Attention amateur photographers: Stop screwing up the system!

Amateur photographers are screwing up the market for everyone. Here’s some information about how they’re screwing it, why they need to stop and how they can help fix a broken system.

I got an email from a friend of mine the other day. He was happy. He was ecstatic. He was jumping up and down. He was ready to light the fireworks and celebrate. Yes, we are talking about a P A R T Y.


He had just sold one of his images to a national magazine! Yes! “Ernie” (not his real name)is an amateur photographer and had just sold his first image — and to a NATIONAL PUBLICATION.

What did he make on this? A whopping, humongous, wait-for-it THIRTY THREE DOLLARS!!!

Yep, that’s all he made. Why? Because of all the people who own a digital camera and think they’re a photographer. All of the folks who are willing to shoot in exchange for “exposure”. But they’re not solely to blame.

The magazines and media buyers are aware of the greed and naivete of too many people with a camera these days. And the slicks are willing to take advantage of the ignorance of the folks that think being a professional photographer is just about taking the pictures.

The result of the greedy slicks when combined with the amateur photogs is driving down of the market for everyone.

The sad part is that everyone suffers. My friend “Ernie” just sold a shot to a national magazine for $33. That magazine typically pays $3000.00 for a cover shot. See how Ernie (and the rest of the naive amateurs) have shot themselves in the foot?

Do you agree that amateur photographers are screwing up the photography business model for everyone? Take the survey here.

Jerry Nelson is a freelance photojournalist.  Currently living and working in Argentina he focuses on social justice issues.  Known internationally for capturing events in a documentary style with an eye towards the aesthetic, his work has appeared in CNN, USAToday, Huffington Post and others.  A nomad at heart, he is always looking for that next gig which will take him over the next hill or around the next curve.  Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or visit his website, or email him today.

5 thoughts on “Attention amateur photographers: Stop screwing up the system!

  1. Is this a reblog, from
    I’ve classified myself as an Amateur. And an amateur of Life, in general, because of the word’s true meaning. (It’s on my blog) There are two things I got from that diagram; one is to love what you do, regardless…otherwise, what’s the point. Two: 28.4% of the professional’s time is spent in computer editing.

  2. Hi you have a good website over here! Thanks for posting this interesting information for us! If you keep up this good work I’ll visit your weblog again. Thanks!

  3. Pingback: Before I ‘grow up’ you can kiss my ass | JourneyAmerica

  4. Pingback: How an amateur photog can quit screwing themselves and others in one easy step | JourneyAmerica

  5. Pingback: Argentina on Brink of Largest Financial Collapse in History | JourneyAmerica

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