6Sight 2011: Are you an Amateur or a Professional? – Part 1

The image of the hobby photography has changed considerably in recent decades. Almost all of us can remember the old Polaroids that our grandparents dug out of the drawer when visitors came over. Each photo had been precisely planned, then finally, after an eternity when the long smile caused the mouth to ache, they finally pressed the camera release button and the assembled relatives peered over grandpa’s shoulder and saw the slowly appearing contours grow.

Later on during vacations people inserted the films serially into their camera. Even with three or four shots left, everything available was photographed at random, whatever came in front of the lens, so that the film was not spoiled from lying around a long time. Finally developed, the only 5 good photos were glued into the album, and the rest stored in a box.

At home like a pro

These kinds of childhood experiences shaped our perception of amateur photography. Needless to say, the digital age turned such a neat tradition on its head. The new study by 6Sight about the behavior of today’s enthusiastic amateur photographers is clearly evident that the former has little in common with its more modern version. Photographing has become a professionalized hobby, where a professional camera lets people capture both the ordinary and exciting.

The queen of the digital cameras is arguably the digital SLR, or DSLR. 85% of the respondents have at least one at home. In dozens of variations and settings, a motif is photographed, until finally the photo is right. It’s interesting to note that a quarter of respondents collected more than 30,000 saved photos over time and at least another 35% got between 10,000 to 30,000 photos. These are the kinds of numbers that professional photographers in the past would have cringed about.

The passion and quality of the work of enthusiasts takes its toll on the wallet. Two-thirds of respondents say that they spent more than $ 500 for equipment in the last year. Nearly 80% of respondents are planning more purchases for next year like new lenses, a better camera, a larger tripod or a new laptop, including new imaging software. Given that half of them are charges for exhibiting their photos on relevant websites; 20% of the respondents paid up to $50.00, another 20% paid as much as $ 200.00 per year for sites like Flickr etc.

The high costs of their passion are offset by great hopes to make revenue from their own photos in the near future. From the survey, 20% of respondents hope to sell photos for ads or articles in magazines and newspapers, or earn a small income through contributions to the new market of stock photography or win first place in competitions. Also, more than a quarter of respondents said that it is quite likely that they will earn money with their pictures in the next few months.

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