It’s equally hard and labor intensive to create an image on the computer as it is in a darkroom. Believe me.
- Jerry Uelsmann
I recently found a web site that has some very interesting and insightful "photo quotes" and I've decided that I'd like to bring some of them to the blog, from time to time. My intention is to help those unfamiliar with the process of what today's photographers go through, to gain a better understanding of the ins-and-outs of the things that we do, and try to achieve.
The reasons are many, and I won't go over all of them, but here are just a few.
1) Deadlines have moved up dramatically. Photojournalists have always had very tight deadlines...sometimes only hours after an event. Now that has been reduced to minutes. As a portrait photographer, there was always 2-3 weeks added in for the rolls of film to be sent off to the lab, and sent back. That time was immediately wiped away with the advent of digital, placing harsher deadlines on photographers turning projects over faster than ever before. When I first started photographing weddings back in the early '90's, a 2-3 month window was considered "fast" to get a wedding proof book to a client. Now that has been cut back to about 4-6 weeks, and some now are even saying that a month is too long to wait, that it's more like 2-3 weeks is the longest someone should wait.
2) Photographers generally shoot more images on digital than on film. It's not uncommon for me to take over 5,000 images at a wedding, where in the days of film, I might take 750 images. That's four times the volume of images to sort through, and edit down. The upside of that is that the quality of images has increased dramatically. Three to four images of a stolen moment can be taken now, to make sure that it is captured, whereas before you might only take one, and if you didn't get it, you didn't get it. So the paradigm has changed dramatically with the shift to digital. So if you have four times the images and less than half the time to turn a project around, you can see right away where there is a huge issue with time.
3) More adjustments can be made to images, to give a more personal feel for the client. Back in the days of film, you had color, black and white, and sepia as your main options. That was pretty much it. In the digital darkroom, the editing possibilities are truly endless. Hours can be spent on one image to get it just right, and with the increase in the number of images that photographers are having per session, you can see where this could be a big contributor to being very labor intensive. As artists, we want to be able to create exactly what our mind saw when we took the photograph. Today, we can pretty much do that. Many times I'm editing the final images in my head, as I'm taking the images, or even beforehand. That's a huge plus, but also the biggest minus, in the digital darkroom. There have been many times when I've delivered a senior portrait session, and I will have a couple of images rendered a dozen or so different ways. They are all different in the emotion they are conveying, and all could stand alone, even though they are all from the same initial image. It can set a photographer apart from the pack, in terms of their creativity, but it can also be their biggest downfall in getting sessions out in a timely fashion.
So those were just three things that I could think of off the top of my head, as to why the digital age of photography has made it harder, at times, than the traditional darkroom. There are many more, and perhaps if I run across a quote for a future blog entry, I can address those, at that time.
The digital darkroom calls me away! I'll be back soon with another quote!