Who do you commission?
The effect of the digital revolution has had on the photographic industry is massive, and it happened in a very short space of time.
2003 was the year I made the risky leap from the comfort and security of film to a digital camera. Before then, almost every professional was shooting on a combination of 35mm and medium format film and digital was considered a huge risk as there was simply no tangible asset to hand over to the client after a shoot that would either cost a fortune to reproduce or was impossible to recreate at all.
But, after finally deciding that digital was the future, most of us packed away our film cameras permanently and the digital photography boom took off bringing with it a new set of challenges for the professional photographer.
Photography became much more accessible, real time learning was now possible. The photographer could see straight away what the image looked like and change a setting if needed without wasting precious film. You could take as many photos as you wanted and simply delete the ones you didn’t like… Unbelievable!
The revolution didn’t stop there. Every new camera release delivered more technology and less and less technical knowledge and skill was required from the photographer. The camera could now do just about everything for you, The F-stop, exposure, focus and ISO were irrelevant, you no longer needed to know everything about it to take a very decent photo.
And soon everyone suddenly had the word Photography after their name on their FaceBook page and Insta account and the professionals of the past had to rethink their business models, most just quit and found something else to do.
This explosion of new photographers into the industry caused the prices of photographic services to plummet, suddenly you could get family portraits done at a third of the price. Corporates hired this new bread of affordable photographers for events and corporate portraits and the traditional professional suddenly had to start to think on their feet and reinvent themselves.
This situation however, isn’t necessarily all bad. Let’s be honest, most of the work the professionals were losing was very basic photographic work where only basic photographic skills are required.
Unfortunately some of that lost work isn’t so simple though, quite often the customer doesn’t possess the ability to distinguish between a technically good photo and something that looks pretty on a cell phone screen. And that is where the real damage to the industry started.
You see, with less work going to true professionals and because there is no longer a viable business model in Professional photography because every soccer mom in the village offers photographic services at a price a real professional is not able to compete with, the less true professionals there will soon be.
So by saving money on your shoot now you end up losing the choice to hire a truly skilled artist in the future…