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Digital cameras and Photoshop vs. DAWs and Autotune
Old 6th January 2015
  #1
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Digital cameras and Photoshop vs. DAWs and Autotune

Why does it seem that the professional photography industry has not been "devalued" with the digital age like audio production has?

A good photographer still costs big bucks. A good audio engineer/artist, on the other hand, has become relatively cheap.

Why has one field held its value while the other has not? Or am I mistaken?
Old 6th January 2015
  #2
You are mistaken.
Newspapers have sacked their photography departments on a grand scale.
If you are National geographic you hire the world's best photographers and pay them. If you are Steven Spielberg mixing a movie, or Paul McCartney you hire the world's best engineers and pay them.
It's at the lower levels that things have radically changed.
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Old 6th January 2015
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
You are mistaken.
Newspapers have sacked their photography departments on a grand scale.
If you are National geographic you hire the world's best photographers and pay them. If you are Steven Spielberg mixing a movie, or Paul McCartney you hire the world's best engineers and pay them.
It's at the lower levels that things have radically changed.
Yes, many of the royalty-free sites I visit have cheap music and cheap photos and videos. People copy and use photos without paying for them all the time. I am not sure what the copyright laws are regarding photos. But to most people, photos are public domain. The photo industry just doesn't get the attention that the music industry does.
Old 6th January 2015
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonlinear View Post
Why does it seem that the professional photography industry has not been "devalued" with the digital age like audio production has?

A good photographer still costs big bucks. A good audio engineer/artist, on the other hand, has become relatively cheap.

Why has one field held its value while the other has not? Or am I mistaken?
I'll think out loud with you, but might change my mind or something.

All people on the face of the planet (ecept me) have a cell phone. Usually with a built-in camera capable of taking seriously great pictures. Yet not many parents have their kid's yearbook pictures taken with them, or many other serious photography situations. Everybody has this technology for years now, they realize that much more how valuable dedicated artistic types are. Cell phones walk the walk.

On the other hand, since the 80's, seems like every musician with a mouth was saying how much greater the digital age would be for music. "We're almost there" you'd hear monthly, and the months flew by. People bought ADATs and DA88s and they were closer to the sound (of one instrument/one vocal type of test) they were after, but they ate tapes and some would argue needed upgrades and maintenance....

Wait, I'll just cut to the chase and say cameras are quiet and DAWs are loud.
Old 6th January 2015
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
You are mistaken.
Newspapers have sacked their photography departments on a grand scale.
If you are National geographic you hire the world's best photographers and pay them. If you are Steven Spielberg mixing a movie, or Paul McCartney you hire the world's best engineers and pay them.
It's at the lower levels that things have radically changed.
I think he's referring to the lower, "public" level.

For one, most photographers I've met don't have dreams of making it big, so they're not going to do things for...exposure. And there are less of them from my view.

For two, I don't think society has quite caught up with the reality of hobby audio production. Cheap photography has been around for quite some time, and in deed everyone has a camera of some sort, so people are aware of the difference. As in, musicians who aren't really in the know think of AEs all the same.

"Hire an AE", they think. "What, your buddy's got a rig? He'll do it for free? Great!" - massive devaluation

"Hire a photographer! What, your buddy's got an iPhone? Uh...nah..."

Then there's the bit about most people not having any real standard for sonics. A very visual bunch, these kids, so they don't really seek quality and keep the low rate guys working (a lot of them do graduate, of course).

And really, just in the realm of stigma, professional photography is still considered a "serious" thing, somewhat like a plumber, whereas audio production is thought of as, well, I don't know. It's lumped in there with "musicians"...it just has a lot of "fun" attached to the idea. Paying someone to have fun seems silly to most. And we're all in it together, right bro? Let's make a sick album! Pay you?! I thought you were my bro! I'm going to Billy's home studio, f u man.
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Old 6th January 2015
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rikharthu View Post
"Hire an AE", they think. "What, your buddy's got a rig? He'll do it for free? Great!" - massive devaluation

"Hire a photographer! What, your buddy's got an iPhone? Uh...nah..."
EXACTLY what I'm getting at. Why is it that you don't see news people using iPhones to take photos but yet people are making records on Garage Band?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rikharthu View Post
And really, just in the realm of stigma, professional photography is still considered a "serious" thing, somewhat like a plumber, whereas audio production is thought of as, well, I don't know. It's lumped in there with "musicians"...it just has a lot of "fun" attached to the idea. Paying someone to have fun seems silly to most. And we're all in it together, right bro? Let's make a sick album! Pay you?! I thought you were my bro! I'm going to Billy's home studio, f u man.
SO funny - and SO true!
Old 6th January 2015
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonlinear View Post
Why does it seem that the professional photography industry has not been "devalued" with the digital age like audio production has?

