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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 04 Mar 2011 (Friday) 10:48
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too many "pro" photographers?

 
engl1001
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Mar 04, 2011 15:59 |  #16

Good ol' dictionary.com defines professional as: "following an occupation as a means of livelihood or for gain"

Back to the OP's question, I don't think its the cost of cameras, nor do I think there is a boom of working photographers. Its probably just chance that you know so many people pursuing photography as career.




  
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RandyMN
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Mar 04, 2011 16:11 |  #17

RDKirk wrote in post #11955889 (external link)
I don't think the definition of "professional photographer" is the issue in this thread. The issue in this thread is the numbers of people who think they can make a living taking pictures.

I linked the two together because people thinking they are professional is what gets so many trying to make money at it. I highly doubt someone just out of college or any type of school just decides to just jump directly into opening their own business.

Most of us seem to know it's better to keep it as a hobby along side another career that pays better. For those who do make a full time living at it, I'd expect you are as good at business as you are photography. Hopefully you make a good living at it as well.




  
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JeffreyG
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Mar 04, 2011 17:17 |  #18

I'm happy defining a 'professional' photographer as anyone who is running a photography business, although if there revenue stream is too small to support at least one person I'm more inclined to think of this as a paying hobby (that's what I do).

A pro may very well be mediocre at photography but good at business.

In any case, I think that the main challenge for people who want to do this work is that the demands of the majority of the market are moderate and the number of people who can hit that mark are huge.

So there is not too much competition for the very highest tiers of professional photographers (if you are very good you can really make a living at it) but the competition is cuthroat for the middle of the road and the bottom.


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pixiepearls
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Mar 04, 2011 19:48 |  #19

I would encourage anyone to pick up a DSLR, they can pretty damn amazing in Auto compared to a P&S. I don't care if everyone and their mom got one, I'm not worried about what they are doing, I am focused on what *I* am doing.


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kf095
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Mar 04, 2011 20:46 |  #20

RDKirk wrote in post #11955889 (external link)
I don't think the definition of "professional photographer" is the issue in this thread. The issue in this thread is the numbers of people who think they can make a living taking pictures.

Thank you :!:
Those are words I was trying to find to ask my initial question.


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HappySnapper90
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Mar 04, 2011 22:10 |  #21

Question is, is there really money in photography these days to warrant "letting" someone go to college and spend $100,000 on that education? News organizations want their viewers and readers to send them photos so they can get free content, my local Fox TV station airs so much crap from other stations around the country and via the internet that it isn't funny all in an effort to employ fewer reporters and support staff that would actually have to do real work on local news items and investigations!




  
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RDKirk
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Mar 04, 2011 23:28 as a reply to  @ HappySnapper90's post |  #22

Question is, is there really money in photography these days to warrant "letting" someone go to college and spend $100,000 on that education?

Probably not, except for people with immense talent like Joey Lawrence.


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Gregg.Siam
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Mar 05, 2011 04:30 as a reply to  @ RDKirk's post |  #23

If the market can withhold X amount of pro photographers so be it. Just like anything else, if the market dwindles they will go to another profession. I don't recall seeing too many whale oil sellers as of late. Markets change all the time, so will photography.

Also, just because someone wants it to be true or goes to college for it doesn't mean they will pursue it. I think the figure is 70% of college students do something other than their major.

We are also a very dynamic society anymore. I saw a study in France a few years ago that stated people will not have a single career from beginning to end, but will have at minimum 3 different professions.


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pixiepearls
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Mar 05, 2011 09:27 |  #24

I went to art school, but got the AA instead of the BA, and that way saved myself about 20-30k. I just took some extra classes in my AA for the more advanced typography and video editing etc. I just couldn't fathom spending more then 20k on an art degree (which now 10 years later is I guess not that much). I got my BA in Organizational Leadership, god that was a boring degree, but my wallet and Sallie Mae loan thank me and my career did quit well with that. Good compromise.


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Schweitzer
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Mar 05, 2011 10:39 |  #25

kf095 wrote in post #11954865 (external link)
Is it due to the prices on 7D and 5D (not to mention xxD and xxxD) which are less expensive now compare to commodity like big flat TV set?

It seems like that could be a major contributing factor for the proliferation of "pro" photographers out there. Another factor is probably how easy getting a quality image is now compared to when film was dominant. For one thing, an aspiring photographer can see great results without being scared off by the darkroom. No need to build one or get in with someone who has one; you can chill in the comfy chair in front of the computer and instantly get into dabbling and exploring in a non-destructive environment. Trial and error on the computer is so much faster than in the darkroom. Automatic camera settings and Lightroom presets can give a confidence boost to the neophytes out there.

The availability of endless free information on the internet probably helps this a lot too. That's my story (not claiming to be pro, just really into it). You can find a tutorial or article on any nuanced subject, and members of forums jump at the chance to help you overcome hurdles in your path to photographic glory. Using those tools I've learned so much. Sure all of my answers were in books somewhere, but the internet has it for free and presents it to me in easily digestible chunks. Now I regularly chew the fat with pro photographers, and--I hate to say it--talk over the heads of many photo majors I meet at college:confused:.

The fact that so many schools now offer photo majors probably puts the pressure on students when they get out of school. And let's face it, it's a relatively easy major that many kids choose to ensure a "fun" path through college. Taking pictures is way more fun than statistics or microbiology. (But it is one of those majors that you get out what you put in, to be sure, and can be hard work resulting in serious esoteric knowledge.) So all of those kids now have degrees that they really should follow up on, and they're opening studios.


acta virum probant

  
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Gomar
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Mar 05, 2011 12:01 |  #26

There were 4 "pro" photo studios where I live. One of whom shot my cousin's wedding. All 4 are now gone. One stayed with film until the end. The other photog was over 65; 3rd never seemed to show up for work. Another photog I knew, a real life pro, left NYC as the rent was raised by %5.5.
Yet, students continue to flock to Pratt, SVA, NYU for photography degrees and classes.




  
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squires
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Mar 05, 2011 12:57 as a reply to  @ Gomar's post |  #27

If I were headed to college with the goals of getting into photography, I'd be more inclined to get a business degree and open a photography business after I graduate. If the photography doesn't work out, I'd still have the business degree to help me find work elsewhere (hopefully).




  
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snyderman
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Mar 05, 2011 14:04 as a reply to  @ post 11955866 |  #28

Boy, do I have opinions on this subject.

First, I think the OP hit the nail on the head about DSLR gear is being commoditized by the manufacturers. Secondly, marketing + affordability generates sales. Add this up and you've got a LOT of new DSLR owners. And that's GREAT! Good for Canon and Nikon and the others. I like to see business do well.

What happens next? Many of the new DSLR shooters quickly arrive at a point where 'they don't know what they don't know.' It takes personal and willful desire to research gear, purchase and apply correct tools, read manuals, buy books, work through tutorials and learn post-processing techniques to produce quality results. Most new DSLR shooters will end up with expensive point and shoot cameras and will not likely progress any further than that. Again, that's fine. They're out there shooting and preserving memories for themselves and others.

My guess is that a scant 5% of new DSLR purchasers will progress beyond a body, the kit lens (or two) that came with the package, a bag to tote around said gear and be capable of creating an image better than a Canon A540 P&S can produce. Of that 5%, less than 10% of those will ever earn a dime shooting or sell a print.

Claiming to be a 'professional photographer' or being able to make a living through the business end of a camera is like saying your HS freshman student athlete will be a D1 college athlete with a full scholarship in a few years. Chances are significantly less than 1%.

Let people buy DSLR equipment. Keeps Canon and Nikon in business which again, is great, IMO. But it doesn't necessarily guarantee any DSLR owner is going to be a professional photographer.

dave


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nicksan
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Mar 05, 2011 14:30 |  #29

Well said.




  
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airfrogusmc
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Mar 05, 2011 14:34 as a reply to  @ nicksan's post |  #30

And the real key because anyone can hang out a shingle who will be around in 5 years and better yet 10. Its all good. If all the new folks doing business are hurting your business then maybe its time to figure out a way that they won't hurt your business. ;)




  
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too many "pro" photographers?
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