Will Camera Phones Destroy Photography?
In any “photo op” moment any more, it is impossible to miss the invasion
of the camera phone. Where it used to be easy to tell when a camera was
around and if people had them handy, now anyone with a phone could be a
clandestine photographer. Even at occasions that used to be ruled by the
professional photographer such as weddings and the like, we now see those
dozens of hands going up snapping photos with camera phones that seem to
dominate the scene.
Conventional photography is a highly developed art form and profession.
The precision of the equipment and the ability of photographers to
deliver a high quality product to their customers is well known and the
result of decades of evolution of the craft. But today it is possible
for anyone to become an amateur photographer using that tiny cell phone
in their pocket or purse.
The question needs serious consideration for three audiences. For the
professional photographer, is this the end of your profession? Will
digital phones wipe out your customer base and make you obsolete? For
the aspiring photographer, what about your future? Should you even
invest in learning to use the sophisticated equipment that makes
professional photography so superior? Why bother if camera phones are
going to make it all obsolete? And for you the consumer, can you get the
same quality of photographs with using camera phones as you can by hiring
These are valid questions. It is very common when a new technology
begins to make inroads into a profession for the old guard of that
profession to feel threatened. It happened when television came along
and the media called it the death of radio. It happened when talkies and
then color was introduced to movies and television and at each
technological improvement in the music world. And with each dire
prediction of the demise of an industry, the opposite took place and that
industry adjusted, evolved, got better and prospered all the more.
So there are good reasons not to worry that camera phones is going to
destroy photography as we know it including…
* Camera phones cannot achieve the same levels of quality. There is
a good reason that the professional photographer has invested in the
highly sophisticated equipment that he has in his studio and that he or
she takes to a shoot. The many years and decades of research have
surfaced the problems with quality that primitive equipment could not
deal with. Modern photography equipment has precise instrumentation to
handle lighting issues to properly frame each photograph and to produce a
professional quality outcome that people want from a wedding, a portrait
or any kind of professional photography. You can bet that forensic
photography, fashion photography and photography for publication will
ever be willing to accept the low standards of quality that are the
outcome of camera phone pictures.
* It’s an amateur game. When you see kids holding up their camera
phones at a concert to steal a picture, you know that device is not going
to result in a professional quality shot. This is especially true in a
live setting like a concert where there are myriads of issues such as
lighting, visual noise and other problems that have to be overcome with
sophisticated instrumentation just not available on a camera phone.
Camera phones are an amateur photography device. And they will always
occupy that niche.
* Standards of the final product would be compromised. And high
standards of quality are what make professional photography a value to
This is not to cast camera phones in a negative light. They have their
place and they are great fun. But we in the professional photography
world have nothing to fear from the growth of this technology.