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06 Aug 2010
By Writabrata Banerjee
Aug
06
2010

Is software taking over the art of photography?

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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?

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Posts: 2

51 Comments

  1. gwmbox says:

    This is the reason why the quality of photographs in general are on the slide as everyone is suddenly an expert as they have a digital camera and Photoshop (or GIMP).

    As you say in your article photography is more than just taking a snap shot, there is an art to it and there is also a science to it. I guess you could call the photoshopping the science, however high skills in art are required to get it correct and you also have to have the right photo (the art) that is taken by an artist/photographer.

    The other problem we have is what is in demand and what people now settle for. Most people are happy with their own happy snaps and photos provided by friends and relatives as they are free, anything free always has a shine to it. But does that make them as good or better? Of course not but free is a big plus.

    It does come down to ‘you get what you pay for’, but I will also say there are photographers that charge fees that really are excessive too -- so there is a sliding scale of course from very expensive to free.

    On that slide is your ‘one free photo’ business operators, you know the ones in the mall taking your happy child snaps and making them appear like they are pro photographers and give you one picture free and so on. Most if not all are not professional photographers, I mean anyone with a clue about lighting and art would know that. However most people would not know that and blindly accept that the photo taken is the best quality, which as I said is basically people settling for lower quality as it is free/cheap.

    It really comes down to what you want to use the photo for, if it is just for your own use then yes I would agree most family happy snaps will be ok for that purpose, but if you want photographs for a large portrait to hang on the wall or for commercial purposes that is to advertise your products, services etc then you really do want to have it done professionally. There is nothing worse than a picture hanging on a wall that is very poorly done or a bad advertisement due to poor photography.

    Then there is also the skill involved in capturing life in general, be it still life or in motion, most people will blur images, have the wrong focus, incorrect depth, poor lighting, blown photos, incorrect speed settings and so on, only those with years of photographic experience will get that perfect shot.

    So no software will not ‘replace’ photographers but it will take a bigger piece of the pie as more and more will think they are an ‘expert’ since they have a Digital Camera and Photoshop. Likewise many professional photographers will need to rethink about what they do and how they provide their services, especially if their business is suffering from the lower quality demand from most people.

    Cheers

    GW

  2. I’ve used Photoshop (on Windows) and GIMP (on Ubuntu) for some time now, and I do find that the amount of tutorials and howtos out there on the web is easy to come by.
    Having said that -- its slowly becoming even easier to manipulate images without installing software, instead -- by using web applications such as Aviary. Aviary (http://aviary.com) provides a powerful suite of web-based applications to drive your creative needs.

    all in all, the demand for professional photographers will always be there, heck, your brother might even become one someday, this is just a stepping stone to building up his expertise. with reduced barriers of entry -- anything is possible now.

  3. Scott says:

    Most images that we see these days have had some sort of post processing work done to them, just like most movie stars have had “work” done to them.

    With the vast amount of image manipulation and photographic software available on the market these days, it is very easy to make an average photo look like a good photo, but it takes a bit more than Joe Bloggs and his copy of Photoshop to produce an amazing or professional quality photograph.

    There are many ingredients that make up the recipe for an amazing photograph. Its true that a lot of these ingredients can be substituted or artificially done like when people use vanilla essence instead of vanilla pods in a cake mix, but certain key parts that make a photo like, composition, foreground interest and lead in lines are things that are chosen and incorporated into a photo by the photographer.

    Look at any photo taken by a professional photographer and you can see all these elements in play, that when combined make a truly amazing and breathtaking photo. Professionals charge the prices they do because of their experience in knowing what makes a truly great photograph, and also the time that they put in to get that one photograph. The famous landscape photographer Peter Dombrovskis used to go bushwalking into the wilderness for a whole week just to get one photo. Isn’t that effort and time worth a little more money?

    Software will probably never take over from the art of photography, but it will certainly help the average person out there take better photos than they did before, just like cameras are now helping ‘point-and-shoot’ people produce better photos

  4. Writanbrata Banerjee says:

    Hi Scott,

    That actually makes a good point. I agree, there is always a certain amount of skill involved to make the photos look extraordinary. I also think that perspective is very important, not sure but I doubt any software will be having the capability of manipulating the perspective or the panning of the image.

    You actually make a very good point by citing Peter Dombrovskis, the amount of devotion, hard work and the experience the professionals put in behind each photo is really to be appreciated.

    I wonder though if a specific category of photographers like wedding photographers will have the similar demand as they do these days. Because softwares are making portraits look much better than they are (some cameras even have a mode called the ‘magic mode’ which does a decent touch-up job on the image to make it look prettier), this might potentially bring up some concerns for event photographers.

  5. Scott says:

    Hi Writabrata,

    I think that photographic software won’t be much of a threat for professional photographers because the average person doesn’t have the time or skill to reproduce the same standard of work. Wedding photography can be a daunting task even for a professional. The pressure involved in capturing someone’s special day can be enormous. Unfortunately a wedding day is an event that is supposed to happen only once :-) with the cost and time involved in a wedding, the photographer only has one opportunity to get it right. Having recently been married and knowing that it will be the one and only time that I will walk down the aisle (now that’s confidence), it was reassuring to know that I had a professional looking through the view finder snapping away and capturing all the special moments and not relying on ‘Uncle Bob’ with his compact point and shoot, hoping that he can capture the moment and somehow get his pimply faced teenage chid to produce some average shots on their PC.

    Software allows the average user to enhance their mundane photos and make them worthy of taking up hanging space on the family home walls and not stacked up in a shoe box in the spare bedroom somewhere.

    I like to think of the software as a polish of sorts. It enhances and puts the finishing touches on the final product, it doesn’t magically construct that product out of thin air.

  6. Tim McMahon says:

    I don’t think software will replace professional photographers but you’ll find that companies will choose amateurs to save money. But even amateurs with professional software suites need to spend hours editing your photos. You might find that a professional photographer takes more time to produce a shot of higher caliber but less time editing post-shoot. On the other hand, you’ve to consider the cost of equipment.

    The amateur photographer could take a thousand shots of the same scene and spend a considerable amount of time sifting through blurry images to find something that they can edit. On the other hand, a professional wouldn’t need to take so many shots and wouldn’t require much time editing. With decent equipment you can tweak the settings of your camera, compose a scene, setup the lighting, and shoot once. You don’t need the latest and greatest equipment, but skills and experience will go a long way towards making the process easy and efficient.

    In any case, the current software suites out there will have to improve quite a lot to make producing professional images out of bad stock photography easy. The amount of time required to master some of the software would probably be better spent studying photography and learning how the equipment works. You just have to weigh up the costs and decide where your passion lies: at a computer with Photoshop open; or behind a camera on location.

    Tim.

  7. Writabrata Banerjee(Telstra Employee) says:

    Hi Scott,

    Congrats for your wedding, well done!

    That bit where you mention ‘thats confidence’ was hilarious, haha! You do make a very good point actually , on their special day most people would like to rely on professional expertise rather than some random person clicking with their point-and-shoot cameras, after allas you said its possibly the only time someone walks down the aisle!

    On a side note, do you think photographers these days actually have to learn the use of Photoshop or similar softwares? Is it an added component to their knowledge now?

  8. Writabrata Banerjee(Telstra Employee) says:

    Hi Tim,

    You actually made a very good point, the time spent learning how to use a proper software is actually to be considered, and from the perspective of a professional photographer, I think that is a saving in terms of time.

    Also, as you mentioned, its easy to get an average picture look prettier by tweaking the settings on it, but at the end of the day it still needs to have enough raw information in it so that it can be processed in the software. So from that perspective, I think taking the picture right in the first place is the most important bit.

    I wonder if Photoshop or any similar software house are thinking on the lines of perfecting images by removing the blurs, that might add a whole new dimension to photography.

  9. Writabrata Banerjee(Telstra Employee) says:

    Hi James,

    Yeah I agree, this is more sort of a stepping stone for my brother if he wants to become a pro in photography. However, I was thinking of web suites like Aviary, although it allows us to edit images, do they also store a copy of our images on their repository? If so, am not sure if many people would like to edit personal pictures online.

  10. Writabrata Banerjee(Telstra Employee) says:

    Hi gwmbox,

    It is true , at the end of day it is always about ‘you get what you pay for’. But there is a very interesting point you made in your comment, that most people are happy with their friends clicking their snaps and then playing aorund with photoshop to give it some effects. Obviously that wouldnt yield similar results like that of a professional photographer, but I think that is where most of the issues are. Most people lack proper knowledge of photography, so ‘nice’ becomes a very relative scale of assesment for such people. What is nice to them maybe ridiculously imperfect in the eyes of a professional photographer.

    I think as you said, the use of the photograph is a very important factor in deciding whom / what you use to get it captured , if it is a once in a lifetime event that you are being a part of, you would like to spend some money to get someone who guarantees the best shot.

  11. Grandmaster Ronoson says:

    In the course of my job as a private investigator and mixed goods importer, I see a lot of touched up photos.

    The skill required to ‘airbrush’ a photo is still quite high. I receive a lot of mail from overseas whilst investigating fraud, and it is still blatantly obvious who is using Photoshop and who is not.

    I say that a high degree of skill is still needed to make tasteful and accurate changes to a photo (with more than a dash of artistic ability) with software. Maybe the skills required for photography are just changing as technology progresses.

  12. sam says:

    haha I don’t think so, as an amateur photographer myself, I know the limit as an unprofessional photographer. You might get nice shot and which can be perfection using your software afterward by hit and miss sometimes, but not all the time and especially the \critical\ moment. With lack of experience and knowledge you might always get some shoots with wrong setting, \not that nice\ composition, even didnt notice that was the best timing to get some shot~! Future more, software are not only standing beside unprofessional photographers, but professional photographers most of the time can use it to create more wonderful and creative art piece.. :)

  13. sam says:

    haha I don’t think so, as an amateur photographer myself, I know the limit as an unprofessional photographer. You might get nice shot and which can be perfection using your software afterward by hit and miss sometimes, but not all the time and especially the “critical” moment. With lack of experience and knowledge you might always get some shoots with wrong setting, “not that nice” composition, even didn’t notice that was the best timing to get some shot~! Future more, software are not only standing beside unprofessional photographers, but professional photographers most of the time can use it to create more wonderful and creative art pieces.. :)

  14. Writabrata Banerjee(Telstra Employee) says:

    Hi Ronoson,

    That is exactly right, I think the skillset for producing professional looking photographs has just sort of expanded in size. Previously it was only the raw photograph itself that used to make all the difference, but now if someone is highly skilled with softwares and have a decent knowledge on photography, they might as well produce extraordinary results of a photo which looks average otherwise.

  15. Writabrata Banerjee(Telstra Employee) says:

    Hi Sam,

    Finally we got an amateur photographer!! :-)

    I see your point, and I think its an important one, instead of replacing photography as an art, I think softwares have become a tool of the trade sort of. It helps amateurs to produce good photos, but as you said I think it helps professional photographers to rectify the minute imperfections (if any) and allows them to make the images look more startling altogether.

  16. Gwynn (Telstra employee) says:

    Interestingly at my brother’s wedding I was talking to the photographer during a break in proceedings about how technology has changed his profession.

    He said that the rules of taking a good photo hadn’t changed, but what had changed from his perspective was the follow up work. Whereas once he’d completed a photoshot before he could drop the film off at the lab and a few days later pick it up and pick the best images.

    Now he spends the next four days on his PC touching up images to get the very best out of them -- meaning there’s a lot more work from his perspective as clients are now also expecting even more from their photos.

  17. Writabrata Banerjee(Telstra Employee) says:

    Hi Gwynn,

    Thats exactly right, I think using softwares has become more sort of an additional skillset that is expected of photographers these days. Its more sort of an added bonus than a replacement altogether.

