Emerging trends in digital photography
Some would argue that photography is defined by creativity. Planning in some aspects, too. However, even the most innovative ideas require technology to exit the brain and make the print. It’s no surprise; therefore, that new software and devices are shaping new trends in photography and allowing it to reach new levels of greatness. Of course, the likes of Henri Cartier-Bresson relied on one device to create timeless masterpieces. The photographer and his fellow members at Magnum were forced to go from camera straight to print and they had no problem with creating some of the most adored images of their time. So, does technology belong in every avenue of photography? Perhaps not for some, but digital photography is spawning exciting times. The available tools are getting larger, easier-to-use, more complex (in a good way) and, most importantly, fun! So, as we assess the changing landscape of digital photography, let’s take a look through some of the most recent trends unfolding before our very eyes.
Edit suites like Photoshop are great at bringing works up to a professional standard, but not all images are suitable for stock photography or selling to a gallery. Take your travelling snaps or the on-location updates for your Twitter feed (a must for photographers looking to hint at their upcoming works). These won’t gain much through being dragged through a three hour edit. In fact, they’ll be quite contempt with a colour boost through a mobile application. Your iPhone or iPad is your edit suite in this case and you’ll soon find that you can do almost anything you want to a photo on the fly. Not that editing through a £0.69 application provides an adequate replacement for what you can do with Lightroom, Photoshop etc, but fingertip editing isn’t to be snarled at by any stretch. It’s catching on faster than expected and most programs are more than capable of providing the finishing touches.
We’ve all seen the BBC’s super slo-mo shots at Wimbledon, or even the Marks & Spencer adverts. Photography versions of these shots are enabled through the use of all-in-one zoom lenses, which provide clearer definition for that super zoom snap. This of course prevents you carrying extra lenses and accessories needed for zoom shots, giving you a little more mobility with your quality. A winning combination, I’m sure you’ll agree. Should you require a video, it’s also likely that you won’t need to lug around an extra camera to shoot in high quality. Now, improved equipment on DSLRs means that amateur filmmakers are now turning to still cameras for pro results. They no longer rely on budget camcorders which, to be honest, could never provide the definition.
The second coming of black & white
Did black and white ever go away? If so, it’s certainly been brought back into the fore. There’s still a die-hard legion of black & white photographers out there and while edit suites can add millions of colourful effects to a piece, some pictures are best told without enhancement. Granted, black & white shooting isn’t exactly a new trend, but emerging it is.
If its rapid adoption is anything to go buy, it looks like HDR (or high dynamic range) photography is going to be around for some time. HDR was almost impossible to realise around 10 years ago, but its implementation for digital images is now available through sophisticated software. HDR is a number of images (usually three or four) taken at different exposures which when put through suites like Photoshop, combined to make one single snap. The end result is almost what you it to be, providing you’ve tinkered with enough settings.
Very much like HDR, examples of painted expressionism really bring out the photographer’s experimental side. A typical approach sees energetic imagery splattered with a collection of highly saturated tones and textures, creating an almost dreamlike feel. This looks great on canvas, while magazine editors haven’t exactly strayed away from this interesting technique on their cover features. Again, a method enabled by technology – showing that despite popular belief, it really isn’t the sum of all fears. It’s actually quite wonderful.