The evolution from film to digital has been a topic of much debate in the photography community. While film belonged to a previous generation is has made comebacks in various ways via trendy Polaroid cameras, filmic presets and filters, and of course, the ultimate hipster accessory of sporting an older film camera. But has the technological revolution of cameras really made us better at what we do? Or are we hindering our own abilities by solely relying on smarter tech?
For this Candid Chat we asked our community of 70,000 photographers the following question:
Digital photography has made photographers better. True or False? Defend your answer.
We first took to Twitter to ask our followers in this short poll and here were the results:
Digital photography has made photographers better. True or False? Defend your answer!
— SLR Lounge (@SLRLounge) May 1, 2019
As you can imagine this sparked much debate and garnered over 300+ comments on Facebook. Let’s take a look at the reasoning behind why people are leaning one way or another.
True: Yes, Digital Photography Has Made Us Better Photographers.
Those that are in support of the digital revolution ultimately find that the evolution of technology came the ability for photographers to be able to fix mistakes before they press the shutter without having to worry about whether or not the shot came out as envisioned or wasting their film. This is one of the biggest downfalls of film photography and why camera technology eventually developed into what it is.
Learning Photography Has Never Been Easier
Making mistakes and learning from them has never been so efficient thanks to digital tech in cameras. With digital cameras, photographers receive instant feedback and are able to fix issues on the spot. See why photographers are quick to defend how digital has helped them learn and grow in this field:
The ability to see results then and there, and improving on errors on the spot, is far more effective than waiting for film to develop and then fixing your errors. I’m not saying film is bad, but digital photography has an easier and shorter path to grow.
— Jevan Dass (@JevanDass) May 1, 2019
Better Tech = Better/More Creative Pictures
Several mentioned that with the progression of better sensors, lenses, and other camera specs, the possibilities to create extraordinary images are endless.
With technology getting better day by day, photographer scan capture life like pictures specially in low light.
— Robin Ghai (@robinghaitweets) May 2, 2019
False: No, It Isn’t About the Camera, It’s About the Artist.
The arguments for why digital cameras haven’t changed a thing stems from the idea cameras at the end of the day are just a tool, it is the photographer that makes the photo.
It is not the tool, it is the operator.
— Tim Gonzalez (@tjgonzalez) May 1, 2019
Has Digital Photography Made us Lazier?
While some photographers defended how technology has helped photographers learn techniques quicker and has expedited the education process, others claim that we’ve become too reliant and lazy on technology and forget to learn the basics/foundation of the art. Now everyone thinks they are a “photographer”, even if you just use your mobile phone camera.
Spray & pray. Apply a preset and put it on Instagram
— Ash O (@AshO82) May 2, 2019
In my experience, digital photography has made far too many “rainy day photographers” who have no clue how to craft an image, but are happy to settle with what the camera spits out…
That was true of film as well, but to nowhere near the extent today’s digital shooters produce.
— Hal Eskew (@GalleryByHal) May 1, 2019
It’s Not About the Gear, It’s About the Education
Some argued that learning how to use a camera, disregarding whether it is film or digital, is truly what differentiates the skill level of a photographer. Absorbing educational workshops, videos, and books will inevitably get you in the right place to succeed in this industry.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Would you say that digital photography has groomed better photographers? We wanted to end this article on a positive note that may inspire other photographers to go back to the roots of what made photography so accessible and enjoyable in the first place: