Home Forums Let’s Talk Photography The state of the industry in the digital age Reply To: The state of the industry in the digital age


I’ve been in the business of photography for a relatively short time. I recognize that I’m not an expert. That comes with lots of time and experience, AND pushing yourself beyond your limitations, which I am constantly trying to do. But, I know I have gotten to a point where I can and do produce consistent, high-quality work, take careful considerations into the “business” side of it, and charge appropriately for what my time and expertise are really worth.

The digital age, including inexpensive cameras, free software, and free web hosting (including Facebook pages or blog sites) has made it possible for a person to buy a camera with no prior knowledge or education, and hardly any overhead investment, to start what they may call a business and get quick, far-reaching exposure. In the film days, a person would not make the investments in equipment or in time if they had little to no ability to run a photography business and the ability to produce work that really would sell. People would see that a person obviously didn’t know how to take a photo, and that person would not succeed.

The levels of ability of photographers today range from someone picking up a cell phone and posting blurry photos and charging people for it, to several thousand dollar, multiple shooter, highly-accredited, world-renowned master photographers who upgrade their equipment as soon as the newest camera or computer is released. Then there are the thousands of us who fall right in between. Smaller-business photographers who have taken classes, invested in quality equipment when our profits have allowed, and have the goal in mind to produce the best work we can and make our clients happy. Photography for me right now is very part-time, though busier at certain times of the year. I care very much about presenting myself professionally via my websites and public contact. I will never settle for producing mediocre work for a quick buck. My goal is to improve every time I shoot. I may never become a master photographer but I’m ok with that! I take as much constructive criticism I can.

I have an art background that goes all the way back to my childhood. I was ALWAYS creating. I picked up disposable cameras around age 8 and loved taking pictures of sunsets and my pets. I once thought it would be really cool to be a photographer. I got involved in 4-H and took some photography workshops. I was NOT a good photographer then but I had a little dream. I was fortunate to be given opportunities that helped further this. I went to college for 3 years (did not get a degree, didn’t have the money at the time to continue) and took several courses in photography, digital art, other art, and a business class. Boy was it a surprise how much I thought I knew about photography before college! I didn’t know what an aperture was or what ISO meant. I was just a girl with a camera, like 98% of the population. After college I knew quite a bit. Then I bought a used Canon Rebel with some kit lenses and a handbook. I thought I was a photographer then. Then the best opportunity came to me. I sold a pair of shorts on craigslist. A woman emailed me with interest, and at the signature of her email, said “— — Photography” with her website. A little spark came as I looked at her website. I loved her work. She ended up buying the shorts and when I met her I told her I saw she was a photographer and I also loved photography. She added me on Facebook. Several months later she and her family came into the place I worked and she recognized me. She said “Hey, we have been talking about possibly hiring an assistant. I think you’d be good. Why don’t you come over for a meeting next week?” They gave me a little interview and hired me on! I thought I was a photographer before that. Boy was I wrong. I mostly did all her editing, no shooting, but we got along so great, she was like a big sister to me. She taught me more about shooting. Over the course of working for her I learned more than I’d ever known including all the business aspects of it. I was devastated when she announced her husband took the job in California. I literally bawled at home. She had talked about getting me co-shooting that summer and even wanted to eventually make me a business partner. In a way, the good that came from that was that it allowed me to develop my OWN business, but I will NEVER discredit how Michelle is the one who made me get to the point I am now. It would have taken me years on my own to learn everything working for her taught me!

I am NOT a perfect photographer. But I have my education and job experience to fall back on. Education, experience, and the proper tools/equipment are everything! When I see these hundreds of “overnight photographers” it truly frustrates me, especially seeing that people pay for that. It devalues the hard work, time, and money people like me have put into it.

My credentials: College classes in photography, art, digital software, and business. A year of job experience working for an established professional photographer. Being hired on as a second shooter for a highly-accredited photography studio and nailing it with my best friend who works for that studio.

Here is my Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/roxanne_elise_photography/