    But as you mentioned, the rules of taking a good photo is still pretty much the same -- perspective, panning of the image, brightness etc. etc.

  18. Aaron pho says:

    Apart from being a Telstra business consultant. I also have a small business doing car photography for car enthusiasts. In the car photography industry, especially with the car manufacturers, most of the photos are actually computer generated. Everything from the reflections in the panels of the car to the blur of the ground, giving the motion effect.
     
    Do you think software will eventually replace the need for professional photographers?
     
    Given the use of digital manipulation and 3D graphics, photos like the ones on car brochures will eventually be created without the photographer. But this is for people who want absolute perfection in their photos, and with that there is a high price for.
     
    Computer software will always be around photo manipulation but this will only enhance pictures. Software cannot artificially create better composition of a photo, which is all the work of the photographer. Software can make an average photo into a decent picture but professional will take a good picture and make it amazing.
     
    You can replicate effects of a professional photographer using software but in the end it will never have the same feel or the genuine qualities of the real thing.

  19. Bob says:

    The concept of someone being a good photographer because they can edit images is completely wrong but widely believed. With a digital camera you can take a lot of pictures and probably some of them can be good by luck more than anything.

    There is absolutely no substitute for understanding lighting, depth of field and exposure. Photoshop can make a picture better, but getting the picture right in the camera will consistently give you much better results with minimal adjustment.

    There are well documented cases of clueless “photographers” with budget SLR cameras and kit lenses being hired to shoot formal occasions and being sued for poor results.

    If any one in Sydney is interested in learning more do a studio workshop on http://AspirationImages.com

  20. Ted says:

    Software is the new “darkroom”. Film era photography required retouching and chemical process (lab) and some optical filters to get the best out of the photos, this days the same is achieved in software. Less smelly and much more available.

    The art of taking good photographs has not changed at all. It is true, some software allows for a lot more creativity than the lab processes ever did and this should simply be embraced as part of technological advancement. Will it change the composition, lighting, deapth-of-field control, ability to see and to capture the moment? No, software can attempt some of this but when compared to the “real” thing it cames remote second best.

    PS: taking a good or even great photographs are not purely the domain of a professional photographers. Professional stands for “one who charges money”. Sure, in most cases they may have more expertise and experience but that “artful” aspect is still purely personal and can come from anyone, so keep on snapping.

  21. Gianni Rodino (Telstra employee) says:

    I thought it rather apt that the open-source application is (very appropriately) named GIMP. The general accepted definition suggests it is someone with a handicap, applied to this theme the inability to take a truly worthy photograph.

    In answer to the title of your post. In many respects software is taking over the art of photography. Or perhaps it already has.

    Give me a raw image (pardon the pun) over software enhanced photography every time.

  22. John Crane says:

    If you want to see some interesting imaging, have a lock at the photo’s on the Southern Astronomy Society website
    http://www.sas.org.au/ click on Event Horizion
    Photo’s taken by members of the Southern Astronomy Society, and tells what sort of camera, exposeure time, and how many exposures
    Happy star grazing

  23. Writabrata Banerjee(Telstra Employee) says:

    Hi Aaron,

    Thats a very interesting thought altogether, so looks like there is one part of the photography industry that does depend on software for utter perfection of the images..though it may come at a very high price! However, I am assuming these professional softwares that are used for car modelling must be more improved and advanced than the free ones available around, so it needs people with skills in those specific softwares to be paid a lot of money so that they can use their expertise to generate the results wanted.

    But you do make a very good point where you say “Software can make an average photo into a decent picture but professional will take a good picture and make it amazing.
    “…I absolutely agree, I think at the end of the day its still depending on how creative the individual clicking the photo is.

  24. Glenn Weinert says:

    The law of averages will allow anyone that shoots often to get “some” great shots, and this is good enough for most. Problems occur when people take money to shoot an event or portrait without knowing how to set the camera manually to capture exactly what the client wants. If you cannot explain the correlation between DOF, shutter speed and ISO you should let people know that you are an enthusiast and the results will vary greatly. Post production is a great and almost must have skill these days. But if you don’t have good in camera skills you will go hungry as a professional photographer.

