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I recently read that a UK National newspaper offers a one size fits all fee of ......wait for it.....£30 - say $45. No matter the size or importance of the story, that's the fee. Similar happens to photographers through a newspaper deal through agencies. Odd that 'personalities' such as the mayor of London, Boris, can manage to get something over £1K for his column. Wonder why they don't have a budget for real journalists/freelancers?
Perhaps things are looking super great for camera manufacturers, Frederick.
With the explosion of photography popularity with the digital age, seems everybody now wants a camera.
Folks want to know how and where to make their own pictures. Thus the proliferation of all the photo tours and workshops, which for me, is a much more rewarding way to make a living compared to working for publications and promoters.
If cell phones get so good they replace our big heavy DSLR rigs, then I say, Hurray! I am not a fan of carrying all that weight.
Honestly Steve I think we're seeing the beginning of a lull in photography as a popular hobby. I've seen a noticeable slow-down in participation in a number of photography forums (not just wildlife/nature sites). Some of that is moving over to social networking sites like facebook but I don't think that explains all of it.
When I look back to the late sixties and early seventies I remember that photography was a very hot hobby. Virtually every department store and drug store chain had a photography department chocked full of SLR cameras, lenses, flashes and other accessories. As the seventies drew to a close interest in photography as a serious hobby seemed to begin to wane. Department store chains started carrying fewer and fewer cameras and almost no accessories. People moved from being serious shutter-bugs with SLRs to casual shooters with simple point and shoot cameras.
Enter digital imaging technology and a rebirth of interest in serious photography. Once again you can walk into a discount department store like Walmart and find a variety of DLSRs and some accessories. And, of course, there are tons of options for buying gear from internet resellers. Forums dedicated to photography started springing up and enjoying lots of traffic. Folks were taking photography seriously again!
Over time cameras are becoming more and more automated, requiring less and less knowledge on the part of the user. Not only are DSLR cameras getting better at doing the thinking, the technology has trickled into the point and shoot class of cameras and even cell phones! You really don't have to know much to make an "okay" photo. And I have little doubt that "okay" is good enough for a heck of a lot of people. Camera manufacturers have enjoy a nice run with folks scrambling to buy the latest, greatest newest thing they offered. They taken advantage of the popularity to push lens and accessory prices to nearly outlandish costs. I notice that there's less excitement at the release of new cameras now. More and more photographers... amateur and pro... are hesitant to upgrade. Look at the recent moves by photo software giant Adobe. Is the creative cloud about greed and increasing profit, or about setting themselves up with a cushion for the coming slow down in demand?
As the popularity of photography begins to drop, equipment and software sales lag and publishers continue to use free cell phone and point and shoot images to fill their needs there are going to be fewer and fewer folks interested in photo tours and workshops. Granted the demand for those will never totally go away but I do believe you're going to see a drop in overall participation.
As Bob Dylan said, "the times they are a changing."
Yes, I do agree, Bob, times are changing. Today, multiple photo meadows cater to every niche.
But on my side of the mountain I see a photographic explosion of intense activity. I saw the photo thing back in the film days as a relatively esoteric activity. Now I barely keep up with it. My merry prankster friend, www.KenRockwell.com, has become a B&H/ Adorama click through multimillionaire by merely discussing photo gear in a goofball contrarian way on his website, no small accomplishment.
My other tour buddies are swamped too. A am hanging on with local tours here in San Diego. So, as a hobby, photography, at least on my side of the mountain, looks to be more popular than ever.