Predictions for 2010

Folio Magazine has their annual Magazine and Media Predictions for 2010 (here) and there are a few choice quotes I’ve highlighted below. I’ve got a few of my own predictions:

Slightly down is the new up.

We will see fire sale buyouts (a la Business Week) of a few big titles rather than shuttering (a la Gourmet).

More photographers will get into the workshop, book writing and teaching side of the photography business. This is proving by all appearances to be super lucrative, but will get very crowded and competitive as people with an impressive oeuvre enter the market.

Photographers who market with ideas and innovation will be snapped up by marketers who need fresh ideas and innovation.

Product photography will heat up as companies realize products online need great photography to convert online shoppers into buyers.

Local markets will go red hot as local online markets get competitive and companies that normally needed no photos for a yellowpage ad now need lots of photography for a nice looking website.

Video goes nuclear, because nothing is commissioned anymore without video and hey, “doesn’t that camera shoot video too.”

Web 2.0 ideas will give way to Web 3.0 which is fundamentally the joining of content with social tools.

–Jim Spanfeller, president and CEO, The Spanfeller Group (formerly CEO of

Staff sizes will rebound as managers realize that staffs designed for print can’t do print and a whole host of new initiatives on top of that, at least not effectively.

–Tony Silber, general manager, FOLIO: and Audience Development

Only one or two magazines for most major vertical markets will survive.

There will be many changes at the top of editorial mastheads with more e-community management skills supplementing traditional journalistic skills for the winners.

Print will become richer, better paper will be used, graphics will improve, quality of content will improve and distribution/circulation numbers will drop.

–Don Pazour, CEO, Access Intelligence

One hopeful breakthrough: the four color e-reader. It will be really helpful. Some of the big publications will probably get a few hundred thousand digital e-reader subscribers paying anywhere from $10 to $50. This will bring in anywhere from $3 million to $15 million in subscriber revenue. Unfortunately, some of those same magazines have seen their ad revs drop by $100 million. Get the picture.

–Keith Kelly, “Media Ink” columnist, New York Post

Plenty more to see (here).

There Are 53 Comments On This Article.

  1. those aren’t predictions, they are a collection of what a bunch of folks want to see happen so their industry doesn’t die and they are outta jobs in 2010

    • @James, I dunno… There are an awful lot of people out there who want to “network” and “go pro” who might very well be willing to sign on for a multi-thousand dollar destination workshop with a name photographer.

      And once the photographers have other products to sell alongside the workshop (books, software plugins, auxiliary equipment) they could do quite well.

      I’m fairly certain that Joe McNally, David Hobby and Chase Jarvis don’t spend so much time “on tour” because it loses them money.

      I don’t think anyone’s getting rich, but it could be a lucrative way to fill the gaps left by fewer and fewer assignments.

      • @Will Seberger, having been presenting workshops for the past 6 years I can tell you that the biggest consideration of attendees is the price point.
        I was feeling that only I took a hit once the economy tanked. But it turns out that even the Maine Workshops ended up canceling more than 80% of their workshops too. This per my contact at Hasselblad who deals with them.

        True a big “name” photographer is a draw. And a destination workshop can be a strong factor in getting people to sign up.
        But as you state “…once the photographers have other products to sell alongside the workshop (books, software plugins, auxiliary equipment) ..”
        so is the workshop about education or is it about sales?

        If I’m paying good money for a workshop I don’t want to hear from a manufators reps, I’m not interested in being sold something.
        The minute you start hypeing a product you lose your audiance.
        If usful products are incorperated into the workshop and being demonstarted in a real world fashion I am more likly to make a purchase.
        Which is what I do in my workshops. And that works out very well.

        One thing that I have seen happen over the last 20 years is that there are photographers that are famous more for teaching workshops and hawking products as oppsed to working photographers that are actually shooting and doing limited workshops on the side.

        Years ago I did take a workshop with a famous photographer. I thought that perhaps I’d get some insight as to how he made such great images. I was very dissapointed when it became clear that he was more concerned about useing the weekend to make a few more of his images and what ever portion of the course fee he would be paid.
        In speaking with others over the years I’ve come to find that very often others are having the same experiances.

        Another consideration regarding workshops is production costs.
        I can tell you first hand that producing a great workshop is costly regardless of how much you get from outside sources or sponsors.
        People see a course fee that’s $200-600 and they wonder what they get for their money, and will I walk away with more than I came in with?
        The differance of $25 can be the differance between filling up a workshop or canceling due to low sign ups.
        I attend a great many events sponcerd by manufators and go to others workshops to see what is being offred.
        and I can’t help but feel embarassed when the sales rep is sent out with a laptop that doesn’t even have the updated software that he was sent to demo, on a laptop that is 5 yeras old and can’t run the program.
        And I hear back from those that paid for some of these workshops annoyed that 60% of the events time was wasted listening to sales pitches about how great XYZ is and how it will make you a better photographer.

