The Best of Times, the Worst of Times — for the Photography Business

How’s business?  The answer depends on your individual circumstances, of course — but also on your perspective.

The glass is either half full or half empty for many of us today. Take the Windy City. Just as Chicago delivers its chosen son to become President, and one of its premier photographers to become official White House photographer, both of the city’s newspapers are relegated to the pit of bankruptcy.

Life’s Big Giveaway

Life Magazine has created a Web site showcasing many of the greatest editorial photos of the 20th Century (including many by Black Star photographers) — making these treasured images more accessible than ever.

But it has also made them free for “personal, non-commercial use.”  As Daryl Lang of PDN points out:

This is a gift to amateur publishers and fits with the spirit of the free, open Internet.  It also means the value of an unlimited, worldwide, editorial license for a professional news picture has just fallen to $0.

The best of times, the worst of times.

Uncle Sam’s Big Takeaway

And let’s not forget that April 15 is just around the corner. Yes, friends, the tax man cometh.

How many of you are sitting down right now and realizing that 50 percent of your profits are going to the government, and realizing that you didn’t save anything to pay Uncle Sam, and are now wondering where you’re going to come up with the money you owe?

For years, I have been telling people that 50 percent  goes to the government.   No one listens.  I am not going to go out and do the math for every one of you out there, but that’s the percentage. Get used to it. Plan for it. 

Another Pub Goes Away

And another industry publication has bitten the dust. PDN’s Lang has reported on the demise of Studio Photography magazine, which I will miss finding in my mailbox.

A magazine spokesperson told Lang, “The industry is shifting away from a business-to-business segment and more toward business-to-consumer.”


While B2C, in the form of weddings, senior portraits, family portraits, and so on, will remain steady and consistent, B2B continues to be a growth area.

The truth is, the magazine’s audience began turning to a broader range of sources, principally online. More information and insight is freely available to photographers than ever before. But some, like Studio Photography, pay the price for this.

The best of times, the worst of times.

Friends, the glass is what you make of it — half full or half empty. From my perspective, the future is bright. For some, it’s always darkest before the dawn. For others, it’s always darkest before it’s pitch black.

Go figure.

2 Responses to “The Best of Times, the Worst of Times — for the Photography Business”

  1. I like to think that if the glass is half full then there is also a bottle almost completed Full too. Happy days. Bring it on.

  2. I too think the future is bright. Only a fool would think being a Professional photographer is easy, but in this climate it's also easy to look at the economic climate and just give up! I'm not hanging in here, I'm doing well but that's because I do believe there is sunlight to take out there. If you're in the dark, my suggestion is get yourself a whopping big Flashgun 🙂

Leave a Reply