A good photographer still costs big bucks. A good audio engineer/artist, on the other hand, has become relatively cheap.

Why has one field held its value while the other has not? Or am I mistaken?
The BIG pro photography shakeout happened in the decade and change following the immediate post-WWII era, largely on the back of two factors: in the US the passage of the GI Bill for returning vets guaranteed education benefits to help train/retrain the massive return of soldiers. Lots of for-profit training programs popped up and, perhaps predictably, some of the more profit-oriented of them decided to simply pander to the desires for a glamorous new profession of tens of thousands of vets, and a load of photo schools popped up out of nowhere -- often taught by one-time professional photogs who could no longer earn a decent living because of the influx of new photogs and....

... the influx of relatively high quality copies of pro level cameras and even original designs (neither Japan nor Germany were exactly strangers to high quality optics -- though their factories were largely destroyed by allied bombing -- but THAT just meant that they rebuilt with new technology, actually putting German and Japanese companies ahead of the game in some ways) -- and typically at very low prices that blew American and Brit pro cameras to the back of the camera store.

And that not only put good cams in the hands of would-be pros -- but it opened up a huge new 'serious' amateur photo market as Americans and then the rest of the world moved from photo salon style portraits to 'dad-snaps.'
Old 6th January 2015
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
You are mistaken.
Newspapers have sacked their photography departments on a grand scale.
If you are National geographic you hire the world's best photographers and pay them. If you are Steven Spielberg mixing a movie, or Paul McCartney you hire the world's best engineers and pay them.
It's at the lower levels that things have radically changed.
One of my online pals, Ken Lee, is a moderately well-known photog whose photos have appeared in the National Geographic, some of which are included in the permanent Smithsonian collection, and has regularly received awards and features in a wide range of periodicals.

His day job: teaching kids with developmental disabilities for the LA school district.

His site: kenleephotography.com

An LA Times feature on him: http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/...021-story.html

PS... Ken is also a fine musician and an active recordist.


PPS... Here's a video montage of some of Ken's photos he graciously allowed me to use to accompany one of my meandering acoustic guitar improvisation tracks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4E05eoFd60

Whoa! I just wanted a YT link -- not a big, flashy, look-at-me embed -- but apparently there has been an update to the GS system. Now all you have to do is paste in the URL. The Age of Miracles has come to pass! heh [EDIT: Well, it worked for a while. Actually, better to be able to just have a link at times, like here.]

Last edited by theblue1; 10th April 2015 at 05:52 PM..
Old 7th January 2015
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rikharthu View Post
I think he's referring to the lower, "public" level.

For one, most photographers I've met don't have dreams of making it big, so they're not going to do things for...exposure. And there are less of them from my view.

For two, I don't think society has quite caught up with the reality of hobby audio production. Cheap photography has been around for quite some time, and in deed everyone has a camera of some sort, so people are aware of the difference. As in, musicians who aren't really in the know think of AEs all the same.

"Hire an AE", they think. "What, your buddy's got a rig? He'll do it for free? Great!" - massive devaluation

"Hire a photographer! What, your buddy's got an iPhone? Uh...nah..."

Then there's the bit about most people not having any real standard for sonics. A very visual bunch, these kids, so they don't really seek quality and keep the low rate guys working (a lot of them do graduate, of course).

And really, just in the realm of stigma, professional photography is still considered a "serious" thing, somewhat like a plumber, whereas audio production is thought of as, well, I don't know. It's lumped in there with "musicians"...it just has a lot of "fun" attached to the idea. Paying someone to have fun seems silly to most. And we're all in it together, right bro? Let's make a sick album! Pay you?! I thought you were my bro! I'm going to Billy's home studio, f u man.
Your audio example does happen in the low end market (heck, we have a Low End forum here, right?).

