With all of the astounding job losses and layoffs happening globally right now, I was thinking about professional photographers and how this recession is affecting them. I’m sure that there are some professional photographers who are feeling the pinch (or bite) of this economic downswing, but to what extent?
Thankfully (in this case) a good majority of professionals in the photography industry are self-employed. The entrepreneurial photographer is usually able to adapt in any economy; let’s face it, they have to. The self-employed folk aren’t receiving bailouts like the incompetent CEO’s of those companies that are the so-called “foundation of our economy.” The self-employed photographer is actually responsible for their business, adapting and rolling with the punches so to speak. So, upon doing a little research I have found that the wedding photography business is thriving (at least here in Vancouver it is). Wedding photographers are still able to maintain their price increases, and still remain to have their services sold out throughout the busy wedding season. In fact, some of them are so in-demand that they are even booking for the following year. Additionally, wedding photo album suppliers (the nice high-end stuff!) are doing more business than ever. This would lead me to believe that photographers are in fact impervious to recession… or are they?
Of course, not all photographic professions are impervious, there are many who are being affected. Editorial and journalistic photographers are, for the most part, secure in their line of work, but there is a trend for larger ad agencies to look to stock photo agencies for their work nowadays due to the cost savings rather than hiring a photographer for a specific shoot. There are many who dabble in the stock photo business, but the true professionals should be seeing an actual increase in their stock photo revenues as a result of this particular trend. It’s somewhat of an anti-recession in the world of microstock! While print publishers are going out of business or switching to a web-only strategy, professional microstock photographers should be thriving.
How about fine art photographers? There has been much debate over this, and probably even more-so once we launch our coming edition of the PhotographyBB Online Magazine. I am well aware of the starving artist factor, and the one in a million success rate for fine art photographers, however, it would seem that these stats are unrelated to the current state of the economy – unless that $3 million photo is now only worth $2.5 million?
The bottom line is that almost every single possible industry in the world will still need photography in some form, be it product photography, brochures, billboards, etc… The fashion world is certainly not going to give u on photographers. People will still be getting married, having beautiful children, graduating, and all of the other great moments we like to have captured by a photographer.Perhaps photographers are susceptible to the recession, but the smart and business-savvy entrepreneurial photographers are going to be just fine in the long haul.
If you are a professional photographer (either self-employed or not) who earns their main living from photography, I would love to hear your comments and perspectives. Please feel free to comment below!