Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1] 2 »   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: The Changing Photography Industry  (Read 3620 times)
JeffColburn
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 59



WWW
« on: September 30, 2010, 01:56:58 PM »
ReplyReply

Lately, many photographers, including myself, have been complaining about the negative impact that digital photography has had on the photography industry.

Some of these complaints include:
  • Amateur photographers taking work away from professionals.
  • Image buyers purchasing images from microstock sites, and paying pennies where they used to pay thousands.
  • The photography market is being flooded with new, and less skilled photographers.
  • Photo buyers are satisfied with buying cheaper mediocre images instead of more expensive great ones. Mainly because their clients don't care if images are just mediocre.

These, and other complaints, are all part of the industry changing. Similar complaints were probably heard in photography when people started going from black and white to color, and from view cameras to 35mm cameras.

Photographers shouldn't feel singled out. Many industries have been negatively impacted by a world going from analog to digital, including: music, movies, newspapers and magazines.

The photography industry will change and adapt. That's what always happens. The photographers who take great photos, are good at marketing and know how to use the digital revolution to their advantage will be fine. Those who don't do all three of these will have limited to no success. There will be a purging of the photography field, and a redesign of the industry, but that's life. Change is inevitable, it just depends how you deal with it to determine if it's good or bad for you.

Comments?

Have Fun,
Jeff
Logged

If you're interested in photography, stock images of Arizona and Fine Art Prints of Arizona, visit www.TheCreativesCorner.com
RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6515



WWW
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2010, 02:55:15 PM »
ReplyReply

Jeff, I've got news for you. I don't know whether or not you're a pro because you don't list a URL for a web, and I don't know how old you are because you're of N/A age. But:

(1) "amateur" photographers have been taking work away from "professionals" at least since 1943 when I first started photographing.

(2) I don't remember when buyers used to pay thousands unless they were dealing with a pro like Gene Smith, and even then, considering the extent to which our currency has been debased, I doubt they were paying Gene "thousands" for a single shot. Probably more like hundreds. Not long ago someone on LuLa mentioned buying prints from Ansel Adams for twenty-five bucks a pop.

(3) The "new and less skilled photographers" always were out there, but if people are buying more pictures from them nowadays the problem is with the people doing the buying, not with the new and less skilled photographers.

(4) If photo buyers are satisfied with buying cheaper mediocre images instead of more expensive great ones, mainly because their clients don't care if images are just mediocre, again the problem is with the buyers and their clients not because there are more mediocre images out there.

But you're absolutely right. Change is inevitable, and the market will adjust. The main difference is that with the web, people have a much wider choice available and wide competition keeps prices down. The same thing's true for everything from cars to socks. That range includes photographs.
Logged

nass
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 12


« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2010, 03:21:23 PM »
ReplyReply

Hello,

Google is your friend. He has various sites including http://www.thecreativescorner.com/ http://www.creativecauldron.com/ and http://www.stockphotosarizona.com/

I think in today's web and digital imagery world there is undoubtably more supply. My hunch would be that the clever photographer would choose to compete by producing material that amateurs cannot possibly compete with.


Logged
RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6515



WWW
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2010, 03:42:40 PM »
ReplyReply

Nass, I'm not sure what you take as the difference is between an "amateur" and a "professional," but let me assure you that there's nothing a professional can do that an amateur can't do. You're assuming that "professional" implies good photography. What it actually implies is paying photography. Sometimes that's very good photography since most pros are experienced folks, but sometimes it's pretty bad. Walk down your main street and look in your local photographers' windows to see what I mean. Experience often leads to technical competence but it doesn't necessarily lead to an ability to look and see.
Logged

nass
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 12


« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2010, 04:02:56 PM »
ReplyReply