As for photography, even back in the film days (I'm speaking from experience here) you always had some relative show up at weddings with a decent SLR and take pictures beside the photographer and his assistant; then while you're trying to sell the portraits, they've already had Uncle Bob give them the negatives from the sessions that you set up. Today, it still happens because of the plethora of DSLRs that are out there; a new one is $300 and many of them now connect to Wi-Fi so Uncle Bob has uploaded the wedding photos (that you posed and staged) to his Facebook page before you've even gotten back to the studio to edit the shots.

For pro photo sessions, I used to use a Mamiya C220 Medium Format Twin Lens camera for improved clarity and sharpness and also, so the "SLR guy" wouldn't have anything to say to the couple ("Hey, his camera is the same as mine", "I'm as good as the pro" etc.). Audio is much the same; the pro is using Neve or SSL consoles and Neumann Mics, while hobby guy runs Mackie and Audix.

If you think about it, an awful lot of people lost their jobs due to film being eliminated (Kodak went into bankruptcy) than lost their jobs making reel to reel tape.
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Old 7th January 2015
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonlinear View Post
EXACTLY what I'm getting at. Why is it that you don't see news people using iPhones to take photos but yet people are making records on Garage Band?



SO funny - and SO true!
No-one is really offering a commercial service using Garageband....just like no-one is running a photography business based around an iPhone.

Now, compare your average DSLR with a DAW and an interface..it's a closer comparison.
Old 7th January 2015
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonlinear View Post
EXACTLY what I'm getting at. Why is it that you don't see news people using iPhones to take photos but yet people are making records on Garage Band?
Like I said, I respectfully suggest you are wrong.

Quote:
The Chicago Sun-Times will instead rely on reporters to shoot photos and video, with freelancers also filling in.
BBC News - Chicago Sun-Times sacks entire photo department

Quote:
"Phone cameras and internet video must threaten broadcasters who think TV viewers will move away from them (and on to the web), but the collective arena is a hive of creativity," says documentary pioneer Molly Dineen. "It should add to what traditional documentary makers are doing and not take away."
The rise of citizen journalism | Media | The Guardian

Much of what we see on the news and in newspapers is generated by on the scene witnesses using smart phones. You only need to look at today's Charlie Hebdo story to appreciate that.
Old 8th January 2015
  #12
Maybe photographers have lost some of the job field of instant/real-time journalism, but they're still getting hired to do weddings, graduation parties and to photograph young skinny girls with weird clothes on them and even journalism still hires them for the more elaborate or bigger stories.

Rikharthu does make a very valid point. We live in a world that is more concerned with visuals than anything else. I'm married to a photographer and got a couple of friends who are full-time photography professionals. My wife has way less experience with photography than I do with audio engineering and she makes quite a good buck, which is great since I'm making very few! Out of those two friends, one is an old timer but the other left his job at IBM because he was getting more photo shoots requests than he could handle. He's making slightly less but he's in a very good place in terms of finances and stability. Also far less stressed than he was back in his IT days.
Old 8th January 2015
  #13
I think it's confusing to compare a photograph to some audio engineering. A photograph is more like a song. The photographer more like a songwriter than the person recording the song.
An image is nothing until someone freezes it - often using a critical eye. An audio engineer is nothing without a great song to work with.
I do think people take their own photographs from an early age, whereas very few people write songs. So there probably is a better understanding of what an acceptable image is compared to what an acceptable piece of music is.
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Old 27th March 2015
  #14
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tweekyboo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
You are mistaken.
Newspapers have sacked their photography departments on a grand scale.
If you are National geographic you hire the world's best photographers and pay them. If you are Steven Spielberg mixing a movie, or Paul McCartney you hire the world's best engineers and pay them.
It's at the lower levels that things have radically changed.
Where's Crisso gone?
Old 27th March 2015
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
You are mistaken.
Newspapers have sacked their photography departments on a grand scale...
...It's at the lower levels that things have radically changed.
So have corporations. Secretaries and admin assistants are now the main photographers at corporations. And there is plenty of iPhone use in that venue, where 15 years ago, nothing short of totally professional photography was expected. Digi has dumbed all commercial arts down at about equal levels.
Old 31st March 2015
  #16
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Indeed!

