Ed Lee is the group director of InfoTrends Worldwide Consumer and Professional Imaging Services. “The number of female photographers has grown,” he says. Now it’s a 2/3-to-1/3 split of males to females, a pickup from last year.” Forty percent of them are part time, while 28 percent, he says, are full time. “And it’s a younger female at that,” he says. “Age 45, and younger,” according to the 2011 & 2012 InfoTrends Professional Photographer Study.
“It comes down to the economy,” Lee says. “With families still struggling, people are turning to part-time photography as a way to bring money into the home.” He sees the photo business as a changing of the guard. “The average age of the full-time male photographer is 50. The average age of the full-time female photographer is 41.” The implication is that more full time male photographers are retiring. “You’re going to see a shifting towards an even higher percentage of females.”
I have been taking pictures for almost twenty years now and so much has changed over those years. Back in the beginning gas used to cost $1.00, Bill Clinton was president, and I was picking up a camera for the first time. I started out in high school playing with my father’s Nikon FM2 and taking pictures for the school newspaper. Today, I work with a medium format digital back shooting national ad campaigns, magazine articles, and catalogs. Some aspects of how I photograph have stayed unchanged, but a great deal has changed considerably. Read more…
I try to stay involved as much as I can with students studying photography at different institutions in the area. Every year I go back to RIT and do a lecture on the business of photography and I feel it’s important that I do so.
Recently I got an email from a young photographer asking me about the career of being a still life/food photographer. Read more…
Here’s a video in which renowned portrait photographer Nadav Kander discusses his approach to photography and portraiture. One thing that’s interesting about Kander’s method is that he tries not to connect with his subjects prior to photographing them:
I really like the connection that human beings have when there isn’t a great knowledge, like when you first meet people. I would find it very, very hard to photograph a friend well, or to photograph somebody that I knew well. I think that that tension when you first meet people allows you to communicate without speaking
He does, however, make it a point to get to know their appearance… for the purpose of knowing who they are when they walk into the studio.
Photographer Michael Freeman says that although things are getting tougher for professional photographers, the “consumption of imagery in all areas is actually increasing”. Professionals therefore need to think more about marketing themselves and specializing in a particular niche.
This comment posted (and deleted) by Reddit user WonkoTheLucid shows why photographers need to make sure their websites are secured properly:
My friends wedding photos were posted with watermarks on a photo reprint site for sale. The prices were a bit outrageous. Another friend who does web design clued me into manually entering the photo address to display a full resolution photo without a watermark. I wrote a script and downloaded 500 free high res photos. Burnt many dvd copies and mailed them to a bunch of random people who were at the wedding.
If you’re a professional photographer that lets clients review proofs online, make sure the high-res, non-watermarked versions of the photos aren’t accessible by simply changing a portion of the URL.
Poke around on Craigslist, and you’ll find that it’s filled with ads selling professional services at dirt-cheap prices, including photographers offering to shoot weddings for just a few hundred dollars. Does this spell doom for the wedding photography business? Probably not.
Well yesterday [a friend] called me and I could tell he was kind of upset. I asked what was wrong and he said “Jeff, do you know what they are charging for weddings on Craigslist? How can I compete with a $300 wedding?” I told him flat out that he can’t, nor should he. It took me a few minutes to get through to him but when I did, he finally saw the light. I asked him if he thought that the people that were hiring a $300 wedding photographer would pay $2500 for the same service. Probably not. That’s means that he isn’t really competing for those customers. His customer is the one that recognizes the value of a true professional that will deliver professional results. Get that? The key word here is professional.
His point is that you shouldn’t be competing on price, but on quality. Focus on that, and you’ll be targeting a different segment of the market.
If you’re a professional photographer taking your camera into extreme environments, the cheap plastic body cap that comes with your DSLR might not cut it. That’s where LockCircle comes in — it’s a solid billett aluminum body cap designed to seal your camera from the elements while providing a special grip for removal even if you’re wearing thick gloves. They’re available for Canon EF mount cameras in silver, titanium, and black, and will soon be available for Nikon’s F mount as well.
You’ll need a thick wallet in addition to your thick gloves though: unlike the plastic caps, which sell for a couple bucks on eBay, LockCircle caps will cost you $99 each.