“It’s OK, We Own A Digital Camera”

“It’s OK, we own a digital camera.”

An interesting response to a call from us to a corporation offering professional photographic services.  Indeed this response, or one similar, is not uncommon when speaking to a large company nowadays.

I say interesting because it suggests that ownership of a camera, digital in this case, invalidates the value of an able photographer.

I can see why this phenomenon occurs however. Let’s first look at the ‘digital’ part.  Practically everyone owns a digital camera. It’s either in the living room drawer or immediately to hand in a mobile phone.  All you have to do is aim and fire.  Hey presto … there’s an image.  Immediate and free (I’d like to leave any discussion about equipment choice to another time).

Now let’s look at the second part of the recipe … the photographer.  Let us assume that the company does indeed own the necessary equipment needed to produce the required finished product and I should mention that the camera is only a small part of what is needed.  A key ingredient in this recipe knowing what to do.  Let me give you some very basic hints …

One needs to be able to …

1) Visualise the final image before starting.

2) Compose (no matter how simple the subject).

3) Understand light and be able to manipulate it.

4) Control perspective.

5) Control depth of field.

6) Process the final image as visualised before shooting.

All the above is a very basic outline and leaves a lot out, but you get the idea.  This is the job of the photographer.  I know it sounds obvious but it’s the bit that the person at the company being telephoned, forgot about.

Here’s a thought.  Give two good photographers the same subject matter and the same equipment and they will make different images.  Given they are both good photographers, and that’s the important bit, the images will both be good.  The question that the person who answers the telephone needs to ask therefore is … “do we have a good photographer.”

It was the right idea, just the wrong statement … that’s all.

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