Is Being ‘Just’ A Photographer Still Enough?
Once upon a time, we would learn a skill, practice it, hone it, and that would be our main area of expertise and way of making a living. In 2022, however, it would seem that mastering your camera, actually taking photos, editing them, and then applying that skill might not be everything you need to be a successful photographer in today’s climate.
Video Content Is King
We are all aware of the push towards video on popular platforms like Instagram, who are said to be competing directly with the likes of YouTube and TikTok. Photographers are embracing video if we want to get ahead and stay there, whether we like it or not.
So, what does this mean for a plain old photographer in the moving image landscape of social media? Is this the new expected skill you must require to land jobs, meet or exceed customer expectations, and market yourself to an audience or grow your business and online presence?
So, How Do You Earn an Income?
The answer is simple: YouTube, mostly. Creating a YouTube channel is the single best and most rewarding thing a photographer can do, I know because my wife who is also a photographer and aspiring videographer is dancing around right now. She is stillmainly in the planning stages and spends an inordinant amount of time watching videos, trying to find her particular niche. She not only enjoys photography but sewing as well. So she is trying to meld those two interests intoa money earning proposition. It apears that the solution is going to be a compilation of still photography along with video photography as wellas her sewing.
No matter where you look, there is someone shooting a video. So videohas become a huge component of educating people online. It is also another reason for you to become more confident with your camera and upping your video skills. It is not only important but it the only way to establish a vital and lucrative presence on the internet.
It’s Time to Press Record
People value education and entertainment, so any content that caters to those needs is at least ssured of getting some exposure.
YouTube, Instagram and Tik Tok are the three most popular platforms for aspiring entrepreneurs. Without these audiences their futures would look pretty bleak. Is video the best way to scale your photography business and earn part of a living or make it a side hustle? The answer is a resounding hell yes! Instagram Reels are being pushed and more of us are tuning into video content, wanting to see the person behind the camera and connect with them even more than their photography. While this won’t suit a lot of people who are camera shy or wish for their work to stand on its own two feet without them as a “personality,”you reaslly have no choice.
With practice and a little tweaking, we can all find ways to show up for our audience in new and different ways or possibly open new doors for us other than the traditional “I pay you to take photos of this” model that we all equate to being a professional photographer. While we all complain about the unfairness of algorithms and the struggle to get noticed online for our work, you have to admit that now, more than ever, we all have a chance at creating the career we dreamed of.
Social media certainly has its downsides, though, doing the ironic job of making us more connected but more alone, and this will inevitably get worse. So ,why not use these platforms to share and connect, in the true sense of the word, all while giving your work more of a voice, a story, a face to the photographer?
So Where Does the Future of Photography Lie?
With the rapid growth of the visual world, we thought it was time to take a look at what the industry thinks is to come in the future of photography.
We saw phones go from the retro extortionately large, to the mini likes of pebbles and back up and into the world of tablets, so what is in store for cameras. Mirrorless cameras represent the movement towards smaller professional cameras from our standard DSLR so which direction will we go in next?
The Professional Photographer
So what does the future of photography hold for our professional photographers? With people now photographing every element of their lives on their phones now’s the time to hone your skills and challenge yourself to push photographic boundaries and show off the true beauty of a ‘real’ lens.
One positive of everyone becoming their own photographer is its pushing the industry in terms of photojournalism where more outstanding and ‘out of the box’ works are being created for storytelling as we evolve and travel to find the unexplored/documented.
Real Life Captures
Another plus of this transference to more and more everydday photographers however, is authenticity of photographs. Less and less stock photography is being used as people become the brand ambassadors with their personal photography.
It’s all in the Movement
More and more visuals are taking a turn towards moving captures what with Instagram’s Boomerang and live feeds, presenting another way that photography is pushing its boundaries. With this on top of VR (virtual reality) it’s time to brace yourself for a more immersive visual experience across the board.
So hold onto your seats, technology is growing fast and so is our perception of photography and it’s importance in the world; cameras are likely to quickly adapt in the next couple of years to keep up with our latest visual challenges and pursuits.
