In the last two years, the survey of the online platform berufsfotografen.com focused on the effects of the Covid restrictions on professional photographers. Currently, photographers are looking more positively into the near future.
Current order situation
Since the outbreak of Corona and the severe restrictions in 2019 to 2021, the order situation in photography has now almost returned to normal, according to berufsfotografen.com. In 2022, photographers rated the order situation as almost as positive as in the years before Corona. It is particularly interesting that female photographers were slightly more optimistic about the professional situation in 2022 than their male colleagues. The proportion of male and female photographers for whom the order situation was "threatening their existence" fell from 24% to 4%. For just under 60% of male and female photographers, the situation is now "very good" or "good" again.
Basically, there do not seem to be any gender-specific differences in the training of photographers. Stephan Gast of berufsfotografen.com: "Photography was and remains a creative and technical field that can be practised by people of any gender. In craft training, the proportion of women is just under 60%.And yet there seem to be differences in the training with which women or men start out in the profession of photography."
The largest proportion of female photographers surveyed, 34%, have completed craft training and only 20% are self-taught. Among male photographers, on the other hand, there are significantly more autodidacts at 29%. This proportion has been growing steadily for years and Stephan Gast assumes that their share is likely to be much higher among those who are just starting their own business.
„Natürlich hängt der beste Weg, um in den Beruf als Fotograf einzusteigen, immer von den individuellen Zielen, Interessen und Umständen ab“, so Stephan Gast. „Neben der klassischen handwerklichen Ausbildung gibt es private Fotoschulen, Hochschulen und Fachschulen sowie die Möglichkeit eines Quereinstiegs über Praktika und Assistenzen oder sogar den autodidaktischen Weg. Wichtig ist beim Start in den Beruf neben den technischen und je nach Arbeitsbereich spezifischen Kenntnissen vor allem auch ein möglichst umfangreiches Netzwerk und ein Plan, wie man Kunden akquiriert.“
How satisfied the photographers are with their own training can be seen well in the following figures: Although 30% of the respondents have completed a craft training, only 15% indicated this as the best option to enter the profession. In contrast, photographers who have studied, are self-taught or have attended a photography school seem to be much more satisfied with their chosen path in retrospect. 33% said that studying or going to photography school was the best way to go, and 35% of the respondents had completed this training.
Regardless of their own training, photographers agree that a photo assistant before becoming self-employed is one of the best ways to learn what they need to start their career in the most effective and practical way.The survey also shows how many trainees there are in the photography trade and how high the proportion of female trainees is.
According to the survey, the total number of trainees in photography declined again last year. While there were still 760 apprentices in 2021, there were only 638 last year. By comparison, there were 1860 apprentices ten years ago and as many as 2161 20 years ago. As was the case 20 years ago, each company still trains 1.6 apprentices every year, but the number of companies providing training has fallen dramatically over the last 20 years.
It is interesting to see that in recent years more women than men have been trained in photography. Last year, 63% of the trainees were female, while only 37% were male. Whether this is due to the fact that training companies prefer to hire female trainees or whether there are simply fewer men interested in a craft training in photography is questionable.
"The area of photography that is most enjoyable is of course subjective and depends on individual preferences, interests and abilities," says Stephan Gast.
"Nevertheless, it can be determined that areas of work that involve contact with people are particularly enjoyable. In first place is the portrait area, followed by event/reportage and wedding photography. Architecture, the first field of work without a direct connection to people, follows shortly behind. It is interesting to see here that for female photographers, "children and baby photography" is in second place shortly after portrait photography, an area that has hardly any relevance for photographers."
With regard to the assessment of which areas generate the highest income, male and female photographers are in agreement. The fields of "wedding", "advertising" and "industry" are almost on a par.
Depending on the field of work, there are different requirements for the quality of image data in photography. For high-quality productions, digital backs such as those from Phase One or Hasselblad are still used, but for the majority of professional photographers, full-frame cameras are sufficient, with Canon being the most popular camera brand among professionals, ahead of Nikon and Sony.
Presenting one's work on social media platforms is a more or less popular necessity for many photographers. However, there does not seem to be a particular social media channel through which "many jobs" can be acquired. Rather, social media seems to be a useful supplement to self-promotion rather than a reliable way to attract new clients.
Currently, Instagram is considered the preferred social media platform for photographers. 62% said that Instagram was "important" or "very important" to them. In comparison, Facebook is clearly behind LinkedIn. The differences between male and female photographers are particularly interesting here. 37% of women said that Instagram was "very important" for them, while only 22% of men said that it was. This distribution was also similar for Facebook, with 11% of women and 5% of men considering it "very important".
Looking at the frequency with which male and female photographers post new content, it is clear that female photographers are much more active on Facebook and Instagram.For 30% of photographers, LinkedIn is an important site for professional life, but it is used much more passively. Only 13% of women and 19% of men interact at least once a month on LinkedIn. On Instagram, it is 72% of women and 62% of men.
Jobs, however, can only be generated occasionally via Facebook and Instagram, with female photographers being most successful on Instagram. Here it was 16% who got "many" jobs and 54% who got jobs "occasionally".
In summary, it seems that social media play a subordinate role in job acquisition for most male and female photographers. Female photographers in particular seem to be successful in generating commissions via Instagram and Facebook. This could also be related to the fact that female photographers work more often in areas such as wedding, children and portrait, where potential clients are also active on these platforms.
