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Need Help: Digital vs. Film in the Photography Industry
Old 05-03-2004, 11:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I am asking all you GG'ers your insight on where Digital is taking the industry of photography. How has the transition from the business of photography been effected by the evolution in digital photography and processing.

I am writing an article for school on the transition from film to digital in the photography industry. I request your help and insight. I am looking for the views of photographers, advertiers, publishers, etc. Please help. Thank you.
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Re: Need Help: Digital vs. Film in the Photography Industry
Old 05-03-2004, 01:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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To set this in context, I operate in a small corner of the world of publishing. I first embraced the world of digital in 1985, at least on the editorial side. In 1991 my small publication brought everything in house by using digital. First we scanned the prints and slides. In more recent years much of the photographic material arrives via email in digital form.

What has this meant? The color separation budget is gone. The stripping cost for platting is gone. The time required to prepare an editorial page is greatly reduced. The magazine now goes direct to plate on the press further reducing the time to complete a job. These are all cost savings.

What has changed? The skills to implement this are now placed on people who previously never needed to even thing of them. In some cases jobs have been lost. In other cases new jobs have been created. There has been an evolution in how something is produced. An evolution that the end user is totally unaware of.

What does this have to do with the transition from film to digital in the photography industry? The same that it did in the printing industry. The end user will still see the same picture. The process of creating the image will have changed dramatically.

There are costs associated with the equipment, skills to use the technology, and new methods of delivering the end product. You can still do it the "old" way, however, competitively you are liable to be at a disadvantage.

What I think is changing more than the method for producing images is how we will deliver those images in the future. Picture cell phones, quality not-with-standing, who would have thought about that ten years ago? Technology just supplies us with new tools to create. What we create is still an art form. We can be much more creative in producing images. How we capture an image or later in post-production. How we deliver our product is evolving. New markets are opening up and new ways to reach audiences never before feasible. Just look at Garage Glamour. The launch five years ago has changed this genre by opening up communication links, exposing talent, and fostering a community of like minded people.

Film to digital is only one visible front to a much broader change in the way we communicate as a society.

Tom
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Re: Need Help: Digital vs. Film in the Photography Industry
Old 05-03-2004, 03:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Before digital cameras, it took a lot of investment to be a photographer. Shooting TFP was an expensive proposition. Today, I run into a lot of "Glamour" photographers, and many say they got into shooting women a few years ago because "digital is cheap and gives me immediate feedback." The downside-- the advent of digital photography has allowed a lot of crappy photographers and scam artists to enter our business. The upside -- the immediate feedback of digital has helped many talented photographers become even better.

My opinion -- digital will continue to grow more mainstream, film will continue be religated to the hard core and the artsy. My hope -- that the art directors at advertising agencies and magazines start giving digital photographers more credibility and stop asking to see our transparancies (because it costs a lot of money to turn my digital images into transparancies - LOL).
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Re: Need Help: Digital vs. Film in the Photography Industry
Old 05-04-2004, 01:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
Before digital cameras, it took a lot of investment to be a photographer

[/ QUOTE ]

It still takes a lot of investment to be a true "photographer". It's just now it doesn't take as much investment in "equipment" to produce photos.

[ QUOTE ]
The downside-- the advent of digital photography has allowed a lot of crappy photographers and scam artists to enter our business

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes. The growth of "crappy" photographers (these words shouldn't even be a part of the same sentence) has certainly begun to saturate the "world" of selling photographs. I prefer to voice it this way, " digital cameras have brought in their wake, a slew of poor shooting picture takers who turn around and sell their pictures at high fees to 'suckers born every min'."

With technology comes ease. As you consider that anyone can own a camera and take a decent picture without knowing a thing about f-stops, shutter speeds, depth of field, etc. Even film was being made to take the "complexity" out of producing good images.

In the end however, the Quality is usually set apart from the rest. Knowledge and experience pay off.

GOOD PHOTOGRAPHY is still an ART form.


Greg

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Re: Need Help: Digital vs. Film in the Photography Industry
Old 05-04-2004, 06:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
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In my vocation the change from film to digital to film has made no difference. As a litigator I employ a number of photographers for various purposes and must insist on the use of film. The courts in my jurisdiction do not accept digital photos as strict evidence on contested issues.

