October 22, 2009, 8:04 am - James FarrerI've been working on some wedding pictures for a friend and have been thinking about how good you had to be not that long ago. Before the digital photography revolution you had to shoot pictures more or less blind. I learned much of what I know on an old film Camera. It was a nice Nikon but didn't have auto-focus, or any other fully automatic settings. As near as I can tell it was a very nice camera when it was new and still functions beautifally today. It had an automatic shutter speed setting so you only had to do half the work and that was fantastic.
Taking pictures now with digital cameras is something completely different. You start with the same principles but then you've got a small computer built into the camera that can take care of everything or only a small amount depending on what you want. But in reality as long as it's in focus and you get in the general neighborhood there's always Photoshop to help cover up your lack of knowledge or skill. While I am in no ways perfect but I feel like I do a relatively good job before it ever gets to Photoshop. I've read on some photography forums that 1 in ten pictures is worth using by some photographers. Maybe I'm just not as picky or maybe my learning on a film camera helps me understand better what is going on but on a bad day maybe half the pictures are slightly out of focus or not framed quite right and are therefore not usable, but all in all most pictures seem to turn out alright. Most of which only need a small lighting adjustment.
Not to long ago I was looking at some wedding pictures of parents and grandparents, it's part of what got me thinking about this whole topic, and the pictures were decent. Considering the photographer had a one time shot to get the picture right and at best could control some of the lightness and maybe a little bit of the color saturation (for the later ones that were in color). That's pretty impressive.
It also makes me wonder about the number of photographers today. I am sure there are a significant number more now with the cost of quality equipment dropping as low as it has, but I still greatly respect those photographers of the past and present who can do a shoot and get it right the first time, without the aid of Photoshop.