RSL, actually you're saying the same as me. Because amateurs can be really good, why then compete in the same arena? Which is why I would have thought that the thing to do would be to produce work that amateurs with day jobs can't really do. Like I dunno, go stay in some country during some season observing things that Jo Smo like myself, rooted in middle class comfort in some place with 2.2 kids and a job just doesn't ever think about going to. ie change the goalposts. I know it's not quite that simple, and I'm just theorising, but hey, makes some sense to me.
Logged
nass
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 12


« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2010, 04:46:11 PM »
ReplyReply

^^ see, I think you're doing exactly what I mean fredjeang. I mean there's nwih I as an amateur have access to top-models & celebrities. So I simply cannot compete. Now if you were to specialise in landscapes of English churches, well I could (almost) compete because hey, I can jump in my car and go there too!

Again, simplistic, but maybe it helps to show what I'm (badly) trying to explain =)
Logged
feppe
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2909

Oh this shows up in here!


WWW
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2010, 05:21:17 PM »
ReplyReply

I mean there's nwih I as an amateur have access to top-models & celebrities. So I simply cannot compete.

You can get a model to pose for you by paying them with money - just like a pro. You get access to top-models by having a solid portfolio and paying even more, or getting someone else to pay the bills - just like a pro. You can get a celebrity to pose for you by producing outstanding, unique and desired photos - just like a pro.

No pro starts their business with magical access to top-models and celebrities. They build their portfolio and reputation over years and years. Granted, they probably spend more time with it than a dedicated amateur - but I guarantee that if your portfolio is as good as Marco Glaviano's without the top models and celebs, you'll get the top models and celebs to pose for you, no matter what your status as a pro is.
Logged

michswiss
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 270


WWW
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2010, 10:32:06 PM »
ReplyReply

^^ see, I think you're doing exactly what I mean fredjeang. I mean there's nwih I as an amateur have access to top-models & celebrities. So I simply cannot compete. Now if you were to specialise in landscapes of English churches, well I could (almost) compete because hey, I can jump in my car and go there too!

Again, simplistic, but maybe it helps to show what I'm (badly) trying to explain =)

Having access to "exotic" locales is an asset only if you understand your ultimate audience and/or have a story you want to tell.  You could probably make a go of Landscapes of English Churches targeted at the Asian tourist markets.  Probably not a lot of people filling that space, yet.  While selling the same print at a local market most likely won't get you much.

Come to think of it, I bet your local council would like the idea of a promotional calendar that could be used to promote tourism in the area.  But you better hurry up.  I'll be spending lots of time in the Lakes District starting in 2012.
Logged

Eric Myrvaagnes
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8216



WWW
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2010, 10:52:32 PM »
ReplyReply

(2) I don't remember when buyers used to pay thousands unless they were dealing with a pro like Gene Smith, and even then, considering the extent to which our currency has been debased, I doubt they were paying Gene "thousands" for a single shot. Probably more like hundreds. Not long ago someone on LuLa mentioned buying prints from Ansel Adams for twenty-five bucks a pop.
Russ,

I have to correct a small detail in your point #2. My first prints from Ansel in the mid 1960s cost me $6 each (8x10" contact prints, mounted, signed, numbered). I did buy a couple of outrageously expensive Edward Weston prints, too, printed by his son Cole. Those cost $25 each.

Cheers,

Eric
Logged

-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
JeffColburn
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 59



WWW
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2010, 11:02:40 PM »
ReplyReply

Jeff, I've got news for you. I don't know whether or not you're a pro because you don't list a URL for a web, and I don't know how old you are because you're of N/A age.

Pro / 54 / sold first image to a magazine 35 years ago / It's very tiny, but check my signature and you'll see a link to http://www.TheCreativesCorner.com

Quote
(1) "amateur" photographers have been taking work away from "professionals" at least since 1943 when I first started photographing.
True, I had to explain to more than one art director why he should hire me instead of hiring a recent graduate who would work for nothing except images for his/her portfolio. However, the number of amateurs in competition with pros has skyrocketed with digital photography.

