Why Photographers Should Go Digital? Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:26:25
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Category: Photography

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Historical Background

The principles involved in photography are trace back in history to the age of Aristotle, whence a film less version was used as a sketching device for artists. This device had a light box a lens and translucent screen at opposite side. An inverted image was traced on the screen through the lens. The primal extension of seeing in this device was the archetype of human eye. (Newhall, 1982, n.p.)

It was in 1727, when Johann Heinrich Schulze researched on the different eye-centered area and discovered the silver nitrate solution to be the most effective in getting darkened upon light-exposure. As time passed more and more modifications and discoveries were made by different scientist and in the art of photography, especially in principles of photography, its processing method and materials. The outcome of experiments and observations in photography first created a communication tool which later became a powerful medium used in the printing press. (See B. Newhall, 1982, n.p.)

The various phases of development in photography during and after the 19th century, included three developments namely:

Mechanism of Photography

The word photography comes from the Greek language meaning thereby, to draw or write with light. Thus photography involves the process of making pictures through light i.e. light reflected from an object creates an image on a screen or material which is light-sensitive, placed within a box now called camera. The image of the object thus formed on the light-sensitive screen is then processed either chemically or digitally into a photograph. (See B. Newhall, 1982, n.p.)

About Photography in General

There are many interesting aspects of photography. We get to know about so many things happening in the world through photography, so also the events in history. Photographs also tell us about the various important events and about lives of millions of people. It is through some very special cameras that images of places where people simply can not visit are captured for instance, down below the ocean, far in the open skies and deep within the human body. It is through the photographs of human inner organs that physicians and doctors can diagnose serious and fatal diseases as cancer etc. The two common areas into which photography can be classified include:

About the Cameras

There is a wide variety of cameras in the world today. Some of the very important types of cameras are mentioned below.

(Hirsch, R., n.p.n.d.)

However we shall discuss the difference between the old, conventional photography and the digital photography of today in the ensuing paragraphs, and present an argumentative analysis to show how digital photography, in many ways, is far beneficial than the traditional capture, this being the scope of our study in this research paper.

The New Technology

The first ever camera used for making documentaries was the 35-mm camera (candid) invented by Oskar Barnack in 1925. After the black-and-white film, enabling photographers to work without a flash in minimum of light, came an era of color photography. It was in 1935 that color film for transparencies (slides) was first introduced and the color negative film was made in 1942. The new portable equipment for Polaroid Land camera was introduced in 1947. This particularly made possible to produce a positive print in a matter of seconds. Many such innovations and advances were made in the photography technology facilitating the photojournalist greatly allowing them with an unprecedented flexibility. (See B. Newhall, 1982, n.p.)

The Impact of New Technology

With the coming of picture magazines in the market in 1936, a broad-based audience for documentaries was created so also the natural mode photo-essay in documentation was extended. The period of Americas great depression in 1930 also proved a great source and cause of development in the documentary work, and the images of America during this crisis epoch began to be made by the famous photographic division of the FSA (Farm Security Administration).

The famous photographers of the FSA group which captured images of America during the depression period included Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans and Russell Lee. While photographers who documented the global conflict in World War 11 included Robert Capa, Edward Steichen Margaret Bourke-White, W. Eugene Smith, and Lee Miller. Therefore, the numerous inventions in the technology and advancements in the art of photography that were made during the world war11, greatly benefited the later photographers. (See B. Newhall, 1982, n.p.)

Salient Aspects of Modern Photography

The applications of modern photography in the world today are myriad and diverse. There are multitude photographic mediums along with their practical applications in the modern world today. The various practical applications of the photographic tools employed in different areas include:

The photographic-tool used in some of the most important branches of science with their practical applications includes:

Note: The innovative Holography technique in photography is used to create image in space. Also the new photography technique in astronomy called CCD (charge coupled device) is capable of detecting lights single photon. (See B. Newhall, 1982, n.p.)