Russ
 
 
Re: Need Help: Digital vs. Film in the Photography Industry
Old 05-04-2004, 03:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
...(snipped)... With technology comes ease. As you consider that anyone can own a camera and take a decent picture without knowing a thing about f-stops, shutter speeds, depth of field, etc. Even film was being made to take the "complexity" out of producing good images.

Greg

[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]

[/ QUOTE ]

"f-stops"? "shutter speeds"? "depth of field"?

OK... let me get this correct...

"f-stop" is when the bus misses your f-stop, and you have to walk back a block in the heat?

"shutter speed" is what the cop says when explaining that you need to get her to slow down?

"depth of field" is what the landscaper asks when you tell him you need to put sprinklers in your back yard?

I knew that I had heard these terms before.. just cant remember when or when.

Andrew
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Oh boy...I\'ll catch a lot of flak for this.....but:
Old 05-05-2004, 11:41 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Here's my honest reply........not trying to offend anyone either..

After shooting for several years with 35mm, medium and large format, and watching digital cameras come down in price and more applicable to actual shooting situations, I have seen it all the way through.. I saw it coming and now it's here.. The day when you had to pay 32,000.00 for a 6 megapixel camera that had a SCSI interface and limited to a bulky and heavy body that had in some cases a field of view crop of 2.0 ....and a slooooooow shutter lag time..as well as being limited to iso 80-200 are long gone..

Just imagine what the selling price of a D100 or a 10D would be 6 years ago with all the technology they have....the iso 100-3200, noiseless images at low iso's.... and acceptable when compared to fast film noise levels at higher iso's.. ...much shorter lag times etc etc.....and then you go into the next level up...the D2H's and the 1D series cameras that are remarkably fast....much like their film counter parts for the price of two or so top of the line film bodies..

7 years ago, I said to myself....I'll give digital another 5 years and by that time I might think about buying one....so 2 years ago, I picked up a Canon D30.....3 mp, a fairly long shutter lag...plastic outer body, but it came with a dinky little pop up flash.. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] and I paid over 3k for it with all of the accessories...like a 399.00 160mb CF card! an exrtra battery and the battery grip... Last week, I shipped it out to a buyer for $432.00 .....the cost of my recent repairs to it...so, I sort of broke even with a worthless camera.. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

The problem I faced was from newspapers who bought their staff photographers digital cameras to cut down on the cost of film processing and time reduction of an image taken...to press......and I was up against these guys going to my editorial clients who I freelanced for....who I shot with film for....who didn't buy me a 20K digital set up......... I was losing money and I eventually lost my first business because of these guys who would underprice their work....and that became the "standard"......to shoot a job that I would normally charge $400.00 for but shoot it with additional lighting....and color correction etc.....this newspaper dstaff dude came out with a Nikon speedlight mounted directly to his camera...and shoot a 3 mg file and hand it over for $50.00 .

I took it on the chin and I had to regroup from my losses...and I still shot model portfolios and portfolio imaghe related things like head shots for local agencies or events for them and PR firms, publishers etc.. but then the tragity of 911 happened what was left of my ecconomy... I worked veryt hard to regain some former clients after I was able to show them that their new freelancers don't give half a crap about lighting....which is the key to photography....not some nifty camera.....and because my lighting was better than their's, I found my nitch once again.. A few years later, the price of a quality digital camera came down and I now find myself competing once again but this time against hard up guys who like to shoot models for fun...because they get to see their skin fix....and are more than willing to do it for free......they give away all their work....and the rights to them.......in some cases, they never even have the model sign a release... and people are wondering why it is that I get upset with TFP / TFCD shooters when in many cases, they are truely ripping off the models when they give them images strait out of the camera...but they edit and retouch their picture and "hang it" on their website.....that looks completely different from the crap they give out to the models.. The lie that many use....is that they are doing this for free to "build their portfolios".... It doesn't take 2-3 years to build your portfolio when you aren't doing much of anything other than the same old sexy poses......because they have no intention of building their portfolio....they don't have one.....they have a website and not even measily 8x10 leather bound book.. They bait models into poseing them under the guise of shooting for their book....while all they produce is a bunch of crappy pictures where they try to undress the model with their camera.. ....and then they get all upset with me for haviong the audacity of pointing that out to them! They have their day jobs....why should they care...besides, they are in it for skin entertainment....and don't plan on charging for it anyway..

