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Photographer of 2015: The Business Landscape

A logical follow-up question to yesterday’s post is whether or not there will be a market for photography. With the continued rise of microstock and Royalty-Free, will professional photographers be able to survive in this new landscape?

I’m optimistic that photographers, and visual communicators, will thrive in the years ahead. Why, you ask?

Because photos, video and graphics are so information-dense, visual technologies follow a predictable arc from predominantly text to predominantly graphical. Compare a NY Times cover from 1933, with today’s front page. On the Web, this transition occurred quickly. A representative Web page from 1995 is heavy on text, light on graphics. Compare it to Patagonia’s Tin Shed, a rich, entertaining site with very little text. As this evolution continues, there will be a strong need for visual artists (photographers, videographers, graphic designers) who can create compelling, engaging and informative experiences for their readers, customers or constituents.

I expect photography, and other visual arts, one of the tools businesses will use to gain advantage over their competitors. If you have a clearly defined visual style and can show value to your clients, you will be rewarded with a wealth of business opportunities.


3 comments for “Photographer of 2015: The Business Landscape”

  1. Jay I agree generally, the big question mark continues to be how to monetize the web generally, and content more specifically. The web’s greatest contribution is cutting out the distributors and allowing artists direct access. I think it will be great when a 22 episodes of a 30 minute show produced by 11 people in Des Moines for $800,000 can be supported by an audience of 100,000 paying a $1 a month. I think the same is possible for all content, but the people have to get comfortable paying directly and that has been slow coming.

    Posted by Art | April 10, 2009, 7:08 pm
  2. Art,
    You’re right on target. I think it will be an easier job for photographers to sell companies on the idea of spending money on multimedia instead of traditional marketing (billboard, TV, radio, etc.)

    It will be more difficult to create a user-generated revenue model that doesn’t involve advertising. I am seeing a backlash against free content on the internet and believe people will be willing to pay for good content online. Just as you highlight in your post, when a group of artists in Des Moines can bootstrap a successful TV show and make a good living, we’ll know that model has arrived.

    Posted by Jay Kinghorn | April 13, 2009, 8:13 am
  3. Jay,
    I think you made a very good point in your response to Art’s comment, when you said that people would be willing to pay for good content online. We just have to figure out what “good” is defined as or better yet by whom.
    What I may call good content or music or TV may not be everybody else’s cup of tea. Time will tell what the next wave or trend will be and what gets picked up as the “now” thing.
    We have seen the model work at Apple, with all of the Ipone apps and Itunes that are being downloaded every day. It looks like they are almost at 1 billion in just a year or two and at an average price of less than $ 5 each.
    Looks like its time to follow Chase Jarvis’ advice and yours as well, push ourselves and become more media savvy.

    Posted by Chuck Carver | April 13, 2009, 4:29 pm

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