  25. Glenn Weinert says:

    The law of averages will allow anyone that shoots often to get “some” great shots and this is good enough for most. Problems occur when people take money to shoot an event or portrait without knowing how to set the camera manually to capture exactly what the client wants. If you cannot explain the correlation between DOF, shutter speed and ISO you should let people know that you are an enthusiast and the results will vary greatly. Post production is a great and almost must have skill these days. But if you don’t have good in camera skills you will go hungry as a professional photographer.

  26. Helena ( telstra employee ) says:

    I use software regularly to manipulate images but I would never dream of calling myself a photographer…..have waaaaaaaay too much respect for photography as an art form to do that….mind you I also dislike the term digital art…..

  27. evilyn (t employee) says:

    Interesting discussion -- while software available to manipulate images gets better and better, without a good image to start with, the outcome with only be ordinary as an image. However the image can be made to be an extraordinary piece of art. Photography is way more than just changing parts of the image captured in the camera -- it is a combination of the functional skills of photographer to capture a sharp image, with correct exposure. It also depends on being in the right place at the right time, what equipment is used (ie professional lenses get better results than amateur ones);composing the image (what is left out is often more important than what is left in) -- you must also have an “eye” for appealing images -- or you will still be taking uninspired shots. Therein lies the difference between a pro and an amateur.

  28. Tony Nathan says:

    As a frustrated landscape photographer, software is tool as much as a good lens is a tool, but software will never replace the photographer or the need to understand light and the optics of photography. Good kit and software can only take you so far.

    If you want to go further take lots and understand what went wrong -- and get a good mentor.

  29. David says:

    Using Photoshop or GIMP to tune a shot cannot automatically make you a great photographer. Photography is not just about capturing the image, It’s also about capturing the emotion of the moment. Timing is not something that any software can fix.

    Technology is having the same affect on photography as it has in music. Music has become awash with “good enough” vocals that have been “fixed” in post-production. The gap between “good enough” and great is narrowed, but cannot be completely closed

    Whether it be in photographer or music, true talent can be recognized, it just takes a little focus

  30. Writabrata Banerjee(Telstra Employee) says:

    Hi David,

    Being a professional musician myself, I absolutely agree with your view where mention that ‘The gap between “good enough” and great is narrowed, but cannot be completely closed’…I think though that most of the population sometimes agree to settle with the ‘good’ and not the ‘great’ maybe because there is a fair bit of expenditure involved. But, as you said, at the end of the day, its always about the quality and if true art is to evaluated, then quality needs to be one of the most crucial tools to evaluate it.

    Wonder if we can have a software change the perspective of an image altogether, that might call for some extra bucks and experience!

  31. John Kha says:

    A good photo requires a good eye. The outcome is delivered by a skilled photographer and/or skilled software user with a good eye.

    I think the real debate here is how you interpret photography, what is a photographer?

  32. Writabrata Banerjee(Telstra Employee) says:

    Hi Tony,

    The point you make about lighting is pretty unique, I think softwares do manipulate brightness and lighting in images, but i think the point you are trying to make is that selective and appropriate lighting in an image comes from an experienced pair of eyes behind the lens, and not from the computer screen isnt it.

  33. Writabrata Banerjee(Telstra Employee) says:

    Hi Helena,

    I see your point, funny enough I ended up fighting with my brother on this because I said the same to him!! Ha ha!

  34. Gavin says:

    The only technical requirement to be labelled a professional (pro) photographer is to derive a certain percentage (>35%??) of your income from photography. Photography skill levels and creativity are very subjective when comparing an amateur/enthusiast to pro photographer. It’s my opinion that pro photographers are just better at marketing in some/most cases.

    Think about the type of work a pro photographer gets paid to do, compared to what an amateur photographs (regardless of software manipulation). Pro photographers get paid for a particular task, or to cover an event and deliver photos within deadlines. You won’t find many amateurs doing hours of free work for someone else. Online software will hardly replace pro photographers. In fact professional software have actually made their jobs easier with inbuild templates and automated workflows.

  35. Tony Nathan says:

    Hi Writabrata,

    Yes that is my point. nothing replaces a good eye at the view finders, but as others in this thread have commented, you need to understand optic, iso, DoF and a whole heap of other factor as well to make a realy good photographer.

    The best thing to ever happen to my photography was a good mentor. He started on medium format B&W and has talk me lots.

    Tony

  36. Uncle Bob says:

    I never considered myself as a ‘great’ photographer -- I tend to take holiday landscape snaps. However, I did inheret a decent Digital SLR just before my niece’s wedding so thought I would take a few (hundred) pictures for the family. So I just followed the professional photographer around taking similar photos as her shots and extras as well.

    The professional had an equipment malfunction (USB stick meltdown) and lost most of her photos. After the blind panic settled down, the bride’s father asked if the photographer could have copies of my photos.

    I got a phone call from the photographer a couple of days later thanking me for using the highest resolution available and telling me my pictures are actually quite good. My pictures saved the day.

    My point is using good equipment in the first place at decent resolutions is the start point of good pictures. (And keep backups).

    Bob

  37. Hari says:

    It’s a fantastic read and the opinions add flavour to it.

    I am a photography enthusiast and been taking photos for few years now.

    What the photo actually needs is a good character, such as framing, composition, DOF, time, place and so many mentioned in the above posts. I think with the advances in technology, the software, might be able to do it one day and “would you be happy with that?”

    At the end of the day, the sense of satisfaction that we derive out of a good capture, never is substituted by any level of software manipulation. I believe in the out of the box photos with very basic fixing such as, contrast or brightness and it’s a personal perspective as to what they expect out of themselves. As the word amateur or intermediate is quite relative, I would try to avoid it.
    A basic photographer is happy with a photo from a mobile or a smartphone. Well, sometimes it might turn up good.

    I have seen the best photos out of a very basic camera, manual or digital. So what matters is the eye behind the camera and that’s priceless.

    Certainly, the gap between a good and a great photo is narrowed but couldn’t be closed. I totally agree with that.

    When I have time, I still try to use my manual and it makes me think ten times before I click and helps me learn more. Digital has made things easier be it hardware or software but the sense of achievement has gone down. Hence we hold some of the old photographers as priceless.

    Now-a-days, we have a feeling at the back of our mind, when we see a snap, “Probably it might be digitized”. There is nothing wrong in it and more people get a chance to be involved in the world of photography.

    Hari

  38. Alfredo says:

    WB,
    1st of all there those who take pictures and those who take photographs and I am sure you will agree that there is a big difference between the 2.

    In the comercial world, photographs enhanced by those softwares will have a better chance of selling than those without. It is some sort of an edge like drinking coffee or Redbull. Having said that there are terrific photographers out there that do not use it and still comes out with wonderful photos (purist) or at the very least twicks only the brightness and contrast like you would in a processing lab when printing a photo. As others have said there will always be a need for them bourne out of commercial need (money money).

    Personally I do not beleive in them sometimes the finish products looks more like an illustrations than a photograph.

    Like many others who previously said and I agree, no matter what equipment you have or software you use or not, the secret of a good photograph is the eye behind the view finder.

    Good night and good luck.

    Alfredo Estrella

  39. Uncle Stanley says:

    What is the difference between amateur or professional photographer? This is not 1+1 = 2. Yes you can do courses, however i am not aware there are exams.

    I have been taking photos for a year now. Some of the photos look as good as “Pro”. Equipment helps in certain situations. Some people are better at taking photos than others, like my wife. For me, practise and reading / learning definitely help.

    Will software takeover art of photography? In my opinion, you cannot replace “art”. However, maybe one day you will not need to take “photo”, rather using software and databases of photos or images to create a picture.

    I have seen the movie Avator twice… 2D and 3D versions!

