A shift in snapping pics

Have you ever used the terms focal length, noise reduction, ISO or hot shoe? If not, your photography experience has most likely been limited to pointing your phone in the general direction of a subject, touching the screen and letting the app do its magic. If you are an advanced fruit-user, you tap-hold and slide down the exposure a bit to achieve the “next-level” look. 

Realistically, we are all used to taking pictures with our phones. The ease with which we can take, edit and share pictures instantaneously makes professional equipment seem antiquated and bulky. It is much easier to whip out our phones to capture a quick moment and slide it back into our pockets the next minute.

We all have high-quality cameras seemingly attached to us. Who wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a professional camera, lenses, tripods, backpacks, filters, batteries and memory cards? Evidently, not a whole lot of people.

And the statistics follow this thinking: According to Statista, the number of DSLR cameras sold has plummeted over the past 10 years. In 2012 the same statistic was nearly eight times that of the current — 16 million units sold then, and just under two million now. What is happening? It’s quite simple: Phones have taken over our lives.

Instant gratification leads to images being instantly shareable, usable and ready to go. I believe we have lost the appreciation of process. My editing workflow is nearly therapeutic at this point, and the whole process from capturing the first picture to exporting the final image is extremely gratifying. 

My camera is only one part of many that all fit together to form the craft of photography. Mark Myerson wrote about the effects of the digital boom on photography and how the phone has simplified the photographic process to the extreme. This isn’t negative in all respects, but it brings up some interesting questions for both photographers and phone-users alike. 

Where is the line between professional photography and some denim-eyed Joe with his Pixel 39? Why should you hire a professional photographer for your wedding but not for a birthday party? What experiences are you missing when you are constantly trying to capture and share them immediately? Do photos hold inherent value?

At the end of the day, a picture is a picture whether it was taken on a phone or a “real camera,” and neither party should claim supremacy over the other. Both styles have strengths and weaknesses that are opportunities to grow and learn more about the craft. Photography isn’t about what the camera is made of, but rather who is holding it. 

Maas is an opinion writer for the Liberty Champion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *