Is professional photography dying out?

Started Mar 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
ultimitsu
Senior MemberPosts: 5,232
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Re: Is professional photography dying out?
In reply to G3User, Mar 28, 2013

I do some part time paid work, and I have friends who do weddings and newborn full time. We talk about this business often and how to grow and get better etc... so let me share some of my thoughts:

1, This is a winner-takes-all market. More than any other market, customers can compare photographers within a few clicks. This is not testimonial or review type of comparison, this is photo vs photo. Unlikely plumbing or electrical work, you cannot hide lack of skill and quality. Because it is so competitive and for most people, if it is worth hiring a photographer, it is wroth hiring the best (or close to the best). Your work has to be significantly better than what they can do with their gear to be worth hiring.  The top 1% get 50% the business (money wise), they get the big clients and they shoot MF. Top 10% get 70% the weddings, and the rest get, well, the rest. the closer you are to the bottom the less photos you get to do, it is that simple. If you are not getting much business, and you charge very fair fees, then there is only one explanation, you are not good enough.

2, As someone else already pointed out, pro photography has always been a people business. You will find at a particular skill level, there are many photographers but not all of them getting the same amount of business. Those who succeed are often what you would call the people-person. they are friendly, humors, humble, and very patient. There are demanding and hasty and down right rude customers, everyone gets them. Part of the game is not make them happy so they do not complain and spread the bad word, and make the normal customers really like you so they recommend you to everyone else.

3, People in general have become more wealthy and have more disposable income. there are many situations where people would not have hired a photographer 30 years ago that they would now. But you have to be the top 10% that really makes them want your photo.

One of my friend started a studio from scratch 5 years ago, first it was in partnership with 3 others who were slightly immature. Business wasnt taking off and the other 3 left. 2 years ago he took over the studio himself. Today he has one sales manager, two post processing artists, and about 10 contract photographers. He just recently bought a new premises setting up an indoor studio. So, yeah, the business is out there, but it is taken by the winners.

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