On LinkedIn, on the other hand, there is no discernible difference in usage between male and female photographers. Here, the share of business client contacts is probably significantly higher.
In fact, photographers receive most orders from existing clients or through referrals. Offline or online advertising rarely seems to lead to success in photography.
Rights of use
"Flat rates can be quite relevant in photography, as they give clients a clear idea of the cost of a particular service," says Stephan Gast. "If rights of use are included, this is transparent and calculable for the client. For the photographer, on the other hand, handing over the rights of use in terms of time, content and space naturally entails the risk that the client will use a photo far more intensively than was envisaged by the photographer in the calculation and compensated for by the flat rate."
Depending on the area of work and the client, flat rates are more or less suitable. This can also be seen in the survey results. There are 40% of photographers who almost always charge flat rates and give up the rights of use completely.
Experiences with this vary from photographer to photographer and from female photographer to female photographer. Female photographers use flat rates much more often, whereas male photographers more often prefer differentiated pricing.
Stephan Gast: "Photographers must always take into account their own costs, workload and profitability when preparing quotes to ensure that their prices are reasonable and allow them to run their business profitably. In doing so, ideally the adjustment of quotation prices to the client's purchasing power should always remain within a reasonable range that takes into account the economic needs of both parties."
Only 18% of female photographers have absolutely fixed prices and do not make individual adjustments according to the client's purchasing power. Just as female photographers are more likely to offer fixed packages, they are also less likely to adjust the fee to the client.
"The calculation of offers depends on many factors. Particularly in the case of extensive assignments, consulting with the client and the ability to reconcile client wishes with the budget is of great importance," says Gast. "It is therefore not surprising that photographers and photographers almost always also listen to their gut feeling and rarely use their own tables or calculation aids." The mfm spreadsheet is still only an aid for 23% of photographers, especially when it comes to second use or the granting of rights of use.
Photographers handle the calculation of travel days differently. 20% and 27% do not calculate travel days at all or see them as part of the overall calculation. Of the photographers who do calculate travel days, 50% of the daily rate has established itself as the most frequently used solution.
Stephan Gast: "Although one might think that imagery and professionalism are decisive factors in the awarding of contracts, a likeable appearance is of greater importance. It's worth noting that for only 11% of clients are reasonable prices a crucial component."A photographer who has been recommended by a third party, has an attractive website with suitable images and offers value for money is therefore considered by most clients to be the ideal service provider. Other factors are usually of secondary importance.
"Excitingly, the proportion of photographers who consider "reasonable prices" to be very important was significantly higher than that of female photographers," says Gast.
The methods used to attract clients vary depending on the type of photography and the target group. Female photographers also use blogging more often, seek contact with colleagues or fellow photographers more often and take part in workshops and trade fairs to build and maintain a network.
Monthly costs in photography can vary greatly. Sole traders who work from home usually have manageable costs. These are usually expenses for camera, computer and light, marketing, insurance, further training, tax advice, software licences or leasing costs.
Photographers who have a studio and permanent staff usually have much higher monthly costs, which are often many times higher. Around 80% of photographers have monthly costs of no more than 2000 euros, 50% even less than 1000 euros. "The financial requirements to work in photography are now at an extremely low level," says Stephan Gast. "This naturally attracts many career changers who deduce that it is easy to start as a photographer and earn a living."There were clear differences between female and male photographers in terms of investment in equipment. Women photographers invested significantly less money in technology. The difference in investment between female and male photographers is particularly evident in lighting technology. Less than half of the female photographers own lighting equipment worth more than 3,000 euros. Among photographers, almost 70% own lighting equipment with a value of over 3,000 euros. Male photographers are more likely to have a larger studio with higher investments, whereas female photographers are more likely to work in areas where this is not necessary.
"The question of how much profit remains after deducting all operating costs is extremely exciting," says Stephan Gast. On average, this amount is just under 30,000 euros, which is in line with the fact that monthly operating expenses average less than 2,000 euros and the average annual gross turnover is just over 50,000 euros.
In this context, inflation is also noticeable in photography, as there was a significant increase in average daily rates in all areas in 2022. "Since operating expenses have not increased to a similar extent, it can be assumed that the increase in daily rates is due to the increased cost of living," says Gast.
The daily rate for photo assistants is currently 300 to 350 euros. However, almost 20% of the assistants take more than 400 euros daily rate. A survey on fotoassistent.de revealed a similar picture. Only 16% of the assistants charge less than 250 euros per day, the largest group is around 350 euros per day.Incidentally, around 80% of the photographers stated that they do not generate any revenue from illegally used images. 24% offer no image editing, 51% no film services, although over 60% of the photographers and photographers stated that photography and film will increasingly merge in the future and that videos will be a promising market.
Whether photographer or photographer - the next few months are assessed positively to a similar extent. Compared to the previous year, the proportion of those with a rather pessimistic assessment has decreased from over 20% to 4%. Almost 60% of photographers are optimistic or even very optimistic about the future.
The proportion of photographers who have no financial reserves has also decreased noticeably. The end of Corona is noticeable here.
But even though the order situation has improved considerably, daily rates and turnover have risen and photographers are optimistic about the near future, uncertainties remain. Around 20% of those surveyed see photography as a job with a secure future. Technological changes, growing competition and the flood of images in the media, however, lead to great uncertainty about how photography will develop in the coming years.