I was on chat with a photographer a few days ago..... he tells me that there is some guy....who has a large studio space...where several photographers from the region go to on the weekends and pay the owner of this $125.00 for their share of studio space.....and they get to shoot models who come in there and pay in some cases.....and mostly don't have to in many other cases...but the renters don't get a dime out of it..... and the model walks away with thousands of digital negatives on a CD ROM for free! I have seen the work....and it is good! They get to shoot with several different photographers and get the experience of doing that yet the photographers who all have day jobs.....go out there................what for? For fun? To be walked all over?? to pay models so that they can shoot them for images they will use to market themselves with....and say.... "Paid work only" on their websites without taking even a tip??? I can understand the occational workshop....I have taken part in a few in my area....or seminars held by commercial photographers about lighting techniques...etc.....but every weekend?? .....then he's like: ....""hey take a look at my pictures.....I got to shoot with "Model X" this weekend.....I'm such a stud......look at my great shots of her..... I even got to get her to take off her top! ....Oh what did you shoot this week..... a bunch of guys in in office?? You should get out sometime! "" Hmmm......thank god I don't have a family to neglect!

What does all this talk about TFP have anything to do about the transition between film and digital photography?? Everything. If one wants to become a photographer, he can learn for very little.... I still have cases of very old bad pictures.....along with my notes regarding my lighting set-ups and my camera settings... I spent thousands on processing costs, gas for travel to my labs....and printing contact sheets...and archival materials for slides.. I invested thousands of dollars in my B&W lab that I used partially for self education in shooting techniques... I sold that entire darkroom a few months back for $650.00 No one wanted it.... every place was over stocked with used darkroom equipment. ("junk")..... including Zone 6 enlargers...with Schneider lenses!

The cost of learning photography in the digital age is next to nothing....and you can manipulate the images like never before with the Photoshop CS....things that once ruined good pictures can now be erased. I liked how things were a few years ago before I was forced into going digital because of my competitors... I both love it and hate it..

This business of photography has changed.......a lot!

JP

 
 
No flak here
Old 05-05-2004, 04:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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JP

I think your post is great! Has an edge -- but it's very accurate. If you combine this with Tom Hamilton's post (below) you get a real look at what's happened in the industry.

Tom talked about how the delivery of photography as a service has changed. You gave us the blow-by-blow.

The technology shift is also interesting. The photographer when I was coming up (70's) had to know all sorts of things about developers and computing lighting and printing that are not needed today. With E-TTL flash, the lighting computations are taken care of, there is no developing and the printing is now a COMPTUER skill, not a PHOTOGRAPHIC skill.

This shift makes it easier for people to do the photography themselves. Real estate agents with a digital P&S do all their own photography now -- no more contract work for full timers! There is a long list of people that once paid for photography that no longer bother.

And to echo another point Tom made about the shift in how society communicates, what's an acceptable photograph has undergone some change. Back in the 50's images were long exposures and precisely done. Today's editorial looks are very different, some done with non-professional cameras to give a certain "look" and the lack or precision is a virtue. And this allows non-photographers to pick up a camera, do a little shooting, and ... it's OK. Not great but it fills the square.

Thanks JP and Tom for your inspirational posts!

Bob

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Re: No flak here
Old 05-05-2004, 09:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Wow! Thank you!! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

JP
 
 
Re: No flak here
Old 05-06-2004, 02:23 AM   #10 (permalink)
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JP.. Your an animal [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]

Sure you went through your "complaint" stage but anyone that really knows you understands that your real. You certainly have your opinions. Don't ever change because a lot of people say you should. You take and give feedback real well.

Take it for what it's worth, but this is my pat on the back and "A" for effort and originality.

[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

Greg
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