The Future of Photography (from September 2007, updated September 2021): Since its birth and for around 100 years, photography hasn’t really changed that much if you think about it. You had a box with a lens attached which streams light in and records it onto a film plane and now onto a digital sensor.
In Ye Olde days of film cameras, there were few things that changed with regards to technology. The main changes came from the lens quality and the mechanics of the camera itself. The shutter, the exposure system, the speed etc. Then the recording media (film or emulsion). That didn’t really change too much over time, especially towards the end. Not when you compare it to digital and its rapid advances.
They tried to miniaturize cameras with the 110 range. And then there were the appalling Kodak Disk cameras but nothing really caught on or excelled. Compare that to mobile camera phones now.
You could have a top of the range pro SLR shooting Fujichrome Velvia and you were set for years. If the quality of the slide or film changed, you simply used that instead. No need to upgrade the camera.
Times they are a changin’
How different things are now and where will it end? When will we see the introduction of cameras that have interchangeable and upgradeable sensors? Sure it goes against the research and development costs and the need to recoup them. However, someone will do it, one day, mark my words!
After all, the Red V Raptor video system (drooool) is simply a box of bolt on goodies (albeit an amazing and expensive one). It is a system that is completely future proof. Every component is upgradeable so will DSLR’s follow suit?
Where is photography going…the photography that we know now. Are our careers safe? The transition to digital from film was too much for many “die-hard” film photographers. They fell by the wayside in terms of keeping up in the business world.
Is it still possible for newcomers to this hobby/profession to make a living from photography? It seems a new professional photography outfit springs up somewhere every week! People are still trying…
Technology is still moving at an alarming rate. New features and inventions that make our lives easier are appearing all the time. Are these incredible features able to make a career in photography accessible to anyone?
High resolution, high quality camera phones
Live view for DSLR’s and Mirrorless cameras
HDR (High Dynamic Range) to assist with high contrast scenes and situations
Extremely high quality at high ISO
Rapid fire shutters and superb focussing systems that capture all the action
4K/6K video that shoots 120fps (large frames per second)
All of the above becoming affordable to the masses
Will there be a need for wedding photographers in 5-10 years?
Should we start thinking more about video and its possibilities as we enter and delve further into the high tech, high definition digital age?
What about stock photography? Will we one day have magazines and newspapers made from paper thin plasma that show moving images rather than stills?
So, will there be room and opportunities for more “professional photographers” in the future? Absolutely! After all, everyone in the 18th Century could afford a paint brush but not just anyone could “Master” it!
Even with all of this technology coupled with the fact that DSLR sales are rising at an unfathomable rate, there are still factors required to make a good image. Not just the ability to point-and-shoot your “Canonympusikontron Mark MCMLXXXVIII” camera and hope for the best:
- The ability and patience to learn the fundamentals of photography
- The patience to wait for that perfect nature shot or the perfect light for that stunning landscape
- Taking the time to learn Photoshop, Lightroom or any other digital imaging program, almost a pre-requisite these days I am afraid!
- The skill, professionalism and charm to acquire, understand and shoot the needs of the couple at a wedding
- Taking time to understand light and composition and how it affects each and every photograph we take
- Learning how to market and promote yourself to get started, and then continually re-invent yourself to keep a successful business operating
New photographers having the foresight to see these upcoming trends and maybe even influencing them will help many people achieve their goals in the photography world.
Amazingly talented and realistic photographers emerge from all corners of the globe. It motivates me greatly and emphasizes the fact that photography as we know it is here to stay. Much in the way that art, paintings and antiques will be around forever!
Regardless of where technology takes us, most people will always have a penchant for beautiful things. Whether it is an old painting, a photograph, a video clip or holographic digital art…who knows?
Whereas the actual finished photograph will be around for years, will how we get that image stay the same or will we all be:
…bursting off 1,000 high-resolution, 3 dimensional frames per second to capture the perfect shot in glorious 3D “without” the need for wearing those silly glasses?
