It’s my 10th anniversary! On Jan 1st 2011 Gale Photography celebrated being in business for 10 whole years. Woo hoo!!!
It’s been great fun working with all the changes since 2001. Back then it was hard to predict just how much the technology of photography would change in just a few short years. The digital revolution was underway but many photographers still used film. Today the default is digital, and there are very few users of film.
When I went professional I used a Rolleiflex 2.8f medium format film camera. It was, and is, a fabulous tool ( I still have it), but it only took 12 images on one film, so it meant that I had to change films quite often. I shot colour on the Rollei, but as my wedding photography involved black and white images as well, I also had to have a 35mm film camera loaded with B&W film. I also carried a 2 spare 35mm cameras loaded with colour film. It was all very heavy, and all the wedding guests shot film too.
Digital arrived in my professional photography life in the middle of 2001, and my first digital camera was a compact. The Kodak DC4800 “Professional Digital Imaging System” was a 3 million pixel camera that cost an eye-watering £600. The 128Mb compact flash card I needed for it cost an even more eye-watering £175!! To put that into perspective, nowadays a typical 8Gb compact flash card, (64 times more capacity) is around £20.
I did use the Kodak the following week for an urgent commercial photography job and it was great. This shot was done in camera with a colour-filtered Vivitar 283 flashgun on a long lead lighting the background, and another 283 on the camera lighting the bag in the foreground. What you can’t see is my assistant standing up a ladder out of shot pouring the grain into the sack.
2003 saw the really big change when I got my first digital SLR. It was the oddly named Pentax *istD. This 6Mp camera cost me £1200 just for the body, and would be considered to have a very low specification today. From the first day of using it I was inspired! I loved the freedom, the flexibility, and the “insurance”. Insurance? Well, with a film camera you send away the precious original negative to be processed/printed, and if it gets lost you’re in trouble. With a digital camera you only ever send a copy, so you increase your customers’ confidence.
The really great thing about digital that I found so liberating was the ability to experiment and see the result immediately. This portrait of a guy and his beloved Range Rover is an example. I was able to slightly rearrange the composition and check it, then alter the exposure and check it again, to give the image I wanted. With film this would have been much more difficult. Digital makes the whole photographic experience much more interactive and much more fun.
In 2006 I moved from Pentax to Nikon as I wanted a wider range of lenses than Pentax offered, and I’ve stayed with Nikon since then. The fast response and great lenses let me get candid images, of people or their pets, that would have been very hard in the Rollieflex days.
That’s some of the technology changes over the last 10 years, but what’s stayed the same? Well, the need to be as photographically creative as possible and to offer customers; the best possible images, the best customer experience, and the best value, have been constants. Without offering these the equipment used is irrelevant.
I’ve met some fantastic people over the last 10 years, and it’s been a real pleasure to be part of your families’ lives, if only for a short time. Thank you!
I’m looking forward to the next 10 years!