Freelance Photographers May be in Trouble With Falling Rates

Close up of photographerThe first practical application of high speed photography was in 1878, and answered the question of whether or not all four of a horse’s hooves left the ground while running. Photography has come a long way since then, but better technology doesn’t necessarily mean better conditions for photographers.

Professional photographer fees have stagnated over the last few years, and in some cases, they’ve have been slashed to a bare minimum, making life difficult for countless freelancers.

At the same time, technology has advanced so quickly that many photographers struggle to keep up with new tech and with all of the expenses it carries.

“Nowadays, the quality of things is not so important anymore because the value of information is so cheap due to technology. The industry knows it so they are playing us all,” said professional photographer Vignes Balasingam.

The Obscura Festival director said that the industry has currently reached a point where few can tell the difference between good and bad photography.

“The thing with technological advances is that now, everybody can get a DSLR and be a photographer…some charging very low fees,” Vignes said.

He’s not the only one worried about the global freelance photography market, either.

The Australian photography market has just taken a major hit with the reveal of a new Uber-like service that allows people to book photographers for incredibly low rates.

The service, Snappr, wants to make photo shoots “quick and snappy” for those who may not be able to afford top-notch photographers from around the world.

The online service allows people to book a 30-minute photography session of five photographs for as little as $45 U.S. dollars. Rates increase with time and number of photos produced, but those rates are what have photographers everywhere concerned.

In the fine print, Snappr does mention that additional digital images can be bought for roughly $11, but that still doesn’t amount to a living wage for most.

Some photographers, though, are viewing the service as an opportunity for beginners to get themselves out there.

“I think they are exploring a new market, a new category. They’re encouraging people to hire a professional, even if it’s not a high-level professional,” said professional photographer Hugo Lopes in an interview with Resource Magazine.

While Lopes may be right, Snappr doesn’t solve the issue that countless other freelance photographers are facing.

“We haven’t found a new way of doing things, maybe we just need to find it and we will survive this wave of changes,” said Vignes.

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