An Open Letter To Pissed-Off Photographers

June 03, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

 

"There comes a day when you realize turning the page is the best feeling in the world, because you realize there is so much more to the book than the page you were stuck on." Quote

A disturbing trend has caught my attention recently.

In the last year or so, I've seen several blog and social media posts about the over-saturated world of professional photography. In this post, I use the term "professional" to describe anyone making money through photography from people shooting for Sports Illustrated all the way down to local portrait/family photographers. These posts tend to focus on how difficult it has become for established photographers to compete with the cheaper/"just building up my portfolio" photographers. 

There are a few reasons this is so frustrating for me to listen to: 

1). Photography belongs to everyone. Everyone is allowed to take photos and attempt to sell them or sell sessions. By adding more people, the market is becoming more competitive, I understand that, but that doesn't mean it's acceptable or professional to guilt newbies, mom-tographers or clients.

2). We all started somewhere. All of us were brand new at some point, all of us have taken crappy photos at some point. Try to remember some of the feelings you had when beginning: "Am I good enough?" "Will I get better?" Now imagine someone telling you that you are bringing down the industry, that you are responsible for their lack of adaptability. 

3). Every industry has suffered great losses in the last 10 years. Unfortunately, photo sessions are probably going to top the list of "stuff I can skip while we try to make ends meet." Many folks in different industries have had to adapt to survive a more difficult situation, I have no doubt that photographers can as well. 

4). Marketing. Some of you may know I have a day job as a marketer. In school, I studied social media, public relations, and a number of other related topics that brought me to this particular profession. To be honest, marketing is difficult and time-consuming, I know this. But it's also something that can be a relatively cheap way to gain valuable feedback and potential clients. As much as it may pain people, adapting to trends such as hashtags and social media platforms can be extremely beneficial in reaching new customers.  

5). Clients will pay for what they want. I honestly believe that if a photographer is connecting with people AND taking beautiful photos, that folks will find a way to afford their services. For example, I found the most amazing wedding photographer to film my wedding next summer and even though I am working extra jobs to afford her fee, I know it will be worth it.  

I can understand how these times are extremely stressful and difficult for photographers, especially when it is the only source of income. All I'm saying is, instead of writing a harsh blog post it may be more productive to ask former clients why their business went elsewhere, or attempt to reach new customers. The opportunities are still there, they simply got better at hiding. 

Photographer ReflectionAn Old Selfie


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