Here I am sitting down once again at the computer musing over where photography as a business is heading. In a burst of nostalgia I remember sealing off rooms with blackout curtains, emptying bottles of noxious smelling chemicals into various trays, waving my hand under the enlarger to dodge and burn a negative into producing a beautiful photographic print to be hung on a wall, somewhere. The paper of choice at that time was Ilford satin, a lovely finish to a lovely printed picture.
The nostalgia was not for the time consuming process of blacking out the room, or the countless number of prints ruined by dust or hairs floating in the air, not for the terrible chemical fumes, not for the volume of the cursing when a print went wrong but for that final product – it was for THE PRINT.
Several years later things have improved, things have moved on and that is great. We are now used to seeing images, photos every day, instant photos some taken only seconds before they are distributed onto facebook and eagerly devoured by friends. I look at images every day, not just my images but other photographers and I look to learn something, to see what the photographer saw, to see what is in the photo and then I started to think. Do I look at an image on a computer screen differently to the way I look at a photograph in my hand. This is my nostalgia, I believe that I do look at the image differently. I look with more attention at the printed photograph, I linger, it isn’t an instant snippet of internet voyeurism, it is tangible, real, I can touch it, it is something in its’ own right and this I miss. I have just wandered over to one of my many old photo boxes and pulled out a rather large handful of old family photos I had taken a long time ago. I poured over each one, physically picking them up from one pile and placing them down on another. Quite simply the experience of looking at old photos is a different experience than looking at digital images. I was smiling as I wandered down memory lane.
So here I am wondering whether to invest in an upgraded printer to produce and market wonderful fine art photo prints using pigment based inks to keep my wedding clients images looking good for future generations. It will provide another possible media to present the clients favourite images of the day, maybe hanging up in the family home to remind everyone who passes of that wonderful time…… but the question still remains “have people stopped using printed photographs”?
Musings over, comments (via facebook as there is no spam there) welcome.
Well here we are once again, tumbling into a new year full of anticipation and optimism. As a wedding photographer the first few months of the year do sometimes leave me twiddling my thumbs somewhat. A dangerous thing as this gives me the time to start browsing new camera articles! Last years major investment for the business was my shiny new iMAC which was money well spent but what do I need this year to help improve my photography?
Everytime I upgrade or replace some piece of camera kit I am looking for it to provide me with some improvement in image quality or the ability to “get the shot”. My trusty D700 body has now racked up around 80,000 shutter actuations, which puts it at around half way through its shutter life span. It has worked faultlessly for me and never missed a beat and seeing how reliability is a massive requirement for me I would not be concerned by staying with another D700. I don’t really like buying new camera gear as they inevitably never perform up to there marketing brochures so I was just considering replacing my trusty D700 with a new D700. Unfortunately Nikon have discontinued this wonderful classic camera and in my opinion have not replaced it with a direct replacement. Bad news for me and probably a lot of other photographers.
The D800 is out there with its massive 36MP coming in at around 2,400€. But it doesn’t offer me anything the D700 couldn’t do, admittedly it has ooddles more Mega Pixels but I don’t really want or need them.
Then the boffins at Nikon introduced the D600 but that is a whole 100 less than the D700 so it can’t be any better, can it? The specs look good and the write ups sound promising but again it doesn’t really give me anything more than I already have with the obvious exception of more Mega Pixels and video. MegaPixels and Video are not on my requirements list. Priced at around 1,800€ the D600 could be the D700 replacement. Unfortunately as I have now browsed around the new Nikon offerings in this weddingless time I am starting to lust for….. the Nikon D4.
The D4 is a beast of a camera in both size and capability. As a photojournalist wedding photographer I have to be able to get the shots in a multitude of ever changing lighting conditions. I prefer natural light for aesthetic reasons but also because using a flash does not actually help me remain invisible when taking candid photos. Flash, FLASH, FLaSH – it’s just way too much in your face. So from bright sunshine days to churches with no windows and 1 candle and onwards to the reception where sometimes it amazes me that for all the design in planning the venue nobody appears to have given a thought to installing some decent lighting. So yes low light is probably the biggest need for me to get the shot. Not just any shot but a beautiful shot. The D4 can crank up to 12,800 iso and still get usable shots, it can focus quickly on a black cat in a coal cellar and is arguably the ultimate low light camera. Now that would get me shots that before I couldn’t get. But you know the best thing about this camera is its’ massive size. Heavy yes but it has one massive advantage…..
At weddings there is usually at least 1 guest who obviously doesn’t really want to enjoy the wedding they want to spend their time taking photos with their very own DSLR camera (photographers call them “Uncle Bob”) and they really want to try and get in on all the professional photos which the bride and groom have paid for as they dash around snapping everything in sight Well this D4 bad boy is so big I reckon it will shame these budding photographers into putting their cameras away leaving them free to just enjoy the day. That D4 is just so intimidating it could well be worth the massive price tag of 5,400€ !!!
But which one will I get?