Picture perfect is the best option in a photo shoot now-a-days. Even though there is tough competition, there is still scope for exploring the best of the best in a most dedicated manner. And in the day and age of smartphones that boast brilliant camera lenses, it isn’t all that hard to take a great picture. Except, of course, for that occasional zit or maybe poor lighting. That’s where photo editing apps step in with their editing features and filters to produce that perfect shot.
Take a shot, make a few minor tweaks here and there, add a filter for that extra glow and you’re set. Do, however, be careful that you don’t go overboard with that editing. These apps work best to accentuate your images, not completely alter them. Taking photographs in a fashion show or during a catwalk is a typical experience for a photographer. But taking pictures in marriages is most difficult and that too in a South Indian marriage with many events during the ceremony. There are awards meant to recognise the contribution and efforts of the people behind the images that often define how news is consumed today. While several awards exist for journalism, none exist exclusively for photojournalists at a national level in India.
We all edit as we shoot. That is an intrinsic part of photography. What we shoot, how we shoot; what we include and what we keep out. But, again, this is an individual call. The important thing is to be honest with yourself. The rest will fall into place. At the editorial stage, the control is often taken out of your hands. The way pictures are used, cropped and captioned has to do with what the media organisation is trying to say and its slant. Often, the pictures are distributed by agencies to magazines, newspapers, publications and other media houses, which use them as per their needs. But this is very different from digital manipulation on a computer, where you take elements of an image out or bring certain objects closer or add objects. That kind of meddling is not acceptable at all.
To be a good photographer, with heart and eyes, and the ability to take a lot of frustration and humiliation because of the bad working practices followed in media houses. Still photography occupies the top spot in today’s art of taking pictures. Digital photography came into existence for a long time now. But candid photographers have a special role to play in picking the right spots, right moment, right time and right action of a person in a most meticulous manner.
Today, the universality of photography makes it quite accessible for anyone with a camera in their hands to narrate a story. But, to tell a tale that is extraordinary, that delves on societal issues and more importantly, is a depiction of hard hitting facts, is what distinguishes photojournalism from habitual photography. Photography is an art and if it is really taken seriously will take you to name and fame.
Photography is no longer the domain of a professional with specialist equipment. We point, shoot and leave. But this may be the first time we are actually experiencing behavioural changes related to our love for the image. An unfettered access to the camera has made it all right to be visually verbose. Restraint is for wimps, says the gadget in the hand. Go ahead and shoot! screams the sleek built-in camera button. This is why worshippers raise their hands to take a picture of religious idols and rituals rather than in devotion.