Quote
(2) I don't remember when buyers used to pay thousands unless they were dealing with a pro like Gene Smith, and even then, considering the extent to which our currency has been debased, I doubt they were paying Gene "thousands" for a single shot. Probably more like hundreds. Not long ago someone on LuLa mentioned buying prints from Ansel Adams for twenty-five bucks a pop.

I used to see it rather frequently with magazine covers and other areas.

Quote
But you're absolutely right. Change is inevitable, and the market will adjust. The main difference is that with the web, people have a much wider choice available and wide competition keeps prices down. The same thing's true for everything from cars to socks. That range includes photographs.

Very true.

Have Fun,
Jeff
Logged

If you're interested in photography, stock images of Arizona and Fine Art Prints of Arizona, visit www.TheCreativesCorner.com
JeffColburn
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 59



WWW
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2010, 11:09:22 PM »
ReplyReply

I'm not sure what you take as the difference is between an "amateur" and a "professional," but let me assure you that there's nothing a professional can do that an amateur can't do.

Your correct, sort of. I always tell people that when an amateur takes a great picture he says, "Wow, look what I did." When a professional takes a great picture he says, "That's what I expected."

A pro knows his equipment, how to get the image he wants, and how to get that image every time.

Have Fun,
Jeff
Logged

If you're interested in photography, stock images of Arizona and Fine Art Prints of Arizona, visit www.TheCreativesCorner.com
Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12213


« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2010, 03:44:35 AM »
ReplyReply

I suspect that much of the theory here is just that: theory.

Nobody who actually did work with real stock libraries would be surprised by the thousand buck sale: even I had a few. Just as relevantly, nobody with the same experience would claim that micro has improved the stock industry. Why do you imagine the original, big agencies got into it, bought so many micros? Because of one thing: the micros were killing the economics of the industry itself, not just the snappers, but the agencies too. You buy, absorb and hope to smother. But it was too late: the effin' genie was out of the bottle and also the wider economy fell off the cliff.

But not everything has gone sour; some still do make a lot of money and some deserve to so do. It's just that the numbers in that position appear much smaller and certainly not as spread over the spectrum of practice as was the case years ago.

Access to models. It depends, and always did, on far more than just money and how good one's snaps. I have news for those who hold the view that that's all that matters: remember the Shrimp? Hardly available to all comers, even though in her day the fee wasn't really that much. Even with my pinup calendars, big clients with huge resources, even there I ran into the occasional situation where I could not get the person I wanted for one reason or another - even one as simple as jealousy: not of me, but of the girl not being permitted, by the boyfriend, to travel on trips... it's true.

As for celebrities, the magazines now often have to accept the photographer that her/his PR company says is going to do the shoot! If anything, I believe it has become more difficult than ever to break into the business, and as always, it is more people orientated than talent orientated. Isn't everything, when you scratch the surface?

Rob C
Logged

fredjeang
Guest
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2010, 07:36:00 AM »
ReplyReply


A pro knows his equipment, how to get the image he wants, and how to get that image every time.

Have Fun,
Jeff
Exactly!
If you are contracted by, let's say Chanel, they will hire a "big boy" because of his/ artistic talent and background, BUT because also: failure is not an option.
I'm not sure this is a point really understood (and in its implications) when this topic amateur-pro shows up.
Logged
RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6515



WWW
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2010, 08:14:41 AM »
ReplyReply

Your correct, sort of. I always tell people that when an amateur takes a great picture he says, "Wow, look what I did." When a professional takes a great picture he says, "That's what I expected."

A pro knows his equipment, how to get the image he wants, and how to get that image every time.

Jeff, It's a good point, but an experienced amateur knows his equipment and knows how to get that image every time, and when he gets it he says the same thing the pro says. The difference is that the pro has to get the image he was after. The amateur doesn't.

