Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What's happening with the Pro-Photographers?

Dear Pentax friends,

For a while now, I have been watching what the Professional Photographers are doing. Of course there are many different field in which photographers can specialize. From wedding Pro-Photographers to National Geographic contributors, from Sport Pro-photographers to Stock Photography photographers. I see a trend that has me worried about the future of Professional photography.

Now that digital photography has surpassed film photography in Image Quality (for the most part), now that digital has a clear advantage in the number of photographs one can take at no costs other than the cost of memory cards, now that the price for a good DSLR is affordable for the masses, it seems that everyone can join the world of photography and come up with photos that rival Pro-Photographers. Yes, Pros know more about the techniques of photography and that was well and good in the film era. In the film era, it was costly to take pictures and a lot of time was spent composing the images. With DSLRs, you can shoot thousands of pictures in one weekend or even in one day. By sheer luck, fantastic pictures can emerge out of so many takes.

So everyone owning a decent DSLR and good glass can now do just as good as the Pros do, by shooting a ridiculous amount of pictures, and in Auto-Mode. One good picture will emerge every now-and-then even if an amateur doesn't know all of the composition rules.

I read most of the Canadian and American magazines every months. Out of all the magazines I read, two are a pretty good indication of what is going on with the Pro-Photographers. They are ShutterBug and Outdoor Photographer. I see current well-known Pro-Photographers writing articles and offering photo seminars and workshops in these two magazines. Look for yourself, you will find these well-known photographers offering educational seminars and workshops. Bruce Dale, who published more than 2000 photos in National Geographic. Bob Krist, who published in National Photographic as well. Frans Lanting (Who I believe is the current most talented photographer of all). The list goes on forever: John Shaw, George Lepp, Joe Farace, Moose Peterson, etc, they all offer seminars and workshops. Why aren't they busy making tons of money shooting for publications and corporations? Yet, maybe they are, but something's going on. Don't get me wrong, these and many other Pros not named here are the masters of the trade and I admire their photographs and buy their books. I just don't think that they will be replaced in the future.

Magazines, publications, advertisement companies can buy any type of photographs these days for next to nothing. Stock Photography Agencies are chuck full of good pictures that they sell for just a few dollars, leaving enough profit to the photographers to buy a McDonald hamburger with fries and a large Coke. The market is wide open and very few companies are giving out assignments worth several thousands of dollars. What are Pro-Photographers to do?

Well, thousands of newcomers and amateur photographers are still aspiring to become Pro-Photographers, get famous and make big bucks. Looking at the current trend, it seems to me that some of the well known Pro-Photographers have an opportunity to make big bucks, for a while anyway, by fueling the aspiration of newcomers. There is a lot of money to be made by giving seminars and workshops about our beloved subject of photography. The Pros know that the profession is rapidly fading away and other than publishing coffee table books and teaching the skills to other, the market has shrunk tremendously. It is as difficult to become a famous photographer nowadays, as it is to become a Rock Star. The best way to make money may be by fueling the desire of individuals aspiring to become famous.

In the very near future, I believe that still DSLRs will give way to sophisticated Camcorders that will render very high quality still photos from the streaming videos. Imagine that, picking any of the video frames and rendering a 14 megapixels or more still photograph from one frame. Magazines, as we know them today, are gradually fading and giving way to Internet based news and hobby forums and blogs. You...reading this very blog does indicates that, doesn't it?

Does that mean that Photography will be a thing of the past. NO, it will be here forever, but I believe it will be more of a tool for personal satisfaction and a mode of expression, shared with family and friends. It will still be one of the most popular hobbies in the world, but I don't think that there will be that many opportunities to become famous and make a good living from it.

Of course, this is just my opinion, but look around and analyze what I wrote herein and look at the world around you. It's moving faster everyday, and technology is making giant leaps.

Photography will be my passion until the I die anyway...I just will not quit my day job, as I still want to buy my beloved Pentax equipment.

As always, thank you very much for reading.

Yvon Bourque
Post a Comment