The Digital Technology

It was by the end of twentieth century when computer techniques in the photography were invented. The digital imaging and processing techniques thus brought about revolutionary changes in the world of photography facilitating the manipulation of images in different ways

In fact, the advent of digital technology had brought about an elementary change in the nature and temperament of photographic technique. In digital photography sensors and color filters are used instead of a lens and striking emulsion on the film through which the light passes, a process in the traditional photography.

The Digital Mechanism

There are several techniques employed in the digital photography, and the most popular among them include:

Technique 1

In this three filters are used that are placed in the mosaic-like pattern on the top of photosensitive layer. From the three filters as above, each filter allows only one color from the three colors i.e. 1) Red 2) Green, and 3) Blue to let pass through to the beneath pixel.

Technique 2

However, in another technique, three photosensitive layers are entrenched in silicon separately. As the natural quality of silicon is to absorb various colors at various levels of depths, each individual layer allows a particular color to pass through it. When brought into spectrum i.e. when all colors are stacked together, the overall result obtained is the net full color. And it should be noted that in both the techniques as above, the images are converted by the photosensitive material. The converted images thus obtained are in a series of numbers, which, in turn, are converted back into tonal values and then finally get printed.  (See B. Newhall, 1982, n.p.)

Note: With the help of computers, several different image numbers can be altered quite easily. This helps in allowing the colors to change as often as needed; the pictorial elements can be rearranged, as also by combining photographs with other kinds of images. There are a few digital cameras, which can directly record on to the computer-disks, where you can conveniently rotate or manipulate the images at your own sweet will.  (See B. Newhall, 1982, n.p.)

The Blessings of Digital Photography

It goes without saying that post capture digital photography is faster, easier and more professional. There are several choosy considerations in the free flow of digital photography work. The first consideration which comes to the mind of a photographer while capturing images is which type of file format to be used. Most cameras use the JPEG format but there are several cameras which may use even better quality RAW format, or in some cases DNG and TIFF. Some of salient image formats in digital photography include: (Dennis P. Curtin, n.p.n.d.)

Digital Image Formats

(Dennis P. Curtin, n.p.n.d.)

The In-camera Image Storage Devices

The image gets stored and recorded by the film used in the traditional cameras, but these two functions are performed by the digital cameras through separate devices. The image sensor, after capturing the image, transfers it to the device called in-camera storage device. But the in-camera storage devices are so designed as to store the image only temporarily, and therefore, you will have to move the image to computer the earlier the better. You will also have to once again erase the device and then reuse it afresh. Nearly all digital cameras use removable storage device, which mostly are the Flash Memory Cards but in some cameras these devices are usually the small hard disks. A number of factors determining the variety of images that can be stored in one session of the shooting include:    

Note: It is highly important to note the number of images that you store because of the storing limit your camera has, and once you reach that limit you will soon have to transfer them to the computer. At this point you will also have to stop taking more pictures or erase some of the existing images so as to create empty space for the new ones.

Some of the important advantages of the digital photography include:

(Reichmann, Michael. 2007, n.p.)

Argumentative Analysis about How Digital Photography is better than the Traditional Capture

The Convenience Factor

One of the arguments presented in favor of digital photography when comparing it with the traditional and conventional photography is the Ease of Use factor.  It is a very simple procedure involving mere pointing to the object and then shooting when using a digital camera. The image of the object thus captured by a digital camera gets entrenched or archived on the memory stick, which the digital camera contains within it. Another facilitating aspect in the digital camera is that while using the easy-viewing screen on the camera, the person taking the snap, can directly see if the picture is the one what he or she is wanting or whether it is possible to take the snap again. The fact of the matter is that in digital photography, if the results show that the picture has moved away or does not have the most required details in the image of the object captured, you can erase or delete the picture from memory of the stick.

On the contrary, however, the difference between the digital photography and the old traditional capture, is that the former renders taking of picture or photo more encumber some. Another factor distinguishing the digital photography from the traditional one is that the latter is characterized by the most time-consuming tasks like the changing of film and installing a new roll. Although the quality of the picture in the traditional capture is greater than a digital camera, yet considering the various other facilitating aspects, people are fast switching over to the digital photography.  (Edit Your Digital Photos, 2008, n.p.)

