The state of the working photographer today

Here’s a fascinating article written by Vincent Laforet, a former staff photographer with the NYTimes. He talks about the general hard times in the media industry at the moment, and in particular how this affects photographers. There’s a lot of doom and gloom in the air these days, and for good reason. Assignment rates have not increased much in the past 20 years, and with the advent of digital technology, there’s a lot more competition for the few assignments available. It’s probably the worst time ever to be an editorial and news photographer. Or…. is it?

Vincent talks about the need to diversify and embrace the new technologies available. Staff positions at newspapers and magazines are few and far between these days, so the reality for the majority of photojournalists around the world is that we have to earn a living as freelancers, and undoubtedly, surviving as a freelancer depends as much (or more) on being a good businessman as being good shooter.

So how am I trying to do this? I try to create a balance between regular news, editorial and documentary work – which pays moderately to poorly – and other work (weddings, corporate, commercial, resorts) that pays well. And a funny thing happened during this transition: I discovered I really enjoyed the new work I was taking on. Shooting weddings is fun! Shooting architecture is fun! Even shooting corporate portraits affords me a chance to be creative, meet new people, try new styles of shooting, etc. And this blog is part of the process, embracing the technology available to connect with clients and the general public. I’m still exploring and expanding my creativity and technique, and I’m able to continue earning a living taking pictures. By doing all these things I’m becoming a better photographer, and I am still able to continue pursuing my passion of telling stories with images.

I’m busier than ever, and nothing gets the creative energy going than deadlines, new clients and new challenges. This summer I have shot corporate portraits, resort marketing projects, several weddings, a fashion collection, the Miss Universe contest and a story on HIV/AIDS. Next week I’m shooting a report for the World Gold Council, and after that I’ll be in the pool for 3 weeks in Beijing shooting aquatics at the Olympics. After that, its back to Hanoi for the fall and prepping for wedding season in Vietnam, which promises to be great fun.

Photography: not necessarily such a bad way to make a living.

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~ by Julian Abram Wainwright on July 25, 2008.

2 Responses to “The state of the working photographer today”

  1. […] Here’s a fascinating article written by Vincent Laforet, a former staff photographer with the NYTimes. He talks about the general hard times in the media industry at the moment, and in particular how this affects photographers. There’s a lot of doom and gloom in the air these days, and for good reason. Assignment rates have not increased much in the past 20 years, and with the advent of digital technology, there’s a lot more competition for the few assignments available. It’s probably the wors Source: https://julianwainwright.wordpress.com/2008/07/25/the-state-of-the-working-photographer-today/ […]

  2. […] Go to the author’s original blog: The state of the working photographer today […]

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