Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How do Professional Photographers make money, considering that Digital Photography has enabled everyone to produce fairly good images?

Moose Peterson on Kelby's seminars.

Here's some free advertizing for John Shaw and Moose Peterson :)

Please purchase one of our Pentax e-book directly from this site. 

Hi Pentaxian friends.

There is no doubt that digital photography has turned the photographic world upside-down. The quality of our digital images are now surpassing that of the film era images. It's absolutely great that we now can  take thousands of pictures, without any costs other than the memory cards. We can view our images instantly, allowing retakes until we are satisfied with the results. We have  reached a level of sophistication that pretty much makes all current DSLRs, regardless of the make, excellent photographic instruments.

This is great for everyone, from entry-level photographers to professional photographers. However, there is one slight problem. Anyone can produce good images for the simple fact that hundreds or thousands of pictures of the same subject can be taken until a few are acceptable or even great. That alone narrows the gap between Pros and amateurs. Add software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom to the mix, and average exposure defficiency can be corrected by most computer users.  The stock image market is ruined forever, despite what they claim. Come on...images used to bring hundreds of dollars and now they merely pay for a coffee at McDonald. With such availability of digital images, less pros are hired for producing specific images. Of course weddings and event photography, National Geographic assignments and a few other markets will always need the services of a Pro.  So what do professional photographers do to earn as much as during the pre-digital market?

I don't know for sure, but here's what I think. Many entry-level and amateur photographers have dreams of becoming world famous, a rock-star of the imaging world, a new Ansel Adams. There is money to be made by fueling their desires. Looking in the various photography magazines and websites, there is an ever growing number of Professional Photographers holding Photography Seminars and Workshops.

The most prominant site is Scott Kelby, but big names such as John Shaw, Don Gale, Moose Peterson, Joe McNally and others, are conducting Seminars and Workshops. I yet have to attend a seminar. There is surely a lot to learn from these guys. There is also a lot of money to be made by those Photographers in teaching their trade and in fueling the desires of amateur photographers, who hope to make it big one day.

Will future photographers have fruitfull careers like these Professional Photographers had? I'm not so sure, as the world is getting smaller and flatter. The worst that can happen is that Seminars attendees will become better photographers, even if their photos are used for vacation memories, family portraits and just for the pleasure of capturing moments in their lives.

In the years ahead, there will still be some significant income to be made with photography, but not as abundant as it was once.

I don't want to burst anyone's bubble, but the market for photographers is saturated and the images available on the internet has grown ten folds. Check Google Images and type any subjet. There is an unlimited number of images, isn't there?

Thanks for reading and let's agree to disagree on this subject =)

Yvon Bourque

P.S. Look up for my next post, in a few days, about how good cell phones cameras are getting. I recently updated my Verizon cell to a Samsung Omnia II and tested the 5 megapixel camera this past weekend. It is pretty amazing. The screen is actually 3.7 inch, you can shoot panoramic automatically with up to 8 stiched images,  the metering can be set to Matrix, Center Weighted or Spot. ISO from 50 to 800. It has Movie @ 740p, all in the palm of your hand.


street_vision said...

Good article and I have often wondered how does a person make money being a Tog these days. None the less, what this infusion of equipment has done is create a bunch of awful photographers.

Unknown said...


I imagine that it's pretty hard to make a living at it these days. Nobody thinks that he or she is an awful photographer. Most still believe that someday they will quit their day job and live on their photography revenues. It's a bit like wanting to be a rock star...many hope to become one but very few achieve that goal. There is so much talents out in the world and the world is now so small with the internet!

Unknown said...

I see this at work too. We have thousands of people visit our tourist attraction everyday. Many sporting the very same camera that my company uses, some even better. But you know just because they have camera doesn't mean they know what they are doing. Just like a person who cooks at home, it doesn't make him a chef. I think what the saturation of digital cameras it has created massive competition which lowers prices for services.
Most pro's seem to do some teaching to make a living. But even what they know will be out dated soon.

Roger Mensink said...

It still takes more than a little doing to make a good photograph. Digital photographers need to be very adept at post-processing and database management of their images. I find it takes as much skill overall to make an outstanding digital image as it does to make a really good analog image. Also, mass photography has been available since the invention of the brownie. I agree that most people will not be able to put together a living from photography, but with that much competition, who would really want to try.

street_vision said...

Yep, It seems we are all in agreement. :)