You can call it the digital disease of photography or perhaps the death of photography. The reality is that digital has caused a decline in the quality of photography. There are several reasons, one of them being the speed of digital and the resulting lack of thought before the shutter is released. Quick on the draw and not enough careful consideration.
This has been a hobby horse of mine for a few years and some have said get off and stop flogging a dead horse. They may be right and maybe a little wrong. But, there is a solution or rather a number of solutions. The one I want to consider is getting back to basics. In most vocations when skills diminish it's time to get back to basics. This is where the problem lies in digital photography. The bottom line is that in order to learn digital photography you need to learn the basics of photography.
There are two things that need to be done then. Get back to the basics or if you haven't learnt the basics, begin with them. Here is where the big question lies. How do we get back or begin with the basics. The operative word is learning. Learn photography or learn digital photography. Picking up a camera and shooting doesn't make you a photographer. So what do we do? Acquire the skills. This is much easier said than done.
Our current generation is the most fortunate generation as we have the internet and the ability to read, read and read. Again easier said than done. What I would like to suggest is that acquire specific literature i.e. books on photography. The internet is full of them especially electronic downloadable editions. But lets go beyond this and back to the paper books. There are a number I'd consider to be fundamental to any aspiring photographer's library. So here are a few suggestions:
1. The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby
Scott Kelby gives you the simple insider tips pros use. It's easy to understand and very simple to apply resulting in great photographs.
2. Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera (Updated Edition) by Bryan Peterson
Exposure and how to use aperture and shutter speed always confused me until I read Bryan Peterson's book on exposure. A must have book in your library.
3. The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos by Michael Freeman
Michael has been around for donkey's years and handles a subject that every digital photographer needs. Composition. By understanding composition your photographs will improve a hundredfold.
4. Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color & Composition in Photography (Updated Edition) by Bryan Peterson
For some of us seeing creatively is a natural ability while with others it's something we need to learn or acquire. This is one of the best books I have read on creativity in photography.
5. Digital Photography Masterclass by Tom Ang
Tom Ang has been around a long time and with this book takes you further along you photographic journey. Great assignments throughout this book. He will take you to a new level.
6. Understanding Shutter Speed: Creative Action and Low-Light Photography Beyond 1/125 Second by Bryan Peterson
This book is linked with his other one on exposure and helps cement your understanding of how to use your shutter speed.
7. Understanding Digital Photography: Techniques for Getting Great Pictures by Bryan Peterson
Getting the shot is what it is all about. Bryan gets you thinking before your press the shutter button too quickly and succumb to the disease of digital. If there was a one man solution to this problem it's Bryan Peterson.
These are just some of my favourite authors and photographers who have enhanced my photography dramatically. By going back to the principles of good photographic composition and learning photography and not just digital photography you'll become a better a more rounded photographer. Don't allow digital to take you backwards. Take the principles of great photography and apply them to digital. Remember, great photographers take great photos using any medium, digital or film. Keep learning and don't stop making great images.