I love taking pictures with my smartphone. Even though I have a DSLR, my phone probably snaps more pictures than anything else I own. I’m no professional, but the low cost and ready accessibility of this technology has made it possible for just about anyone to practice the art of photography.

Smartphones have empowered more people to take photos in a variety of situations. Where photography was once a hobby of the wealthy and the profession of the experience, everyone with a mobile phone complete with a camera can snap hundreds of photos on any given day.

This is how technology works. It starts off expensive and exclusive and works its way down in price, breaking down that barrier of entry.

The problem facing professional photographers today is the competition they face from their own perspective clients. Why would someone pay for something they could do themselves? That’s the mentality of many users in a movement of crowdsourced photography for events such as Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and QuinceaƱeras.

So, is the proliferation of camera phones hurting professional photographers? We decided to take this question to our readers.

Michael Browns: Professional Photographer

I’m a professional portrait photographer (for the past 27 years) here in Iowa. I’ve been shooting all digital for the past 12 years. Just in the last three years there have been “professional wannabe” photographers springing up all over the place. As of today, within a radius of 25 miles from my town (excluding professional portrait studios), there are nearly 80 photographers. The business pie is only so large; the more slices, the less pie for everyone.

I’ve seen their retail prices for photos and most of them are not charging enough to make a living wage, so they may not last long. So digital photography (not so much using camera phones) is hurting my business.

Joshua Marzec – Photographer

Weddings, senior photos, sports, family photos, and holiday cards will always have a place for professional photographers. I don’t need a professional photographer to take a picture of my wife and me at dinner. I would rather just whip out my EVO 3D and take a picture.

Tom Chappell

It’s like music. You can go the easy route and use autotune and simple beats, or you can actually work for your music and take the effort to make a masterpiece. It all depends on how motivated/how much you care about your art.

Frances Palaschuk – Blogger

Personally, I think professional photography will never go out of style.

Candice M. Yee – Blogger and Photographer

Camera phones and apps (like Instagram and Hipstamatic) make everyone feel pro. Real photographers still have chops — and it shows.

Final Thoughts

As an experienced videographer and a very amateur photographer, I wouldn’t say that smartphones and other inexpensive cameras are ruining the platform. If anything, they’re empowering people that have talent to pursue a profession they may not have otherwise been capable of entering into due to a price barrier.

I do believe, however, that the flood of prosumer photographers are making it a flooded market for professionals attempting to continue to make a living doing what they love. Professional photographers invest tens of thousands of dollars into their equipment and craft. It takes years upon years of experience (and for some even University instruction) to get to a level where they can justify charging a living wage to do what they do.

In the end, I’d say the proliferation of amateur photography has about as much impact on the photography world as YouTube had one the video world. It’s easier to make and distribute your work, but harder to stand out from the crowd.

Professional photography is like being a professional guitar player. Just about anyone can afford a guitar, but talent is the great divider between amateurs and professionals. In some cases a talented guitar player never gets the opportunity to play the guitar on a professional level, but it’s safe to say that the vast majority of professional guitar players out there are legitimately talented. It takes a combination of instruction, practice, and talent to really make it.

I’m more curious about the long-term impact cheaper photography equipment is having on the professional world. If the cameras we’re using on phones today are good enough to take shots that are virtually indistinguishable from top of the line digital cameras from five years ago, what are they going to look like ten years from now? Could it be conceivable to imagine a world where a professional photographer snaps their best shots from a camera smaller and thinner than a deck of cards? Time will tell.

What do you think about this situation? Are camera phones ruining it for the traditional photographer? Is talent taking a back seat to artistic filters?

Child And Phone by Jiri Hodan