R.I.P. to the Professional Photographer?
I have been poking around online lately, and have seen several articles condemning the Professional Photographer to a grisly and untimely death. They claim that the market is saturated with spray and pray Photographers, and Photographers who are happy to give their art away for "shitnickels".
To a certain degree, some of this may be true. But among the Negative Nancy's out there I have discovered a few that feel the way I do.
There is no doubt, photography is changing. The average consumer has access to better equipment then ever before. The decommissioning of film in favor of the DSLR gives them unlimited images without the costs and limits of developing film. (Don't get me wrong, I looooooove film.)
Does this mean the end of the Professional Photographer? My belief is that it will be the end for some. The ones who cannot adapt and survive in this new "Walking Dead" world of digital photography. I think making it in a saturated and ever changing market just takes a little more good 'ol fashioned elbow grease then most new Photographers understand, or are prepared to expend. They blame other Photographers, availability of enhanced equipment, and a soft market for their lack of success... We are guilty of it sometimes ourselves.
While all of those things exist, there is a whole new movement for the Professional Photographer. Here is my crazy opinion:
Not only will the need for Professional Photographers increase, but the Photographer that recognizes and nurtures this will see a steady increase in their business. And here's why...
I believe there has been a slow but steady increase in what consumers consider a quality image. While the average consumer DSLR is delivering better results every day, the expectations of society has increased as well. The gap between amateur and professional photography is alive and well.
~ The average Family Portrait session today looks more like a modelling session then the portraits of the past. Perfection is almost expected. Perfect lighting, smiles and editing are a must!
~ More and more I hear from brides that after a wedding date is set, the next vendor on the couple's list is the Photographer. A Wedding Photographer was often an afterthought in weddings from years past. Now, they are a necessity.
~ New forms and facets of photography are cropping up all the time. Boutique Baby Photography, Trash the Dress Sessions, Engagement and Bridal Sessions... These are all new developments in the photography world.
~ Kids Sports Photography is looking more and more like work from the pros. Parent's expectations of these images, once taken for fun, are growing each year.
These are just a handful of observations about the world of Professional Photography. Never before has the consumer been exposed to such quality imagery. Subconsciously they are gaining a greater respect for a quality image.
So my prediction is that Professional Photographers will be sought after more and more in the years to come. All the Photographers have to do to gain a foothold is to strive to survive the ever changing, and sometimes scary digital revolution.