Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking back at 2008 and forward to 2009

To all my blog readers I would like to say thank you for your continued interest in my writings. Your comments and emails make the effort worthwhile.

I wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year for 2009.

You may have noticed that I’ve been quiet lately. I’ve covered numerous topics over the years from photographic technique to the thought processes behind creating strong images. Looking back over my stats, I see that thanks to Google searches many of my earliest articles are still being read on an almost daily basis. I see no reason to repeat myself. There’s a handy search feature on my blog. Feel free to use it if you have any specific subject you’re interested in. You may well find I’ve covered it in an earlier blog. Failing that you can always send me an email via my website with a specific question.

What will 2009 bring? On the technical side we’ve already seen the integration of HD video recording into mainstream DSLR technology in the Canon 5D Mark II and Nikon D90 cameras. Both cameras have serious flaws for professional film makers but it is an interesting indication of things to come. A new company on the DSLR block, RED, promises to shake up the market next year with the release of a modular system that shoots high quality video as well as stills. The system should appeal to photojournalists. We can see that a serious attempt is being made to merge video and still image capture. There is one huge issue to overcome though and that is ergonomics. The requirements for holding a still camera and a professional film camera are completely different. Here RED’s modular approach will give it an advantage. The idea being able to upgrade elements of the camera without having to buy a completely new model each time is appealing. Watch this space.

For me still and video are two distinct media which we consume in a very different way. The psychological impact of a still is quite different to that of video. The images that remained ingrained in the consciousness of the public are invariably still images. Movies flash by and very little is retained. There are of course notable exceptions. The video clips of the jets flying into the World Trade Centre and Kennedy’s assassination will always remain ingrained in our consciousness. Interestingly these moments are often broken down into frame by frame stills when they are shown. What if each frame had the clarity of a high quality DSLR image? Newspapers in the USA are already using this approach to photojournalism.

I’ve not done any scientific research into this but it seems to me that when things happen in our lives the human mind has a tendency to freeze an image. Perhaps still photography is so powerful because it mimics this. Note to self: must research this idea further. I also wonder about the mindset of the photographer. A film maker usually sticks to one perspective and angle because they need to keep the camera still while filming, while a photographer will keep moving around the subject hunting for the best angle. I wonder how the difference in approach will impact on the creativity and power of the resulting still images.

Leaving technology to one side, 2009 promises to be a tough year for many professional photographers. We’ve seen manufacturing and retail hit by the economic downturn and the natural follow-on from this will be a negative impact on professional services. The media may see only recession and doom and gloom but I see opportunity. Businesses that survive and thrive now will be winners coming out on the other side when things pick up again. A lot of the deadwood will be cut out. It is now more important than ever to effectively market your photography and produce high quality work. All the evidence suggests that businesses that advertise and increase their marketing during a downturn benefit tremendously with an increase in market share. The Financial Times has showcased some helpful research on the subject.

And what about me? Well I’ve had a really good year in 2008 and am looking forward to an even busier year in 2009. Indigo2 Photography will be launching a new service to help photographers improve the way they market themselves using the web and digital media as well as traditional methods such as direct marketing and advertising. In addition to photography, at Indigo2 we are offering web design, copywriting for your website, retouching and post production photography services as well as well as marketing consultancy. If you would like to win more business, need help with your website or post production work on your images, please get in touch.

Have a good one.

Warmest wishes,

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