Keeping Photography Relevant in the Digital Age

March 11, 2014 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | 11 Comments | |
Keeping Photography Relevant in the Digital Age Image

We live in an age when photography is more accessible than it has ever been.

Not so long ago, portraits were a rarity, an hours-long event that a person might experience just once or twice in his life.

Within the span of a century, technology has changed this so dramatically that powerful photography equipment can be carried in your pocket, and it's possible to take a photograph of anything from your reflection in the mirror to what you've had for dinner and share it instantaneously with the world.

It's a landscape that photographers a few generations ago could have never imagined, and it's a little dizzying to behold.

Aside from the accessibility of cameras themselves, a budding photographer also has access to myriad photo editing programs and apps. Mashing a few buttons or swiping between screens can now accomplish what once required hours of exacting work in a dark room. When taking, storing, editing and sharing photographs is so simple, is there any room left for professionals? Is there still value in taking photography courses, such as the ones on offer here? The short answer is yes; if anything, there are many new opportunities for creative professionals today than ever.

Keeping Photography Relevant in the Digital Age

Technology Can't Replace Skill

Every professional knows that the best technology is worth nothing in the hands of someone who doesn't know how to use it. Photography is no different. Although a layperson might think taking a photo is as simple as pointing, auto-focusing, and snapping the picture, professionals know that more goes into every shot. Photography courses can teach things like composition and color theory, the skills that make up the backbone of visual arts, and a natural eye for the perfect visual can be cultivated into a valuable skill.

Keeping Photography Relevant in the Digital Age

The demand for high-quality, interesting visuals is higher than ever. Images are the backbone of viral news sites, and designers creating book covers, websites, advertisements and more seek them after. More than that, truly great photography stands out in the crowd. With so any amateur snapshots crowding the Internet, people have a better appreciation for the magic a professional can work with a camera. Weddings, pets, children; People hire photographers to capture these images because they cannot do justice to the subject themselves, no matter how many apps they download.

When you look at it this way, it becomes clear that the modern photographer doesn't just record moments in time. He's an artist, and his most valuable and marketable skill is his unique artistic vision and ability to communicate through captured images. While snapshots might be cheap and numerous, excellent photography is every bit as valuable as it's ever been.

Keeping Photography Relevant in the Digital Age


Entry Tags

photography, technique, future, technology, skill, artist, student, niche

Your Comments

11 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Simon

A career in photography, from photographing weddings to producing wall art, is a hand-to-mouth way of making a living in these image saturated times. But so what, who needs money? This piece seems more like an attempt to market courses than persuade budding photographers that a career in photography makes economic sense. That said, who wants a zero hours contract at Dominos when you could be out there shooting super models?

11:12 am - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

#2 John

I’ve had a DSLR for a few months now and try as I may I’m pretty bad at figuring out how to use it to the best of my ability. I don’t see anything wrong with taking a photography course. Be it a day or week some people just learn better if they are shown how to do things.

2:52 pm - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

#3 Ed

Nice work on the article, it required real thought, experience and insight.
I think the idea extends a lot further, and I think you would agree.
The world is awash in technically perfect content, but the content has no real heart. Books, movies, music usually are lifeless and uninteresting. But maybe that’s always been true for 99% of art. My real worry is that science, education, law and other disciplines are following the same path, re:“The Tempting of America” by Robert Bork.

3:43 am - Thursday, March 13, 2014

#4 Robin Currie

The great post on your blog, it really gives me an insight on this topic <a >wedding photographers</a>.

5:42 am - Saturday, April 19, 2014

#5 Robin Currie

The great post on your blog, it really gives me an insight on this topic.

5:43 am - Saturday, April 19, 2014

#6 Nick Cockman

The two sentences that jump out at me from this are:
- Market yourself as an artist. Too often, commercial photography is treated as a technical skill.
-Don’t undervalue your work. Artists willing to work for free or at reduced prices quickly devalue their own work.
Couldn’t agree more with both statements, is a very different industry compared with to 10 years ago.

10:32 pm - Monday, December 22, 2014

#7 Joe Lenton

I found this article encouraging as I also believe that the professional photographer often has to stand out as an artist. Great images have something more to them than technical capability. The downside can often be that people don’t like paying for “art”. Whether it is photography, music or another art form, people often ascribe little financial value to it in the consumer market so a professional who sells themselves as an artist may find quite a small target market to work with.

Building a career as an artist seems to be a more long term approach. You need to build a reputation and be seen to be more than a flash in the pan. That is hard work, especially when your sales will be extremely low (or non-existent!) to begin with. Being an artist is a tricky career choice as it relies so much on trends and fashion.

Perhaps we should say that a pro is more of a craftsman most of the time? A craftsman is someone who has honed their technique, continues to learn and improve and provides reliable high quality work. It may well also be artistic, but one of the main reasons craftsmen exist is that people need someone they can trust in key situations.

11:49 am - Friday, March 13, 2015

#8 Philip Howford

People now-a-days think that they’re photographers because they know how to point and shoot with an iPhone.  Photography takes major skill and knowledge and that’s what these “iPhone photographers” don’t understand.

8:18 pm - Friday, March 13, 2015

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10:52 am - Friday, May 22, 2015

#10 Robert Eilers

So many new photographers these days forget the simple fact that we are in fact an art form. There is a clear separation between us and the 50$ dollar shooters or the moms with cell phones. It is our art form, and it is a very unique skill. No one person should take a picture exactly the same way.

When I started out I wasn’t aware of this simple fact. So I argued the market was over saturated with other photographers. But the simple fact is that we as photographers don’t need to compete on price if we are offering something that no one else is. We have to be unique or else we will have to compete on price.

3:21 pm - Monday, May 25, 2015

#11 alan ranger

Good post - it amazes me how many people i come across think the digital SLR and software means you don’t need any skill - they think the camera and ease of editing means you don’t need to perfect things in camera anymore - the digital revolution has opened up photography to millions who wouldn’t have bothered if analogue still, but we still need to do a lot of myth busting about what a digital camera can do and can’t do so my photography courses are always clear in pointing out the limitations of camera and post production.

12:42 pm - Tuesday, June 9, 2015