Do it as a dedicated professional, catering to the segments of the market which value our craft.
Monkeys do evolve, and so must professional photographers.
The niche at the high end of professional photography has been getting harder and harder to reach, in many ways…
Certainly there are many who call our Phoenix Boudoir Photography Studios and inquire strictly on price.
While the strictly price driven shopper has never been our photographic bread and butter, due to the influx of part timers and iPhone and Android photographers, there have been fewer and fewer jobs out there for the true dedicated professionals.
It’s become harder just to gain the experience to arrive as a professional.
It’s been getting harder to approach clients who value photography.
With the evolution of technology, in terms of gear, software, printers, and deluge of images both ho hum and OMG good, it is harder to impossible to achieve that level at which one may rest on ones laurels.
And yet, there is always room at the top.
Some people at the top still value professional photography.
This said, the middle and bottom are and have been gutted.
An influx of people, many of them very talented amateur photographers, many with limited business experience, many faced by a pool full of big, small and very hungry fish, are giving away the farm.
With no farm, the crop of customers has been dying out…
Ever try joining those spam sites for people who desire family photos for $100?
Some are so spammy, once you join and they have your email, try opting out… Good luck.
Why get a wedding for $5,000 when you can get one for $500 from cousin Bob?
Why pay $2,000 for a boudoir shoot, when Aunt Jen will shoot it for $300?
Why pay anything at all, when you can take the shots with your iPhone or with the camera you bought on Amazon for $800?
Because my fellows and fellas, people have done this. They have used cousin Bob and Aunt Jen and have even bought the camera themselves…
At first, it was cute.
And, it saved a shit ton of money… YAY!!!
The fails started coming in…
The fails are coming in…
And people started talking about the fails…
Remember the pet rock?
It’s fine if you do, it’s fine if you don’t. The pet rock was like a $5.00 rock pet, in a world where $5.00 would feed a family of four the meal packages at McDonalds…
And, it was just a small rock… Everyone had to have one, and buy several for their friends…
Remember the Amway multilevel pitch that you and all your friends were going to retire with?
There are still folks who sell Amway and make money at it… Though most of us are over the pitch.
The days of pro/amateur photography is facing a similar transformation.
People have tried to become photographers. And found it’s hard work. Most fail.
Many have failed.
Most charged too little to break into the club in any sustainable way.
Once they started undercutting, they couldn’t find the way to raise pricing to a living wage.
So, they can’t put in the years of time necessary to fully develop as capable professional photographers. They can’t find customers who will pay enough to cover the required gear and expendable purchases, let alone leave $ for Happy Meals…
On the client side, many many folks have tried hiring the relative, the neighbor, the family friend… And have lost friends and money both…
Worst, they have lost the memories of events they were trying to capture on the cheap.
You can’t reshoot a wedding. You either have it or you don’t.
You can’t redo the maternity shots… You have them, or you don’t.
You never get the opportunity to retake that fine art boudoir portrait of yourself when you were 10 years younger.
You can’t recapture the lost sales do to poorly executed executive portraits… They are gone.
People have lost memories.
They have lost time.
Those who’ve tried a do it yourself approach to photography have even lost money, in terms of cameras sitting on shelves unused and/or business opportunity costs. That is, the $1,200 in scrap camera gear could have paid for a nice professional portrait photo sitting … and time lost buying and trying to learn to use soon to be technically obsolete gear could have been better re-tasked on more fruitful pursuits.
Clearly, many many people have now experienced cheap photography.
There has always been cheap photography. Remember the Kodak Instamatic?
Or Polaroid film?
There will always be a place for self taken snap shots.
What the market is starting to learn is, just because you have the latest “cheap gear” doesn’t mean you can take the photo you must have, when the photo you must have is of a certain quality, or of an event which only happens once.
People will always take and cherish their candid alone anywhere shots.
The market for the professional is starting to reemerge.
It is being redefined, and revalued.
And, amateurs are beginning to respect that the craft cannot be entered profitably with a small camera purchase and doing the cousin’s wedding for $200.
Many would be’s have entered and gone.
Many more are still entering the field… Thought the tide has turned.
Whether a photographer or a potential photography client, how are you positioned to take advantage?