Saturday, December 28, 2013

Photographer's choices for 2014

Talented cellist performing in the street
What are your goals and aspirations for your photography in 2014? Or put another way, if you don't know where you want to go, how are you ever going to get there? Here are some thoughts on the choices facing today's photographers and my personal guidelines.

At the start of 2014 most photographers are doing one of the following:

  • Authentically capturing reality. 
  • Manipulating reality using software to create digital 'art' works.
  • Creating commercial images that use some aspects of reality but actually portray a world that upon closer inspection could never exist.

What path will you follow? For me the only photographic path that has any long term value is to capture reality.

What this means is following a strict code so that my audience knows that what they see is real, the way I saw it.

My guidelines

Image treatment

I will not digitally enhance images beyond basic darkroom corrections such as burning, dodging, white balance and lens distortion correction. Digital darkroom techniques will only be used to adjust the dynamic tonal range and colour balance of an image so that it looks like the scene I saw, and conveys the mood I experienced.

Ethical behaviour

I will accurately represent the subjects I am photographing, taking care and showing respect for the welfare of people, animalsand the environment. I will not harm or manipulate the subject or its environment for the sake of creating a photograph.

Image captions and supporting articles

In order to have any credibility as a photographer I need to ensure that captions are accurate and fully disclose the reality of the situation. I want people to know they can trust what I write as well as what I photograph.

A word about digital techniques

I think that HDR is okay if photographers state that it was used and the photographs were taken in rapid succession, almost the same moment. However, I have chosen to not use a composite of more than one image. By the way, few people seem to get HDR right. Most HDR looks awful and cartoonish and certainly not like any reality I ever saw!

The same applies for stitched panoramas. I think they're okay if done as a series of shots in rapid succession, and clearly labelled as a digitally stitched panorama.

I will not use any gimmicky filters or digital effects.


These are the parameters/guidelines I follow as a photographer. I hope that the images I make now and those that may survive in a 100 years from now help people to understand the world we live in today. That they show reality and communicate with authenticity.

So what are the guidelines you will follow for your photography in 2014? Will you create your own digitally enhanced world of images, playing to your heart's content in the image manipulation playground, or will you show the world as it really is today.

Whatever your choice, I hope you have a great New Year and until soon,
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