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I recently read an article about daguerreotypes. This was the first commercially available photography technology from 19th century. What stroke me was that these first captured images had good composition! No wonder, composition was invented by painters long before photography was even remotely feasible.

Today photography is accessible to everyone. Most often people take photos with their pocket computers, commonly referred to as phones. The photos taken with these mobile devices are of very poor quality, not only technically due to low quality lenses and sensors, but also due to the fact that the authors of these photos know nothing about composition, lighting etc. Photography is available to the masses, not only to the talented ones. The richer ones spend money on digital SLR cameras, but many of them leave their DSLRs in the closet at home considering them too bulky and heavy and turn back to the cheap pocket devices.

If you are wondering what I mean, go over the photos of your friends on Facebook. Unless you only know professional photographers, I am sure you will find lots of pearls such as photos of a man with the face in the middle, legs cut off and the upper half of the photo containing only the ceiling.

One could argue that this is normal when you make any technology available to the average Joe. But it does not have to be this way. Today’s pocket computers are getting more sophisticated and powerful. They are capable of analyzing images taken with their cameras. The next step is to improve the camera software. Today’s camera software on mobile devices has sophisticated image processing algorithms to convert the ultra-poor quality data from the cheap sensors into photos. But the authors of this software need to push it to the next level.

The desktop entry-level photo editing software such as iPhoto or Picasa is already capable of recognizing faces in photos for the purpose of cataloging them. These algorithms need to be merged with the camera software. Then we need to add algorithms which will recognize feats such as composition and aid the casual photographer in improving their photos.

I expect that future generations of digital cameras in pocket computers will suggest to the users how to improve their photos using simple means. If the person decides to shoot a bad photo anyway, the software will crop it automatically giving the option to restore the original as the last resort. This will improve the quality of most photos which are shown to us.

Categories: Computing
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