In the age of digital photography and smartphones, almost everyone has a powerful digital camera within reach 24 hours a day, it can feel like everyone is a photographer.
When technology allows people to use a number of digital tools to create and edit their images, and social media allows them to publish and expose their their photographs to a wide audience, you could be forgiven for wondering - what is the point of studying photography?
The digital revolution of the last 20 to 30 years has had many different effects on the art of photography, in both the professional realm and amongst amateur and hobbyist photographers.
While there are many affordable, advanced tools available to hobbyists nowadays, there is still a very clear distinction to be made between trained professional photographers and people taking snaps for their Instagram or Facebook account.
Digital cameras allow people with little technical or theoretical knowledge of photography to achieve good results and create striking images, but it is a mistake to confuse this with the sort of understanding that enables professional photographers to create the work they do.
The automated nature of digital photography - with the aid of tools such as auto-focus and a number of post-production software programs - has changed popular perception of photography.
There are a number of skills employed by photographers which are not readily apparent to anyone who simply has the right toys and tools.
Lighting and Exposure
The importance of lighting and exposure is not evident to most self-taught photographers, and without a good understanding of this technical side of capturing images, the good results they manage to create are essentially a result of chance.
This ‘chance’ is, of course, greatly increased by digital photography, because digital cameras allow hundreds - or even thousands - of images to be captured, unlike a roll of 35mm exposure film in the days before digital photography took over.
Understanding technical aspects of photography, such as the ‘the exposure triangle’ enables photographers - whether amateur or professional - to take control of the images they produce.
There are a range of of methods for constructing the images which are created in the process of taking photographs, which fall under the umbrella term of ‘composition’.
Like any other image that could be drawn or painted, the patterns, lines, texture and colour of an image can make all the difference in terms of how aesthetically appealing it is, or how well it can tell a story.
More people may be taking more photographs than ever before - but this does not make the study of photography any less relevant today than it was in the days before digital photography became the norm.
The Centre for Creative Photography offers a number of different courses, classes and workshops on the technical, analytic and practical elements of photography for aspiring professional photographers and hobbyists alike.