Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Too Many Images...

So I finally broke down and bought a digital camera. I can imagine some of you are dragging their mouse pointer towards the bookmarks section of your browser right now because you're expecting some sort of techno-phobic rant about how digital isn't better than film... Read on; you may be surprised!

First of all, I'm not a technophobe. For those of you that read my motorcycle posts you should know that I tend to gravitate away from carburators and more towards EFI. Same goes for photography. I've always been a fan of digital image manipulation (i.e. digital darkroom) because it makes professional photography techniques more accessible. You no longer need a darkroom with enlargers and bottles of image fixers and other chemicals. A decent computer with Photoshop will do the trick. Although, I admit, Photoshop is almost as expensive as a complete traditional darkroom!

My biggest beef with digital cameras was the lack of quality; still is, actually. You see, my 20+ year old Minolta SLR still consistently outperforms my new Fuji S2 Pro. Doesn't really make sense, does it? You see, film technology has evolved by leaps and bounds, just like its digital counterparts. Even a budget point-&-shoot camera loaded with pro-quality 400 speed film will outperform even the most expensive digital SLR in many situations.

So why is everybody jumping on the digital bandwagon? Money baby, M-O-N-E-Y! I've done a few wedding gigs and the latest craze is "non-intrusive" or "documentary" style pics. These are basically un-posed pics of the bride fixing her makeup or the groom putting on his socks. For whatever reason, people like it. The problem with doing this style of photography is that alot of it is hit-or-miss; in other words, you'll be shooting alot of film to get very few sellable pics. In comes digital photography. I've got two memory cards that each hold about 1GB's worth of photos. If that's not enough, I've got a digital wallet onto which I can dump the memory card's contents (it holds 40GB). This effectively means that I can machine-gun the shutter throughout the whole ceremony then sort through the pics and select the best ones when I get back to the studio. Once the initial selection has been made, I can print out contact sheets for the client or have them browse through the pics on the website. They can then make their selection, including size and number of prints, and I print them out then mount them in albums or frames and the job is done!

Here's the other cool bit: they can give their online photo album's address to grandparents, aunts and uncles and they can also order prints. It only takes a fraction (and I don't use that word lightly) of the time that is used to for me which means I make a better profit margin while charging less to my clients and offering them a better service.

Like I said: M-O-N-E-Y!

1 comment:

elizilla said...

When I was in college I took photography classes, and the instructors would say, over and over again, "If your pictures aren't good, you're not taking enough of them. Film is your cheapest resource, use lots of it!" They were always exhorting us to take more pictures. We were encouraged to bulk load our film, take hundreds and hundreds of pictures, make contact sheets, and then print maybe one in a hundred of them.

I eventually realized something. I hate taking pictures. Hate it. The thing I liked, was playing in the darkroom, cropping my pictures, messing with the focus and contrast, taking bits and pieces of different shots and making photo collages, etc. When we'd get an assignment that would force me back out into the world to shoot more film, I didn't want to go.

With digital, it's easier to let go, stop trying to take good pictures and just take huge numbers of them. But I still hate it. This is why my trip reports have so few pictures, and why 3/4 of the pictures I do have in my trip reports, were taken by other people.