Is Photography becoming too technical?
Having started my "career" in photography at the tender age of 13, way back in 1980, I remember thinking that things seemed so complicated to start with.
F-Stops, shutter speeds, ASA (ISO) ratings, double exposures, depth of field and the "wet" darkroom all took a little getting used to, although it was still great fun.
Nowadays, as a full time professional photographer, I spend quite a bit of time online and in photography forums researching digital cameras, lenses, software and new techniques and I am constantly bewildered by the amount of sometimes unnecessary technical jargon.
I feel for any newbies to digital photography as there seems to be added pressure to be able to manipulate your images beyond recognition before they are deemed as "quality".
Books and websites are now packed out with technical data, facts and figures that are really not so important when starting out. It is all too easy to become confused and put off by thinking that you need to know all this...you don't, not for now at least!
It all started when digital technology hit the mainstream buying public and even more so when Digital SLR's became more affordable to the masses.
Everywhere I go now I see arguments and discussions for;
* The amount of mega-pixels necessary to get a good shot.
* Noise (or grain) issues from digital sensors.
* Dynamic range is a favourite, probably because using the term sounds like you know your onions!
* Purple fringing or chromatic aberrations.
* The "crop factor" of a camera's sensor.
* Menu layout, buffer and start up times, image stabilisation...the list goes on.
What many people need to realise is that all of the above is simply irrelevant when beginning as a photographer. It is still mostly irrelevant as you progress too, and you only really need to fully understand these things if you intend to sell your images or services.
The point of my ramblings is to let people know that all you need to do is this;
* Understand the basic principles of photography. Exposure, composition and lighting.
* Know how to upload and "develop" your images digitally using even basic software, to the point where they resemble how it would have looked if your old film lab had done the job.
* Print, show online via a website or email to friends, family or clients.
* And simply enjoy yourself.
If you can put a camera to your eye, see a good picture and know how to capture it as you see it, you are half way there.
As testimony to much the above, most of the large professional stock libraries in the world only accept original, unsharpened, un-manipulated images...no fancy stuff.
(Smaller designer-based stock agencies including Microstock companies are partial to both original photographic files right up to heavily manipulated digital images).
All you need to do is take your Digital SLR camera, lenses and accessories and go out and have fun. Enjoy getting "back to basics" and learning the true art of photography and worry about the rest later.
The following may be of use to those who have just bought or about to buy a new DSLR (Digital SLR). IT will hold you by the hand and walk you through all the need to know areas of digital photography at grass roots level.
All the best and good luck with this fantastic hobby!
Nick is a professional, qualified photographer for more than 24 years specialising in stock, wedding, people and commercial photography. He was recently awarded the title of "Commercial Photographer of the Year 2005" by the S.W.P.P & B.P.P.A. (Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers and British Professional Photographers Association)