Trending: Is Photography Dead? Not Yet

By David Schonauer   Wednesday April 24, 2019

Being a photographer isn’t the worst job in the world.

That distinction belongs to taxi drivers, according to 24/7 Wall St, which used data from CareerCast’s 2018 Jobs Rated Report and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to compile a list of the 25 least desirable jobs now, based on factors such as work environment, stress level, future prospects, and income — none of which are very good when you’re behind the wheel of a taxi.

But pro photography did make the list of bad jobs, coming in at number 25. “Photographers earn a median wage of $34,000 per year, slightly below the median wage for all U.S. jobs of $37,690,” noted 24/7 Wall St. “The average U.S. job is projected to have employment growth of 7% from 2016 to 2026, but photographers employment is projected to decline more than 5% in that same time frame.”

(On the other hand, the job outlook for newspaper reporters is much worse — that job came in at number 3 on the list, just behind taxi drivers and loggers. The number of newspaper reporters is projected to drop 10% by 2026 as newspapers lose readers and ad revenue, noted the website.)

The cause of upheaval in the photo market? “Thanks to camera-equipped smartphones some aspects of photography are more accessible for nonprofessionals,” noted 24/7 Wall St. “Other photography jobs could be eliminated as companies choose to hire freelancers rather than keeping salaried photographers on their payrolls.”

Indeed, as we noted recently, the camera industry saw weak sales drop even further in the past year, with 34.7 percent fewer camera systems shipping in February 2019 than February 2018. Digital Camera World called the drop a “freefall.”  According to a new report by the Camera & Imaging Products Association, shipments of interchangeable lens cameras were down to just 521,217 – over a quarter of a million fewer cameras than were shipped (798,014) in the same period last year.

You may be saying something like, “Yikes.” Or worse. Or simply feeling morose about this news. If so, you may want to watch a new video from photographers and YouTubers Tony and Chelsea Northrup, who offer some insight into the evolving photography market.

One thing to remember, note the Northrups, is that while camera sales have dropped drastically, photography has never been more popular. But rather than using point-and-shoot cameras, consumers are now shooting with their smartphones. “I think that cameras are more popular than ever,” notes Chelsea. If you would consider smartphones as cameras, you’d see that camera sales have continued to skyrocket, notes Tony.

And some photography jobs, including portrait photography, are on the uptick, notes Tony.

“The Northrups explain this dichotomy with how portraiture and wedding photographers may be winning or losing the battle depending on what they offer,” notes Fstoppers. “One of the biggest takeaways is the Northrups' take on the value of diversifying into a new field that is shouldered with photography and how to grow into that arena so you stay viable.”



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