Full time photographers competing with part-time photo hobbyists

I spent most of the today by the pool doing work on my laptop. Weather was a perfect 80 degrees. No, I didn’t take my camera out to the pool, but its always fun to see grown people jump around and act like kids. I think its important for everyone to do it. The economy is stressful and making ends meet for many of my photographer friends is getting more difficult each month.

Some of my photographer friends are doing fine, while others are feeling the pinch. Friends who shoot weddings for more affluent clients are doing fine, but those that target average clients, say they are dropping their prices in order to get jobs.

I suspect, some of that has to do with people who are out of work in their “normal” day jobs, and are resorting to becoming “weekend” photographers. This makes a sense when I talk to those who do corporate, catalog or similar photography. That industry is much difficult if not impossible to simply do it on the weekends and is not suffering.

A good friend of mine who edits educational manuals recently was laid off from his job. Unable to find a new position in the same field and in need of income right away, fell back to his hobby of photography for income. With very little knowledge about shooting a wedding, he took the plunge and began to market himself for jobs. Within a few weeks he landed his first wedding gig, outbidding two other full time photographers with a lower price. I asked him why he chose to target lower priced clients rather than target higher income ones? His answer did not surprise me, he said that those who pay less usually expect less, and he wasn’t sure how well the photos were going to come out. He felt it was less “risky”.

This confirms that photographers who shoot wedding, senior pictures, online stock images are feeling the competition more these days. With the increased amount of people out of work, those “hobbyist” are trying to get into these fields. Whether they succeed or not, it will undoubtedly make it more difficult for those full time photographers.

If you’re a hobby or full time photographer, you might want to take some time, relax and re-analyze your marketing strategy. Because during a time of excess competition, its not the pictures that will get you the jobs, its your ability to properly market your work!

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