Also, a lot depends on what kind of "pro" you're talking about. The guy who does fashion can set up his shots. The photojournalist doesn't have that advantage. The fashion guy always gets what he expected. The journalist doesn't always get what he expected. Sometimes he gets more than he expected. Sometimes less. Same thing's true of the amateur when he does the same kind of shoot.
Logged

JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2010, 09:24:33 AM »
ReplyReply

I think the distinction between "pro" and "amateur" is pretty basic.

1: True Professional: A person who can comfortably pay all of his bills, and who lives (and eats-off-of) the money he makes as a photographer;
2: Semi-Pro: Eats and pays most of his bills off of other-generated income, but who supplements his income with (i.e., occasionally makes a profit off of) his photographs;
3. Amateur/Wanna-Be: A person who "takes photographs," but hasn't yet been paid for them, and who would starve to death within a week relying on the non-existant income generated from his work.

With that said, I would always listen to the advice of a successful professional over anyone else on the subject of making money as a professional photographer. More specifically, I would listen to the advice from someone within the field of photographic specialization that interests me. For example, model photography holds little interest for me, so the goings-on in this offshoot-profession wouldn't apply to me. But a published and successful nature photographer would have things to say that would benefit me, as that is my interest.

I have been taking macro shots for only a couple of years now, and just as I wouldn't know the first thing about doing a high-end model shoot (as I have never done one), I have seen "macro photography" presented from "otherwise-professionals" that are so pitiful I personally would have deleted them in-camera (let alone bother to edit and display them in public). Therefore, as with any profession, there are few people who can "do it all" exceptionally-well, and it seems that those who want to make money at photography need to specialize ... and then get very, very good at their specialty ... which simply takes time, dedication, and the right contacts.

Jack




.
Logged
RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6515



WWW
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2010, 09:53:31 AM »
ReplyReply

Russ,

I have to correct a small detail in your point #2. My first prints from Ansel in the mid 1960s cost me $6 each (8x10" contact prints, mounted, signed, numbered). I did buy a couple of outrageously expensive Edward Weston prints, too, printed by his son Cole. Those cost $25 each.

Cheers,

Eric

Eric, Wow! I hope you hung on to those six-buck and twenty-five-buck prints. If you did, your heirs and assigns will have it made. What really bugs me about your story is that when I think back I realize I had the opportunity to do the same thing you did, but I blew it.
Logged

RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6515



WWW
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2010, 10:10:48 AM »
ReplyReply

I think the distinction between "pro" and "amateur" is pretty basic.

1: True Professional: A person who can comfortably pay all of his bills, and who lives (and eats-off-of) the money he makes as a photographer;
2: Semi-Pro: Eats and pays most of his bills off of other-generated income, but who supplements his income with (i.e., occasionally makes a profit off of) his photographs;
3. Amateur/Wanna-Be: A person who "takes photographs," but hasn't yet been paid for them, and who would starve to death within a week relying on the non-existant income generated from his work.
Jack

Jack, I think that's a pretty accurate description of the difference. On the other hand, even though I sell prints out of local galleries I consider myself an amateur. The trouble with the word, "amateur" is that its original meaning has become corrupted with the introduction of the idea that "amateur" implies "novice." As an amateur (meaning I do it because I love it) I do a lot of free work for which a pro would charge. For instance, I do street photography for the Colorado Springs Downtown Partnership's web site and publications, and for a new organization in Manitou Springs that's in the process of building an advanced web for the city. I'd be stealing work from the pros if either outfit could afford to pay for the kind of work I do, but they can't. I spend a lot of hours on the street. If I were charging on an hourly basis it'd break their banks. And I've never heard of a pro willing to do that kind of work. The pro would start out with a shooting script -- one that would include certain buildings, shops, people in posed situations, etc. But since I don't work from a script -- just wander and keep my eyes open -- I come up with the unexpected, which is exactly what they're looking for. I guess my point is that when you come right down to it, it's pretty hard to defend the kind of categories we've both been making.
Logged

RSL
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6515



WWW
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2010, 10:26:07 AM »
ReplyReply

I had to explain to more than one art director why he should hire me instead of hiring a recent graduate who would work for nothing except images for his/her portfolio.

