The Evolution of Photography

Posted: October 5, 2015 in Uncategorized
We have all seen the changes in the cameras we use, from back in the now old days of film, through the rapid advancements in the revolutionary digital cameras.
The latest evolution in the digital age is the software programs that have been, or are being developed to make artistic changes to our images with just the click of a link.
The look of a traditional photograph is changing with all the editing software programs that are evolving. First we saw the change of photographer’s images using HDR, that sometimes strange illustrated look.
One of the pioneer’s of the HDR look is Trey Ratcliff, who has create a massive following in the millions, and a very successful photography business from promoting the HDR look.
Some photographers fell in love with the HDR look, and some photographers hated it.
To the haters, HDR was destroying what they viewed as the traditional photography look, and the photogs that favored HDR felt it was adding a new creative look to their photos.
The digital SLR camera was never intended to produce a fully processed image, so we needed the help of Adobe Photoshop software to add the finishing touch with color, contrast, and even sharpness in the image.
Photoshop was our main processing program in the beginning, and now we have companies producing editing software that allows the photographer to create artistic looks in his or her images with very little experience or effort.
After using Photoshop for a few years, Nik Software was the first company that I had contact with for editing software that had the ability to create unique looks in my images with just a click of preset filter. I was having a lot of fun creating new artistic looks in my images. I started to see more and more people coming on board with the Nik programs.
Next I started working with the Topaz company’s programs and found they also had some good artistic editing programs.
Now a new company has emerged that I have been using a lot lately and that is Smart Photo Editor.
I like to hang out at a variety of different websites where photographers post their images for visitors to view. You can tell the images that have the processed look that we now see coming from the editing software programs. I noticed that the images with these unique processed looks seem to get the most likes, and comments.
I studied this with my own images and the more the image strayed from the traditional photo look and feel, the better the response was to the image.
I recently saw a news report on TV of a National Geographic photographer and his work with lions in Africa, The images had that heavy look and feel of the processing I’m talking about. You could see the depth and details in the hair of the lions that goes beyond the look of what we know as traditional photography look and feel.
Here is a good example of how the artistic processing effected the way people responded to this image
Here is the original with the traditional photo look. The response to this image was good.


After a simple click of a Solarization filter in Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 4, I produced this look. After posting the new artistic look with this subject, the response was overwhelming, and to date my most viewed, liked, and commented of all my images.


In the first image the people were mainly viewing the interesting subject, and liked the image because of the interesting subject, but not very dramatic looking. The second image has the interesting subject, but now also includes the dramatic look and feel of the processing which is why it got such a great response.
This is not the first time this has happened when posting one of my images with an interesting artistic look and feel. So common sense tells me that if I see other photographers getting great responses to their images when applying artistic processing, and my images are getting better reviews with the artistic processing, than guess what I’m going to keep doing with my images.
It’s the evolution of photography.
Now you don’t have to follow my lead, or agree with my viewpoint, you do what you want with your photographs. I can’t imagine any photographer that wouldn’t like the attention you would get from better processed images.
It makes me feel good when I know people are enjoying the look of the art that I have created.
I don’t want ordinary photographs, I’m trying to create a special artistic feel, and that’s why we have these editing software programs, for people like me.
With the processing tools we have to work with, photography has moved past just finding a good subjects, composing it properly, and getting a good exposure. These new tools have allowed us a new way to express our artistic creativity through our photographs.
Here are two videos that show some processing techniques with these photo editing programs.


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  1. M. Mehl says:

    Very interesting image! Who knows the name of this plant?

  2. I agree with your assessment of the processed images. I enjoy playing with presets and making an image “special”. I have a friend who uses Topaz and I enjoy seeing her finished product. I use OnOne and I love the filter choices. I don’t use them on all of my images; only the ones that call for “something more”. I have better success with my “created images” than the “straight out of the camera basic adjustment images”. I enjoy your work; I like seeing how you take the ordinary and make it special!

  3. summitjim says:

    I really liked the first photo until I saw the second. Wow. But I do still like the first one too. Basically two winners. The first one is easy to “see” in nature, the second one takes more vision to visualize the art. I think I’m slowly becoming a convert.

  4. Les Griffin says:

    I could not agree with you more. I was in the position with my relative new Canon EOS550D camera and was getting results that I was not 100% happy with and could not understand why? That is until I found Topaz, and lately Nik and Smart Photo Editor, and since then I feel that my photography has improved no end.Correction; it’s not the photography that has improved it is my knowledge of the processing skills required to improve the finished photos, with these new skills I find that my passion for photography is now rekindled.

    Mike, I have recently came across you site and I have to tell you that your macro photography blows me away. I am learning so much from your blogs and look forward to receiving them. . .

  5. Dave says:

    I can’t disagree with you, this is definitely the evolution of photography. But my path has been the opposite. I started out using a lot of filters to jazz up my photos, and sure, the brighter contrasts and colors got more likes from ordinary, inartistic folks who just respond to bright colors (sunsets for example get tons of likes, regardless of composition, etc.).

    But over the years my taste refined, if that’s the right word, and I came to appreciate the lower contrast, muted-color, more natural look. For example, I much prefer the top example above.

    Not saying one way is better than the other, just struck me as an interesting observation that one could go either way.

  6. […] I want to share an article by macro photographer Mike Moats called The Evolution of Photography.  Mike shares about changes that have occured since he has gotten started in photography.  I […]

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