Overexposed: The Dim Future of Photojournalism?

D. Sharon Pruitt, taking photos of her daughter Hayley, is one of a growing number of amateur photographers who earn small fees for their work. From the NYT article referred to below

I’ve written about it before, but the future of professional photography as a solo art isn’t looking any more lucrative than it did several years ago. In fact things are becoming more specialized and “good” is becoming “good enough” for cash strapped newspapers, magazines, print and web venues.

In the NY Times story, “Image of a shrinking path”, talks about how professional photographers are being overwhelmed by the amount of stock images and cheaper competition from amateur photographers who are flooding the market for weddings, portraits and even magazine and print work. The photography market has become overexposed with cheap but quality digital cameras that even those with little or no training can use to make quality images that pass for most customers.

I agree that someone who was looking for a career as a studio, portrait or even journalism photographer isn’t going to find themselves in a hot market…however someone who is willing to wade into that field, be excellent at what they do AND diversify their imaging abilities they could find themselves in a good position to grow with a hybrid industry that is still in blossom: Still/videography

Three tips for up and coming photographers:

1) Be the best photographer you can be and find ways to be better.

Devin Graham’s Facebook profile image

2) Learn and shoot video too. Check out the likes of Devin Graham who is taking YouTube videos to a new level and making money doing it. Besides even for photojournalists, this is the digital age and videos are part of image reporting now.

3) Do what you love. If you don’t really enjoy the work and toil of photography, find a way to make it enjoyable or do something else that you  do love and go be the best at it!


Change in the photography industry

I had a conversation with a wedding photographer friend of mine yesterday. She was shooting a wedding for another friend of mine and we had the chance to catch up.

She told me about how her business is struggling. With the economy and the glut of amateur photographers flooding the market, her gross income has gone from around $70,000 to $17,000. Last year she shot 30 weddings and this year she only has five full-paying wedding shoots.


It’s not just the economy with people cutting budgets. She said that the amateur photographers out there are presenting a new model that clients are liking and veteran photographers are having to compete with. Continue reading

When to stop what you’re doing…

I remember when my brother and some friends were digging a hole in the back corral.  I think it was eventually supposed to be a well or discover treasure or build a fast track to China. I don’t remember exactly. I do remember that we had fun, learned some hard work and eventually stopped digging and moved on to other things.

Sadly sometimes, businesses or organizations start something or come up with an idea that is exciting and wonderful but doesn’t quite pan out.

Whether it’s lack of vision, tradition or some other missed insight, sometimes leadership fails to push the stop button on projects. While they’re never going to reach China, employees are left digging at something they know doesn’t work.

There comes a time that every person discovers when something is not working. It may be a project, a program, or a great idea that outlived itself. There comes a time when it’s time to stop.

Now I’m not saying to just give up, but if you reevaluate your goals and the project’s desired outcomes and find that it’s not worth it, then change the way it’s being done or shut it down and move on.

This doesn’t mean to just give up on a project but that after careful evaluation, if the goals and direction that you’re wanting to go isn’t being accomplished, you need to change what you’re doing and try to reach the goal in a new way. That may mean that you need to close something down, or stop doing something that has been “always done”.

Don’t be scared to try something new, but do be scared to continue doing something just because everyone is use to doing it. If it’s sapping resources and not providing a return or potential return, try getting a backhoe or fill in that hole and dig somewhere else.