Haa, the holidays. Slumbering around the house in your jams, slippers on the foot and coffemug in the hand. What else have photographers to do? Nothing right? If only it were true.
The great thing about being a photographer is that you can work whenever you want, and whenever it’s possible You get to choose your own schedule, which sounds excellent at first but once you’ve got the family thing going (which I don’t) I imagine it must take quiet a bit of organizational skills to make it all work. Don’t get me wrong, having strong work ethics is the base of every successful photographer and photography business I know. You can’t just go through a morning routine pondering if you’ll work today, or just sit on your chair and wait for the contracts to flow in. Unless your Patrick Demarchelier or the late Cartier-Bresson.
The things is, with the up-come of the dSLR, everyone gained access to photography. Before that, sure you could buy your SLR and lenses and photograph, but it came with a certain budgetary restraint. Film was expensive, and developing it unless you had your own darkroom was as well. Teenagers couldn’t just pick it up as a hobby, you were either in all the way or you weren’t.
Nowadays, even with a entry-level camera like the Nikon D60 or the Canon 450D and some cheap memory cards you can get stunning results, available to people who aren’t sure photography will become more to them than just a hobby. This has both negative and positive aspects.
More after the gap…
Aspiring photographers can now reach out to the world thanks to the internet, and communicate with others offering immense learning platform capabilities. Look at KelbyTraining.com . Crafted by professional photographer Scott Kelby , this site, if we can still call it a site, offers hundreds of lessons ranging from anywhere in the field of photography, to photoshop retouching, to composition etc… Or sites like Do-It-Yourself Photography, which offers ingenious ways to craft your own alternatives to a lot of products proshooters use in the field, studio, etc…making them accessible to hobbyists and advanced amateurs.
So what’s the downside of all this? Well, it’s not immediately a downside, but professional photographers need to be aware of the fact that they’re going to be dealing with immensely more competition than they ever have had to. Thanks to public imaging sites like Flickr , people upload their favorite shots on-the-go and get to showcase their work to, well basically everyone with internet access.
“That’s ridiculous, people aren’t going to take images of sites like Flickr to put in magazines” Well no obviously not, but it’s a showcase for talent. Huge companies are hiring right at the gates of college these days, why should it be any different for the photography business? Professional photographers are going to have to wrap their heads around the fact that the days of exclusive, expensive portfolio’s are coming to an end, and that websites and online portfolio’s are going to become inevitable marketing tools for their business.
Coming back around the lazy sunday thing, I believe that the freedom of time management that photography brings is also one of it’s forté’s. Even when meteorological conditions make a certain shoot impossible (ever tried shooting skiers on rocks?) you can still manage to spend the day usefully by editing photos of previous shoots. Even on the plane back home, swing your laptop open and start editing away. Once again, given the fairly easy-to-learn computer skills this is accessible to everyone, not just the pro’s.
What I’m trying to say I guess, is that we’re going to be experiencing a huge boost in the amount of ‘professional’ photographers the next 10 to 15 years. What economy has shown us, is that the more there is of amount of goods on the market doesn’t necesarily mean an increase in quality, and that’s where the real pro’s will have to differentiate themselves: by bringing top-notch creativity to a shoot, and top notch service for the client, because in terms of technical boundaries, which used to be present and significative, I wouldn’t count on them being around for a long while anymore.
Adapt or perish, now as ever, is the professional photographer’s inexorable imperativ