The Age of Instagram: An Interview with Dan Morgan
Sitting down with Dan Morgan of Straight Shooter
Filterstorm, PhotoGene, Camera+, iDarkroom, Instagram. With a flick of a finger, a simple effect, a toasty filter can bring a dull photo to life. In the age of the iPhone, such easy access to the camera itself, combined with photo-editing software gives us power and confidence we’ve never had.
Professional Cleveland photographer Dan Morgan of Straight Shooter, who has been in the business for over 30 years, has embraced the recent explosive advances in his field. Go Media sat down with Morgan to talk about Instagram and related software programs.
Morgan notes, “That same rapid-fast forward in technology that has made it so everyone can take pictures, has made it so professionals can take better pictures.”
Spending the majority of his time as a commercial photographer, these new advances have broadened the scope of what he offers to his customer. He tells Go Media, “The type of photography I do today I never attempted to do back in the day because I’m able to experiment more and see how things look.”
Instead of simply offering catalog items, he offers varying options including food and notably, architectural photography. In the past requiring a big and bulky 4×5 camera with very sensitive and specific adjustments made at time of shooting, Morgan can now take his digital SLR and make all changes with ease in Photoshop and other software programs. He reports: “Architectural photography is one of my best sources of income now.”
Morgan’s experience capturing images of jewelry has been expanded as well. Recently published as the sole photographer for Brandon Holschuh’s book “The Jeweler’s Studio Handbook” where he captured stunning images of custom made jewelry, Morgan came across more advances in technology, making his process easier. One application of note creates a reflection of the jewelry, at the click of a button. This would at one time be a frustrating, multistage process involving multiple artists.
“All the fine art experimenting that I did in the last 15 years are now, with the assistance of technology – those effects are being achieved immediately,” Morgan comments, emphasizing that this technology not only impacts the quality of his technology, but the speed at which he can produce as well.
Morgan stresses that the decisions made within Instagram and other software programs should not be made randomly. “Those apps, all those tools that everybody can use – it’s all about applying them and having a method to the madness. It’s having that trained eye that’s important.”
He not only enjoys the options available to him in post-production, but also uses them to his advantage before he even presses the shutter. “I’ve been able to take pictures with my Canon Mark II, that yields a really sharp picture, into an Instagram picture. I photograph these knowing that I would put an Instagram filter onto it. The effect that I’m creating now by doing that same amount of work is getting me that much farther.”
Morgan shared some additional photos with us, exemplifying the power of this new technology, and how it has advanced his own work.
“Here’s something I concocted based on Instagram.” I knew the effect that Instagram gave, but I also knew that I could apply that effect from a good quality picture to begin.”
“Earlybird is my favorite Instagram filter because it doesn’t take it too far away from the original look, but it darkens the photo around the corner.”
“I shot this on a cloudy day so it was a really neat picture to begin with, but playing around with filters and it was the ah-ha! I got the energy coming from the tower.”
A vintage photograph of Morgan’s father, “the original Mad Man!”
Is there downfall to all this technology? “Having the tools,” Morgan cautions, “is not enough. It’s good that the tools are out there, because people are given the motivation to see that you can go places with it.” But there will always be a place for professional photographers in this world. Morgan emphasizes, “you still have to have that eye.”