Right off the bat I am going to admit that I don’t earn a living from photography and I am just an enthusiast, although I do make some money with the amateur photography services I offer and provide. How much money do I make? That I am not going to divulge, however I make more than pocket change and I do make enough to be able to buy the various photography equipment and bits and pieces I want, so I am happy.
The title of this article “Amateur photography making it hard to earn a living for professional photographers” may seem conceited and like I think I am better than professional photographers in my local area and that I am pinching their clients however this is a long way from the truth. I do know, however, that there are plenty enthusiast photographers in my local area offering amateur photography gigs and taking work from professional photographers and it seems to be quite common.
I am a member of an amateur photography club full of photography enthusiasts however there are a couple of key members who are professional photographers and pay the bills (and put food on the table) selling their photography services. Every week I hear these key members whinging their work is drying up, whinging their work is drying up, whinging the cost of high end photography equipment is becoming cheaper, whinging that photo editing software is reducing the skill needed to capture decent photos……….. the list goes on.
I would feel sorry for these key members if they tried to do something about the issues, but they’re not. These members flatly refuse to do anything, and by making like an ostrich and sticking their heads in the sand the situation is going to get worse. Since these members are reluctant to change things, change the way they work and accept things have moved on and they need to adapt, I have to admit that I find it very difficult to feel sorry for them. It may seem harsh, but I have the opinion “adapt or die”.
Digital photography, and the instant results you get, has made photography easier. It still takes a lot of skill and technique to capture decent photos with digital cameras, but compared to traditional film photography, digital photography is easier and I don’t care what anyone says. The cost of digital photography, which is low compared to film photography, has made digital photography affordable to more people. Since digital photography is so cheap it has become very popular, and since digital photography is easier it has resulted in an increase in decent photographers too.
In the world of film photography professional photographers could charge a lot of money for their services because there was little competition. In fact, in the days of film photography professional photographers charged too much for photography services and exploited paying clients. Professional photographers were ripping off the general public for several years, however this has changed and it is thanks to digital photography.
With the low cost of decent digital slr camera, lenses and other photography equipment there are many people offering amateur photography photos that are just as good as professional photos and for a fraction of the cost, which is a win win situation for paying clients. Yep, the general public can now get decent photos for very little money. Amateur photographers, just like myself, are undercutting the professional photographers by quite a bit.
The professional photographers in the same photography club as me have, on more than one occasion had a go at other club members (myself included) for offering amateur photography services to paying clients. When I first started out I took photos for family members, friends and friends of friends in order to hone and develop my skills. The more photo shoots I did, the more photo shoots I was asked to do, which I naturally accepted. I knew the professional photographers in my local area didn’t like it, but that’s tough. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and why should I not provide amateur photography services? The professional photographers are better than me, however I can capture photos that people are prepared to pay for, and since I charge a lot less for my amateur photography services than the professional photographers charge for their services, a lot of local people are using me.
I live in an area where people struggle to make ends meet, people struggle to put food on the table and people cannot afford to spend a fortune on photos. These people still want and have a need for decent photos and are prepared to pay for photography services, just not the high prices professional photographers charge.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.