Are the days of the niche photographer ending?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by minicoop1985, Jun 4, 2015.

  1. JoeW

    JoeW TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2013
    Messages:
    1,872
    Likes Received:
    902
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    I think the OP is confusing two questions:

    1. Life as a professional photographer is getting significantly harder. The barriers to entry are almost nonexistent, you can get a camera good enough to produce decent shots for a range of themes without breaking the bank, and the public doesn't expect a photographer to have great skills....it's all about the camera...or photoshop. So more and more people are trying to be photographers (usually doing it on the side besides their day gig) and that is driving out the full-time pros who try to make a living on it. Sure, some still exist but it's a lot harder to make a living.

    2. I would argue that niche photographers who specialize in a particular theme or genre are actually growing. Before, you'd see a photographer with his/her shingle out. They'd shoot weddings, portraits, kids' sports, buildings, maybe some commercial work for products or local fliers or the local fashion show. Now, you're more likely to see specialists. People who ONLY shoot weddings (or that is 95% of their business). Or ONLY shoot fashion. Or ONLY shoot nature and landscapes. Or ONLY do interiors and architecture. Part of it is that they network and infiltrate key and influential sources in their field (like an interiors photographer will be active with local real estates or be an associate member of ASID or AIA). Part of it is that this niche gives them some degree of safety by allowing them to focus their marketing, leverage their contacts, and be perceived as the expert in that field.


     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  2. fjrabon

    fjrabon TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Messages:
    3,644
    Likes Received:
    755
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    The high school senior market isn't drying up, it's being taken over by large companies that are adept at negotiating exclusive contracts with large schools. The small schools are doing the MWAC thing. I used to work for a studio that did 36 million dollars a year in just senior portraits and yearbook photos. But this isn't something a one (or even 5) person operation could pull off. It was a well organized COMPANY that owned multiple vans, 5 studios, a state of the art PoS system, several million dollars worth of photography gear, had connections with jostens and every high school yearbook lady in 5 states.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2015
  3. bribrius

    bribrius TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2014
    Messages:
    8,709
    Likes Received:
    1,297
    I still think you can make good money in photography, if you put your mind to it and the skills are there separating you from mwac or dwac. The quality level is still significantly different between a pro and a amateur. Selling that difference is up to the individual photographer and their ability. The immense amount of knowledge needed to turn out original pro style photos just wont be had with mwac or dwac with a couple tutorials. It seems however this thread turned very negative toward "photography is dead". What we may be seeing, is a LARGE portion of people in photography that never were before. So we will have a LARGE portion that can't make money on it. That doesn't necessarily mean the real photographers with skills and business sense can't make a living on it.
    Admitted though, i dont try to. I guess i just have faith there is enough true photographers out there that really know their job who are still living off this. With photos far above the quality levels of dwac and mwac. I have no doubt the rampant spread of photography has hurt the business. I suppose i just find it difficult to dismiss someone with years of experience and knowledge not being able to find a venue to sell those much hard achieved skills. To say it is dead, means you are saying all those years and knowledge of top photographers aren't of any value. I am not quite ready to support that position i suppose. The other 90 percent however, well yeah, probably aren't making much money on it and will probably wash out.
     
  4. chuasam

    chuasam TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2012
    Messages:
    3,588
    Likes Received:
    927
    You can make money doing photography but I wouldn't call it making "good" money. If you take in about $40k a year profits (not sales) you're doing much better than most.
    Also I've found that to really make good money in photography, you stop taking pictures and work on becoming a brand. You do something well and teach others how to do it and sell them under your brand.
     
  5. Bebulamar

    Bebulamar TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    Messages:
    258
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    United States


    Don't know if what you said is true but I sure wish that it is.
     

Share This Page