f Picture This: The Age of Images|April 2018| TPW magazine
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Picture This: The Age of Images

Today, it's not just how you take a photo, it's how you use it.

By Earl Nottingham

While we usually think of photography trends as the latest cameras and lenses, today it’s not so much about the equipment but the ways in which we use our images.

Photography has traditionally been used as a creative endeavor, producing images intended for walls, photo albums and publications. However, in recent years, the art of photography has morphed into something much broader.

Capturing images is now a routine part of daily life because of the expansion — no, the explosion — of social media and messaging platforms, the de facto methods of communication today to interact with friends, family and society in general. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the exponential use of photography (and video) in social media and other messaging platforms represents one of the greatest current trends in photography.


Social media

As the quality and ease of use of newer cameras and smartphones increase, so does the ability to quickly upload high-quality photos and video to the internet. Wireless connectivity allows images to go straight from camera to web; smartphone users can send images directly from their phone to any number of social media platforms with just a couple of taps. Some apps allow for posting to multiple social sites and even let you schedule the optimum times to post.


In the past few years, the word “storytelling” has become commonplace vernacular in the journalism and social media worlds. Vlogs (video blogs) and live video posts enable individuals and groups to tell stories and engage viewers visually instead of through traditional text. New social media platforms for storytelling allow anyone to easily publish a visual journal or diary from the field in real time. As a result, the advent of this type of first-person “citizen” journalism can offer a fresh perspective that’s different from traditional methods of print or broadcast journalism.

Creative options

For the creative photographer or videographer, there are a plethora of apps available to re-create traditional photo “looks” or to manipulate the aesthetics of an image in an infinite number of ways, ranging from elegant to cheesy. Shooting, editing and delivering high-quality video is easier thanks to both native camera apps and third-party apps. Be forewarned that while photographers and artists have always been able to manipulate images, the ease in which a digital image can be “enhanced” can raise ethical questions about an image’s reality.


Video’s already bright future is being enhanced by easier-to-use cameras along with better low-light sensors, creative software and more video-oriented social media platforms, combined with an increasingly
visually literate population. Video production value is increased by factors such as better sound quality and camera stabilization.

Please send questions and comments to Earl at earl.nottingham@tpwd.texas.gov. For more tips on outdoor photography, visit the magazine’s photography page at www.tpwmagazine.com/photography.


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For more on TP&W magazine photography, go to our Photography page


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