        A final consideration: Is the presenter actually a good teacher?
        You get 20 photographers in a room and they can all tell you how to do something.
        But to actually teach someone to the point that they will understand and be able to reproduce the results is very differant, and not a skill many are born with.

        • @James, What I meant from the sales standpoint isn’t having a Nikon or Broncolor rep at the presentation. I was talking about selling books and other products written or designed by the presenter. Like a band selling CDs and t-shirts at a show.

          Indeed, a lot (not all) of the workshops I’ve attended have sucked. They’ve either been ‘networking events’ or bazaars set up under the pretense of professional development.

          I suspect that while many presenters don’t want to outright screw people, and they may very well have the best intentions for education, at the end of the day, it’s about the money.

          And if that means giving up some teaching time to a hardware rep from Canon, or being a bit more pushy to sell your own stuff, that’s the way it will go.

          I’d be really interested to know what percentage of people going to workshops make their entire living making pictures or something extremely closely related (fixing or assisting), versus how many go because they want to hobnob with people that make their living as photographers and like-minded gear collectors.

          I know plenty of gear collectors and hobbyists who buy every piece of software advertised in Digital Pro magazine, and pay big bucks to take guided photo tours of Masaai Mara.

          I bet that the same set of people would pay your $200-$600 to hang out with other hobbyists AND a name photographer.

          I’m not necessarily talking about pro-to-pro sales, but more pro-to-hobbyist or pro-to-hoping to be a pro sales.

          Every DSLR that sells is another opportunity for many professional photographers to sell a service or product to the guy with a 1Ds Mk. III with a 18-20000mm kit lens strapped to the front.

          As with everything else, there’s quality and there’s crap. There’s a market for both.

          Finally, a good teacher will inspire vision, but no teacher can instruct it.

          • @Will Seberger, Respectfully, for me it’s not about the money first.
            I got tired of seeing people pretending that they knew what they were doing on set.
            Years ago I worked with a photographer that was generous enough to show me everything he knew about photography.
            So I’ve tried to pay it forward.
            Second I decided to teach because I got tired of being asked “How to..” and expected to keep giving it away for free.

            The vast majority of my attendees are working photographers, digital techs, photo assistants, art directors, photo editors, and related.
            Of the 1000+ people that we have had so far only 4 have been hobbyist, or advanced amateurs.

      • @Will Seberger,

        As teh “David Hobby” you mention above, I can tell you that I have tried to tamp down (as much as possible) the number of workshops I am doing.

        It’s a neat weekend gig (or week-long gig) but it does not scale well. I am a one-man band, and committing to a workshop — especially a week-long — is a big disruption in an already crowded site and shooting schedule.

        I would rather be shooting, which makes me happy, and which is also ultimately the best fodder for the site. As for workshop invitations, I have learned to get better at saying “no, but thank you anyway,” which will make 2010 a much more manageable year than 2009. Hopefully.


  2. I’ll wade in here. I think that people who’ve worked hard to establish “star” credentials like Chase Jarvis will do well. But there are darn few really good shooters who have also spent the time and energy to go on a “new markets/social networking” binge to the degree required to become a household name to the vast market of advanced amateurs that are the real market.

    I’ve done three books and I participated in three workshops last year. At one I was one of eight photographers who took turns presenting to 1200 people in sections over the course of a weekend. In another, sponsored by a local camera store, nearly 50 people paid around $200 each to watch me “perform” lighting for a day. Each workshop required a fair amount of marketing and pre-production.

    I spent days practicing the speaking part. I spent even more time making sure I could do the demos correctly. The pay off was good if you look at it in the context of such a miserable year but to do it frequently and well would be difficult to sustain. And you’ll need to travel because you can probably only draw on your local market a few times a year before it’s saturated.

    I’ve also sat thru some real disaster presentations by really big name photographers including one by a famous name whose laptop didn’t work, who came prepared to talk about software no one had an interest in and who “walked us through” how he backs up his files. Can you say, “X Serve”. It was a disaster.

    A famous New York still life photographer gave a presentation that was amazing in its non stop attrition of attendees……

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that not every good photographer also makes a good presenter. Word gets around quick. Maybe better for people who have not yet participated in “the cult of personality” to concentrate on where the actual business is going next. Just my thoughts.

  3. Thought provoking isn’t it? Workshops may be great for some, not everyone can teach though and in that part the workshop sucks.

    My focus is on creativity, then marketing, building relationship with people. I have turned to working in a genre that interests me but is not my primary focus.

