The invention of the digital camera has had an incredible impact on the field of photography, revolutionizing how professional photographers operate their businesses and opening up the realm of photography to millions of interested amateur photographers. Such an incredible change has transformed photography from an exclusive art form reserved for trained artists into something that is accessible to everyone. In this day and age, everyone owns a camera – it is actually difficult not to – as they come conveniently built into our cell phones, laptops, tablets etc – ready to snap a photo with the simple push of a button. What did the switch to digital mean for professional photographers in the business? I took a moment to reflect on how the invention of the digital camera has shaped my business into what it is today.
Before digital, I had an assistant and a secretary. I had the same cameras for years. Today, I have ten people that work in our Long Island City studio to help process clients’ work. I have to buy new cameras every two years as there are only so many clicks on a digital camera. We have to keep up with the monitors, calibrate them for the color and continuously buy new software as everything gets upgraded. As you can see, digital photography became a more costly endeavor.
Behind the scenes of my photography business, there is a lot of work that goes into ensuring that each client’s portraits are top-of-the-line in quality and unlike any other. Though this work is time-consuming it is carried out promptly with expert precision and attention to detail, and only the best is presented to my clients. As technological advancements are made, the same cameras cannot be used throughout the years. They must be upgraded to keep the business up-to-date with the newest alterations in equipment. In this way, digital photography requires many additional costs which are all fundamental in the process of producing luxury photographs.
There are many positive aspects of digital photography as well. With digital, there are a seemingly infinite number of alterations that can be done to the file. Imperfections can be corrected, wrinkles can be softened and the best shot of each person can be combined into one flawless picture in which everyone looks their best. A team of graphic designers at my studio in New York City are skilled in making sure that every edit looks natural and seamless. I have several professional photo retouchers, a color correction specialist, designers that create the holiday cards and prestige photo books, and a tech person to back up the extensive archive of files and manage the network of computers that is necessary for running the business.
Since the film is not used in digital photography, more photographs can be taken at once without worrying about wasting film, making the quest for the perfect photo substantially easier. The raw, unedited pictures from each photo shoot are considered to be the ‘negatives. Theses are very large files that we immediately back up. We make a smaller file for clients to view during the selection process as large files take too long to open up.
These are viewed as the unfinished product and are not given to clients since they have not yet met standards of the Lucille Khornak brand perfection. Because I appreciate our clients and feel honored to be a part of preserving their happiest memories, we only want to give our clients the best. Photographs of this quality are works of art – they are made to be framed, used in a design for a gallery wall in the home or put into prestige books to pass on in your family for decades.
What continues to keep successful photography businesses alive and flourishing regardless of the changing tides of technology is a strong dedication to a level of quality that cannot be imitated and the sheer skill of an experienced artist with a trained eye.