Or sitting in the comfort of our homes whilst our camera is tethered to a Wi-Fi enabled device on the other side of the world. A device that is operated from our laptop in the UK, so that we can shoot the perfect wildlife shot in Africa. All whilst watching the 47th series of “Lost” and munching on a bag of Maltesers?
Will the world and photographic stock libraries become saturated with images of business people shaking hands? Or happy children running along the beach? Will every city in the world be photographed to death from every angle?
People aspire to performing their dream jobs quickly. But will the window of opportunity still exist?
The window to becoming a photographer is rapidly closing unless you put in hard work to master the basics and your future niche. Let me explain.
What the future holds
Technology is developing at a frightening pace. One day we enjoyed having physical newspapers and cars to drive. But now, we prefer reading news online through our phone and cars are learning to drive themselves.
The same thing is also happening in the photography industry. Low light photography — which was a specialist feature — is now standard in many smartphones. Although the quality may differ for each price range, it shows how advanced gadgets have become.
Portrait modes are also starting to become common in smartphones. Remember the creamy bokeh look that could only be created by a specific lens and a combination of focal length and apertures? Yes, phones are now able to automatically recognize and determine faces to create “bokeh” photos.
Given enough time, I guarantee that the usual expensive features that were limited to pricey cameras will become common. So, if you have been investing in gear more than skills, stop it. Now is the time to take a U-turn and focus on your skills (but don’t throw the equipment away, of course).
Start mastering the basics of photography and expand your knowledge to other popular/exciting fields! Don’t put all of your eggs in a single basket — spread them out. If one falls, you will still have a decent backup plan.
What the future will still need
Now we know what the future has in store for us. We know that equipment won’t be the largest hurdle for our career development. With one less fear in the way, let’s focus on what you can do. Something captivating, engaging and intriguing.
When a door closes, another one opens widely for us. Technology has introduced us to immersive photography, the rise of the analog cameras, significant involvement of AI to improve shots and much more.
Photography has had a long and eventful history. From wet plates to smartphones. Camera technology has changed dramatically over the years. And trends have come and gone.
But what about the future of photography? What changes and developments can we expect in the coming years? And how will photography change our lives?
The future is difficult to see. And we don’t have a crystal ball. But the future of photography is something we think about. So here are our predictions for the future of photography.
7. Immersive Photography
Photography is an art form that has developed over 200 years. It has been used to depict important events. Or to create beautiful imagery. It’s used for work, and it’s used for pleasure.
But until recently, photography has been limited to two dimensions. You could have the most powerful sensor in the world, but your photograph will always be 2D.
3D photography has been around for a long time. Stereo cameras came and went. And now, you can create 3D images with your smartphone. But 3D has always been a niche indulgence, a bit of a gimmick.
This is now changing. Cameras and computers are on the verge of creating fully immersive 3D images. When they’re projected, you can walk around and view them from all angles.
Fashion brands use this to promote their latest shoes. Sneakers float and rotate in a white space. And it’s not limited to shoe-sized objects.
A few months ago, we tried to photograph a statue and turn it into a 3D model. For those interested, you can find our How to Create a 3D Model from Photos article here.
360 camera technology is also moving us towards a fully immersive experience. Google Maps is a great example. Thanks to their 360 camera work, we can roam the streets of cities all over the world from our homes.
We can carry 360-degree technology round in our pockets. There are several 360 cameras available that are accessible and affordable.
With 3D and 360 camera technology, we are entering the world of Virtual Reality (VR). It’s a space somewhere between the Matrix and the Metaverse.
In the future, we’ll have photos that we can walk around and touch. This may sound like science fiction. But this reality is closer than you may think. The VR headset has come a long way from the Viewmaster stereoscope.
At this moment in time, real 3D imagery is costly and difficult to produce. But the technology will improve. And the costs will come down.
6. Constant Connectivity
One of the hottest topics with digital photography right now is connectivity.
Over the last few years, we have seen DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras with wireless connections. WiFi, Bluetooth and Near-Field Connectivity (NFC) now come as standard.
Previously, you would tether your camera to your computer using a cable. You’d transfer the photos from your camera to your device using software such as Lightroom and Capture One.
To share images, you’d have to send them from your computer. You’d have to send them via email or cloud storage programs like Dropbox. It was a time-consuming process.
But cables are becoming a thing of the past. You can connect your camera directly to a mobile device using WiFi and Bluetooth. It makes image sharing much quicker and easier.
You can share your work with clients as soon as the shoot is over. Or even mid-shoot. And it enables you to free up space on your camera while you work.
Currently, there are some limitations. You can only transfer JPEG, not RAW files. And the transferring images can be slow, especially if the connection isn’t great.
But with every new generation of cameras, these things details improve. WiFi technology is moving quickly. And camera manufacturers will have to keep pace.
In the future, we’ll see wireless charging. Some cameras can now be charged with a USB cable rather than having to remove the battery. But this will develop further.
It’s possible we could see cameras that recharge themselves in the future. Or ones with their own power source. Battery life is still a top priority for all the major tech companies.
5. The Rise of Vintage
With every new generation of digital cameras, we see higher resolutions and better specs. Digital cameras are more versatile and convenient than ever before. And yet, film photography still continues.
Ok, it’s not as popular as it once was. But it’s far from dead. And with the developments of digital technology, if film was going to die, it would be dead already.
Modern digital cameras are amazing. The possibilities make us feel like we’re already living in tomorrow’s world. But for some photographers, it’s not as satisfying.
Film photographs have a texture and quality digital has not been able to replicate. And it’s not just the images; it’s the process too.
Digital photography can be easy and convenient. But some still prefer the manual approach. You have to get to know your camera. And you have to take care with each shot. It’s more tactile and less disposable.
And it’s not just 35mm and medium format photography making a comeback. Even the antique process of wet plate photography is seeing a resurgence in popularity.
What the future holds for photography can see exciting. Things we thought impossible a few years ago are now becoming a reality. But something is also being lost.
New technology makes photography fast and convenient. But the digital space is cold and sterile. You’re losing the personality and warmth that result from a hands-on process. That’s why many people are returning to film and analogue photography.
Lomography and Polaroid Originals are two companies intent on keeping older technologies alive. They revitalise traditional photography tech to keep it popular and relevant.
Other major brands are strictly digital these days. But in the future, I can see many trying capitalise on the vintage trend in photography. They might revamp their old systems. Or perhaps they’ll release a new SLR.
4. Reduced Demand for Professionals
There are many ways to make a living as a photographer. From weddings to photojournalism, there are many ways your camera can generate income.
But the photography industry is already starting to change. And in some cases, not for the better.
For many photographers, the development of camera technology has been a blessing. They can be more productive and reduce outgoings. But it’s not all positive.
Good cameras are easy to find and cheap to buy. Smartphones are even able to perform professional photography tasks, both when taking pictures and for post-processing.
People and companies can take great pictures themselves. They no longer need to hire a professional photographer. And as we head into the future, this trend will continue further.
It won’t be the end of the professional photographer. There will always be a need for camera masters. But many photographers with smaller or newer businesses will have to find new ways of appealing to prospective clients.
Photographers will have to work harder to make their work stand out. In a world where everyone can take a picture on their phone, the photographers will need to provide a point of difference.
There is still a place for professionals in the future of photography. New niches will open up. And new opportunities will appear. But general demand for photographers will reduce over time.
3. AI Will Change Everything
Artificial intelligence (AI) is something we’re familiar with from science fiction films. They’re either set in the future. Or someone, or something, has travelled back in time. But AI is already with us.
AI is already a feature in many modern cameras and lenses. But don’t worry. Your camera isn’t plotting to kill you and take over the world. Not yet anyway.
The autofocus and image stabilisation systems both use AI to achieve precise results, as does tracking and automatic exposure features. And similar AI software is being introduced to smartphone cameras and editing apps.
The iPhone 7 has a new Portrait mode which blurs the background to create a pleasing shallow depth of field. And Skylum’s Luminar has AI-powered filters that make editing a breeze.
