An Infographic on Creating Sustainability in the Photography Industry


Photographers often grumble about the rise of hobbyist photographers who charge little to no money across all kinds of photographic niches, robbing hard working professionals of clients and flooding the market with subpar results.

Instead of simply being discontent about how the industry has been changing, photographers Geoff Johnson and Kameron Bayne decided to do something about it. They’ve created Fotoseeds, a business that aims to make professional photography a sustainable profession by educating photographers, helping them grow their businesses, and doing away with insecurity and ignorance.

To explain the recent trends in photography and to offer some pointers on how aspiring professionals can jump into the game wisely and responsibly without hurting the industry as a whole, they’ve created the following easy-to-follow and interesting-to-read infographic.

Here’s the description:

So you love photography, right? Have you thought how you can continue to do what you love? This is the story of how the photography community can become sustainable long-term. We hope it helps clarify some common misconceptions and how we all can be a part of the solution. Pass it on.


You can find a much higher resolution version of this infographic here (you know, for if you want to create an extremely long poster for your… skyscraper). You can also follow along with Johnson and Bayne’s efforts over on Fotoseeds.

Image credit: Infographic by Geoff Johnson and Kameron Bayne/Fotoseeds

  • Kay O. Sweaver

    Great idea, but I doubt it’ll work. The allure of making money is too great for most amateurs to ignore. That said I don’t think we’re seeing an end of professional photography, rather we’re seeing it become a lot more of a smooth distribution curve from raw amateur to high end professional.

  • JJ Black

    Waaaah, the market I’ve chosen to be a professional in is too competitive! All these newb professionals are making it harder for me to be a professional professional! Why don’t they all just go be hobbyists and just disappear! Waaah!

  • Antonio Carrasco

    This infographic is so on point. It should be permanently linked to on Craigslist.

  • tertius_decimus

    Too pessimistic. There’s always be market for all sorts of services.

  • MarvinB7

    Editor heads up: Paragraph 2 “Foodseeds”. Last paragraph “Footseeds”. I was confused at why they would call a photo site “Food” anything. ;) Thanks for sharing the site.

  • Michael Zhang

    Thanks for the catch! :)

  • duh

    If you’re a working pro you have better things to do than to lament how amateurs are bad for the industry.

    While this infographic has some good points which I agree on face value — I just find it to come from a self-serving grumpy spirit.

    To me, other artists don’t lament the existence of other artists the degree to which photographers do. It’s sad.

  • Roman

    New reality destroyed only low level market. I don’t think there is a problem in high end market. The true is that too many people think they can be professional photographers because they can take pictures or just because they own camera. These people hurt only themselves. Sooo… New professionals have to jump right in to high end market or keep shooting for 500 on weekends ;)

  • adapt

    blame the camera manufactures, cameras are getting to easy to use. Back in the film day the perception of photography looked to hard, Medium and large format cameras scared most hobbyists of. Today speedlites with TTL and SLR digital cameras that don’t look scary to the hobbyist are easy to use, perception gone. You even have you tube videos on how to photograph just about anything. All the time photographers wanting cheaper products.

  • Gord

    And that joke flew far, far over your head.

  • Harsha

    Well Every professional is a amateur at 1st…..there love towards photography and dedication make them professional

  • Catalin Haldan

    That’s because most photographers aren’t artists, they just think they are.

  • Eziz

    You could have the most amazing product ever, won’t matter much if you can’t sell it.

  • jones

    lets blame everything around you, but not yourself for not making a good photos so people would see the difference and choose you instead of that amateur

  • richard

    join the acmp mentoring program

  • Duke Shin

    Joke- – – – – – – – >
    (Yer head)

  • Rob Hadfield

    I used to worry about amateurs, but now I don’t give a stuff about them! People hire me because I’m good at what I do and I charge accordingly. Whether I’m shooting a wedding or Real Estate or even Commercial Stuff people hire me and not an amateur because they can’t afford stuff ups or crap work. It’s a false economy and people don’t need much persuading to see otherwise. I use the best equipment in always work in a polite and professional manner. So stop whining about how bad things are and step up your game, if your any good you will outshine an amateur with your talent :-)

  • Norman

    I agree. In a world where “everybody is a photographer”, those who want to make money in photography have to be really, really good.

    A good comparison would be kitchen chefs: sure, anybody can heat food in a microwave and enjoy it, but there is always a need for high-end cooking.

