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Digital Photography and the Printed World

30 Aug

Photo collections – for traditional photographers the phrase conjures thoughts of bound albums and mounds of shoeboxes, stuffed to capacity with 5 x 7 inch pictures. For today’s ever growing ranks of digital photographers however, it brings to mind thoughts of a stamp-sized memory card, a pocket hard drive, or CDs and DVDs. Welcome to the world of digital photography, which is fundamentally changing the way we capture and preserve images.

Digital photography today is a rapidly growing consumer pastime with many advantages versus traditional film-based cameras, including the ability to immediately review, erase, annotate or categorize images, speed and ease of operation, and quality at the high end of the digital photography scale. Although some film cameras can operate without batteries, minus the flash, most consumers are unconcerned with use in wet or poor weather environments and are drawn to digital cameras by all of the advantages that they offer.

Because of this, the entire photography industry is changing to embrace different consumer preferences, including a reduced desire for printed photos. The market for printed photos from film in the United States peaked in 2000 at over 30 billion, and then fell to under 26 billion by 2004. Initially, there were problems with quick-service photography shops “cropping” digital images in order to force them to print properly on the same paper used by film cameras – as more and more people move to digital however, services and products emerge to make it easier to transfer your memories from electronic to tangible

Some people feel that a picture just isn’t a picture if you can’t put it into a frame (although wireless, internet-enabled miniature LCD ‘picture frames’ ARE available) or store it in a photo album. But many of today’s young people are much more comfortable with technology than their parents and grandparents. It is not uncommon for a college student to feel more secure with electronic images than paper ones.

No one is certain whether digital photography will eventually reduce our demand for photo prints, but it is guaranteed that the way of the future in photography is digital. Additionally, there are far more snapshots being taken than ever before, due to the ease with which they can be reviewed and removed from digital cameras. So whether you’re partial to electronic or shoebox image storage, be ready for photos to get easier, better and cheaper in coming years – and of course, keep smiling.