Jeff, I hope they hired you. I did software engineering for 30 years and stopped at the end of 2008. In the early nineties there was a fairly large and rapidly growing local shop that sold an eclectic mix of products, some on outright purchase, some on consignment, whose owner was trying to keep her records manually and failing. She realized she was going to have to automate. A friend of both of us put me on to her and I gave her a pretty comprehensive proposal for a system that would get things under control. She thought it over for a while and then told me she had a friend who had started doing computer programming who would do it for free. My friend and I both watched in horror as the business went down the drain over the following two years. She ended up with not the slightest grasp of her financial situation or her inventory, and finally just closed the whole thing down.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2010, 10:27:46 AM by RSL » Logged

JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2010, 10:39:05 AM »
ReplyReply

Jack, I think that's a pretty accurate description of the difference. On the other hand, even though I sell prints out of local galleries I consider myself an amateur.

I would consider you a semi-pro (or pro) based on how much of your living/income is generated by your photography.





The trouble with the word, "amateur" is that its original meaning has become corrupted with the introduction of the idea that "amateur" implies "novice."

Well, I don't think the problem is with the "word" amateur so much as with people's misinterpretation  of it.

I have seen some absolutely astounding images presented by amateurs ... and some absolutely mediocre images posted by "pros" ...

Therefore, strictly-speaking, the dividing line between amateur and pro has to do with income, not talent. Naturally, income is generally the result of talent and skill, but not always. I have read books on macrophotography (that generated income) with work in there I would have thrown away.




As an amateur (meaning I do it because I love it) I do a lot of free work for which a pro would charge. For instance, I do street photography for the Colorado Springs Downtown Partnership's web site and publications, and for a new organization in Manitou Springs that's in the process of building an advanced web for the city. I'd be stealing work from the pros if either outfit could afford to pay for the kind of work I do, but they can't. I spend a lot of hours on the street. If I were charging on an hourly basis it'd break their banks. And I've never heard of a pro willing to do that kind of work. The pro would start out with a shooting script -- one that would include certain buildings, shops, people in posed situations, etc. But since I don't work from a script -- just wander and keep my eyes open -- I come up with the unexpected, which is exactly what they're looking for. I guess my point is that when you come right down to it, it's pretty hard to defend the kind of categories we've both been making.

I would disagree with you Russ.

I think the difference you have just described has to do with love and passion versus a lack thereof.

You clearly have a passion for street photography that you need to express (love to express). There are many professionals who donate their time/works for free, in all manner of ways, in all manner of different industries ... simply because they are giving by nature and enjoy their work. Though they may (at times) work for free, they are still true professionals, by definition, because their income/expenses are paid for by their works also. Just because you enjoy doing something extra, or give some of your time/efforts away, doesn't mean you still aren't a true professional, provided the sum and substance of your income comes from that same vocation also.

The type of person you describe, who wouldn't do anything for free, or who wouldn't devote some of his time/efforts for his own personal enjoyment, I would describe as "loveless," or "soul-less." Such a person might be a professional also, in that his income is generated by his photography, but his motives are 100% for profit and nothing else.

So I don't think these distictions confuse the definition of professional, versus semi-pro, versus amateur at all ... I think they distinguish people who are willing to give of themselves, just for the love of it (or of others), versus those who will not.

Jack




.
Logged
Dick Roadnight
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1730


« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2010, 10:47:33 AM »
ReplyReply

I think the distinction between "pro" and "amateur" is pretty basic.
Jack
The word "professional" used to imply competence, but, when people tell me my work is "very professional"... I feel insulted... partly because I see a great deal of work by professionals that I do not think is competent, and partly because what they mean is "good for an amateur"
Logged

Hasselblad H4, Sinar P3 monorail view camera, Schneider Apo-digitar lenses
Pages: [1] 2 »   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad