Is Professional Photography Dead, or is The Profession Alive And Kicking?

Some believe Professional photography is under siege; they don’t believe it can survive the onslaught and rise to new heights, but is that really the case?

10 years ago or so, if someone had said professional photography will die due to ultra affordable cameras and powerful smartphone cameras, professional photographers would have roared out with laughter so loud it would have been heard in camera shops and studios around the globe. But here we are in 2019 where everyone with an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy something-or-other can take really great quality pictures. Couple this with the fact that cheap, yet powerful DSLR and Mirrorless camera kits sold at big box retailers all seem to come with a Facebook page entitled {insert name here} photography, and you can begin to see why some think the role of the professional photographer may be against the ropes. Join us after the break as we explore this a little further.

An article that was published late last year on Medium Business caught our eye. The piece is entitled “The End of Professional Photography?” The article centers around the fact that all things in the technology world start out strong with early adopters going on to make huge sums of money, followed by the masses who buy the same technology as they want a piece of the pie, which then leads to the early adopters offering to teach the newbies everything they know for a chunk of change, and then the industry dies due to overcrowding. The author likens the world of professional photography to desktop publishing and web development, both of which apparently suffered this fate. In fact he says that once people begin to offer services that will help teach others, it’s game over. Do you smell that? That smelly smell? I say that’s utter rubbish.

“You can’t hardly scroll through Facebook or watch a video on YouTube without seeing someone offer their special photography course at an all time low price; oh and hurry now because the first 100 will get some free presets! Oh boy!”

In my honest opinion, professional photography is far from dead. Instead I believe professional photography is thriving. Never before have I seen a collective group of people be so excited about the industry they’re working in. Never before have I seen professional photographers be so excited about all of the stunning new things that can be achieved with new cameras and new lens technology. Professional Photography is evolving for sure, but it’s not dying. Not by a long shot.

“Anyone with any camera can take a picture, but not just anyone can create an image that makes people stop, think, and feel.”

The article is right about one thing. There has been a boom of late in regards to many pro photographers offering to teach others. You can’t hardly scroll through Facebook or watch a video on YouTube without seeing someone offer their special photography course at an all time low price; oh and hurry now because the first 100 will get some free presets! Oh boy! There’s really nothing wrong with this though, and I applaud those who have found a way to make some extra cash; after all, isn’t that what we all want to do? Adapt and overcome or die, right? It certainly doesn’t mean the end is nigh.

Do you smell that? That smelly smell? I say that’s utter rubbish.

Yes, you can get some fantastic cameras at amazing prices these days. Yes, you can go and buy a phone that can take some pretty darn good pictures too. Yes, you can even buy courses or have someone take you on photo walks so that they can teach you how to use your camera, but honestly all of this means nothing in a creative world.

Many years ago when I was a retail manager I would often hire people on the spot if they could look me in the eyes and offer me a firm handshake and a smile. You see, you can teach people how to stock shelves, and you can show them how to run a register, but you can’t teach them how to smile, and how to interact with people; that comes from within.

“Instead of thinking that professional photography is dead, stay true to yourself, know your worth, keep the creative juices flowing, market yourself properly, sell your images, and your business will thrive; even with all the wannabes around offering shoots for crazy low prices.”

Take this same line of thinking, apply it to professional photography and change the parameters just a little. You can show someone how to use a camera, you can teach them about rule of thirds, and sure, they will take nice, technically sound pictures, but it takes a true creative, a professional photographer with a vision to create an image, to capture emotions, and to be able tell a story with a single photo. The ability to be able to convey a story or message with an image cannot be taught, it comes from within, and that is why professional photography will never die. Anyone with any camera can take a picture, but not just anyone can create an image that makes people stop, think, and feel.

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Sure Jane and John Doe can go and buy their camera, and they can start their photography business overnight thanks to free Facebook pages. They will get some clients because of their super low pricing, but those clients will soon find out why their regular photographer charged what they did. They will come running back to a professional who can capture what they want. Nobody wants to pay for snap shots, but people will, and do pay good money for images that make them feel emotions though.

“The ability to be able to convey a story or message with an image cannot be taught, it comes from within, and that is why professional photography will never die.”

Instead of thinking that professional photography is dead, stay true to yourself, know your worth, keep the creative juices flowing, market yourself properly, sell your images, and your business will thrive; even with all the wannabes around offering shoots for crazy low prices. Professional photography isn’t dying on a global scale like the article on Medium Business suggests. If you give up the fight, it may die for you, but believe me, keep on fighting the good fight, and professional photography will do right by you.

Kodak Portra 400