Has digital ruined the business?
I feel quite free to comment as I’m retired, Plus I love digital; I’ve never been a high street photographer doing weddings and portraits. So I have no bias in writing this article
So in one phrase, ‘yes it has ruined some parts of the business” Please note the ”some”
Now lets go into it a little further, we now have cameras that are so automatic that virtually anyone can produce a correctly exposed sharp image. This means that the two things left to do is make sure the light is right and correctly compose the image, while making sure that the subject has the right expression or expressions In the case of an object of course we aren’t worried about expression but if we are seeing it to it’s best advantage, is it scratched is it picking up unwanted reflections etc. after all everything must be perfect.
So has the atomization made things easier, Up to a certain point yes and that’s where the problem lies.
Over the past few years there has been an explosion in the sales of semi pro dslr cameras, then of course it follows that there has also been an explosion in the number of photographers, notice I didn’t say professional photographers.
Let’s say that a certain percentage gets keen and can take a decent shot; he might think that he would like to start making money. Now I blame mothers for this, after all they never see a fault in their children’s work, remember the awful ashtray you made at school, your’ mother loved it didn’t she? Now why didn’t Mum say “that’s super you should become a potter” because however good or bad the photo you show her she will say ‘that’s super you should become a photographer” Probably something about age, after all 9 is a bit young for a major life changing decision Now that’s exactly what you wanted to hear, so you believe it, after all your mum wouldn’t lie would she, remember that ash tray!
So what type of photography? Press photography for example.
Waiting for the prime minister to come out of his house, every time he’s in the news the cold or the heat , turn around and you’ve missed the shot, plus all that pushing and carrying a stepladder everywhere, no that’s not for me.”Carrying a ladder isn’t good for my back either.
“ That sounds like fun,swimming pools and lying on a beach , waiting for stars going topless , those super long lenses, whoops! Can’t afford one of those and the close up stuff is covered by 99% of the countries population with a 22mp telephone, so that’s out.”
“Sounds pretty boring, anyway I’ve got those unpaid parking fines, so I’ll keep clear of them if you don’t mind”. Failed physics anyway
Ahh !! I know, what about Fashion photography.
All I need is a ponytail and an Italian or French accent; I could do that, “Av yu scene ma vork” no! that’s a bit German but I can practice. All those girls and trips abroad, yes that’s for me. One small problem is that Aberdeen isn’t exactly the centre of world fashion, so maybe I could move on to that a bit later and move to Paris. What if my clients make men’s underwear ugh.
Cruise liners, they have photographers,
“ Might meet a rich widow! Problem! I’m sick every time I just see water and my wife wouldn’t like it either, that’s another one out “
“ Now I love cars, I can see myself shooting formula 1 around all those circuits and the magazine work. I saw a picture of a guy doing that, hanging out of a car at 180mph on a banked circuit, no light and in the snow, -5° it was, he looked frozen and the risk racing cars crash, Ah another one for when I have a little more experience”.
“Doesn’t look that difficult, except they use those big cameras, I’ll have to find out where I can buy one, what about the clients, I think their called art directors or is it creative man. Could I really take orders from a guy in Yellow trousers a flowery shirt with long hair, droopy mustache and round glasses, I’d need a studio as well, plus is there any advertising work in Aberdeen !!”
“Mmmm, that’s going yo need lights, I saw a film set where they were using lights, looked a bit complicated! Anyway I’m 110 kilos , so there goes my diet. No I think not.
Now that’s up my street, I was following a photographer at a wedding a while ago, I wanted to see if his shots were better than mine so I stood right behind him and do you know, they were practically the same Mum was right!. Added to that, It’s about the only branch that the client knows nothing about photography. Of course there’s another advantage, I’ll only have to work on Saturdays, there’s football though, so it’s not perfect but it will have to do.
Well there we have it another wedding photographer on the market, while only needing a bit of extra cash he can charge peanuts, as he has no rent insurance and all the other expenses, cash in hand as well , have a good meal and a few drinks as a freebie, so lovely jubbly.
So this has just ruined a lucrative business for the high street photographer. Wedding photography has not just dropped in price but in quality ahas dropped as well due to this digital age. So what’s next? Well it seems that quantity has overtaken quality as our amateur will take so many shots, something must be decent! With that in mind, the next development might be guests taking all the shots themselves with their 23mp telephones say 80 guests each one takes 80 pictures, 6400 shots should make a pretty boring album. lucky he didn’t give up his day job.