Wednesday, September 22, 2010

An Amateur's Suggestion for Making Money as a Pro Photographer

The frustration that some professional photogs feel about the oversaturation of the photography market these days is palpable. There are still a few celebrity photographers who seem to be doing well but for many photographers, the last few years have made it hard to earn a good living. In part it's due to the digital revolution, which through instant feedback, made it a lot easier and cheaper to learn photography. Ever-improving technology has also made it easier to generate good photos (those ISO's won't stop climbing, I assure you!). I think it's also in part due to the abundance of learning resources on the internet (like this blog :D ). This chaos in the market has been blogged about by Don Giannatti, Bob Krist, David Ziser, David Hobby (to some extent), and now Zack Arias.

What's a professional photographer supposed to do to make money these days, when a lot of new entrants are offering their services for free or at low cost?

My suggestion to skilled pros: use what you have. You have skills and experience that we amateurs don't. You may find it difficult to have your work noticed (and be paid for) amongst a sea of mediocre new photogs, but perhaps you can shift focus and cater to new photogs instead. Share your knowledge with us and add value that way. But remember: we amateur photogs are an incredibly cheap bunch (except maybe for the rich doctors amongst us). The best kind of training that you can give us are techniques that improve our image quality more than that $1500 camera or $2000 lens can. Perhaps you'll then be cheering with the addition of even more photogs in the future. :)