Have you visited any online photography forums or professional photographer groups lately? If not then you might want to check out some of the ongoing (and often heated) discussions about the photography business. For a start, I guarantee you’ll find a hot thread in there somewhere that talks about “photography dying as a business” or that professional photographers are all doomed…
Do you lie awake at night scared about how the professional photography business will have changed by the time you get out of bed in the morning? Are you concerned about how you or your photography business model can evolve to satisfy the ever-changing market’s needs?
Are you scared that clients just won’t pay you as much as they used to, or that other so-called professional photographers are too willing to surrender their services for little (or even no) compensation, thereby rendering you out of business?
The question is, do you believe photography is dying as a viable business?
Is A Failed Photography Business Past Saving?
Much to my dismay, there are too many photographers out there who subscribe to the idea that the photography business is dying, and I see more than several visitors here each day who searched Google for something like, “how can I save my failed photography business?”
Given that their business appears to have already failed, the questions seems somewhat redundant, and I’m left wondering what, if anything, they tried to do to avert disaster before reaching that point of no return.
How badly did they want their business to succeed, and how committed were they to preventing failure at all costs?
Even more upsetting is the fact that too many of these failed professional photographers are highly talented individuals, able to produce wonderful imagery, but they somehow lacked the necessary marketing and business skills that could have made them successful.
It doesn’t seem fair, but then fairness is not part of the game of business.
Of course, everyone deserves a second chance and they can always start over.
With that in mind I believe the answer to the question, “can a failed photography business be saved?” is a resounding “yes“…
It Depends Which Camp You’re In
Having read through masses of comments, rants, flame-wars, and other impassioned responses on various forum and group threads on this subject, two distinctly different factions are evident, which could be broadly described like this:
- “We’re all gonna die… the industry’s already dead!“
- “Let’s just get on with it – no one has to die today…“
This is such a polarizing issue that a razor-thin fence divides these two camps – with no one even thinking about sitting on it.
Are You An Optimist Or A Pessimist?
And The Dividing Factor Is…
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, or are a member of the site, then you won’t need me to tell you which of these two camps my flag is firmly planted in.
However, what interests me the most is what really divides these two groups from one another. What is it, per se, that separates a professional photographer in the “doom and gloom” camp from someone in the “the future looks bright” group?
I believe the answer can be boiled down to one simple word: Attitude.
We all have one and it’s subject to change at a moment’s notice – it’s just a matter of whether it’s predominantly negative or positive.
Of course, it goes deeper than that, and I’ve looked in detail at each of these two camps. What I find (not surprisingly) is that those who believe in the end of days for professional photography are the very same photographers who don’t believe in investing in their own personal development, marketing and business education (unless it happens to be free). They are also the first ones to get defensive and start a flame-war whenever someone tries to point out that such things as “being a professional photographer requires a significant investment in business and marketing knowledge.”
I find this a little ironic, since many of these folk are the same ones telling the rest of us that we need to “evolve and adapt to the new way of doing things, and accept our fate that no one will pay good money for photography any more…”
In the words of one such photographer whose business fell into the black hole, “ the days when a photographer could make a living are finished…”
Seriously? How so? The evidence to the contrary is all around you!
Anyway, I don’t want to belabor the whole point of why some people will invest in themselves, despite obvious reasons not to, again here as I recently addressed it at length in another recent post at: “Ask The Photography Coach: How Do I Save My Photography Business?” By the way, if you aren’t 100% sure what a photography coach is or why it’s important to have one, check out this article: “The Importance Of Hiring A Photography Coach“.
Let’s Hear What You Think?
What I would like to know is where do you stand on this issue? Remember, that fence is awfully thin, and there’s precious little company on it, so take a moment to give us your thoughts – all comments are welcome!
So is photography dying as a profession? Are professional photographers going to become extinct?
Share your thoughts below…