What Do You Do When People Say They Don't Need a Professional Photographer?

The proliferation of cameras that can produce impressive photos with minimal user intervention (all in a phone) has been great in a lot of ways, but on the other hand, it has also led to a lot of potential clients thinking they no longer need the services of professional photographers. So, how do you deal with that? This excellent video essay discusses how to handle ever-evolving attitudes toward professional photographers. 

Coming to you from Evan Ranft, this great video essay discusses the issue of clients thinking they no longer need the services of a professional photographer. It is unfortunate in some ways, but being talented with a camera and having good creative vision simply is not enough anymore, as the accessibility of photography is higher than ever. It takes a synthesis of numerous skills, most of them more related to business than photography. If you look at some of the most successful photographers out there, regardless of their abilities with a camera and their creative vision, one thing they all have in common is a very strong set of business skills. For them, they are businesspeople, and photography is their product. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Ranft.

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15 Comments

Jim Tincher's picture

The comment at 2:27... It only shifts to digital if you let it. My clients buy my prints albums and other wall art... I don't give away my work by offering digitals. Clients don't know what to do with them so they just sit in a drawer. There is no money is just digitals.

There are too many people calling themselves photographers who just give their work away, mostly because it isn't that great anyway but it sets an expectation that is not reasonable nor profitable. Owning a camera doesn't make you a photographer and just giving digitals is a dis-service to your clients.

J.d. Davis's picture

2 questions:

Since when did TEN THOUSAND FOLLOWERS ON INSTAGRAM mean that you know what you are talking about?

Isn't the answer really found in the text: "they are businesspeople, and photography is their product"?

As an aside ~ when did wearing a backwards hat become an acceptable fashion statement? I'd like to do business with people who know how to dress!

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

...nvm

Glem Let's picture

This is an interesting one.....
So photos are not as important as audio and video ‘because that’s the way it’s going..’
What exactly is going...?

So Arch Digest (yes they make beautiful magazines), doubles down with a YouTube video and links to their site... of what...?

Ahhhh the photos, it’s ‘THE PHOTOS’ that architecture and interiors fans clamber to see, not a BTS clip, yes that’s nice but it’s not the main thing, it’s the piccies.

You can shoot them (properly) on a phone or a plate camera but it’s the photos we want to see.
Same with:
Fashion
Travel
Documentary
Landscape.

Professional photographers (not internet people who call themselves photographers yet have never had a commission to shoot anything (maybe their cousins wedding) are busy, very busy post lockdown.

Buildings are going up rapidly
Fashion seasons change 4 times a year
New/refurbed hotels need photos.
Wars break out.

Yet internet photographers keep banging on about ‘where it’s at’ and how things have shifted...

We all have an oven and hob... yet we all eat out too.

I think these types of guys just don’t understand business, they think business is IG & FB.... but nobody goes there to buy anything.

People with money who want to buy things go online... and look at a photo, or order a leaflet... to look at a photo... then they put their hand in their pocket and buy something... based on many things... including the photo..

Time I stopped.

William Hill's picture

Liked what you are saying Glem Let and agree. Its not over yet.
Some of the best photography is yet to happen. Good chance it will be a still camera and not a cell phone.
The hat comment in another comment was kind of mean but then again it doesn't look Professional. Maybe a fitted hat backwards would look better.
Then again where ever you are as a Professional you need to look well groomed.
I don't think that will ever change.

J.d. Davis's picture

Glem,
But hey, he has 226 THOUSAND (YT) subscribers and another 140+ THOUSAND on Instagram so he MUST BE HOT S**T! No, I wasn't impressed either!

Stuart C's picture

And yet, we can see a lot more of his work than we can yours? Im not impressed with your blank canvas as it were.

J.d. Davis's picture

SC,

I'm happy that you show such concern for me, but understand that I do not think of you at all.

Stuart C's picture

I couldn’t care less what you think of me to be honest. I do however take issue with anonymous nobodies who do nothing but post snarky comments about other peoples work, people who actually put it out there.

It’s the easiest job on earth sitting behind a keyboard being arsey with people, no accountability when you have nothing to show of yourself, as your literally hundreds of negative comments posted on this site prove.

J.d. Davis's picture

Where is it written that I HAVE to post work to please you or anyone else?

As stated before, none of my work is online, it is contained in an iPad.

If you are not happy with my responses, you may ignore them, as I will now ignore you!

Stuart C's picture

It’s called common courtesy, and being an all round decent human being, by not letting your sad, bitter and twisted views spill out into the world… offering negative opinions about people you don’t even know.

Nobody has to display their work, as I don’t either, but what you should also be doing is not using your time being so opinionated and generally horrible to other people if you can’t even face the risk of people saying the same about your produce.

Oh and yes, run away and ignore me, just be because I decided to give you a taste of your own medicine… doesn’t feel good when people tell you things you don’t want to hear does it.

J.d. Davis's picture

Do you feel better now?

Stuart C's picture

I’d feel better if people were spending their time on the internet to offer something positive. I’ve watched a few videos from the channel linked to this article and the guy seems quite genuine and enthusiastic, without being arrogant. So I’m not sure quoting his followers then telling people his work is crap is called for, it just reeks of bitterness.

Robert Lynch's picture

If he were actually any good he would understand why blocking 25% of his face with the mic most of the time is an amateur move.

Leon Heller's picture

My brother and his wife used a pro photographer for their wedding but have one of my wedding photos framed on a table in their living room. I asked them about this and they much preferred my photo to any of those taken by the pro. This was many years ago, I think I used a Canon FT QL film camera.