Is professional photography dying out?

Started Mar 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
vander Senior Member • Posts: 2,631
A few points...

I find quite a bit of people who post here don't put their photo business website under their profile or in their signature. Why is that? Many of these same people are the ones shunning or saying social media doesn't work for them.

If I look at my online stats it shows over 300 unique visitors this month have come directly from the DPReview forums. Sure that doesn't guarantee anything more than people sniffing around, but, I have got work from people on this site. I've had overflow work from local photographers and I've sold prints to others. It's all helped.
I don't know why you wouldn't want your website address posted with everything you do online. It helps with SEO and it helps with rankings.

Another thing which I haven't seen mentioned is the perceived cost of photography in the pre-digital days versus now. Is it possible that photography prices were scaled much higher back then because of associated costs and the simple fact people were jaded into how hard and expensive photography was? Very likely. Most amateur photographers were hit and miss with 35mm. Taking their prints to Wal-Mart and spending $25 for 24 photos developed with poor results often.

Anything quality took serious money in equipment and if you didn't process your own slides/film, you paid a lot to get that done for you and had a trust with the developers. The time it took to do this and then the cost of a print. How much was the cost of an 8x10 back then compared to what it costs now?

Now people are more aware of the costs associated and some are fine with just having the digital files. Everything is getting less expensive. Lights, cameras, technology (for the most part) and education because you can do a lot online. You don't need to spend a lot with trial and error to get decent with a digital.

But perhaps the pricing was actually set really high because of all this. Times do change.

I went to college in the early 90's before websites took off. I started designing and developing websites before the bust and was easily getting 10k for a small business website. People just didn't know how to do it so they couldn't do it. They couldn't learn to code HTML and use tables. Create graphics in Photoshop (expensive program), so people paid for what it is worth.
Zoom ahead 15 years and look where we are. I can rarely get 1k for a small custom designed website now for a small business, but you know what. That is awesome. Because now small based businesses can actually do marketing and compete with the big guys and survive. The bust happened because the costs were super inflated. I believe photography used to be like that as well.

So, you might say, EXACTLY, just the same with what is happening with photography. To a degree, but what I've had to do is adjust WHAT I offer services for. I've had to learn WordPress, I've had to learn to do video, I've had to learn to social media and offer that. I've started camera clubs and I've done instruction.
I can't sit on my butt and expect 10k for a small website any more. I actually have to evolve my skill sets.
I REALLY enjoy landscape photography but I never, ever, think I will be a full time landscape photographer. That is a pipe dream, so I branched out and offered Real Estate photography and have grown to love doing that. I've practiced shooting people on my family, on my now three year old and have been getting more and more jobs shooting families every year.
I've been shooting videos as well and getting more proficient with doing that, which is still a market that hasn't been oversaturated in my opinion. And the more and more bandwidth increases, I think the increase and demand for video is still in its infancy and is a skill worth having.
Each year I build on my SEO, each year word of mouth increases and each year I make more and more money through photography.

I live in a small town of 10 thousand and I'm doing okay. Yes, I still have my Graphic Design job, but if it wasn't for the offset of photography and picking that up, it would be hard. But I'm glad I diversified, I needed to do that to succeed.
I have a hard time seeing people saying that it's dead. That they are failing. I truly hope that you are actually learning how to use social media and market to the younger crowds... we are all getting older and each day new technology and sites and apps come on board. You have to stay current and learn how to properly market for today.

Yes times are changing, but professional photography will always be around. You just need to expand and figure out how to make it work for you.

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