digital photography. There is no easy way, just as in the film era, to shoot quality images. All that digital has done is make it cheaper and easier to press the button and NOT easier to get quality images. Remember that digital is just the medium for recording your images and has no part to play in their quality. If you were a bad photographer, all it will do is to make you more efficient at taking bigger quantities of poor images. Don’t allow the medium of digital to make you a more prolific bad photographer. Take time to learn digital photography and improve your existing skills to the point of perfection. The more effort you put into your photography the more you will get out of it. Happy shooting!