Is professional photography dying out?

Started Mar 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
Biggs23 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,225
Re: Is professional photography dying out?

Machine Gun Kelly wrote:

Doesn't matter. There is no business in the area. Local small businesses don't want photography. When they have something they want a photo of, they do it themselves with their iPhone (and get quite good results). For event photography I've seen weddings etc go to local camera clubs on a no-fee basis.

Absolutely wrong. Couldn't be more wrong in fact. Do you want McDonald's right now? No? So let me guess, you'll never eat there again? In fact, McDonald's keeps their product at the top of mind with a myriad of advertising strategies that are VERY successful. But if you ask someone out of the blue almost no one will say they want to eat at McDonald's.

There are the usual portrait artists such as Olan Mills etc all over the place with monkeys being paid peanuts. People are happy to go to them for portraits.

There just is no work here. Look at careerbuilder - they're not even looking for newborn photographers in this state. There were 40 pages of newborn photographers required "photography skill optional, sales skill essential".

As an example of how crappy this area is - there are 250K people and at least 150 photographers advertising in yellow pages, white pages, internet etc. That's 1 photographer for every 1,666 people. Even if all of those people came to one photographer and had a $50 portrait done (doesn't matter if it's newborn, senior or whatever), that's $83,000 but only 2% are going to hire a photographer so that's a maximum yield annually of $1,666.

Nobody I know has ever hired a photographer. Usually they have friends, members of the family etc do their photography free.

Now I got mugged into starting a photo business but you name it - sports, portrait, event - all covered by these $10 a photo people like lifetouch etc. The bottom feeders have taken all the work. Then look further at business photography - most businesses don't want to throw money away on photography when they either have a keen amateur in their ranks or the boss has a cellphone that will do the photos.

Let's look at catalog work. I looked at the engagement rings on Amazon - what an appalling lot of photos they are. Some aren't even in focus. Amazon undercuts everybody and pays very low wages. I know - there's an Amazon sweat shop locally.

A couple of local studios have vanished. The rest have lights firmly turned off and no staff employed other than the owner whose partner is usually off working at a job that actually earns money.

This brings me back to what I said - there is no photography work here - that's a myth. Plenty of people reaching out to take advertising money. It's not even worth spending money on business cards any more.

That attitude (and extremely limited mindset) is part of why you're failing (apparently).

OK. I tried to reach out to people by taking a flea market stall for a few weeks and put up about 50 framed prints. Lots of people stopped to look and spent ages looking and admiring. A few took business cards. Some took my 25% off special offer coupons. Not many of the coupons went. Not many business cards went. None of the coupons were ever redeemed. No calls resulted.

PERFECT example of what I'm saying. It sounds like you're marketing fine art to the wrong people in the wrong way.

There is just no photography work. It's an absolute myth.

Interesting. I didn't realize that my entire income was mythical. Hope my wife doesn't find out!

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Any opinions I express are my own and do not represent DPReview.

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