    Photos do bring back happy memory, be it my son’s photos or holiday snaps. Something software can’t create.

  40. Jim Palfreyman (Telstra Employee) says:

    “An amateur worries about equipment”
    “A professional worries about money”
    “A master worries about the light”

    For decades I could take just a good photo (even after photoshop) until I worked out the statement above and learned what needed to be learned.

    No amount of software can replace the right light. It can help save a shot you mis-exposed, but the genuinely good shots need perfect light to start with.

    Jim

  41. Damir Tankovic says:

    Sure the digital photography can be enhanced by software -- in fact it is already happening -- look at the so called celebrity magazines -- movies and etc…

    The real pictures of a photographer (not touched) will still be a masterpiece (art form) since it is an art to take a picture.

  42. Having experienced being both amateur and professional in the imaging industry I have seen and heard the views from both sides. Before even discussing the use of software to enhance a photo, the content of the photo itself is what matters ! No amount of software use can create a great photo if the original capture has no subject of interest ! Just viewing the many major photo exhibitions on display this year in Sydney will show that it is the content that matters and which gains the viewer’s eye. You have to have gone out there to capture the image and to work at setting it up or going places to gain the image you have in mind. So much is in the mind of the photographer -- this cannot always be created using software.

  43. Note that my surname was spelt incorrectly! Should be Bryan.

  44. Larry Sixsmith (Telstra employee) says:

    I think it’s great the technology has given us the opportunity to enable photos to be improved. Photos capture a moment in time. (see my blog The Passing Of Time here in TEX) Some times wonderful, some times amazing, happy even sad. They are all moments that are important to the taker of the photo. If that moment, whether it be a wedding, a birthday party or simply a picnic in the park image can be improved. I’m all for it. I don’t think it takes away from a photographers skill. You still need the eye for the subject that you are capturing.

  45. Writabrata Banerjee(Telstra Employee) says:

    HI Gavin,

    Very interesting point where you mentioned that “Photography skill levels and creativity are very subjective “…quite true actually, I guess it comes back to one of those grey areas where we decide what is ‘good enough’ for us. I think good and bad is really relative, and thats where things become a little fuzzy. Ordinary people are reluctant sometimes to get professionals involved because they dont understand the difference in quality of work of an amateaur and a pro. But if you look at it from an ipartial point of view, I agree, Pro photographers will only become better with time with softwares easing out the process altogether. Softwares are the tool, both for Pro and amateurs.

  46. Writabrata Banerjee(Telstra Employee) says:

    Hi Barbara,

    You just revealed an amazing aspect of the discussion altogether….the mind! You are right, I think the creative flair has no boundaries, and it is mostly the mind where all of the creative genius takes birth from. Softwares may manipulate an image , but the content cannot be manipulated or tampered with, only the effects can be modified to make it all the more appealing.

  47. Writabrata Banerjee(Telstra Employee) says:

    Hi Damir,

    Absolutely correct! Its all in the art isnt it….but the worrying bit though, is that how many people understand the creative genius involved behind producing a real piece of art. I think the mass needs to be educated about the essence of art to some extent, so that we all are on the same page.

    Magazines these days, as you mention, do flaunt of brilliant images , thanks to the enhanced functionalities provided by softwares…however the photographers are the ones who produce the image in the first place isnt it.

  48. Writabrata Banerjee(Telstra Employee) says:

    Hi Larry,

    I have read your blog and to be honest absolutely loved it! There is a very old saying which says ‘time and tide waits for none’….time will go by, and no matter how much we try to catch up, we will always be missing the bits and pieces of time.

    The subject , as you say, is absolutely important, to make an image look prettier is different than getting the pretty image in the first place, I agree.

  49. Writabrata Banerjee(Telstra Employee) says:

    Hi Jim,

    Your comment made my day!

    “An amateur worries about equipment”
    “A professional worries about money”
    “A master worries about the light”

    These are the golden rules which pretty much explain what this topic is all about.

  50. Ray says:

    Can I connect and send photos from my PC to tbox to view on my TV set?

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