I’ve made my living essentially as a Graphic and Designer and Art Director, and definitely appreciate the leaps that technology has made over 35 years as a Creative Pro. But my training included not only some facility at Photography but also using photography in publishing. From digicams to DSLRs to the remarkable camera in my iPhone, yes, very nifty tech. But as any professional user of Photoshop can testify (or bitch loudly), just having a powerful tool, does not make you an expert user.
Having an iPhone 6 teaches you nothing about framing, composition, or what makes a compelling, or more critically for my work, a publishable photograph. There have been some negative consequences. The number of my clients hiring professional photographers has dwindled to being countable on one hand. Similarly, the percentage of actually usable photos supplied by clients also dwindles to a similar ratio, even as their technical image quality has steadily improved. Most people are still, for better or worse, utterly inexpert.
But in many many instances, it’s still considered good enough, compared to the costs of using professionals. Recently and famously, the Chicago Sun-Times shedding all it’s photographers in 2013 for equipping its reporters with iPhones. Quality is not considered an issue, versus what’s perceived as “free.”
“The paper laid off its entire photographic staff last week, in a meeting where the editor reportedly took just 20 seconds to explain that online video was the future, not expertly-framed exposures, announcing 28 layoffs amongst photographers and editors across the paper and its subsidiaries.
“Replacing those professional snappers are iPhone-equipped reporters who’ll be attending the mandatory Friday sessions to get them up to speed on everything they need to fill a tabloid paper with pictures.” — Bill Ray, the Register
I’ve gotten corporate head shots taken by mail room clerks with the bosses canon Elph. The time I spent, and billed, in Photoshop making them publication-worthy could have paid for a photographer’s pro shoot.