Photography has come a long way since it’s early days of becoming popular with the masses. It’s evolved, and keeps evolving, and ever increasingly that evolution relies on being as safe as you can, shooting in raw and editing when you get home or back in the office.
However, there’s a growing amount of people who see this as losing the skill and enjoyment of photography. During the film days, you would choose your film stock first, colour or black and white, and there was no going back if you choose the latter. But, it didn’t matter, because you were committing to you image and your vision.
Time was taken in setting up the camera to get the image you wanted, each setting on the camera ultra important as getting it wrong meant failure. For the majority of the world’s photographers, editing wasn’t an option (unlike today which is the complete opposite), not many were skilled in dark room techniques, so that was another reason for committing to your photo.
Commit to your image, commit to your vision.
You hear many say getting it right in camera is important, and of course that should always be the answer. However, you sadly hear many say that their camera is not capable of catching the scene around them without editing later.
For the majority of the time, and the majority of people, your camera is more than adequate for capturing the scene in front of you, and with the aid of your cameras functions, you can adjust everything you need in camera to collect and correct all of the information in the scene. Modern cameras have amazing dynamic range control, use those features, they work wonders.
And if you choose to enjoy black and white images, shoot in black and white. Be committed! There are many, many resources that explain the benefit of photographing in colour and converting to black and white, but where is the commitment and vision in that? Again, you have huge control in camera to achieve the look you want. Don’t rely on post processing, make the commitment and love your camera and what you’re doing.
Why do this?
For some die-hards, they’ll ask why you should do this and not simply edit your photos afterwards. It’s simple… Accountability. You take the photos, you get them right in everyway in camera, you commit to the image and vision and you are accountable for the final outcome.
The pleasure and feeling you get from taking the photo and instantly seeing the result that you want is better than any other. Just like the film days when you pressed the shutter button and captured exactly what was in front of you, but these days you have far more control over the image before you press the shutter button.
Of course, if you’re photographing for purely artistic purposes, or envisage the scene in front of you totally different to how it was, then there’s nothing wrong with editing and losing all accountability for your work as you take it into another direction.
Is this for you? Final thoughts.
If you don’t believe you, or your camera, have the skill, patience and vision to get it right and commit to the image you’ve produced in camera, then possibly this may not be for you. Taking an image only in black and white, with no way of going to colour can be scary to those who don’t commit to their vision, but to others, that’s the joy. The commitment that made when they pressed the shutter button.
There’s a growing number of photographers taking this approach for their personal work, because it makes you accountable to committing to your image. You live with the result, any mistakes are your fault, not the cameras.
At the end of the day, we all want to be out taking as many photographs as we can, and if we can limit the amount of time we spend after we’ve taken the photos to just transferring the images to our hard drives, then that makes things better all around.
Remember, with your camera, commit to you image, commit to your vision.