The world of photography is constantly changing, and we don’t just mean regarding the number of megapixels on your smartphone camera.
From one year to the next, we see shifts in how photographers are taking pictures, what colors they are emphasizing, whether or not they are using film styles, and more.
If you work in the photography industry, you may already know about some of these trends. For 2017, though, the trends and changing tides may be bigger and more notable than usual, so it’s important to stay tapped in throughout the year.
In particular, here are three trends that we expect will impact your business in some way in 2017:
1. Drone Photography will Skyrocket
If you were hoping that drone photography would be no more than a passing fad, then 2017 may disappoint you. According to a recent study conducted by Allied Market Research and reported by Digital Trends, aerial photography is expected to grow 12.9% over the course of the next six years. By 2022, Allied Market Research expects that the aerial photography industry will be worth $2.2 billion globally.
In other words, drone photography is here to stay.
That doesn’t mean the path will be easy for drone photographers in 2017. Government regulations impact where people can fly drones and make it surprisingly difficult to use a drone for professional photography.
If you do decide to get into the aerial photography industry as part of your business, your flying will be classified as “commercial drone use.” Commercial use of a drone is against the federal law unless you hold a drone pilot’s license.
These regulations will serve as barriers to entry for would-be drone photographers and could mean that the bulk of Allied Market Research’s predicted 12.9% market growth won’t begin in earnest for another year or two.
However, while government regulations present a challenge for photographers seeking to take advantage of this new part of the market, they also present a significant opportunity.
Already, many clients are yearning for high-quality aerial photos and video. Governments are using this style of photography for everything from urban planning to environmental research, while many industries—from real estate to construction—are reaping the benefits of affordable aerial photography as well.
If you are a photographer and have the spare cash to invest in a high-quality drone, you might be able to get in on the ground floor of a new money-making opportunity.
- Need drone presets? Check out Rob Strok’s Lightroom Presets →
2. The Need for Video Production is Growing
The age of the multifaceted photographer is upon us, and 2017 will only deepen the trend.
To compete in a booming industry, you will have to be a renaissance man or woman to set yourself apart from the competition. Offering aerial photography by way of drones is one way to accomplish that feat, but adding video might be an even more attractive approach.
- See also: Video LUTS on FilterGrade →
Because of the government regulations and licensing requirements surrounding drone photography, there are barriers to entry in that market niche that you won’t find in the world of video production.
Virtually all DSLR cameras today are capable of capturing high quality video, and dedicated professional video cameras are more affordable today than ever before. Adding a video camera to your arsenal and learning a few professional filmmaking tactics, could prove to be your best strategy for winning over new clients this year.
Think of the value of offering a video production service in relation to your wedding photography services. You want to be able to raise your rates for wedding photography, as wedding season is a big time for business and you want to be able to capitalize on it as much as possible.
However, with such a crowded market, raising your rates means the risk of losing your business to amateurs or younger professionals willing to work for less.
If you want to earn more for weddings, offering additional services is a great way to start. Video production services are the perfect perk. Many couples love to hire videographers for their weddings to capture key moments like the procession down the aisle, the vows, the first kiss, the first dance, or the toasts at the reception.
Offering these video production services at an included cost to go with your photography services is a great way to provide additional value, earn more, and give your clients even more reason to love your work.
3. Mobile Photography Will Challenge You
It’s almost blasphemous to say it, but phone photography could cut into your business considerably in 2017.
As a professional photographer, it’s easy to turn up your nose at mobile phone cameras. “Surely clients will want professional-quality photographs for important occasions and applications” is a common thought process.
The problem with this line of thinking (and the hazard of letting yourself succumb to it) is that phone cameras have quietly become pretty-darn good.
Whilst megapixels do not equal lens quality, the standard megapixel count for rear smartphone cameras these days is 12.2. (That’s what consumers get out of their Samsung Galaxy S7 phones and their iPhone 7 models.)
Other phones surpass even that. The Sony Xperia XA Ultra has a 22.9-megapixel camera, while the Motorola Z-Droid Force (ranked as the best phone camera on the market by Consumer Reports) offers 15.9 megapixels.
Consumer Reports classified the still image quality of the Xperia, the Galaxy S7, the Droid Force, and the Google Pixel as “Excellent.” (The iPhone 7 earns a grade of “Very Good.”)
With numbers and grades such as this, it’s not surprising that more and more people are using their phone cameras to cover a lot of their photography needs.
As a result, focusing your marketing efforts on your expertise, friendly demeanor, innovative photo styles, and other perks will keep you ahead of other photographers who just claim a “high-quality” or “professional” service.
All three of these trends are poised to challenge professional photography businesses in 2017, but when haven’t photographers needed to continuously up their game?
Obviously you needn’t take on aerial photography or start shooting video just to stay current. Continuing to offer superb service to your customers will always remain number one.
What do you think will change over the coming year?
To say there are only 3 trends that will change in the photography market over the next year would be quite short sighted. I’m simply highlighting the three which I think will be the most significant.
But what do you think will change? Let me know in the comments below, you never know how it may help your fellow photographer.