The Demise of Professional Photographers

Sigh. Another doom and gloom article about how amateurs and hobbyists are making life difficult for professional photographers.

The Demise of Professional Photographers from Mail and Guardian online takes a quick look at how photojournalists and stock photographers are seeing declining business due to the rise of the amateur (but somehow manages to do it without mentioning the penny stock agencies and only focusing on flickr).

While it is true that things are a bit more difficult now, the article also points out the following:

These developments may have diminished the value of a professional photographer’s skills. But they couldn’t eliminate the need for professionalism: the difference between a professional and an amateur is not that the amateur never takes really good pictures. It is that the professional will always come up with usable ones.

A talented, hardworking and lucky amateur can produce wonderful pictures on the best days. But that will be one picture in a hundred. A professional can produce something that is nearly as good as their best 50 times in a hundred. That’s why they are worth employing.

Some skills are difficult for the amateur to and it’s there that the pros can excel. Whether it’s through technical accomplishment through lighting, logistical savvy, or just general dependability, pro photographers should remain the choice for those customers who want to be sure they get the job done and done well.

One Response to “The Demise of Professional Photographers”

  1. mike says:

    I have to disagree with the amateur/pro definition. I know amateur photographers that could shoot rings around several pros I know. The “keeper ratio” definition is more or less cliche, but is what everyone associates with pro vs amateur. The true definition to distinguish a pro from an amateur is the pro provides value added customer service before, during, and after the sale. The pro strives to develop relationships with their clients for the long term because the pro depends upon these relationships and repeat customers to survive. Whereas the amateur is often happy with a one-time “bonus check” or free publication with their image(s) in it and more often than not survives on a primary source of income other than from photography.

    The very high influx of amateur images being licensed as stock one time each (or more, over a very large population) does have an impact on low and mid-level pro images. The high end commercial and stock images that represent the upper 10% or so of the highest license fees attained are relatively untouched, however.

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