The What/When/Why/How: Question 4

Osguthorpe Barn in Early Winter, Park City, UT

I recently answered several interview questions for a photography student and one of their projects. Thought it might interest some of you readers out there. I’ll post several of these questions/answers in coming weeks. See previous interview questions here and here.

How do you see the market changing, in the past 5 years, as well as the upcoming 10 years?

This is a tough question to answer. I began my career in the digital era. I learned how to shoot on film, but really, the entirety of my experience as a business person in the photo industry has been in this digital era. I wasn’t around for the “golden days” of the photography industry where $30K creative fees weren’t uncommon for deep pocketed commercial clients and five-star imagery wasn’t a green box auto-mode click away.

It’s tough to predict what will occur in the next 10 years, but as we’ve already seen, I think multi-media will continue to play a larger role in making a living as a professional photographer. Competition will likely continue to increase, but an understanding of how to consistently product exceptional, unique imagery and how to do this in a way that is both attractive and affordable to clients will remain key.

As much as things change (and they certainly will continue to evolve in this industry), many things do stay the same. The small things will continue to make a big difference. Things like timely email/phone/image request response, personal outreach to existing and potential clients, timely updates on one’s latest and greatest work and an upbeat and likeable disposition will still be the one last pebble that tips the scales in your direction when it comes down to you and the next guy with equally appealing imagery.

One thing is always for sure with this industry—if you’re not moving forward, you are moving backwards. There is no neutral. You must be aware of what’s going, and you must adapt. There are so many photographers that have said this industry is dead, and that it will become harder and harder to make a living as a photographer. I disagree with this entirely. It may or may not become more difficult, but more than anything else, it will become different. Like I said, adapt, or fail.

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