Photography has changed many times over the years – the overall purpose, technology used, means of recording the image and so on. A few of the changes currently going on in other fields are likely to change photography once again.
Several times, in fact.
As computers get ever more powerful, smaller and ubiquitous (as well as becoming largely invisible – just a part of many other technologies), cameras are better served by merging with them. This is particularly evident in the case of ‘phones; rapidly moving from ‘no camera’ to ‘poor camera’ to ‘decent second camera’ to ‘primary camera for many people’ in little more than a decade. And yes, there’s far more to come.
Computational photography is one of the key things making this rapid advance possible. It’s the calculation of ‘what should be there’ combined with detailed knowledge of the camera (and things like ‘phones know both), so the resulting image is better than the device’s camera could take by itself. As all types of cameras gradually merge with computers, computational photography will play a large – but largely unseen – role in image creation.
One of the key things when moving from film to digital photography was the massively reduced time between taking the photo and seeing the result. This meant that there was suddenly much greater feedback for each photo – doing this leads to that.
That time – between taking the photo and seeing the result – is continuing to shrink, and may almost be thought of as instantaneous in many cases. Once it becomes instant for everyone, in every case; feedback becomes far more powerful.
Easier and easier sharing
I’m sure you know the value of being able to find – and share – photos at any time; whether you’re chatting with a friend or a prospective client. The easier it is to find & share your photos the better.
This also works in reverse. The easier it is for the other person to find and share photos that are relevant to them (no matter whose they are, or where they happen to be), the easier it is for them to express their ideas. Again, this is invaluable no matter if it’s a friend or a prospective client.
Greater post-processing abilities
For a while now I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop’s Lightroom to manage & edit my photos, and with each new update comes a new feature or three. Fantastic.
One of the things that’s clearly apparent with this is that as computers become ever-more powerful, the software also grows in capabilities. This means that editing a photo using the latest version of the software affords me much greater abilities than editing the same photo a year ago. And as the software grows, these post-processing abilities will also continue to grow.
Availability of additional, relevant information
The gradual merging with computers – and the fact that photography itself is now digital – is making it easier and easier for additional information to be made available at the time of image creation. The date & time, precise location, names of people involved and so on. All of them were unknowns (unless the photographer wrote them down) 20 years ago; now they’re captured automatically in many cases.
Not only will this ‘captured automatically’ aspect likely apply to almost every camera on the market, other aspects – such as the speeds of moving objects – will likely be added to that list.
As cameras become smaller and simpler – as well as becoming a standard part of other technologies (think ‘phones & tablets, though they’ll be many others in a few years’), they’re also becoming cheaper – putting them within reach of many more people. Those who want to ‘go out and take photos’, as well as those who just want to document their life.
It’s that second group which is rapidly expanding. And as it does, it becomes more socially acceptable – almost everywhere you go – to take photographs; using a DSLR, ‘phone, tablet or whatever – anything that’s available.
As you can see, as far as photography is concerned, there is much more to come. Whilst I wouldn’t relish the job of a camera manufacturer, there are certainly plenty of opportunities on the way – and soon – for both the manufacturer and photographer.
Should be a great ride.