Posted by: Jack | January 18, 2007

Professional Photographers: The Next Endangered Species

A few days ago I was contacted by a representative of WeirdNJ, a company which produces books containing lesser-known sights and attractions throughout the US. I get the impression that their first book pertained specifically to New Jersey, hence WeirdNJ. But now they have done books for a number of states and are currently working on the Washington edition. I was contacted because one of the weird things they want to include in this book is the Mima Mounds which I photographed and posted about recently. They came across my photo on flickr and requested permission to use it in their book. I asked if it wouldn’t be too much for them to provide me with a copy of this book when published and they replied saying it would be their pleasure to do so.

And this is why I suspect that the career of Professional Photographer must be in danger. While an educated and skilled photographer can probably churn out excellent pictures at a more consistent pace, anyone who has perused flickr or other photo sites will note that they can generally find many excellent photos of anything they might be looking for.  And since there are so many photos to choose from, companies like WeirdNJ do not have to offer any payment because there is likely to be another person out there who will simply settle for the honor of having their photo published (like me).

Of course there is still a need for the “professional” photographer at the nearest Walmart so that parents can torment their children with the annual family portrait. But with the relatively low cost of high quality cameras and the advent of digital–take 50 pictures where you used to take 2–photography I predict that the freelance photographer is not long for this world.

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