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Amateurs Are Killing Photography Just Like They Killed Everything Else That Is Good

We’re only half joking, of course.

The New York Times ran a trend piece in yesterday’s paper about how tough it is to make a living as a pro photographer. Why? Because all the hobbyists are selling out for a couple bucks here, some exposure there.

“People that don’t have to make a living from photography and do it as a hobby don’t feel the need to charge a reasonable rate,” Matt Eich, a photojournalist, told the NYT.

It’s true, but is there any notion of “you get what you pay for” anymore? A colleague of ours says that he’ll look through IStockPhoto and other microstock sites populated with the shoots of amateurs, but when he needs something good, he still has to go to Getty’s professional division.

The bigger threat to photogs, we’d imagine (and the NYT mentions), is the lack of outlets out there. Glossy magazines are shutting down, and with each goes another place where a photographer might have scored some money.

But with Demand Studios’ army of low-paid writers cranking out content for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Travel section, we’re not sure this problem is limited to just visual folk. And of course, just as how Demand Studios is absorbing a lot of laid-off professionals, these “amateurs” grabbing low rates for photos aren’t necessarily all amateurs, just desperate.

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