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  • Kim Clay

The Impact of the Digital Photo Revolution - 3. WHAT

The How, Why & What of the Digital Photo Revolution

A Three Part Series:

Part 1 The How - How has the digital revolution — in particular the smartphones—

impacted HOW we take, store & share our photos?

Part 2 The Why - Has the digital revolution really changed WHY we take photos?

Part 3 The What - Has the digital revolution changed WHAT photos we take?

Part 3: This article explores What has Changed About Our Picture taking habits.

1. Have we become a more caring, sharing, society?... Sharing for sure

We've all seen the movie "Social Network" which tells the story of how in 2003 Mark Zuckerberg — as a Harvard student — "develops" a networking web-site just for students. He calls it Facebook and within a couple of years it has expanded into a global Social Network, making him the youngest (by a couple of decades) self-made billionaire in the world... What ever happened to MySpace??...

As older folk 'cottoned on' to Facebook's "Sharing" appeal, younger folk have migrated to newer platforms such as Instagram & Snapchat ... and many more!

Social media depends on user-generated content, with visual content at the top of the list —photos, pictures, pic-stiches, snaps and memes etc... YouTube gave us a platform to post our videos AND now — thanks to TikTok? — we're mastering the art of recording short-form videos which are rapidly becoming the GO TO for Social Media sharing. Social Media Platforms are popping up and disappearing all the time... They have brought new meaning to old words — Brand, Like, Post, Chat, Comment, Connect, Follow, Handle, Share, Tag, Viral.... and spawned a whole new vocabulary — Crowd-sourcing, Flash Mob, Hashtag, Live-streaming , Meme, Selfie, Troll, Tweet....

Speaking for myself as a member of the 'older' generation.... I don't need to use FaceApp to see what I'll morph into when I'm OLD I already know and I have plenty of photos of the younger me. I'm certainly not going to bust out any of my disco moves to share on TikTok... But like most older folk, instantly ‘sharing’ easily taken personal photos with short captions, to communicate with friends & family, both near and far, remains my GO TO for Social media sharing.

2. Why are we taking so many more photos? ... Just Because We Can

Our phones are with us at all times, so we can take a picture of any- & everything at anytime. We may not be promoting a business on Social Media with engaging, compelling and relevant content but some of the 'whatever interests you' has rubbed off.

3. What types of photos are we STILL taking?... Family & Friends

Family vacations, the special occasions and everyday moments with the people we love still remain the most popular subjects.... It is more a matter of :

  • How many more pictures we take.... no restrictions!!!

  • The manner in which we can take them .... on a phone???!!!

  • The types we can take.... selfies, videos

  • How quickly we share them... instantly (with captions)

  • How many more people see them...through Social Media

  • The ease with which we can take professional quality shots.... with three clicks

  • The ease with which we can 're-touch' them ... When did the meme go viral??!!

We're still taking —lots more — photos:

  • Of our travels — but NOW we don't need to make sure to pack our cameras (unless, of course, it's for a well-planned trip to an exotic location, such as a safari!!).

  • To preserve life's “big occasions”. Who doesn't want to share and congratulate the bride & groom on the happy occasion of their nuptials? —and participate in the Flash Mob!!.. Of course for this occasion , we still don't leave anything to chance and hire a Pro!

  • All the other special occasions — birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, family reunions etc... NOW it's just that we — and all the invited guests —take more photos at these events.

  • The everyday moments with our families (and pets) when there is no Pro in sight, that we want to document. NOW we have a camera near us at all times, to capture or video the moment.

  • Our children ... have always been the most popular photographic subjects the nearer to setting off on their life's journey the better... blissfully unaware of the profound emotional affect they are having on us; spreading pride & joy with each (literal & metaphoric) 'baby' step — with their innocence, wide-eyed wonder, gurgles, smiles and giggles.

It's just that NOW, when we post these to Social media, there is a chance that they could go 'viral' .... giving new meaning to "everyone gets 15 minutes of fame"???

4. What types of photos are we taking that we didn't before?... You Name it

The list of what photos we take that we didn't before is endless. A few trends have got some bad press — selfies, food etc.. — but the convenience and accuracy of taking a picture, rather than having to remember, describe or write-down something , is priceless.


The 2003 Sony Ericsson Z1010 was the first cell phone with a front facing camera — included as an after-thought for video-conferencing. By 2013, the term 'selfie' was declared "word of the year" by the Oxford English Dictionary.... I wonder how, whoever had the afterthought, feels now?

