A couple of weeks ago I was having a casual chat with my brother and he was bragging about how he is an amazing photographer. I know for a fact that he has never received any formal training in photography, so this amused me a fair bit. To my surprise, the snaps he showed me actually appeared to have come straight from some expert’s portfolio. “Where did you learn this” was my next question.

2009 Tesselar Tulip Festival - Writabrata Banerjee

Interestingly enough, he said that it is actually a software called GIMP (open-source application), that apparently makes even the most ordinary of images look professional and extraordinary.

I wonder if that’s the case with most of the images we see these days. With the release of readily available open-source applications like Picasa, GIMP etc., manipulating images has now become much easier than it once used to be. Although this means that attaining a high level of quality is now within the reach of all, where does it place the demand for professional photographers now? Does this mean a normal person with no knowledge of professional photography but efficient software is as good as the experts of the trade? Isn’t it supposed to be about the art, the perspective, the skill, the perfect lighting, the correct exposure and so on?

Given the ease of use and features that some software is offering (including depth-of-field, contrast, sharpness, brightness, saturation etc.), I think professionals might need to come up with some added service or different expertise to justify the premium they generally charge!

Do you think software will eventually replace the need for professional photographers?