Lessons from the Scene: Digital Photography – A Real Stimulus Package

by Stanley Leary



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Ebenezer Scrooge would love digital photography.
Each roll of film cost money. In order to maximize the number of frames per roll, we wouldn’t waste a shot. We’d dress everyone in his or her Sunday best, make sure the sun was shining on his or her face, have everyone look at the camera, and say cheese. A single exposure is made.
Every Christmas we’d all gathered at our grandparent’s house for the annual Family Christmas Photo. We’d pull the sofa out from the wall, fill the sofa with the grandparents and grandkids and arrange everyone else by height behind the sofa. Next we put the camera on a tripod and set the self-timer. It was an important event so we’d take two shots to be sure we had it.
I don’t want to imply that digital photography is cheaper. It’s not cheap buying a digital camera. The simpler point and shoots can be inexpensive. But, if one is a serious photographer, the cost of a whoop-t-do SLR digital camera can cause one to wish we were back in the days of film.
If we don’t already have a computer and software, we need to add the cost to the total.
For some of us, the software that comes with the camera would be sufficient. But serious photographers may wish to purchase a better software solution. 
The cost of shooting one photo from film is the same as making hundreds of photos from digital. We can shoot lots and lots of photos, pick the best ones and delete the rest.
As Christmas approaches, rather having everyone line up behind the sofa, try photographing him or her as they are. Take photos of people interacting with each other.
After the first image, look at the edges of that LCD display on the back of the camera. Did you want the back of Uncle Henry’s baldhead in the corner of the frame? Is that Aunt Mary’s foot sticking outside? Maybe we could zoom in or move closer or both.
What if the Christmas tree is a desired component with the family? Move around and find an angle where the main subject is obvious and the complimentary subjects don’t take over the photo. Try moving the main subject closer to the camera, with the secondary subjects further away.
Make pictures of people cooking, relaxing, in conversation with each other. Try taking photos of the outings to the ice rink, skiing, or whatever your traditions may be, rather than posed shots.
Why is digital photography a real stimulus package? Because even Scrooge would take more photos with his digital camera, without adding up the cost every time the button is pushed.