Written by Martin Neeves – Commercial Photographer Leicester
Photography through the Ages
Photography has come a long way in a short space of time over the past 50 years, but its roots lie way back in Greek times. The name “photography comes from the Greek words “photos” which means light and “graphein” which means to draw. But the earliest person to invent a pinhole type of camera was a man who lived in what is now Iraq – Abu Ali Hasan Ibn Al-Haitham. He was known in the Western world as Alhazen and lived between 965 and 1040 AD. He spent much of his life in Spain where he researched many areas of optics. What he could not do was record the images he projected.
It was 800 years before his initial research moved forward any further. The science that advanced photography further did not happen until the early 1800s. Joseph Nicéphore Niépce was born in 1765 in Chalon-sur-Saône, France. His earliest experiments capturing images began in 1816. He produced the earliest known surviving photograph made in a camera in 1826 or 1827. Before this people had played around with the camera obscura and used it for viewing purposes or drawing over the projected images. Niépce managed to capture an image on a metal plate coated with bitumen, which he then exposed to light. The plate was then put in a solvent which gradually caused an image to be displayed. It required 8 hours of light exposure to create an image; however it would soon fade away.
Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre, a Frenchman born in Paris on 18th November 1789, and a landscape painter, experimented with the camera obscura. Daguerre used a sheet of silver-plated copper, which he coated in iodine. He found that this surface was sensitive to light when he put in a light tight box and exposed to light for several minutes. Daguerre then soaked the plate in a silver chloride solution to create a fixed image, which he named after himself – the “Daguerreotype”. In 1826, he discovered the work of Joseph Niépce and in 1829 Daguerre began a partnership with him.
Meanwhile, the scientist and astronomer Sir John Frederick William Herschel discovered that hyposulfite of soda had an effect on otherwise insoluble silver salts in 1819. This led him in 1839 to use his discovery to invent a photographic process to capture images on sensitised paper. During this process he started the use of the words photograph, positive and negative – terms that lasted throughout the 20th century
Independently, at around the same time, Henry Fox Talbot also developed a process for making contact prints on sensitised paper using silver salts. The photographic process went through a series of developments. In 1851, the English sculptor Frederick Scoff Archer invented a wet plate negative. The downside of this was that the plate had to be used while it was still wet so the photographer had to take a portable darkroom with him in the field to process the image before the plate dried. Then in 1856 Hamilton Smith patented “tintypes”, a process that used a thin sheet of iron as a platform to hold light sensitive chemicals.
The real turning point came in 1889, when George Eastman invented flexible roll film. The photographic film was coated on a cellulose nitrate base. It was from this that the mass production of box cameras started. Then in 1892 the Eastman Kodak Company was formed.
Colour photography was first developed in 1861 by the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell. He created an image of a tartan scarf by taking photographs 3 times through red, yellow and blue filters, which he then combined as one image.
The development of photography then moved forward with miniaturisation, different formats. All types of uses were found for photography ranging from aerial photography to medical photography and X-Rays. Then in 1948, the world’s first instant camera was born. The invention of the Polaroid camera is generally credited to Edwin Land
Progress in the development of photography was then quite steady. This meant that it became more universally available and spawned a new career and specialism of “the photographer”. However, the next real leap forward was the invention of the digital camera. The first digital camera was patented by Texas Instruments in 1972. Then in August 1981, Sony released the first commercial electronic camera. It was called the Sony Mavica.
Kodak again got the lead on the marketplace by inventing several solid-state image sensors to convert light to digital images. Then Kodak scientists invented the world’s first megapixel sensor in 1986. Kodak then targeted photojournalists in 1991 with the first professional digital camera system (DCS). It was a Nikon F-3 camera fitted with a 1.3 megapixel sensor by Kodak. Early digital cameras were bulky, expensive and not too widely available.
The advent of smaller, cheaper but larger capacity storage cards meant that digital photography really took off. Innovation has been swift and digital cameras have now been embedded in mobile phones and many other gadgets. Digital cameras are now available in a wide range of prices, making them accessible to most people. The next leap forward was the ability to upload images to our computers and thence to the internet- spawning an explosion of the number of images published. It has also revolutionized the storage of images and ensures that much of our history is now recorded in minute detail be a population of “amateur sleuths”. It has also lead to extreme miniaturisation of cameras.
