Future of Photography

My Thoughts on Where the Industry is Headed

The Future of Photography (from September 2007, updated September 2021):  Since its birth and for around 100 years, photography hasn't really changed that much if you think about it. You had a box with a lens attached which streams light in and records it onto a film plane and now onto a digital sensor.

Row of Old Cameras

The Future of Photography

In Ye Olde days of film cameras, there were few things that changed with regards to technology. The main changes came from the lens quality and the mechanics of the camera itself. The shutter, the exposure system, the speed etc. Then the recording media (film or emulsion). That didn't really change too much over time, especially towards the end. Not when you compare it to digital and its rapid advances.

They tried to miniaturise cameras with the 110 range. And then there were the appalling Kodak Disk cameras but nothing really caught on or excelled. Compare that to mobile camera phones now.

Things were easy then although I didn't know it at the time.

You could have a top of the range pro SLR shooting Fujichrome Velvia and you were set for years. If the quality of the slide or film changed, you simply used that instead. No need to upgrade the camera.

Times they are a changin'

Old Watch in Sand

How different things are now and where will it end? When will we see the introduction of cameras that have interchangeable and upgradeable sensors? Sure it goes against the research and development costs and the need to recoup them. However, someone will do it, one day, mark my words!

After all, the Red V Raptor video system (drooool) is simply a box of bolt on goodies (albeit an amazing and expensive one). It is a system that is completely future proof. Every component is upgradeable so will DSLR's follow suit?

Lately I have been asking myself where photography is going...the photography that we know now. Is my career safe? The one I have been working on for over 25 years? The transition to digital from film was too much for many "die-hard" film photographers. They fell by the wayside in terms of keeping up in the business world.

Is it still possible for newcomers to this hobby/profession to make a living from photography? It seems a new professional photography outfit springs up somewhere every week! People are still trying...


Camera Technology

Technology is still moving at an alarming rate. New features and inventions that make our lives easier are appearing all the time. Are these incredible features able to make a career in photography accessible to anyone?

  • High resolution, high quality camera phones
  • Live view for DSLR's and Mirrorless cameras
  • HDR (High Dynamic Range) to assist with high contrast scenes and situations
  • Extremely high quality at high ISO
  • Rapid fire shutters and superb focussing systems that capture all the action
  • 4K/6K video that shoots 120fps (large frames per second)
  • All of the above becoming affordable to the masses


  • Will there be a need for wedding photographers in 5-10 years?
  • Should I start thinking more about video and its possibilities as we enter and delve further into the high tech, high definition digital age?
  • What about stock photography? Will we one day have magazines and newspapers made from paper thin plasma that show moving images rather than stills?

Career opportunities

Photography Careers in the Future

So, will there be room and opportunities for more "professional photographers" in the future? Absolutely! After all, everyone in the 18th Century could afford a paint brush but not just anyone could "Master" it!

Even with all of this technology coupled with the fact that DSLR sales are rising at an unfathomable rate, there are still factors required to make a good image. Not just the ability to point-and-shoot your "Canonympusikontron Mark MCMLXXXVIII" camera and hope for the best:

  1. 1
    The ability and patience to learn the fundamentals of photography
  2. 2
    The patience to wait for that perfect nature shot or the perfect light for that stunning landscape
  3. 3
    Taking the time to learn Photoshop, Lightroom or any other digital imaging program, almost a pre-requisite these days I am afraid!
  4. 4
    The skill, professionalism and charm to acquire, understand and shoot the needs of the couple at a wedding
  5. 5
    Taking time to understand light and composition and how it affects each and every photograph we take
  6. 6
    Learning how to market and promote yourself to get started, and then continually re-invent yourself to keep a successful business operating

Music (I know...bear with me)

Sheet Music on Piano Keys

I remember talking to my wife a few of years ago about music. I was saying that I thought music will hit a kind of bottle-neck, or U-bend and start turning back on itself. Now I may be completely wrong but how far can music go?

We have had:

  • Sticks, bongos and bells
  • Classical
  • Rock
  • Jazz
  • Grunge, electro and all the other genres
  • A mixture of rock and classical as well as just about every other mix possible
  • A mixture of ancient tribal sounds with modern instruments proving that it is getting harder to create a "new" sound

The era of the "come-back"

What else is there? Now in 2007, we are seeing a huge surge of "back to basic" rock bands with simple guitar-drums-singer bands appearing more and more. They are becoming increasingly popular.

More bands from yesteryear are making comebacks from the likes of Take That from the 1990s to the amazing Led Zeppelin from the 1970s.

What is happening is that musicians now have to prove themselves as skilled artists once again. They can't just keep "mixing it up" with some ropey old cover version. I think this is what will happen with photography!

Sure, everyone is jumping on the band wagon and creating unreal/surreal/fake images. All with the use of their digital imaging programs. Advertising companies and movie makers are making the most of this technology too.

Personally, I believe there will come a time where we will all crave that "pure" basic form of photography and film-making. The style where you know damn well that the photographers or videographers have studied, learned about and waited patiently to get the perfect shot.

Fake will become old news and reality will strike once again maybe.

New trends

I think that new photographers having the foresight to see these upcoming trends and maybe even influencing them will help many people achieve their goals in the photography world.

Already I am seeing some amazingly talented and realistic photographers emerge from all corners of the globe. It motivates me greatly and emphasizes the fact that photography as we know it is here to stay. Much in the way that art, paintings and antiques will be around forever…I hope!

Regardless of where technology takes us, I think people will always have a penchant for beautiful things. Whether it is an old painting, a photograph, a video clip or holographic digital art…who knows?

Whereas the actual finished photograph will be around for years, will how we get that image stay the same or will we all be:

  • ...bursting off 1,000 high-resolution, 3 dimensional frames per second to capture the perfect shot in glorious 3D "without" the need for wearing those silly glasses?
  • Or sitting in the comfort of our homes whilst our camera is tethered to a Wi-Fi enabled device on the other side of the world. A device that is operated from our laptop in the UK, so that we can shoot the perfect wildlife shot in Africa. All whilst watching the 47th series of "Lost" and munching on a bag of Maltesers?
  • Will the world and photographic stock libraries become saturated with images of business people shaking hands? Or happy children running along the beach? Will every city in the world be photographed to death from every angle?

Final thoughts and comments on the future of photography

So what is the future for photography? Ahhh who cares, I love it…now! Feel free to leave your comments below and share with your friends.

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