Sunday, December 21, 2008

Are Amateurs Putting the Pros Out of Business?

Yes. Deal with it, it'll make you a better photographer.

One one hand, it's sad that the amateurs are taking a lot of the pros' business, but don't the people that go to amateurs seem happy enough with what they're getting?  Professional photos are usually going to be much better, but isn't it a good thing that there's a market now for people that want a good-enough looking photo? Yes, a crappy DSLR shot and Walmart print is good enough for most people.

Don't complain about it, deal with it. Many - if not most - people are happy enough with imperfect and cheap holiday portraits. Decent family portraits and wedding candids are worth less than they used to be. I think the talented photographers will be survive.

Fighting it it useless - be open to the change and ready to take it on. Yes, there's going to be a lot less family portraits to shoot, since everyone has their own DSLR now, but why fight it? How about those portrait photographers get out and do something new and different?

Boring photography is being infiltrated by amateurs - embrace it.

If you're a professional photographer who is upset about this -- really fired up that your portrait business is drying up because people are buying DSLRs... then maybe it's time you reevaluate what you're doing.

Branch out, take more creative photos... Let the amateurs make you better. Employ some creative off-camera lighting that the amateurs aren't going to attempt anytime soon. Take photos that they can't, or don't know how to. Hold seminars where you take all of these amateurs, and teach them what else is on their dial besides "P" mode.

This new era is a good thing. If you're a photographer and care about your craft, then this will make you better. If this sinks your business, then there's a chance that your heart wasn't in it to begin with.

With all of that said, and in full disclosure (:)), I'm an overly enthusiastic amateur photographer that occasionally takes portraits for friends and family - when I find the time between reading photography blog posts, watching off-camera lighting seminar DVDs, and taking part in the Flickr community.

1 comment:

Mike O. said...

I am a fellow “overly enthusiastic amateur photographer” and agree with what you present.

At first the pros enthusiastically embraced the advent of digital photography because it streamlined production and reduced processing costs. But soon the pros began to see digital taking away business as clients started substituting their own efforts on consumer-grade equipment for what they would have previously paid for. Many people, as you point out, may be unable to appreciate or value the difference between a mediocre image and a well-executed image.

What is unfortunate is that there may not be enough alternative business out there for most professional photographers to shift into, so it may not be simply a matter of readapting to the market.