So a few weeks back I read a post by a fellow commercial photographer Don Giannatti “ What if clients dont’t really need professional photography” In the article the questin is pondered do commercial clients really still need a professional photographer?
While driving in the snow today and enjoying a rare free moment to FREE Shoot (out shooting in our rare local winter wonderland for fine art) and listening to Joe McNalley on a PodCast, He said “picture taking is easy and the fact is picture taking is easy”. In this day and age of truely amazing computerized automated cameras that do allot of the thinking for you picture taking is easy.
But here are my thoughts while picture taking is easier and everyones seeming acceptance of medocricey has grown be it in the business to business commercial photography or in the traditional family portrait and wedding business, many are willing to accept a certain drop in acceptable photo quality to save on the bottom line. How much they are willing to give up is as varied ans the number of people out there. As a photographer and artist I amy not like this but it’s just the reality of where we are in the indsutry these days.
Commercial clients are now shooting allot of the stuff they once called on professionals for. The news letter grip and grin photos or what they deam as simple documenting on the party or process maybe the images are decided to be used just for internal use and for these photos they are now relying on staff members who own a “good camera” and that is into photography to shoot many of the bread and butter jobs we as pros were called to do. Even better they often buy the camera for this person to use. Fact is often these jobs did not pay allot but were in a volume that made it worth the time and frustration and were a good income boost. The days of the bread and butter job are gone.
Heres the happy side for photographers in my view. All those smaller volume jobs that helped us make a living are no longer tieing us down.There is a posative side effect to the loss of this work. Commercial clients still need and infact want me to do work for them. The fact is there are many time clients are ready and willing to spend the money on quality because they understand not only quality but end use of images, Clients are still looking and hungery for artisit with vision and willing to not only take on thier concept but to run with it expand on it and create images their in house shooter simply can not. We have also found that when a client is multi tasking a staffer in say the marketing department to also be a photographer that they quickly find a huge drop in that persons productivity in their main tasks simply because they are distracted buy playing photographer. Much of the work that has always been done is still being done but who is doing the work has changed. I have found while I miss that bread and butter work and the income I can now work on larger projects more frequently that have a higher profit margine I also get to spend more time in the pre and psot planning and production of projects which allows me to create better images and also allows me to explore my own vision and twist on an assignment after getting what the clients specificly asked for.
The fact is until commercial clients start hiring fulltime true photographers to the marketing team at XYZ company there will continue to be a need for professional photographers. Compaines will always have a need for quality images from photographer and artist with a vision that can not only create interesting new images buit can add to the team and the final piece of the puzzle.