The Trend of people posting increasingly provocative selfie poses — to measure their self-worth from the number of Likes they get — has certainly had some bad press BUT, at least with trends, they come... and go just as quickly.

Selfies have a much wider appeal. They provide a 'different angle' of the taker and their surroundings — AND everyone they are with, can be in the picture .

AND OF COURSE.... there are the selfies with celebs; easier to get than their autograph... after all who has paper & a pen to hand, these days?

Food & Drink

Another 'new' habit that was getting some bad press... not so much the beautifully presented spreads at special occasions but more like everyday meals. By extension, DRINKS have to be involved. Another example of whatever interests you?

In the interests of full disclosure, I have an 'album' on my phone dedicated to pictures of bottles of wine that I've tried & like... purely for my own informational interests!!!... I also have one for pictures of flowers, edibles, hampers, and any other thoughtful gift that has comes my way.


My phone is littered with photos of every type of document, label, sign, and even TV screens, conveying some form of information. it is so much easier to snap a high resolution 100% accurate reproduction of words & numbers that can be zoomed in on, than writing down the details... I can easily share the info with others or have it handy for future reference.

Out shopping I take pictures of any & every type of merchandise, product details, prices etc... for comparison, to get a second opinion etc... At home I can get model & serial numbers printed in tiny fonts on labels stuck in very awkward place on malfunctioning appliances... or long case-sensitive wi-fi passwords stuck to modems under a desk. When travelling, before getting into a rental car I take pictures of the bodywork & licence plate.

...I could go on and that is just me!

5. What about the Photography Professionals? ...They are still in demand

Market trends show a continuing growth of the photography industry, with both commercial photographers and portrait photographers benefiting from increased demand for their services. Local photographers, offering studio, and location portrait photography for wedding and other special occasions, are still making a living... Some are specializing newborn, school yearbook...

With commerce, advertising, marketing etc. continuing to march online, the commercial/ industrial photography fields such as fashion, travel, food etc. are flourishing. Consumer goods catalogs have also migrated mostly online. Then there are the photojournalists capturing news-worthy images (both good & bad) and many more — sports, science, nature, medicine... are the paparazzi a photo-journalistic sub-genre?..., The uptick in Social Media marketing has also generated a new Stock photo market sector.

6. And the Photography Enthusiasts?... Finding their Niche

Photography has long been a very popular hobby... It used to be that people of all walks of life headed to local community colleges to take courses, poured over the latest Photography magazine and joining camera clubs to share notes (& photos) about the latest camera equipment and perfect their photographic techniques.

Thanks to consumer affordable pricing, of easier to use, but more sophisticated camera equipment, amateurs were able to get into fields such as under-water, wilderness and wildlife, which were formerly almost exclusively the province of professional photographers... better and relatively cheaper travel options must also help!! These days, drone technology is now also bringing aerial photography into the hobby field.

From the spectacular— exotic animal & plant-life, landscapes, sunsets, people & places in far off lands,— to a focus (...pun intended!!) on spotting the beautiful or unexpected in ordinary everyday scenes —requires a different set of photographic techniques (lighting, lenses, filters, focus, aperture, shutter-speed, exposure settings, and the like). So proficiency in the mechanics has been a necessary requirement for professional quality photography but there is also an element of "somethings can't be taught". Known in photography circles as "having an eye", things like perspective, design, and imagination are considered even more important than technique. Even for the best, that can mean making their OWN LUCK, by 'setting the stage' and taking hundreds of frames, in search of the DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH.

Both Professionals and Enthusiasts have benefited from continuing technological advancements of Digital SLR cameras. NOW smartphones are enabling consumers to capture professional-like photographs, further lowering the technique learning curve. Social Media 'marketing' trends, are encouraging a much bigger proportion and generally younger sector of the general population to jump into the photography 'enthusiasts' pool, blurring the lines between professional and amateur photography.

With everyone becoming Photography Enthusiasts and taking photos of 'whatever interests' them, it's not surprising to hear that people are becoming overwhelmed by their digital home media collections.

..... This is where Digital Kreation can help!! to get your home media collection organized and provide strategies to keep it manageable today and for years to come!!!

DigitalKreation is dedicated to preserving, protecting, planning and presenting  family's stories This Blog provides tips from start (finding & preserving memories) to the finish (creating stunning Photo books and Video slideshows).

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