The photography industry is evolving at a very rapid rate and those not willing to adapt could be left in the cold.
Photographer jobs are spreading into new areas whilst becoming more sought after in an increasingly competitive marketplace. So what’s a snapper to do? We spoke with Matt Dowling, Director of The Freelancer Club, to find out which way the photography industry is turning.
THE NICHE PHOTOGRAPHER
There’s been an ongoing debate about the benefits of going niche for a number of years. We’ve learnt that those who work within a specific niche market (and a commercial one) tend to do well over time as their brand becomes more established in a less crowded sector.
However, and this is a big however, there is a school of thought that predicts that the definition of a freelancer will change in the future. The world of the ‘new’ photographer or freelancer 2.0 as we’re calling it will consist of service providers needing to be more mobile with their business structure, offer a range of services and work in a variety of sectors. Some believe that freelancer 2.0 will be indefinable as a brand and go where the market goes, do what the market demands and work remotely, creatively and with greater flexibility.
MAN Vs MACHINE
Whether photographers like it or not, technology is eating into certain job markets. More businesses and public sector clients are doing it themselves instead of hiring pro photographers. We can see with the quality of Smartphone cameras and editing software on the market. Photographers who made their living from low level commercial work are taking a massive hit.
The argument that an intern with an iPhone could never replace a pro photographer with a full set up is a valid one but it doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Many businesses are looking at areas to reduce costs and this is one of them. Perhaps they’re taking a hit on quality which will affect them in the long run but for basic jobs, the homemade approach is working well.
Image content has never been more in demand and access to quality work is easier to find than ever. Stock libraries are improving in quality and price while search engines provide adequate images for certain purposes. Equally, today’s photographer can look to these areas for additional routes to market their work. Syndicating your work can be highly profitable and one can regularly use a single image to generate income from multiple sources.
FOLLOW THE MARKETS
Putting artistic integrity to one side, which is an entirely different article, and presuming that the majority of photographers have to earn a living to continue to do what they love, there is a sharper focus on the business side of photography now more than ever before.
Generic images are no longer of value as they are too easily accessible whereas photographers exclusively shooting social media influencers are a booming market. Purely from a commercial standpoint, take a step back and see which sectors currently require a pro photographer and which don’t.
Of the old school industries, the wedding sector still looks strong as does corporate events. Private events are on the up as more people want pro images of their big occasions to post on their social feeds. High end fashion is as tough as ever and with more creative agencies closing it would suggest that brands are looking for value elsewhere. Commercial fashion, however, is soaring as more online boutiques pop up so if you’re a photographer struggling to find work, widen your net to see what’s out there.
For paid photography jobs in all markets, join The Freelancer Club for free or try our Pro Membership for 7 days and get applying.