Is professional photography dead?

With the rise of camera phones, cheaper DSLR's, and advanced point and shoot cameras more people are taking higher quality photographs than ever before in history, is this the end for professional photographers? 

How viable is going professional as a photographer?

In today's economic climate it is indeed quite a risk to leave the day job, set up shop and go it alone, especially as a photographer. After all, everyone owns a camera of some sort, and the skill level required to take a half-decent photo is getting lower by the year.

So why do we hire a pro to capture our pets, family and our big life events?  Is it that special something that a creative professional can capture that just seems to be missing from our every day shots, or is it the peace of mind that comes with knowing that those once in a lifetime events are in the hands of someone who's done it all many times before? 

Photography might seem like a game with fancy expensive 'boys toys' to some, but to professionals it's a way of life and paying the bills.

Photography might seem like a game with fancy expensive 'boys toys' to some, but to professionals it's a way of life and paying the bills.

What is a professional photographer anyway?  

In most circles a professional photographer is a person who makes most of his or her income from photography.   No specification of skill level or experience, however in most cases it is fairly safe to assume that if indeed they do make the majority of a good living income from photography they're probably good at it.  Or at least their clients think so.  In order to make a living from this career one must be able to produce images to a level that surpasses that of uncle Bob, and the professional competition, reliably.  That means serious skills, equipment, and an attention to detail.  

The real competition.

User friendliness is by far the greatest competition for photographers. As cameras become cheaper, better, and easier to use, the quality of the images everyday-people are taking edges closer and closer to that of a professional. Now, I have to stress that image quality alone does not make an amazing photograph. We have to acknowledge that fact, but it doesn't stop the perpetuated myth that a high quality camera makes great photographs. It is that confidence in the equipment that poses the greatest threat the the art. 

Luxury vs necessity.

Photography is a luxury, there's no doubt about that. It's also culturally etched into our lives as a story telling medium, a permanent tribute to our loved ones, and a reminder of what once was. Photography is decorative art, hung in pride of place over the mantle, or subtly positioned on our desks at work. We place such value on our photographs and memories that it's a luxury we cannot be without.

Perhaps that is why we entrust our precious moments, loved ones, and cherished pets to the professionals. 

So, is this curtains for professional photographers? In a word, no, but it's not getting any easier!

Until next time!