Impact of the Recession on Freelance Photography – guest blogger Maria Fonseca

As Realtors we also depend on freelance photographers to help us with quality photos that will enhance our listings.  There are lots of opportunities to showcase the inside and outside of your properties.  First impression is important.  Now first impressions are generally on the web as that is the first place that the buyer sees your listing property……….Joan Parcewski


The current economic climate has impacted freelance photography as photographers are being forced to learn new ways of navigating the market.  During this period of transition, new revenue streams are being established where originality holds value. Niche specialism is in demand. Surviving as a freelancer in the digital age requires new skills and an openness to new markets.


The business model that formerly sustained photojournalism has collapsed.  High profile photographers who once travelled the globe on expense accounts are now assembling a patchwork of non-governmental organization (NGO) commissions to pay for foreign travel and/or mix commercial assignments with self-financed work.


But photojournalists are not the only ones feeling the pinch. The traditional fallback for many freelance photographers has always been the stock market. Stock photography is the supply of photographs licensed to fulfill the needs of creative assignments instead of hiring a photographer. If a photographer was experiencing a slow period, he could always count on a check once a month for the sales of his stock photography.  That system has almost completely fallen apart.


The newspaper industry is being strangled by the move to the web of both advertisers and readers.  Magazines are cutting back to compensate for declining revenues.  The publishing industry is in a tailspin.  All this has impacted the use of freelance photographers.


At a time when financial and commercial markets are collapsing, starting a business might be the last thing on anyone’s mind. Yet, several photography businesses are being launched.  Today’s technology allows business to be managed more effectively and to provide better customer service.


Some strategies are being met with success in recession-proofing photography businesses.


1.         Buyers of photography are evaluating photographers’ worth based on factors other          than pictures.  In the case of wedding photography, providing a DVD with the    images and a copyright release are often seen as more valuable than a wedding             album.  By removing picture quality as the differentiator, bookings are increasing.


2.         Photographers are providing a level of customer service that is unmatched             because every interaction counts.


3.         Displaying one’s work regularly to prospective clients – whether in a gallery, a      mailer, or a local publication –  is yielding results.


By effectively marketing and caring for their customers, photographers are building a loyal customer base.  Branding, building a strong network, and positioning in the market are critical, along with cultivating relationships with people and places we enjoy.

Maria Fonseca    Photographer




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