    In photography, here’s what you can do:
    – be super creative and specialized: do things no one else does! (increasingly difficult nowadays). Good luck with this… fads die faster than ever these days and prepare to see your ideas copied all over the world (hello Internet!)
    – be low-cost, and try to scrape up all the “I like my pictures average” crowd. Expect to offer low prices but at least you can spend less time on post-production. Also, forget about updating your equipment anytime soon.
    – be medium-to-high-cost, use the best equipment you can, have fast deadlines and “get the job done”. This will get you special jobs from people who need extreme quality: ad agencies, publishers, etc. However, the cost of entry into this market is very high. But you “should” be safe from the threat of low-cost alternatives.

    Some say digital photography has ruined the business. I say the need for amazing images is bigger than ever. We live in a visual society: Facebook, Instagram, High Definition… people don’t have time or patience to READ more than a few sentences at a time, they need IMAGES to sell products, make long lasting memories, etc.

    In photography as in all work, you must… ADAPT OR “DIE”!

  • Smith

    The challenge many face is getting the high-end work. I have been working to bring my freelance into the high-end market for a few years with small successes, but the challenge is great. Whereas in my day job I perform for high-end clients every day. My work is the same quality. Bringing my freelance name into the high-end market has been a struggle.
    If you begin your freelance for the same price, you get laughed at. However, when you lower your price to create the content to back up your business, you potentially lower the value of your work. It’s a tough margin to find.

  • Kameron

    Hi everyone. I’m one of the guys behind creating this graphic, and I wanted to try and clear up a few things.

    This graphic was not created out of the old grumpy mentality that complains the “established” guys can’t keep up with a changing market. It’s not about drawing battle lines between “us” vs. “them” or vice versa. The hidden message in this graphic is WE ALL ARE AMATEURS. We all love what we do. And we can reclaim that with pride, integrity, courage, and dignity. The goal is to clarify how we don’t have let what we love be used against us and fall into a systematic addiction — this is true for newbies, old-timers, and everyone in between.

    The photographer of (now and) the sustainable future may go back and forth between the Hobbyist and Professional path, depending on the project. Each path is sustainable on totally different parameters, but who says they have to be mutually exclusive? The big idea I hope to share is how they can co-exist and even help each other grow. It’s an idea I believe will help increase the value of photography as a whole rather than exploit it (and it’s creators). That’s the crazy idea I hope you’d consider for yourself and share with others you know and care about. Mull it over, engage, discuss, and maybe we can discover something new together.

  • 1968

    Dude, why is there a building growing out of your groom’s head?

  • CityGirl

    Thank you for this! I am in the process of deciding which way to go {hobbyist} or {pro} and I am caught in the middle! So coming from more of the hobbyist side where I love creating beautiful images, I love that this post doesn’t bring done amateurs…so thank you! I have also found that a lot of hobbyists are more inclined to experiment and play, thereby producing more creative work than some seasoned professions…I am in no way discrediting the Pros, but rather pointing out that there is room enough for everyone if we all are just willing to get along…just a thought :)

  • Trappp

    You might also ask why there is grass growing out of their feet.

  • Joe Flood

    Everybody is a photographer but not every one wants to be a pro. This infographic does a great job at spelling out the advantages of being an amateur – you get to shoot what you want. It’s a reality check on the dreams of being a pro. You’re probably not going to be taking pictures in Bali; instead, you’re going to take photos of people in suits at a conference. Very helpful graphic.

  • John A. Henneberger

    Or, if you were more sensible, you wouldn’t because it doesn’t look like that at all.

  • Doh!

    Oh the irony.

  • Homey

    “Trappp” was being ironic, Captain Obvious. So you also agree that “there is a building growing out of the groom’s head”? Like he said, that makes as much sense as saying the grass is growing out of their feet.

    Which is the same as saying, “it doesn’t make any sense at all, duuh”.

    Geez some people really try to find negatives in everything. “A building coming out of his head”? This photograph is beautiful. Period.

    Anything else is douchebagging nitpickery.

  • Carolyn

    Where’s the solution?

  • Atishay jain

    This proves that being an amateur is a good idea to be with this amazing and creative avocation. For those who are in to the profession they keep fighting for getting the projects and work.
    Being a Hobbyist is best in Photography :D
    One thing is best – Post your captures and get maximum likes on FB :D That part is most awesome part. Happy Clicking..!!

  • LewisL

    I certainly value my time and freedom to shoot what I want over the little bit of $ I could make from taking pictures I don’t want to take. Although occasionally I would like the good feeling from someone liking my work enough to put out $ for it, I don’t want to pander to a wider taste.
    I’m lucky; I don’t need the $ and I’m free not to have to twist my love into a money-making venture.