Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Bengtson Column: Everyone's a photographer

  • There seem to be many new "photographers" popping up all over social media as of late.
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  • There seem to be many new "photographers" popping up all over social media as of late. Every time you turn around there's someone new offering packages and sessions to get their business up and running. Has the art of photography gone to the wayside with all these fancy new editing options? What happened to people going to school and actually learning how to take pictures?
    For those professionals that do have a business and pay yearly dues, it can become a struggle if they don't do enough online advertising. Word of mouth is still a very nice way to gain new customers, but if you don't have Facebook and Twitter on your side it can get risky. Internet marketing is quickly becoming the only way to get recognized, even in smaller towns.
    Speaking of Facebook, it seems to be one of the front runners for all the newbies. Online garage sale groups have become very popular and it seems every day there's an aspiring photography page that gets posted. Some of these fresh faces take very nice pictures and offer unique ideas. Others think that turning their photos sideways or black and white constitute being called "photographers". While doing research on some of these newcomers, it was found that a lot of them use point and shoot cameras and if enlarged all their pictures would be blurry, just like it would on a cell phone camera.
    The first cameras were just a box that focused light through a pinhole to get an image. By the 15th century, glass lenses helped focus those images and by the 19th century chemicals allowed the perfect image to be preserved. Technology has allowed cameras to be on just about everything these days ranging from tablet computers to cell phones. Anyone can take a picture, but what makes a photographer? There are many opinions, from getting a college education, to acquiring equipment and experience. All these things combined would be a good definition for someone to be classified as a professional.
    Editing of pictures has become easier as the Internet houses many free options besides programs that are purchased such as Adobe Photoshop. Some online favorites include Pixlr, Ribbet, and Fotor. The most popular editing tool for cell phones, in particular, would be Instagram. There are over 130 million users on Instagram, including many celebrities. Originally a photo sharing software, Instagram has now added video sharing and printing options which are similar to a Polaroid picture. Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Greiger in October 2010 and had 100 million active users as of April 2012, according to Wikipedia. In January 2011, they added hashtags so people could search for photos and each other. Instagram quickly grew from being worth $25 million in 2011 to being purchased in 2012 for $1 billion in cash and stock by Facebook. It is now one the biggest apps to ever be downloaded.
    Page 2 of 2 - Over the last century, photography has changed so much that the past few years even seem to be a blur. With all the new technology, it is easy to want to start your own business. Keep in mind, though, that experience is key and there are courses and degrees for photography. All a person can do is try and, just like any small business owner, hope they can make a difference and get their name out there.
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