Smart phone technology and social media impact on photography
Hands up everyone who’s noticed a different kind of Facebook feed of the visual kind? There are more photos than ever before featuring on my timeline; in fact some research suggests that Facebook has the highest numbers of photos uploaded daily, around 250 million. This new trend is been driven by youth and brands. It’s the old adage “a picture can say a thousand words”.
I am a member of the Dee Why RSL Camera Club, a great group of people where I think the average age is hovering somewhere in the mid-fifties. I gave a two hour presentation on the impact that social media is having on our favourite form of art, photography. It can be a hot topic amongst professional and amateur photographers. I was pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction of my audience and the acceptance of this new trend. You can see the presentation below.
The biggest concern that they had was overall privacy and the protection of their photos, “will people steal my work if I publish it on photo sharing sites”? This is a valid concern for many photographers as there appears to be very little you can do about it. My suggestion in the meeting was to load your photos in low resolution and add watermarks, much like they do in Shutterstock.
On the positive side, there are even more opportunities for amateur and professional photographers to get noticed and build their profile. One of these is the iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAWARDS). Below are the 1st and second place winning photos, for the full list of winners, click here. This is one way in which brands are using new trends in social and online media to create deeper connections with their users and create loyalty and engagement. Its also shaping the way new technology is being manufactured with mobile devices upping the ante, for example the new Nokia Lumia. Gizmodo are saying that the 1020 model ‘is the best Nokia mobile ever made”
There are some great benefits of smart phone photography:
- Firstly, its fairly cost effective, with so many people owning mobile phones that also double as a camera there is now no need to buy two different pieces of hardware. For young people who aren’t retired and rolling in their super funds, this is a top selling point.
- You don’t need fancy software or a PC. Again, like the first point, you aren’t having outlay huge amounts of money on a good laptop or PC with big memory and then purchase photo processing software which is expensive like Photoshop or Lightroom.
- Its quick. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the pace in which we produce content is speeding up. With a smartphone, using one of the many apps available that range from free to around $4.99, you can publish a great photo which has had post processing applied in minutes.
- Its global. We are no longer restricted to entering photo competitions at the local camera club or newspaper, we can now enter world wide competitions to show off our artistic flair. The ability to share around the world can only help to further inspire people to take more photos and document the world around them.
In saying this, I still love using my Nikon D90 SLR to capture high resolution, earthshattering images that take time to compose and craft to near perfection. The variety of lenses and power of a DSLR or SLR camera are second to none, if you have the cash. It really depends on why you want to take photos and what you want to use the finished product for. I think a mix of both forms of photography is required, particularly in journalism or magazine/book publishing due to the high quality required, think motor sports, horse racing or travel. The candid social media shots are a nice adjunct to professional photography which help humanise and connect with the common user or public.
I am now motivated to research this topic in more depth and create videos and presentations on some of the photo sharing platforms available, photo taking apps and new technology. Look out over the next few months for some more information regarding these topics.