In Praise of Digital Photography

Guest Post by Georgia McCabe

In any discipline, you will always have what many refer to of as “purists”.  Purists are those who revere the way things have always been done and view new innovations in the field as upstarts and obviously of poorer quality than the tried and true methods of the past.

Nowhere is this more true than in photography.  For countless decades film and chemical processing technology has undergone continual refinement in order to achieve higher and higher levels of sophistication and to achieve even higher levels of image quality.  Small wonder that when the digital revolution came along, “the purists” were, to say the least, a bit snobby about the idea of professional photography moving going digital.

But there are some genuine reasons to at least incorporate digital technology into your professional photography game plan.  These reasons are compelling enough that more and more we are seeing big studios going all digital.  So if you are running an independent photography business or if you are “just” a photographic hobbyist, you need to think through the value equation of moving to digital processing as well.

Ease of Use.

The amount of fuss and sheer “stuff” of doing a shoot digitally is dramatically less involved than with older technologies.  Witness how the digital revolution in photography has revolutionized the personal camera world.  Now people can take as many pictures as they want and have them to review virtually instantaneously.

Probably the biggest leap forward in the use of digital photography is that you can do re-shoots quickly, easily and at virtually no incremental cost.  If you conduct a portrait session with a customer, you can have the “proofs” of the session available virtually as soon as the session is done.  If a shot was good but not perfect, you can correct it and re-shoot immediately, saving huge amounts of time and improving the chances you will get the portfolio you want and the customer wants from that first session.

Rapid Customer Service.

The impression many get is that when a technology delivers so much value to the public quality will go automatically down.  This is not at all the case with digital photography.  If anything, the quality of the photographs is as good or better than that offered by prior technologies.  And the cost both to you as the photographer and to your customer drops off so dramatically that the age old complaint the customer has had about professional photographs costing too much can be eliminated making the customer want to use your services more often.

Digital photography, being a child of the internet and the digital revolution that has swept our lives via personal computers, can be delivered in a myriad of ways and at a speed that was unheard of prior to the arrival of this technology.  We can deliver the photos via email, by posting them to an online gallery or by burning them to a DVD or CD so the customer can order lots more shots for the same cost and have them delivered in a way that is infinitely easier to view and store.


Editing has similarly moved from the realm of the back room wizards to something any of us can do with the proliferation of sophisticated computer programs, such as Photoshop. This capability offers powerful (and reversible) image manipulation capabilities that we can use to improve the pictures we take.  With desktop manipulation, really amazing effects can be applied to a photo. But, perhaps more importantly, we can much more easily correct minor problems with a photograph so photos from what might have previously been a lost session can be improved with some clever use of digital editing.

In virtually every way, digital photography, including delivery, editing and output options is really superior to the methods that “the purists” would have us hold on to.  It makes our lives as photographers easier, faster and more profitable.  But above all, it is also something our customers want us to use.  They get to enjoy their pictures so much faster, at a more reasonable cost and the pictures can be shared with friends and posted on their family web sites, which is fun (and potential profit) for everyone.

Remember, a professional photographer’s value was never about film and paper, it is about your unique and well developed visual skills and your uncanny abilities to practice photography… “writing with light!” Despite anyone’s desire to remain a purist, we all need understand that without a doubt, digital photography is the present and future of the profession and the only way to go!

As an author, speaker, trainer and social media and photography evangelist, Georgia’s perspectives entitled “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Friends…or Enemies” appear in print in the book entitled The Relationship Age, with social media guru Mari Smith. She is a frequent guest blogger for our photo lab.

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