The problem with almost all professional photographers.

Why are so many photographic studios going out of business or experiencing problems? You probably said cell phones. But I remember when when new cameras came out in the 1970s and early 1980s that now had auto focus and auto exposure. Everyone said, now we don't need real photographers. It did not happen.  

Did real artists who paint disappear because of paint by number art sets in stores?  Why do some people invest in Cartier watches.  You have a clock in your phone.

The pressure on many photographers is common.  Run a "factory".  Create pictures cheaply, fast and with minimal experience or creativity.

Isn't that what customers want?  Yes, for some customers.  They like photos that look like selfies and they also want to minimize their investment in time and money.  They are the same customers who shop at Walmart and buy the cheapest spaghetti sauce, even if the dinner is not very appetizing.  

A few years ago, I was asked by a nearby, mall photo studio to come in and offer some advice on how to keep the studio in business.  I asked some questions?  How experienced were the photographers?  Not much. A guy who used to work at Subway was the main photographer. He actually was thinking about going back to Subway.  They paid more. Were the pictures exceptional?  Did there clients brag to their friends and neighbors about how good the photos were?  No. They were very ordinary.  Were the clients treated well?  Well, I am sure you know the answer.  It was basically like McDonald's, but taking pictures.  Do you want fries (I mean a frame) with that picture?  Unfortunately, they did want to invest more in the business to produce higher quality photographs and pay more to get real photographers, that would treat their customers better. They want out of business a few months later.

What do clients want.  Well some want a memorable experience.  Fine quality, craftsmanship, dealing with someone who cares about the business and their customers.  A business OWNER WHO IS THE BUSINESS. 

Why don't photographers do this?  Usually it's an issue of time and money. I recently was approached about photographing an event, but they said my price was too high. After the event, I called about the event.

I asked about the other company who got the job.  Did the photographer have the needed experience to complete the job successfully?  Well, she had very limited experience.  Were the pictures going to be retouched?  No.  If the guests had skin problems or major blemishes, they would have to live with that.  Did she dress appropriately for the event.  No, she showed up in jeans and a simple top, to a formal event.  Were they happy?  No, but the price was cheap.

What does that mean to you, as a sophisticated person, looking for a photographer?  Just as in shopping for anything, you get what you pay for.  Are you looking for fast food or fine dining? Do you drive a used Ford Focus or a Mercedes Automobile. If you are accustomed to buying quality, hire a quality photographer for yourself or your company.

Not all photographers are the same and many people who say they are photographers are not even really photographers anymore.  I know a "photographer" who lost her job at Walmart and needed some side cash.

Are you a photographer?  Yes there are budget shoppers and competition on the internet.  Who are your clients?  If they price shoppers, you are probably not just competing with other photographers, but also students and people taking their own pictures for free, with their phones.  Perhaps you would like high end clients, BUT, do you really have the experience, a unique style and the quality these customers demand?  Remember a professional photographer has to deliver quality results for every client, not just a lucky shot once in a while.