By now, everyone has seen the viral post concerning how becoming a professional changed the way one photographer “sees” things. I think the concept of the article is solid. However I think the article quickly became misleading, as the photo comparisons were made between a cell phone, and a DSLR camera. Not to mention the editing that was done to the latter.

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Many times, when it comes to photography, the medium is irrelevant and cell phone photos shouldn’t have been compared with DSLR photos to try to make a point. If it’s about seeing something different now that you’re a “pro” then the camera used to demonstrate that a location was “ugly” wouldn’t matter, so why not take those photos with a DSLR as well? It is comparing apples to oranges.

I wasn’t particularly bothered by the article to begin with. As photographers, we play “what you see v. what I see” with frequency. I imagine those comparison shots shared day in and day out in photography groups were the inspiration for the article. However, I started to see the backlash immediately from hobbyists and cell phone photographers (note: I did not say professional, so comparing the two is again… apples and oranges). They had reactions ranging from annoyed to outraged. I didn’t get it at first. Why did it matter? Then it hit me. These people love what they are doing and they’re being told that they don’t know how to compose a shot because they’re not a professional… or they somehow can’t “see” on the level of a professional because their art medium is an iPhone. So what… some people make art in mud. It doesn’t matter… and guess what. Professionals can compose a shot with an iPhone too.

I take shots with my phone that are lit well, composed properly, and look nice. Now, do they have the same overall quality as my professional grade, full frame DSLR? No. Will they ever? Well… not yet. Which brings me to the point of editing. The professional photos were edited. Not that there’s anything wrong with image manipulation. That’s a large part of what we do as professionals. But again, it’s an apples and oranges situation. I also want to note, while reading the comments that editing is subjective. If the photographer was going to use edited photos then they should have edited both sets. There are too many variables in the before and after to make a fair point. Do photographers see things differently? Absolutely. Does that effect how we compose an image… Yes. Every. Single. Time. (No matter what we are shooting with)

The article was talking about ugly locations and became a plug for photography classes. Which is fine, make that money homie. But when we make our points about location, then let’s really make it about that and not equipment. That is what I would change about the article. Show how years as a professional have taught you to see past your surroundings. Leave the phone v. camera debate out of it.

Growth is a wonderful thing. I see things much differently as a photographer now than I did 5 years ago. This is an ever evolving art form. In 5 more years, a Galaxy S15 phone camera, or whatever it will be by then may very well take just as good a photo as an actual camera… but as always, it will be the person wielding it that TRULY makes the image. Times are changing, may we all rise up to meet the challenge together.

Just my 2 cents.

Then, taken with a Nikon D600 DSLR. Edited in ACR

Then, taken with a Nikon D600 DSLR. Edited in Photoshop

Then, taken with a Nikon D600 DSLR. Edited in Photoshop

Then, taken with a Nikon D600 DSLR. Edited in Photoshop

Now, taken with a Nikon D810 DSLR. Edited in Photoshop

Now, taken with a Nikon D810 DSLR. Edited in Photoshop

Now, taken with a Nikon D810 DSLR. Edited in Photoshop

Now, taken with a Nikon D810 DSLR. Edited in Photoshop

Now (Lost boys shoot), taken with a Nikon D810 DSLR. Edited in Photoshop