CNN fires photojournalists and favor images from social media and the pro-sumer! Here is a quote from Jack Womack, CNN Senior VP
“We looked at the impact of user-generated content and social media, CNN iReporters and of course our affiliate contributions in breaking news. Consumer and pro-sumer technologies are simpler and more accessible. Small cameras are now high broadcast quality. More of this technology is in the hands of more people. After completing this analysis, CNN determined that some photojournalists will be departing the company.”
It appears as I mentioned in my article “The Complete Photographer’s Guide to Turning Pro” technological advances is making good photography easier and easier to produce, therefore those who are going to get paid with their photography are those who are very highly skilled and those photographers that CREATE vision, art, beauty, etc.
WHY a College Photography Degree Fails
I’m not going to say this is true for all colleges but for the most part a college photography degree from a major college will focus on two aspects of photography- photojournalism and fine art. Consequently, the student puts down a cool $100,000, gets a degree and finds out that in the real world, very, very, very few photographers make a living with photojournalism and fine art photography- which is fine if the student already knows this and if the college was upfront and informed them that they are studying something that virtually has a very, very limited career path.
What really makes me extremely upset, is that many major colleges look down on wedding photography and portraiture. However these are the two areas where photographers can make a living! Most people get a college degree to EARN MORE MONEY! Yeah, we love to say we go to college to enrich our mind and for “higher learning” but we all know 99% of us at college are there to increase our chances of earning more. Heck, if we wanted to enrich our minds, we could take that $100,000, grab a few friends and travel the world a few times over!
Major colleges are mostly to blame on why the average photographer makes only $29,000 where the national salary for the average person in the USA is $44,000. Why blame colleges? Because they have the resources and influence to do a better job at preparing photographers into the real world and have drastically failed because of their snobbish reaction to teaching REAL SKILLS needed to earn money as a photographer! There is virtually no difference in the salary between the photographer who earns a degree and one who doesn’t.
Here is something interesting to think about… in 2003, Brooks college graduates who where full time photographers had an average income of $26,000 with a debt of $74,000! At this time the average salary of a photographer was $24,000. Please, if you are considering a career in photography, you may at least want to educate yourself, consider reading my lengthy article on turning pro.
My PASSION- the system is “broke” and someone needs to fix it!
I have a dream… That if one of my elementary school daughters says to me, “Daddy, I want to be a professional photographer”, there could be a program in place that if she worked hard and completed this program, she could earn at least a salary comparable to the national average and provide for herself and her family. Isn’t this ideal the hope and dream for most parents- having their child be able to make a decent living doing something they love? (however, if you’re an Asian parent you expect to multiply average salary by 2x-3x! LOL)
My biggest goal in life, is to completely change the industry so people can earn a decent living with their photography. Currently, our system is “broke” and desperate repair is in order if the next generations are to benefit from a photography career.
After 20 years of being an entrepreneurial artist, 10+ years as a professional photographer and 5 years of teaching thousands of photographer around the world- I believe with the help of a few other great people, we have answers and solutions to this dilemma… AND some very influential people are listening. I am proud that I’ve been able to build my career to a level that I’ve caught the attention of some movers and shakers in the industry- probably this is my single greatest accomplishment in my career, my imagery is not even close to this in my perspective, because I want to help thousands and maybe even millions of people.
I know people throw around the word “revolutionary” like giving candy out on Halloween, but I do feel I’m working on something together with some great people and very influential photography organizations and businesses that will create a concrete legitimate career path for photographers. I can not talk about things at the moment BUT it is very exciting and I hope to announce developments in the beginning of 2012!
In the in between time, I don’t want to stop the momentum with training photographers who want to earn anywhere from $10K-$30k with wedding photography as a part time income or help develop struggling photographers and lead them on a path so they can achieve excellence and understand the makings of creating world class imagery without going into $74,000 in debt.
If this interests you, I worked hard at developing “no brainer” programs starting at $1,000 that can help you with your photography goals and aspirations:
The future of photography for those who want a career in it are those who can create vision, create art, create beauty, create penetrating emotions! Photojournalism is relatively easy in my humble opinion because it is mostly a REACTIVE process. The photographer captures what is simply given to them. I believe the future of photography is with the photographer who is PROACTIVE- an artist that can create a masterpiece, convey their vision, passion and emotion down to every detail of the photo. Where the photographer has full control of light and composition and every element in the photo.
As an analogy, there are two types of Movies- a documentary (reactive) and a feature movie that has been created (proactive)- every aspect of it, the sound, the locations, the wardrobe, the casting, the directing, the lighting, the acting, the editing, etc. Of course there is always room for a good documentary because the human experience is interesting but when we think of our favorite movies we don’t think of documentaries (most of the time), we think of those movies that move us emotionally which was the amazing and laborious reproduction of an artistic masterpiece created from someone’s vision.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I sincerely believe that 100 world class photographers united in action and spirit can change the world. That is why my desire is to develop world class photographers. People only turn their heads and listen to people who are highly skilled and are passionate about leading the way to provide REAL WORLD solutions. Please join me.
Notes: Special thanks to my good friend Kenny Ahn who tipped me off on the CNN article!!