Will Hobbyists Take Over?

Posted on 1/22/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (3)

A frequent question from professional stock photographers is: "Will hobbyists take over the market?" Our answer: not even in microstock.

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Copyright © 2009 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


  • Lester Lefkowitz Posted Jan 22, 2009
    Possibly a better ordering of the two camps would be those who are concerned about earning a decent return on their investment, and those who are satisfied with telling their friends they've had some pictures published (their return on investment being measured in ego-dollars.) Then the top microstock producers clearly are "professionals."
    But the 60,000+ hobbyists who only have a few sales a year, and are happy to settle for a gross annual income of $5.78, still take away a big bunch of sales from "professionals" (like me). Life is tough!

  • Rio Helmi Posted Jan 22, 2009
    Hey Lester,

    What to do: the very tools which have been created over the years to bring photography to new levels don't only benefit pros. Those of us who worked with rolls of our favorite films, building the reflexes to get focus and exposure right (especially for the particular emulsion you were shooting), developing the films exactly the way we wanted it and so on, now have more time to concentrate more on the actual image. The new amateurs get to do the same thing. In the end it's the image-ination that sets the image apart.
    As a consequence of the ease with which one can make an acceptable (from the technical point of view) image there is just a mass of rubbish out there. If someone can't make a decent living out of creating rubbish because an amateur made a better picture, it's annoying to the pro but in the end that's the risk the pro takes if he/she creates rubbish. There are plenty of "pros" who only see photography as income only. But there are of course pros who make great images and can't make a living for a variety of reasons. That's sad, because it just means meaningless images will drown out important work, and someone who should be able to make a living doing something they love and respect can't.

  • Jagdish Agarwal Posted Jan 23, 2009
    Well said Rio,

    I remember someone once told me, from Monday to Friday shoot for your sole and on Saturday and Sunday shoot for your soul. Then you will be happy.

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