...LEAVE ME ALONE!!!

I'm 'batin'
Old 10th April 2015
  #17
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Pretty much every industry that was originally analog based and now has a digital equivalent has been impacted (audio production & engineering, photography, video production). Essentially it comes down to commoditization and accessibility. When an affordable digital equivalent becomes available to a previously expensive analog based product/industry, you have many more people jumping in due to the low-cost of entry.

Prior to the introduction of high quality digital cameras, you had to deal with film. Film costs $$$ - the initial purchase price, development of the negatives and production of prints by a lab. If you developed and printed your own film, factor in the cost of chemicals, photo printing paper and the related equipment . Also, being a physical medium, it requires significant storage space if you shoot and print a lot. Digital photography eliminated most of the ancillary costs - once you buy the camera, memory card(s) (and maybe a photo printer) - you're done. If you print your own photos, the only recurring costs are for ink and photo paper. Digital also allows for a certain laziness on the part of the photographer. Hold down the shutter button, take a dozen shots, pick the best one and delete the rest - can't really do this with film since all those throw away shots cost money. Add in the fact you can immediately see if your shot was good with digital - with film, you had to have greater knowledge of the photographic process since you didn't get to see the results until the negatives were developed.

Same applies to video production and editing - no expensive tape based cameras and editing suites required - fire up the cheap camcorder or dslr and final cut pro.

Hell, digital industries are even cannibalizing digital industries now. Before cloud computing services were available, companies purchased physical servers and installed them in racks at colocation facilities or data centers. Now, they sign up for an Amazon/AT&T/Microsoft cloud service account and deploy a bunch of virtual servers. No physical infrastructure cost. OS virtualization enables deployment of multiple servers running concurrently on one hardware platform whereas before you needed one hardware box to run one server OS. All kinds of SAAS (software as a service) providers exist now where before a company would need to purchase, install and maintain systems to provide customer resource management (customer tracking and support ticketing), payroll & HR functions, training resources, etc... - all of that gets outsourced now.

top talent will still command top dollar - it's the mid-range that's been impacted by the influx of affordable digital alternatives


enough rambling

Last edited by aaeronn; 10th April 2015 at 03:54 AM..
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Old 15th April 2015
  #18
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These days, musicians are giving their product away to sell advertisements. Photographers make the advertisements. Guess who is getting paid first.

Last edited by kafka; 17th April 2015 at 12:19 PM..
Old 16th April 2015
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
These days, musicians are giving their product away to sell advertisements. Photographer make the advertisements. Guess who is getting paid first.
The models, probably.
Old 17th April 2015
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rikharthu View Post
"Hire an AE", they think. "What, your buddy's got a rig? He'll do it for free? Great!" - massive devaluation

"Hire a photographer! What, your buddy's got an iPhone? Uh...nah..."

Then there's the bit about most people not having any real standard for sonics. A very visual bunch, these kids, so they don't really seek quality and keep the low rate guys working (a lot of them do graduate, of course).

And really, just in the realm of stigma, professional photography is still considered a "serious" thing, somewhat like a plumber, whereas audio production is thought of as, well, I don't know. It's lumped in there with "musicians"...it just has a lot of "fun" attached to the idea. Paying someone to have fun seems silly to most. And we're all in it together, right bro? Let's make a sick album! Pay you?! I thought you were my bro! I'm going to Billy's home studio, f u man.
Yes!!

u47u67u87
Old 17th April 2015
  #21
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It's my signature now. heh
Old 26th November 2019
  #22
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All industries except the film industry devastated
Old 26th November 2019
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by badmark View Post
The models, probably.
One of my friends did some negligee modeling for just expenses.

She said she was doing it for the exposure.







[sorry]
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Old 26th November 2019
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
One of my friends did some negligee modeling for just expenses.

She said she was doing it for the exposure.

[sorry]
So there I was, looking at my notifications wondering what the heck I could have contributed to this thread that was quoteworthy ..
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