The editing software on your computer will also develop with more AI over time. It will be able to recognise specific objects and label them. It will change your setting without you needing to request it.
You won’t need to spend ages looking through all your latest shots. The AI editing will select the best ones for you. It will learn from your behaviour and adapt to your practices to speed up your processes.
AI is already making digital photography quicker and easier. And this is only going to develop further. But photographers, don’t worry. The robots aren’t going to take your job.
2. Smartphones Will Kill-off the Compact Camera
The future of photography isn’t bright for everyone. And this trend is already well on its way.
Since 2010, digital camera sales have fallen 80%. And it’s not because people are taking fewer photos. On the contrary, people are taking more photos than ever. But now everyone uses their smartphone.
Why carry around an extra piece of gear when you already have a camera in your pocket?
The first phone cameras were no match for a specialist compact. But now the tables have turned. And phone technology has progressed by leaps and bounds.
The latest phones are capable of near-professional level image quality. It’s not just about uploading selfies to your social media. You can take high-standard photos for professional purposes.
Social media is also becoming a hub for young professionals. Fitness gurus and influencers can run their businesses from their phones.
They don’t need to transfer images between devices. They can take a picture and upload it to their account in seconds. And that includes editing and processing.
Compacts are even losing their appeal with casual snappers. There’s no need to take a camera on holiday these days. They can share holiday snaps with their loved ones in real-time using their phone.
High-standard DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are not in danger. Their future is assured. But I fear the sun is setting on the day of the compact camera. A few 35mm units might survive, thanks to geeks like me. But the digital compact has had its day.
1. Death of the DSLR
DSLRs are great cameras. And the DSLR certainly won’t be victim to the swift and uncaring wrath of market forces in the same way as the digital compact.
Nikon and Canon are still making excellent DSLRs that are popular with photographers. They’re creating machines that will continue to perform well for years to come.
But the tide is beginning to turn. Mirrorless cameras are starting to dominate the headlines. They’re starting to break all the records for resolution and image quality.
Fujifilm has sensed a change in the wind. They no longer produce DSLRs. They now focus their energy on mirrorless cameras. And Sony has also adopted a similar strategy, moving into the mirrorless market.
And, as well as DSLRs, Nikon and Canon do have mirrorless machines available.
It’s not just the image quality that is drawing people away from DSLRs. Mirrorless cameras have are smaller and lighter. And they have fewer moving components.
Another bonus is the noise. Without the mirror, they are completely silent when shooting. For sports and wildlife photographers, a silent camera is a godsend. They can get the perfect shot without scaring the animal or distracting the player.
DSLRs still have a better battery life. But it’s only a matter of time before that changes too.
If you were thinking of buying a DSLR, go ahead. They are still excellent cameras. And they’ll be competing at the highest level for years to come.
The mirrorless revolution is underway. Time will not be kind to the humble DLSR camera.
No one knows what the future holds. And yesterday’s predictions are often today’s bad jokes. But we are starting to see some trends emerge from the world of photography.
3D and AI are at the forefront of technological development. We’ll have fully immersive experiences in our living rooms. And our devices will do our editing for us. Well, some of it, at least.
Vintage cameras and processes are back in vogue. Maybe it won’t last forever, but there’s an upward trend which is positive to see.
Unfortunately, Time also has its victims. Not everyone will wake to see the sun rise on the world of tomorrow. DSLRs are looking a bit shaky. And compacts don’t look like they’ll last the night.
But come what may, photography will still be with us. Maybe we’ll be wearing aluminum clothes, but the future of photography is assured.
Expertphotography.com,, “Our 7 predictions for the future of Photography. ” by Christopher Bryan-Smith; things Photography.com, “Future of Photography. ” by Nick Stubbs; fstoppets.com, ” Is Being ‘Just’ A Photographer Still Enough in 2022?” BY Lucy Lumen; tuneframesexpress.co.uk, “Future-The Future of Photography. “; photofocus.com, “What could the future of Photography look like. ” by Nate Torres;