Change is good for photography but…

In the 6 years I’ve been gone from the newspaper industry, there has an unprecedented push for content creation especially for the web.

Nowhere is this change felt more than by still photographers.

No longer is it enough that an image is a good still image.

Now, as seen in the embedded video, we are told they have to have sound and movement.

So there is a whole lot more production and what else?

More cost.

While it is a exciting and full of challenge, I question how worthwhile a big production like this will be especially if web viewers seem to have an insatiable appetite for quick moving pictures or eye candy.

Will they even remember the images in a few months? How receptive the general public will be to these moving pictures will depend a lot on the delivery platform.

The newspaper I worked for experimented with snazzy multimedia content, making their photographers create this content even for the most mundane assignments.

But what they failed to realize is their delivery platform, their website was horrendous.

Slow loading and to make matters worse, they piled on ads.

It was common to see ads that lasted longer than the actual video or multimedia content.

Website visitors are funny that way. If you force them to watch an ad, that content had better be worth the wait.

They’ll  put up with that kind of “deception” once or twice but you can expect they won’t be clicking on the those multimedia content at all after a while especially when the audio is bad or if the video loads slowly or the image quality is bad.

So am I being a wet blanket?

I don’t think so. Someone has to pave the way or else there would be no advancements.

I do feel unless production of these moving pictures gets easier or less complicated, still photographers will not embrace it.

Using chromakey backdrops is not as fun for me. I suspect my models will feel the same way as well.

There is the other issue about ownership of the content.

It looks like there is a whole lot of hands involved in the production, isn’t there?

Who will stake claim to that?

A still image belongs to the photographer who takes sets up the shot, lights it and clicks the shutter.

In this case, the photographer probably doesn’t even understand what the software is doing.

Right after shooting, the photographer hands it off to someone else who completes the production.

Still photographers today already have to learn a lot of software applications.

Will they be willing to learn more to produce something which they may not have ownership of?

I think the concept of moving pictures is awesome, but I happen to think a still image, especially one that’s well printed, has more “stopping power” than the best video.

The still image is what an artist decided as the defining moment to freeze in time.

I so love all shiny things made by Apple.

It may be the harbinger of the digital magazine. I sure hope so.

I’m itching to order my iPad. Just ask my kids.

2 thoughts on “Change is good for photography but…”

  1. Dan,
    How nice of you to stop by!

    You brought up a great point. What is the next generation of content buyers willing to pay? I sure don’t feel it’s going to be worth it it is going to be the same amount they pay for the imagery we’re currently producing.

    There is another aspect which I didn’t mention because my post was already getting long and somewhat tedious.

    I don’t particularly like using chromakey backdrops. Once in a while, it’s okay. But to have to do this kind of moving pictures day in and day out on a chromakey backdrop just doesn’t do it for me.

    I think as artists we surrender a lot of our creativity to “others” once we do this.

  2. Thanks Peter… obviously some of this depends on revenue… will magazines be asking us to produce all of this for the same $600-800-1200-1500 editorial day rates, or will they be realistic and understand we have a lot of investments in time, equipment and learning curve as well. I’m excited about the future, but not if it includes asking me to produce that kind of content for $1500, there is only so much one man can do well.

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