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Shrinking Opportunities for Pro Photographers

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Stock photo from Gina Genis library

Well, it’s not as if pro photogs weren’t already feeling this, but seeing it in print makes facing reality unavoidable. The New York Times article on the shrinking opportunities for professional photographers makes us scream I should have become an accountant.

Technology: friend or foe? On one hand, the advanced technology of cameras, computers, and software has made certain tasks less time-consuming, but on the other, has made it easier for amateurs to get accidentally adequate shots. How many camera owners are there in the world? If each owner posted only one good shot to a penny stock site, that would be millions of accidentally adequate shots for editors to choose from. Chances are they will find something close to what they need for their article if they have the time to sift through the multitude of images, bad ones included.

Just a few years ago, editors said they didn’t have time to wade in the muck looking for the good shot. Now, with budgets being slashed, they are forced to do so. Amateur photographers do not need to make a living from their photography. They have “real” jobs, and are thrilled to get the ego pumping validation of having their -dare I say it- work in a magazine or news article. The insanely low pay from a penny stock site is just icing.

The result is that the market is flooded with cheap and adequate images, and the economic hardship for newspapers, magazines, and advertisers forces them accept lower standards of photography.

I am asked to speak to graduating college students, and one of the inevitable questions is “how can I make money?” The answer is that a professional photographer has to do many things. Teach, get sponsorships, seek affiliations, and possibly work part or full-time in unrelated field. In other words, always have a Plan B.

Read the New York Times article.

About Gina Genis

Hi Friends, I'm a photographer and artist who lives in Washington DC. I have two blogs. The Gina Genis Blog is about art and photography. My new blog, DC Discoveries is dedicated to showing you everything from fashion to art, food to entertainment in all sections of the District. I hope you will take the journey with me. I exhibit my work in museums and galleries across the U.S. I'm included in the permanent collections of the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, the Otto G. Richter Library Special Collections Division of the University of Miami, Hard Rock Casino, Orange County Transit District, IBM, and the Sarah and Adam Markman Collection among others. My series "Window Peeping" was included in OsCene 2010 at the Laguna Art Museum, Truman State University, Fellows of Contemporary Art, Biola University, and solo shows at Gallery 825 and Cypress College. The "June Gloom" series was exhibited in a solo show at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The "Kala" series has been exhibited at MPLS Photo Center, Cypress College, and Gallery 825. "Economy Portraits" was created as an Artist In Residence project at the Huntington Beach Art Center, and was awarded "Best Art Show of 2011" by the OC Weekly. I curated Wide Angle View, an exhibit of 16 international, award-winning photo and multi-media journalists at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art to much critical acclaim. Recent reviews of my work have appeared in the Huffington Post, Art Scene, OC Weekly, Orange County Register, New University, Riviera Magazine, Coast Magazine, Huntington Beach Independent, and appeared on CNN, NBC, ABC, and more. I lead the Gina Genis Photo Workshops where I show beginning and intermediate photographers how to jump to the next level with their work. I also teach online photography courses through The Compelling Image.

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