UGC kills professional photographers

Published on April 01, 2010

UGC kills professional photographers

    The NY Times published an article on the endangered profession of professional photographers. This is another profession that has become a victim of new technologies and the era of the Internet. The reason for the dismissal of many professionals and the distress of the rest is the boom in digital photography, improving the quality of amateur photographs, as a result of which a sharp reduction in the cost of photographs in photo banks, a reduction in the circulation of the print press, etc.

    In the era of film cameras, to make a high-quality picture the first time, a huge practical experience and knowledge were needed. According to some estimates, it took 10,000 hours of hard work to become a professional .

    Now it’s enough to look at the screen of a digital camera and adjust the settings if the white balance or exposure is not optimal, and take another shot.

    Even the most ordinary amateur on a digital camera can take some really beautiful and high-quality photos (there are many such examples on Flickr). And they are happy to sell these photos at the lowest price (one dollar, for example) or give away completely free. Accordingly, professional photobanks are almost completely packed with high-quality and super-cheap amateur content. Not surprisingly, Getty Images has signed such an agreement with Flickr.

    For comparison, in 2005 Getty Images licensed 1.4 commercial photos for sale, and last year - already 22 million, with all the additional content coming from the UGC sector. You can imagine the scale of falling prices and lowering the income of professional photographers.

    According to the NY Times, as a result, many photographers are now forced to combine their work with other activities, for example, with the creation of banners for online advertising.