There is no doubt that being a photographer these days is not easy. But arguably, there have never been more opportunities for photographers than there are today. All is not gloomy.
I know what you think. That I finally lost my mind and all sense of reality. I mean, who in their right mind would ever try to say that now is the perfect time to be a photographer? The reality is that every photographer faces increased competition at a time when fees have been falling rapidly for over a decade.
There have also been advancements in technology that mean anyone with a smartphone can now take photos and sell them. And moreover, sites like Unsplash have appeared which give images for free. And of course we have seen the end of many printed publications.
Yet, I sincerely believe that there has never been a better time to be a photographer…
Let’s start with technology. No one can deny that advances in photography haven’t led to much more creativity. The best drone cameras (opens in a new tab) and even affordable waterproof cameras (opens in a new tab) allowed us to see and capture the world in a whole new way. And advances in photo editing software (opens in a new tab) and camera equipment made it easier than ever to realize our vision.
Of course, this technological advancement has also meant that photography has become more accessible. While it was once the hobby or profession of the privileged few, more and more people can now indulge in this art. Some people will feel threatened by this increased competition.
But rather than seeing this as a bad thing, I think all photographers should see this increased competition as a positive. I know I used this to raise my own level of photography but also to learn new skills so I could stay ahead of the competition. It allowed me to constantly learn and be inspired rather than stagnate and produce the same type of work over and over again.
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While there are many more photographers than ever before, there are also many more opportunities to make money from photography. Once upon a time, the only opportunities for photographers were either in magazines and newspapers or in advertising. Some were also able to sell art prints and books. Any of us can do all of these these days, including self-publishing books.
There are so many more options out there today, if you can think creatively.
For example, every brand, company or business is a potential customer these days. They will all have an online presence, email campaigns or even a social media presence. If you can find your niche and target the right business, you could potentially have a customer for years to come.
In addition to companies, there are also many publications that seek photography. Of course, print publications and established newspapers are in decline, but there have never been as many independent magazines published as there are today. And publications don’t just include print. There are many digital-only websites and publications desperate for content.
Of course, the wonderful years when, as photographers, we could charge the high prices are long gone (opens in a new tab). But I think the positives are that there are a lot more possibilities than ever before.