Digital raising the bar?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Johnboy2978, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I know in the past there have been a ton of threads about how the bar has really been lowered in quality since the invention of the DSLR and how every mom w/ a camera is now a "pro" and doing weddings, bridals, seniors, babies, etc.

    I'm thinking that with digital processing though, that perhaps the bar is higher for the real pro though? I wasn't shooting seriously with film in the past so I'm not sure how much work a pro would do to each image in the darkroom. I would wager though that now with photoshop, there is a much higher percentage of folks editing a much larger percentage of their images by their client. How many old pros would weigh in on that position?

    I was just thinking today about the wedding photog we used 15 years ago. How many pros just went out w/ a dozen rolls of film, shot to the best of their ability, then sent it to the lab and that was it? In comparison, I would estimate that most pros today would at least batch process/tweak 85% of their images before getting it to the client.

    So I'm curious to hear from you folks who have been in the business for 15+ years and have seen both eras. Was it simpler times in film, or no change?
     
  2. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Of course the high-bar has been raised, but the median stays around the same.

    For every photographer that is pushing the new technology beyond what was possible before, there's one that's using the technology to make up for mistakes that should have been corrected during the shoot.

    In the 80's and 90's you'd see most wedding photographers with multiple assistants with reflectors and softboxes to get the lighting just perfect, now I typically see just one photographer with a flash diffuser on their consumer level flash and that's it.
     
  3. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    That is so true.
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    As well, shooting weddings 15, 20 years ago, one might have shot 10-15 rolls (360 - 540 images), now a thousand is barely getting warmed up. I think the reason that people are processing so many more images (and I agree, they are) is because they are shooting so many more.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I think it has lowered the bar, considerably. Loads more people with almost no clue whatsoever are charging for photos and photo shoots, churning out dreck...15 years ago, people who took money for photographs were,for the most part, reasonably proficient,and had studied photography at some level....the cost of film and processing eliminated MWACs for the most part...today the world is absolutely filled with people who have zero training in composition or design or artistic anything,and are merely proficient at pointing and pressing the button, and have absolutely ZERO idea of how to compose or pose anything.
     
  6. Vinny

    Vinny TPF Noob!

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    Not sure if you want to hear from an amateur but ...

    I've been an amateur photographer for about 35 years. At one time I thought about becoming a wedding photographer but realized I didn't want to work weekends and thought going pro would take the fun out of photography. 30 years ago if I remember correctly my wedding photographer in the field used a medium format camera and the studio photographer used a 4x5 camera. I can't say how it was 15 years ago but 30 years ago it was a little more than taking a lot of rolls and just getting them developed. The field photographer did take many snapshots of people during the reception but he did formal poses as well. But there were crappy professionals out there as well, you had to look at their portfolio.

    I think digital has lowered the bar. Yes, the cameras have a lot more features than they did 30 years ago but as Derrel said I think people believe "they are photographers" without going through the rigors of truly learning what it takes to be a photographer. I know digital has lowered the bar for me as well. I've been out of "true" photography for about 17 years and I went on vacation and most of the shots were of family and on auto everything so I didn't have to think. 30 years ago I would have never thought of using auto. I could give a bunch of excuses but the fact is it was just easier to point and shoot.

    I also have to say 30 years ago you had to take the photo correctly. Now it seems that people are compensating for what they didn't do in PP. Back then if I shot slides it went to Kodak and there were only 2 processing places besides Kodak that I would send my film. I realize they did whatever to the slides/negatives but but I had to get the shot correct as I was not in contact with them to correct any flaws I shot.
     
  7. maris

    maris TPF Noob!

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    A bit of abstract philosophising:

    The bar is very high indeed for digital picture making. Digital pictures have the potential to be completely without mistakes. Remember, high level image processing software puts every value of every pixel in your hands. If it's not right change it!

    The only cause for a shortfall in perfection lies in the image processing person being insensitive, uncaring, incompetent, or lazy. That's a lot to bear if the prize wasn't worth it: the first picture making process in the history of humanity that can guarantee freedom from visible technical error.
     
  8. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    I'm with Derrel on this, and as far as picture perfect in relation to digital is concerned I'd rephrase that to picture plastic, which imo is what most of the overprocessed junk I see is. H
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Not so much raised the bar as much as streamlined the process. But really it depends on who you look at.

    My sister doesn't use photoshop, yet she has a camera and thousands of pictures. My grandma also just took her happy snaps to the lab to get someone to do a quick automagical develop and print. Yet grandpa on the other hand had an SLR, and turned the kitchen into a darkroom just like I now have a DSLR and also fire up photoshop to fine tune every image.

    For the non professionals (happy-snappers and amateur hobbyists) the bar hasn't changed, people just think it does because of exposure. I'm willing to bet the proportion of people who meticulously edit each photo compared to their sister's mindless shooting on a saturday night is the same as those people who built a darkroom. The only difference now is that the population of the world has a camera, and the people who are passionate hobbyists congregate on the internet to share their work. The bar isn't higher, flickr et al just makes it look like it is.


    For the pros on the other hand the bar is higher in terms of operating costs. As mentioned before the gripes of many is that people with no clue, limited resources, armed with DSLR and Photoshop to hide their sins are shooting weddings which would previously have been done by a team of people with meticulous attention to detail both during the shoot and in the dark room. When you can take 2000 photos at the drop of a hat you're very likely to find a few hundred that you can fix up in an acceptable way.

    This has raised the bar for professionals in that now the one man wedding photography studio is providing competition at a fraction of the former cost and effort. The bar is higher because frankly these days people don't think it's worth paying $4000 for a wedding photographer and think that any idiot can do the job.
     
  10. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    I think this sums it up well.



    What some here may not realize, is this is not a topic that has hit just the photographic community.

    There are a lot of industries today that have the same type mealy worm people invading the masses and doing horrible work. Yet, the public screams a little, and does nothing else to stop it. The best example - politicians. So, it just keeps on growing.....
     
  11. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Forgotten the 110 already?

    The same people have the same (relatively speaking of course) quality camera and are taking the same quality photos.

    The real difference is that the internet allows everybody to show their "work". Much like never having noticed the smog while living on the first floor, when you get somewhere with a view you wonder where all of this came from. ;)
     
  12. Arkanjel Imaging

    Arkanjel Imaging No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Digital has made photography more accessible. Its made it possible for the average shooter to get the occasional great shot by volume. So what?

    It certainly has not lowered the high end of the bar. That just doesnt make sense. Pros will continue to use the available tools to their higest and best use. Whatever that tech might be. It will still far surpass anything the dabbler can produce.
     

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