Easy Development Process in Digital Photography

The development process in the digital photography is sharply contrasted with how the picture is developed by the development process relating the traditional photography. In the digital photography, the downloading of image on the memory stick on to the software for easy viewing is practically possible. Besides, the picture obtained through digital photography process is capable of being printed out and saved within one of the computer files.  Therefore editing or making any changes in your digital photos is comparatively much easier as against the traditional film taking process.

Whereas, taking picture through the traditional capture process with same old traditional cameras, the film has to be first developed from a chemical process so that the image could be clearly visible. This particular process in the traditional photography does not only consumes much of time, but also demands excessive expenditure requiring the utilization of the additional film developing service or else purchasing the chemicals which a private photographer needs in the development of film in his or her own dark room. (Edit Your Digital Photos, 2008, n.p.)


A few salient points that came to open light after analyzing and comparing both types of photography i.e. traditional and digital are:

It is concluded, therefore, that todays world of photography have room for both the traditional as well as the digital photography, the fact, of course, marked by the difference of use in each. The digital technology, after all, is one of the many tools in latest technology responsible for making the world more modern and exhibiting advances in the science of photography in the ever changing world of today. The prudent way is to strike a moderating balance between the two types of photography, the digital and the traditional. One can only hope that the photographers of the modern world of today will make the best out of both types, and the work produced by them to have such a glare of excellence that anyone seeing them would be filled with feelings admiration and enchantment.  (Desktop Publishing, n.p.n.d.)

The memorable quotation in photography goes:

Great Photos Are Made, Not Taken

by ~Ansel Adams

The Rhetoric

In the conclusion above it is worthwhile adding comments made by Mike Hobizal in his article, Digital Image Editing & Manipulation Vs Traditional Photography and Processing (n.p.n.d.), that it is not merely the digital photography and the image processing which really makes the difference if it is taken into account how things were done 25 years back. Sure, according to Mike Hobizal, some of extreme cases have not been natural and some were, of course, beyond the scope of being considered as ugly. But that does not go to prove that digital photography is not natural. Ever since the time Kodak Brownie was invented, beautiful photographs surely received extra help. The only difference Mike says is that today there has hardly been any need of a professional photo lab nor people have to wait at least a week to see the results of their photography. The images, according to him, are instant as they are gratifying. (Mike Hobizal., n.p.n.d.)





Works Cited

See B. Newhall, Photography, Still ((5th rev. ed. 1982). The History of Photography: 1839 to the Present Day; Retrieved on February 22, 2008; from:


Hirsch, Robert. Photography. Retrieved on February 22, 2008; from: http://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar428000&st=photography

Romer, Grant B. Daguerreotype. Retrieved on February 22, 2008; from: http://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar146560&st=photography

Edit Your Digital Photos. Editing Digital vs Traditional Photos. Retrieved on February 22, 2008; from: http://www.edityourdigitalphotos.com/blog/editing-digital-vs-traditional-photos/

Reichmann, Michael.(2007) The Ultimate Shoot. Retrieved on February 22, 2008; from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_photography

Dennis P. Curtin. Digital Photography Workflow. Retrieved on February 24, 2008; from: http://www.shortcourses.com/workflow/workflow1-0.html

Desktop Publishing. Digital Vs Traditional Photography. Retrieved on February 24, 2008; from: http://desktoppub.about.com/od/scanninggraphics/a/dig_trad_photos.htm

Mike Hobizal. Digital Image Editing & Manipulation Vs Traditional Photography and Processing.  Retrieved on February 24, 2008; from: http://www.digitalimagecafe.com/article1.asp

Dennis P. Curtin. In-camera Image Storage Devices . Retrieved on February 24, 2008; from: http://www.shortcourses.com/workflow/workflow1-0.html

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