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Technological advancements in the past few decades have revolutionized every aspect of our lives and photography is no exception. The incredible technological strides that have been made have had both positive and negative impacts on photography that have fundamentally changed our relationship with photography and even the way in which we live as a society.
It is not difficult to see how the invention of photography has changed society by creating a pictorial record of major world events as well as personal weddings, parties and special moments. The self reflective impact of the introduction of photographic technology, as basic as it was in the early days, remade the way that people saw themselves and the world around them. There are stories that when the Lumier brothers played their first moving picture films the audience in the cinema would duck and scream in fear as a train was shown on the screen seemingly moving towards them!
Of course, things have changed a great deal since then and today people are generally very comfortable with photography but the rate of evolution in the technology has not slowed down, and if anything, it has increased in speed. You can take a photo in the middle of the desert and share it with the whole world in seconds!!
Impact of the Internet on Photography.
There have been two major developments in the field of photography that have overshadowed all others; digital photography and the internet. These two technological advancements have worked hand in hand to completely change photography for both professionals and amateurs alike.
- Ease of Access: Since the development of digital photography it has never been easier for people to take photographs. I can take a photo of a beautiful Philadelphia sunset and immediately post it on Instagram or send it to my friends on WhatsApp. Everybody has a camera on their phone and because the photographs are digital and require no film, it is effectively free to take a picture! This has led to a massive increase in the amount of photographs that are taken every day, but it has also lowered the value of an individual picture. In the early days of photography it was extremely costly to have a photograph taken and as a consequence only very important moments were captured on film. Today of course, we think nothing of snapping a few photos of our lunch on the plate and posting it online! It’s amazing how this shift has occurred but as well as devaluing the individual image it has really brought us together because we are able to share our interests and insights with each other so easily.
- Prints are cheaper and easier to create than ever before. In the modern world the internet has created amazing opportunities for people to get the photos they take printed and delivered to their front door! There are many online platforms where you can simply upload your photos from a camera, your computer files or directly from your phone, put together albums, photo books or canvas prints, and order them to be printed on demand and delivered with a few easy clicks.
- Aspects, File Sizes and Compression. Since the world of photography has become largely digital the underlying technologies have massively changed the nature of the industry. Long gone are the days when film, dark rooms and highly technical skills were required to produce photographs. Today, with the advent of digital photography the market has opened up and people with no knowledge of dark rooms can get straight into photography.
- Work can be outsourced easily. Many photographers and videographers today outsource their post production work. Post production has become an art form of its own.
- Immediately after taking a photo, you can automatically upload it to the cloud. This makes it easy to outsource the post processing work, to share the work with others and also to save your work (Before the digital age, you have to carry the film with you. This film could be damaged during travel).
However, there is a whole new swathe of technical details to master in order to be productive and make the most of the opportunities that are available.
Getting the aspect ratio correct in your photos will allow you to share them more effectively on sites such as Instagram. The most common aspect ratios for modern digital cameras are 3:2 and 4:3.
The file size that you save your images at will determine the final quality of the picture. When you are saving your images, always try to save them at the highest resolution that you can to avoid pixelated images that will take away from your composition.
Most good digital cameras allow you to select the file compression of the images where a smaller file has a lower quality of resolution while a larger file is higher quality where you won’t notice any deterioration at all.
- Post Production Software has changed the ways that we can manipulate photography after the event of taking the picture. Software such as Lightroom and Photoshop have allowed everyone to be able to fine tune the contrast, colors and textures of their images as well as add a wide range of filters. This has become a trusted tool for creatives and there are many benefits of this. However, on the other hand, the ease with which photographs can be modified has changed the relationship between the audience and the photographer forever with increasing skepticism, particularly in the field of photojournalism.
- Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have opened up a whole world of possibilities for photographers. On these platforms, and others, a photographer can garner a large following of fans and interested parties in their work. This is a wonderful option to make the best use of to increase your reach and spread awareness of your work in ways that would have been unimaginable only a few short decades ago! The impact of this is hard to calculate but it has completely changed the photography business and although it has allowed new and upcoming photographers to enter the market as professionals or passionate hobbyists it has also increased the competition in the industry.
Technology and the Internet has had Positive and Negative Impacts on Photography.
Having opened up the world and created an incredible resource for communication, marketing and networking, the internet has changed the way we live our lives. With modern technology we can send photos to people anywhere in the world within seconds using our phones, snap pictures in an instant and work on incredible post production techniques without the need for a dedicated dark room. All these amazing facts have made the life of a photographer infinitely better although with this wider reach has also come more competition in the field and, some might argue, a saturation of images in the public sphere making it more and more difficult for a photographer to stand out from the crowd.
On balance though, we must conclude that the advancements of technology and the introduction of the internet to society has played an extremely positive role in the field of photography.
Which technology do you think has had the biggest impact on photography?