The Mario Blog
Are we using better photos today?

The question in my mailbox: is the reproduction and display of photos in digital formats (desktop and tablet) becoming much better than in a print version of the same story (on typical newsprint)?

I like the type of emails that pose a question that force me to think about issues in which I may have had a passing thought, but the query from a friend or colleague inspires deeper introspection on the subject.

The mail this time brought up this question:

It seems to my not so well-trained eye that reproduction and display of photos in digital formats (desktop and tablet) has gradually become much better than in a print version of the same story (on typical newsprint, not talking about premium paper).

Is that right?

I haven’t seen this discussed and didn’t come up with much with a google search. You may be able to point me the right way — maybe to one of your own pieces?

My response

Indeed, photos have become better in the digital age. Just think that the average citizen is now a photographer and a videographer if she has a smart phone handy.  My own iPhone X is the best camera I ever owned (and I am almost 71). It is a toy that is easy to use and I can refine the focus and lens, go into portrait mode, even enhance selfies.

This leads to two important points for us to consider in the industry; kids as young as my 7 year old grandson are into taking photos. There is greater contact between camera/user/image than ever before. Few of us walked around in our childhood with a camera around our neck. What this does, in my view, is to create an audience that is more apt to value photos and, of course, to evaluate photos.  We must be better photo  editors, and we must publish photos that have greater impact to satisfy an audience that is into photography from an early age.

There is also the element of variety and quantity: While print publication editors must search for the ONE photo that will tell the story best ( a good thing, of course), in the digital age, we have the luxury of not suffering from space restrictions, so we may use a combination of photos to tell the story.  There is greater visual storytelling today than ever.  There is still better photo editing in print publications (for the reasons stated above).  I urge my students at Columbia to exercise caution and to edit photos for digital publication the same way as good photo editors have for print.  Digital spaces are not bottomless pits into which to pile up photos. People have limited time and curating visuals is part of an editor’s job.

In addition, we now have digital linear storytelling in which photos and narratives are woven together to create a story.  See examples here:



Mario’s Speaking Engagements



April 18-19, 2018-Newscamp ,Augsburg,  Germany.





May 26, 2018Associacion Riograndense de Imprensa, Univesidad de Santa Cruz (Unisc), Brazil



June 3-6, 2018The Seminar, San Antonio, Texas.



Garcia Media: Over 25 years at your service


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