This article first appeared in The Post-Journal on Aug. 12, 2016.
If you search the Internet for the phrase “there will be more photos taken this year,” you’ll find that estimates show more photos will be taken in any single year from now on than the total photos taken in the entire history of photographing on film. That’s an incredible statement when you think about it. The reason for this is the vast number of cameras that are built into everyday devices such as cell phones and computers. It can also be attributed to the low cost of high quality cameras and photography equipment.
My guess is, if you moved from the first paragraph to this one, then you’re an enthusiast of photography or, you simply love taking pictures and will likely enjoy reading about it as a topic. If that’s the case, my writing will be for you. So, let’s not waste any more time and let’s starting talking photography.
Being a photographer today is both easier and more complex than it was before digital cameras. Hmm, how is that possible? Think about how you take photos. You pull your phone out of your pocket, or you whip out your compact digital camera, and you point it and shoot. What you see on the screen is a nice, crisp, vibrant photo that you instantly want to share to the world through your social media or send to someone through email. Simple. Much easier than having to guess whether or not you had the settings correct then have to either drop off for a lab to print or, if you’re really into the craft, take it home and process the film yourself to finally see the results. Sharing would be done by either mailing them to someone or waiting for them to visit so they could sit and look through your massive collection of shoeboxes or albums. That’s why I say it’s easier.
I know, I’ve established that it’s so much easier so how can I possibly say it’s harder, right? If you’re the average point and shoot photographer, what do you do with all those photos you have stored on your camera? Do you just leave them sitting on a memory card forever or do you transfer them to another device like a computer? Do you fully understand what you can do with them once they are on the computer or how to store them in a manner that you can find them easily if you ever want to recall the best ones? Do you know how to archive them so they aren’t going to be lost forever when your computer crashes or the hard drive fails? Do you know how to get them into a photo album for you to pull out and share or pass along to family members or do you have to rev up the computer every time you want to show someone a photo? Those questions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to digital photography and my bet is, whether you have already answered these questions or not there’s something that is a mystery to you and you probably don’t get the complete thrill of digital photography because of the fact that some aspects may simply overwhelm you so you end up with a camera full of photos that you show everyone on that little tiny screen and your pictures end up disappearing into a black hole of forgotten memory cards.
Computers and cameras go hand in hand and today’s photography enthusiasts must have some understanding of how they work together in order to truly appreciate their photos. Cameras are also becoming more and more like computers with each new model release. While the workings of the camera are basically the same as they have been since the beginning, what happens to the picture once it’s been taken has changed dramatically. Remember when I said you point and shoot and you are presented with a beautiful, crisp, vibrant photo? That’s because most cameras are programmed to do a little bit of magic to your pictures immediately after they are taken so you are pleased with the resulting image just seconds after it is taken. The happier you are with the least amount of work gives you the confidence to continue to shoot and to continue to invest in future camera models.
Learning how to use your camera and your computer in tandem will not only increase that confidence, but push your level of excitement about photography to a point where you begin to truly appreciate your photos for what they are… a captured moment in time that will take you back to that moment and how you felt or what you were thinking the very moment you snapped the shutter. While photography is a great way of sharing your memories and experiences with others, it is truly a very personal thing in that it allows you to catalog your life’s events and express yourself in ways that only you can. We all see the world with our eyes, but each one of us sees the world very differently because of who we are and where our life has taken us leading up to the moment we press the button on the camera.
The computer can also bring you new ways to make your photos artistic and creative. Many fine works of art have started with a simple photograph. Knowing the software that is available both free and commercially will propel your creative side and give you new ways of looking at how to take your photographs so you can create your own works of art.
“Let’s Talk Photography” is going to be an open invitation for you to join me as I share with you my discoveries as a photo enthusiast and hopefully help to answer your questions so you, too, can fully enjoy the memories you’re capturing no matter what device you’re using.