Photography as a medium of expression and the tools used in the process are constantly evolving. It is a new world almost every day. What began as simple, pixellated, dubiously crude images has advanced past the grain of film into its own realm of electronic expression. Always pushing technology to its limits, many photography trends emerge periodically, expose new developments, and surprise those using the equipment and those novices who aren’t sure yet what to shoot or how to engage the photographic tools at their disposal.
The iPad is a good example of the direction Apple is going as the iPad assists photographers with another tool. That does not mean it is a new type of camera, though it can record images. Its strengths are in its portability, and as a traveling lightweight platform for image processing. There are hundreds of applications for the iPad and photography. The iPad can be used as a manager of photographic libraries without using a computer or laptop.
The accessories for the iPad keep growing. With an adapter, it is possible to import SD cards or plug the camera into the iPad and download just JPEGs. The backlit screen is a great method of displaying images to wow clients. Photoshop, Lightroom, and Elements are not going to fall by the wayside, but for quick, on-the-fly edits, the iPad is hard to beat. Technology developments, like the iPad, introduce trends most individuals didn’t think were alternately photography instruments at all.
On the camera side, Sony Olympus, and Panasonic Lumix all have mirrorless point and shoot cameras with interchangeable lenses. These cameras have taken some of the weight out of the DSLR equation and provided higher mobility with a subcompact body and quality glass at a decent price. These are a new class of digital camera, with several advantages. Small and lightweight, these cameras are great for hiking or for a quick traveling assignment that does not require a 40-pound bag of equipment on a shoulder or in a backpack.
Some of the cameras also have video capability, which is an added plus. They can be carried anywhere, all the time. Photographers are notorious for not wanting to miss anything, and the image-grabbers are ideal for those afraid of missing the slightest moment in time.
Now that Aperture has fallen off the shelf, Adobe’s Lightroom is taking up the slack and will probably move into the premier slot of photographers for image editing, with top-notch quality control handles. It can handle a wide range of camera models and process the most common file formats including raw, DNG, JPEG, and TIFF.
Export images to Photoshop; catalogue them; batch process or send them to Facebook; Flickr; or Smug Mug, instantly publishing them to a website for immediate exposure to clients, friends, and family. Any professional photographer needs a website and these days it is essential the website is optimized for smartphones and tablets.
Professional photographers need to step up the game. The growth in all manner of electronic devices from tablets to smartphones now contain cameras and decent mega-pixels for quality images. Aspiring photographers are everywhere, and professional photographers need to focus and find niche areas, stand out with a unique style of shooting or unusual subject matter. It is necessary for professional photographers to find something the client is not able to use from someone with a smart phone. Tricks and editing images after the fact can only take someone so far, it is then professional shooters need to shine, and bring an edge to images a smart phone can only hope for.
An area professional photographers are able to keep their advantage is in the use of a polarizing filter. Many effects with digital technology can be done after-the-fact in post-processing. A polarizing filter has some advantages out in the field, like darkening blue skies, filtering out reflections from leaves, rocks, water, and cutting the haze where distant mountains or cityscapes appear dull and soft. Photography trends do come and go, and a polarizing filter is not a new development technologically, but it does offer a photographic advantage on camera not obtainable in the digital darkroom or with the current crop of digital hardware.
By Andy Towle