No Longer Just Pictures

I have been reflecting on the work I am doing, what I used to do and what I think I will be doing in the years ahead.

If I had the same skills ten years ago today, I wouldn’t be a photographer now. In 2002 I bought my first digital camera, the Nikon D100. I was able to make the digital switch relatively easily.

In 2002 most of my work was shooting still images. I was shooting a great deal for colleges and publications covering sports. I was covering the games, shooting portraits, and helping shoot the team photos used for promotions. Many of these photos were used in the media guides for promoting ticket sales, and some of the pictures even made it to the sides of buses.

Today, there is mainly hobbyist who trade out giving the photos for free to those organizations for the opportunity to be on the sidelines. Some of their work is quite good. However, I could no longer get the clients to pay me when they got the photos for free.

In the fall of 2005, I did coverage in West Africa. When I returned, I worked on my first Slide Show using the software SoundSlides. They now have a newer version that no longer uses flash. I haven’t tried it, but this may be a good solution for those just wanting to combine still images with a sound file.

While I just put the images to African Music I had recorded, it was a turning point for me. Now I am shooting video and combining it with still images and audio to create multimedia packages. Now I am using Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

Most of my work today is as an executive producer who shoots, edits, and then gives this to clients to post on the web. Many of these packages are 2 to 3 minutes in length. I did one on my daughter’s mission trip to Chattanooga this summer.

Many of the packages I have done are for “Best Practices” of people in a company to share internally. The stories have helped spread good ideas.

Looking into the future has been very difficult to speculate. If cameras continue to change as they have these past ten years, I can expect to upgrade a camera every two years.

My computer will need to be replaced every three years to keep up with the software and the camera files. My first computer’s hard drive was 20 MB. That would not even hold one of the photos I shoot on my Nikon D5 or Nikon Z6 today.

I will most likely still be telling stories in ten years, but how I tell them will change in some way. I will still use visuals and audio to communicate, but who knows. Maybe we will be able to capture the smell and play it for audiences in the future.

If the past indicates the future, I know I must stay informed of changes. I need to read all I can to keep current. I need to be involved in professional organizations. Most of all, I will need to remain curious and ask myself “What if” questions.

Don’t be like many of my friends who didn’t like to change and are out of work today.