With the easy gateway to learning and becoming a photographer, the market is saturated with trigger-happy photographers ready to take a snap. The recent downtime during the lockdown has provided professional photographers time to reinvest in their business, honing their skills, creating home studios, and learning new techniques, this window of opportunity also created many budding new entrants into the market, so there is far from a shortage of providers for this trade.
But what is the biggest obstacle facing all these photographers right now? Well, this can include many things, such as reduced social events, social distancing, reduced gatherings, and the spiralling cost of equipment, however, the biggest obstacle remains the lack of genuine customers.
A snapshot of the obstacle
In a bid to flatten the covid-19 infection curve, covenantal photoshoots were withdrawn practically overnight resulting from implemented restrictions, impacting the demand for photographers. The only saving grace for this industry is the low-overhead costs, so they were primarily affected by their lack of revenue from photoshoots.
With the recent advances in reinstating events, the photography demand has once again been on the rise with a re-found need to capture your special moment, but these photographers are struggling to find work due to the dated method of capturing customers through word of mouth and with so many competitors in the market, it is difficult to stand out amongst the crowd.
The fortunate photographers, aligned with niches including wildlife and product photography were blessed with the restrictions put in place, a greater presence of natural wildlife and the freedom to photograph products from home-studios, but they also faced the same downfall of customers, in this instance, due to budget restrictions or regular customers going out of business.
A heart-warming story that emerged from the pandemic was reported by Reuters, which identified a unique approach taken by a Dubai photographer, when her wedding photography business was impacted, she turned to capturing family portraits of families who were leaving Dubai due to unemployment.
Developing the findings
One of the biggest game-changers for photographers in recent years has been social media, this offered photographers a platform to showcase work and attract new customers. Just as many others during the lockdown, photographers began to document and spread awareness of the pandemic through social channels, expanding their outreach and priming their audience for when things pick up again.
The downside to social media, however, is the oversaturation of photographers and the lack of authenticity, are the images simply ‘lucky shots’ by hobbyists, trying to enter the industry, or are they experienced professionals who can consistently deliver the same quality? Granted, some individuals possessing natural talent are given a platform to shine, but in most cases, professionals are mixed amongst the part-timers or chancers, and lose the customer engagement they require for their primary profession to survive.
Despite the drawbacks mentioned, social media channels are still currently one of the most impactful methods to reach customers, so unfortunately photographers are currently without many options except to continue using this method until the next game-changer enters the market that is. Through consistent quality and persistence, photographers can only rise in line with the returning industry demands.
An article by Gautam Gajjar.