We live in an age where literally everyone carries around a camera. Be it on their phone, a compact point-and-shoot, or a big DSLR. Heck even stores like Walmart sell higher end DSLRs these days...they are EVERYWHERE. Because of this many would argue that the art of photography is dead. In fact I've seen many articles and blog posts on photography forums about this very thing. So many professionals are up in arms because "everyone thinks they're a photographer now."
But I truly disagree. Having a camera no more makes you a photographer than owning a set of watercolor paints makes you Michelangelo. The MOST important ingredient in photography isn't the expensive camera body, or that humongous lens, it's not even the environment you're shooting in. It's knowledge and VISION. Now I'm not talking vision as in what you literally see. I mean vision as in what you picture in your mind. Creativity. Imagination. Understanding light. Without that you're just a man with a camera.
Being a photographer is about capturing what you see in your mind's eye. Preserving a moment in your life or that of your client that is more beautiful than their memory can imagine. Precious moments in our lives are so fleeting. As we get older memories fade...we forget the details. Photos allow us to remember every detail and revisit that moment for the rest of time.
A real professional photographer captures the beauty of a moment, a memory. They don't just push a button and let the camera do all of the work. They make beautiful memories.
As a mom and photographer I spend a lot of time taking portraits of my own children. Just everyday moments...riding their bikes, splashing in puddles, their interactions and personalities. Below you'll see several examples of images just as the camera has captured them and then my final work. Before I ever start a session or pull my camera out each day I have a vision in my mind of the images I will capture that day. I use my tools, the camera and lens, to capture that image as close to my vision as they are capable. Then the real magic happens when I sit down at the computer and open PhotoShop. There I can really make that vision come to life.
So is photography a dying art? I don't think so at all. In fact I think the opposite is true. With the tools that are available to us today as artists I think it's more alive than ever. The creative possibilities to us now...one simply has to know how to use them and the vision to make the magic happen.