So after a slow birth, photography is now developing at its fastest rate ever. This rate of change is increasing at an ever faster rate; it will be interesting to see where photography goes in the next 10 to 20 years.
If you want a photographer who has mastered the digital (and film) medium and will produce highly professional images for your business then call Martin Neeves on 01455 271849 or on 07973 638591 or use my contact form to get in touch now.
Posted on Thursday, February12th, 2015
Advertising and marketing is an important part of selling products and services. This is not just true in business, but also for local authorities, charities and educational establishments. Imagery can perform many functions from catching a prospective customer’s eye, simplifying concepts, enhancing the appeal of a product or service, or just pulling together an idea. But it is often the part of an advertising campaign that is left to last, but strong photographs in advertising can make the difference between being just “okay” to being very effective. Photographs play an important role in advertising and marketing because they can tell a story. As the ancient Chinese proverb so rightly stated: “one picture is worth ten thousand words”.
Rather than seeing it as a drain on your business expenses, you should see them as a return on that investment. Using high quality marketing images should be used to ensure the growth of sales. I worry because quite a few businesses focus on the cost of photography for a marketing campaign and forget the benefits it can bring. I agree that high quality photography is likely to cost more than stock images or self-help photographs. But and it is a big BUT the overall benefit against cost is comparatively greater. It is frustrating that companies will happily spend large amounts on printing and distributing, but scrimp on photography costs. This will mean that the funds invested in the overall campaign have been wasted by a poor final result.
Good use of photography can tie a whole advertising concept together. Now stock photography has a place in advertising and marketing, but it can also portray a lack of originality of the product or service. Poor use of photographs and pictures can weaken or destroy a campaign because it does not have real impact. Photography can bring that Impact. Just remember, we are bombarded by marketing messages. In the 1970s we were exposed to about 500 ads a day back, whilst today it can be as many as 5,000 a day today.” Because of this incessant bombardment, consumers are only able to give their attention to brochures and advertising materials for a few seconds before discarding it and moving on to the next piece. After that, be it in print or online – it goes in the rubbish bin. It is here that great photographs can make a real difference and extend those precious seconds to “a good read”.
A good professional photographer will produce high quality images that will be unique to your business. They will be unique because only you will have them. But more importantly, they will be photographs of you and your business. Done well, they will help your products and services stand out from your competitors. They can be tailored to fit with your brand, which will help target the right customers.
Rather than hiring a jobbing “professional photographer”, it is always more effective to deal with a photographer who has some experience with advertising photography. The product has to stand out, not disappear into a background. It needs to stand apart from other adverts in the field. A good photograph will grab a viewer’s attention and make an impact on their through processes. Getting a message embedded in a photograph takes someone with a real eye for the product and its opportunities.
When planning your marketing and advertising campaigns, you should always allow an element in your marketing budget to cover photography. Paying for a professional photographer makes good business sense.
If you hire a photographer to do a photo shoot for you, you will have original images to use when you want. But do not forget to consider the license agreement you have with the photographer. Do they give you unlimited use of the images, are they for one project only, do you pay them a fee every time you use the photographs. Many photographers retain the copyright pf the images, even if you can use them exclusively. What that means is that you can use them, but you cannot resell them.
Different types of advertising photography need different skills. Food photography is not just a simple case of putting a bit of food on a plate and taking a photograph. To make it appetising it needs to be shown at its most desirable, which may require using materials that hold a products look. This can range from cocktail sticks, food varnish and other tricks of the trade. Fashion photographers need other skills to make a shot feel active, attractive and desirable.
Managing an effective advertising or marketing campaign can be a daunting task. But with good photography and a clear message you can grab the attention of customers. This will help them take the next step towards a purchase of products or services.
If you want to find out how great photography can help your advertising and marketing then call Martin Neeves on 01455 271849 or on 07973 638591 or use my contact form to get in touch now
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