As working photographers how would you describe the effect of Digital in your photography career?
The consensus was that the greatest benefit is that the moment you take the picture you know whether you have the image or not! On a large budget shoot it is incredible to have the client look at final takes from a shoot before they leave the studio. But also to Photojournalist, Portrait Photographer or on Weddings the benefit is immense. Other benefit were the total control of the image once in the studio, the option to become the retoucher and to not have to outsource. Any Photographer can layer any number of layers and images to create any kind of Photograph. Ten years ago that was not possible without a very large budget or with the help of a professional retoucher. The major problem we agreed on is the enormous and never ending learning curves. and the amount of time required in front of the computer. For any educators it is a difficult situation. Educators have to know and have gone through Photoshop CS to CS2 to CS3, to Adobe Lightroom, and Apple Aperture. But also may include software such as Capture Pro, iView and many other.
What other comments do you have about Digital ?
Couple of things that people who have only shot with Digital are not aware of is the cost of shooting has been reduced to nothing. Once a camera and some memory cards have been purchased a photographer can go and shoot as much as his / her memory cards will handle. No Polaroid at $ 1- $ 2 a piece, no film cost no lab cost. It allows Photographers to have a photography project that can be very extensive without the financial worry. The quality of Digital Photography was for a long while, considering its short life, not great. Now the files you get from a $ 500 are $ 2000 incredible.For you have a professional camera of excellent quality. Digital has also created new opportunities for Photographer to offer more services.
Dealing with Students and teaching Photography what do you see is the benefit of Digital Photography?
The answer surprised us a bit but most agreed that the cost of taking pictures was the major benefit they could see. Most student have and will always struggle with the cost of photography, However once they have made the investment they are pretty much set. In studio shooting 4×5 Polaroids, 4×5 transparency film was extremely costly. However shooting film made students slow down. It is too common for student to fix things in post-production. The major draw back is the focus on technology and not on the "Visual" aspect of Photography.
What do you think will be the most drastic change or changes we will see in the field of Photography during the next few years?
The most drastic change in Photography has already happened: Digital. For a while we could say Photography and Digital Photography but the reality, however disappointing it is to many, is that photography is digital. Very little film used anymore. Manufacturers have moved on and each and every field in Photography has adapted and changed. The more interesting question is where do we go from here? Let's look at the 2 major groups who create photography, professional photographers and consumers.
Taking into consideration what digital has brought to the media; Ease of Communication, immediate delivery worldwide, a Highly technical users and consumers base. The changes will be drastic, especially when you think that digital photography is still in its infancy.
The ease of communication as seen in the web conferencing industry will grow to allow pro to shoot and connect through a wireless network to the web from anywhere and present images for approval / delivery across the world. Think IPhone built in your $ 3000 camera and you are set. Someone is about to change way of coding images that will make raw file extremely compressed. It will become the standard. As a result Photographers will deliver RAW files, with protected metadata included and locked in the file for copyright protection, Gps location, the minute you mess with the metadata the File will self destruct. If you are a pro you like the sound of that. So on a pro level Cameras will have wireless transmitter built in, just as any phone connecting to a satellite, built audio and video for communication and extremely small raw files containing encrypted metadata protecting creator. From the consumer point of view the changes will come faster and in a greater steps.
TV, computers, phones will merge into one product or service resulting in countless possibilities. With a technically advanced consumer base it is easy to imagine a screen allowing you to write an email on one side, watch a TV program in another and speak on a video / phone in another part of the screen. This technology is available today but too expensive for consumers, for how long? Will you see your children come home, turn their phone or multimedia device on, connect to a base that will automatically download photographs, TV shows and whatever it's set to do. Your child will select the photos he she wants to post, dial on a keyboard and call across town to shows his / her shots to a friend or family member? Most definitely! The missing piece is a new language or new way of coding. To allow for smaller data transfer. This will come, without a doubt! So if you are an engineer, find a new way of coding all these information into a much smaller data size, find a new codec and you'll be set and retire early.
Does all this make photography better. Photography has become more and more affordable giving access to incredible equipment to a large group of consumers that may not do this for a living but love it and are constantly trying to learn more. Look at how many classes and workshops that have been offered over the past ten to fifteen years ago that did not exists. In a sense with more and more intelligent and dedicated amateur photographers the quality of images will get better and better as a teacher I see it on a day to day basis.