In the published report entitled Digital Imaging and Professional Photographers: 2012 Results, InfoTrends examined the behaviors of 2,315 full-time and part-time professional photographers in the U.S. The results uncovered some of today's key opportunities for photographers.
Sorry fellas, but we have to give some props to the ladies here. The photography industry has historically been dominated by older males, but it looks like that is starting to change. InfoTrends conducted a similar survey in 2009, and only 16% of those who responded were female. In the 2012 edition, that number more than doubled to 33%. You GO girls! Turns out the female photographers also tend to be younger, clocking in at an average of 41.0 years old to the males' 50.5.
Out of those brave men and women who completed the survey (thank you!), 60% were full-time photographers and 40% were part-time.
The results here demonstrated that most professional photographers identify multiple specializations. That tells us that many pros are doing a good job of being well-rounded! On average, professional photographers specialized in five different types of photography, and here's where InfoTrends got crafty.
Because photographers identify themselves in multiple areas of specialization (see: well-rounded), InfoTrends asked them to indicate the percentage of their business that was devoted to the various categories. If his or her company generated more than 40% of their business from one particular type, they were determined to have a concentration in that area.
The most popular areas of specialization were:
Bit of a number overload here, brace yourselves! Survey participants reported capturing an average of 2,584 photos each month, which breaks down to about 857 photos per week. What makes these numbers even more impressive is that they include the figures from the part-time photographers. The full-timers more than doubled the part-timers production, which, you know, makes sense.
The average number of photos captured also varied by specialty. Advertising and wedding photographers take the most photos while fine art and nature photographers take the least.
Image Capture vs. Image Print
Ah, the numbers that count! Surely you were all shooting for error and not just trying to beef-up your stats there. Let's see if the digital shift really is in full-effect.
Of all those monthly photos, the surveyed photographers produced about 320 proofs and 580 final prints. What's interesting is the fine art and nature photographers print the most, while shooting the least. That means they win for best shooting percentage at 12% and 9% respectively. (Sorry, no prize awarded.)
Video capture capability is a standard feature on today's cameras, however, according to the survey, not many photographers are using it. Only around 25% are currently offering video services to their clients, mostly those who specialize in wedding photography. In this area especially, photographers would be well-advised to start utilizing that video function and learn it well! It's only a matter of time before people start requesting video-based memorabilia for their once-in-a-lifetime memories. Blame YouTube (maybe?).
Use of the Web
The internet has become a vital part of the photo industry, no question. An all-time high of 86% of photographers are currently using the Web for their business, way to go! Only about 6% of professional photographers were not using the Web and had no plans to start. The online universe is still not for everyone, but it certainly opens endless doors and access to connections, promotions, education, and so much more. Maybe it's time you checked out PPAedu's Best Practices for Social Networking.
The Bottom Line
There will always be competition in the photographic industry--good economy or bad. But consumers will always have a need for professional photographic services for important events and milestones like weddings, school portraits and family events. The results of this survey show that photographers weather the economic storm by utilizing their resources and branching their business out to the internet and video services.
Revenue opportunities continue to emerge, so make sure you have a strong foothold in these areas so that you don't get left behind!
Thanks again to the 2012 participants and look out for the 2013 InfoTrends survey in June. The more of you that participate, the more relevant the information becomes. Help yourselves out!
"The more you know yourself, the more clarity there is. Self-knowledge has no end - you don't come to an achievement, you don't come to a conclusion. It is an endless river."
? Jiddu Krishnamurti