[by Thomas Werner]
Photography isn’t dead, but the old business model is. While you will find many people mourning this disappearing model and trying to figure out what to do next, you will find many more who are problem solving the issues that face us. People become frustrated in the face of change, but it is time for change in our business. Personally I don’t see it as all doom and gloom. I see:
- The ability of younger photographers to move seamlessly between photography, video and new media, which will allow them to change the old definition of photography and photographer.
- More images being used in more places than any other time in the history of our profession, providing many new opportunities for all of us. These opportunities will only grow as the use of digital devices multiplies and moves into P.O.P and other areas. Consider ways to re-purpose your imagery and to sell it to more outlets. Use this opportunity to build greater brand awareness.
- The market place accepting a greater diversity of visual styles and image quality than ever before. A single style or two of photography does not dominate the marketplace. This gives photographers room to be more creative and offers more people the opportunity to exhibit and sell their work.
- That we are able to create salable images using everything from iPhones to Mark II’s, from prosumer video cameras to high end HD video, giving us larger selection of equipment and creative tools, at more price points, than ever before.
- Video has creating a new revenue stream for many photographers, allowing them to diversify and solidify their businesses as they position themselves for the future. Video is a very large part of the future for those in our field.
- More outlets, gallery and otherwise, for fine art photography than ever before. Work in all genres is being sold. Put together a well edited portfolio and take advantage of the opportunity.
- An explosion of online social networks, blogs, web sites, photographic communities and information resources providing us with the ability to learn new skills, exchange information, reach clients. Social Media and other online outlets offer us a multitude of ways to reach new clients, stay in touch with old ones, and to promote our work and our businesses in a cost effective manner. I am not suggesting you spend hours a week working with social media, but it should be part of a coordinated marketing and branding presence.
I see photography changing and old models and definitions dying, but I also see people who will persevere and move our business in directions that older photographers may not imagine. Remember many photographers were angry about the changes that stock photography brought while others moved forward and profited from the changing business model. That is only one small example of the difference between embracing change that is beyond your control for your own benefit and fighting it angrily. I look forward to seeing what the next generation does with imagery, both still and time based, and our business. It is an exciting time to be creating, our future is a positive one.
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