Too harsh for a title...?
We all know how important it is to innovate in any business to remain relevant. Innovations don’t necessarily have to be earth shattering because, small changes for the better can make a huge difference in the long term. It’s kind of like going to the gym (something I haven’t done in a long, long…long time) being consistent is what’s important.
It’s amazing to see how the photography industry has changed over the last 10 years. The tools and resources available now are simply amazing. We have ‘moving images’ through the use of video stills thanks to the Cinemagraph app, mobile photography which can be considered as professional work and drones to create some amazing aerial images. With all of this happening the average photographer can feel a little lost, searching for a bit of identity.
on top of this the amateur market is growing fast and pretty huge by now, DSLRs are not difficult to get hold of and the amount of resources available is astounding for anyone with drive and ambition.
One of the key resources are online tutorials and many successful photographers have come to understand how the growing amateur market can be tapped into. Online tutorials are slowly becoming big business. A single tutorial from Fstoppers has been sold to at least 850 individuals, at a cost of $299.00 each, it really adds up to some big figures. This is a great example of how some photographers have studied the market properly, saw the rise in the number of amateurs and took advantage of it. Even YouTubers such as Jared Polin cater strictly to the amateur market and provide information and tutorials.
Filming and selling photography tutorials has become quite a lucrative industry and also a saturated one. The point is that simply being a photographer may not be enough anymore. Online tutorials are just one example of the innovations currently happening, the amateur market is growing fast, is there something you could offer?
"Professional photographers are always going to be in demand", I'm not so sure, I believe as technology progresses the professional photographer may start to become a rare thing. We're already seeing signs of organisations being content with many of their smart phone images. When it comes to commercial work the role of photographer may become a small part of a larger position for many individuals and companies. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing however the industry may be changing too fast for some of us.
Aside from trying to find ways of catering to the amateur market and seizing any opportunities, you still need to cater to conventional clients. Professional photographers may dislike the idea of amateurs taking their jobs and charging less. You may even say, that they are bringing the value of the industry down, but does this matter from the clients perspective... the short answer is no. Should clients care... possibly, however, ultimately it's the market that decides value and innovations can keep you ahead.