    I may be Idealistic in my thoughts and approach, but I am going to stick with it no matter the outcome. I am not going to worry about fire sales, closings, and a possible glut of photographers. I will pursue what makes me thrive and that is not the money.

    I do have to say @Jimmy Choo has got the best market, my wife has got a closet full of shoes LOL.

  4. My predictions:

    Major stock houses who have moved to subscription based revenue models(Getty Images) will lose good contributers who’s contracts are ending in 2010.

    More quality stock will appear on Flickr and other commission free sites.

    Photographers who can incorporate motion (not necessarily video) into their images will begin getting calls. 2011 (not so much 2010)will be huge for this since many predict OLED displays will replace printed POS in most retail stores. Video is still too chaotic for POS, but simple eye-catching motion will be highly sought (that goes for online ads as well).

    Of course the Mac Tablet may change the game a bit as well.

    A lot of good photogs will move into indie film production – now that the DSLRs are up to par.

    • @Ian Barkley, “More quality stock will appear on Flickr and other commission free sites.”

      Very true, Ian. That’s why Getty is there. The quality of images on Flickr is astounding and many are making sales outside of Getty. But searchability on the site and consistent quality of images is the problem.

  5. Rights Managed is going to make a roaring comeback along with photographers saying no to bad deals.

  6. My predictions:

    Many photographers trying to incorporate video will look like idiots, since it is a completely different medium.

    Stock houses will automate everything, from image approval to sales, and lay off 50% or more of their staff, to be replaced by algorithms.

    Chase Jarvis will forget how to take a photo in all his self-promotion. It’s ok man, not like Rachael Ray can cook.

    Product photography will migrate to a few large studios who can assembly-line the images – independent shooters won’t be able to complete.

    The publishers eReader initiative will fail, because ‘browser-based’ is the new software.

    Photographers without a print portfolio will not get hired – just like 1994 all over again.

    More people will be taking photos, but less people will make a living off it.

    Men’s Health will come up with a new cover line. Maybe.

    Magazines to fold: Money, Maxim, Architectural Digest, Traditional Home, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar.

    • @Cletus, Why do you say that Marie Claire will fold?

      What criteria do you use to select those specific magazines from the rest?

      Thanks in advance.

  7. Of course video is gonna be hot in 2010. Its hot now. If you’re good at video you’re now a photographer too and if you’re good at shooting stills you just have to jump into FCP or CS4 studio and you’ll be up to speed.

    Video is much more of a pain in the ass then stills for the most part but its well worth it.

    I was at Art Basel this year and there were a ton of vertical video pieces and don’t forget that tablets = motion and motion = bigger budget.

  8. The trend I hope to see is, that talent will topple the relentless surge of self-promotion and influence by the wonder boys who think they are golden.

    Outliers, maybe yes, doubtful. More like knowing how to hitch your star to the next trend and have your fanboys write golden comments on your blogs or create stupid videos about your last cool assignment.

    Hopefully I will never see another fawning video about the golden boys who promote the hell out of everything, themselves, their gear, their “vision”, their apps, their self-produced “books” and workshops.

    I see that PDN has finally backed off on the relentless promotion of two of the most notorious golden boys. That is a healthy trend.

  9. I see big egos continue to live. I was afraid diverse thought might parish in the great schools of 10,000 tweets.

    Thanks for the post, Rob. Some interesting perspectives.

    On the subject of workshops etc. These will continue for as long as hobbiests (and dreamers) find need to attach themselves to the identity of the history of photography. Even when the ROI of producing workshops is gone -due to over saturation of the market- there will still be those obsessive personalities who will continue to try to make a living in that marketplace. Much as there are those photographers today trying to do the same in the photography marketplace -where true ROI is negligible for all but a few.

  10. re: Chase Jarvis

    It’s ironic that someone out there always finds an excuse to try to poke at the very few photographers who actually become successful in business, rather than applaud the rare successes that do occur.

    Live and let live.

    • @Brandon D., No doubt Jarvis has had some success in the business of creating images. But countless others have had equal or surpassed success doing the same – they just don’t talk about themselves as much.

      His true success is being well known for being well known (networking).

      • @Bob,

        Most certainly self promotion is something that Chase’s business model has thrived upon. And I think he should continue to do what works for him, even if it’s not what would work for me. Yet, I can still name an endless number of photographers of equal or higher success that don’t give back to the community near as much as he does.

        • Also, self-promotion and networking is unavoidable. And if doing more of it than most others works for Chase, then so be it. He has to be responsible for his business and ensure its survival.

        • @Brandon D.,

          Almost every photographer I know gives back in some way shape or form.

          And they do it out of the goodness of their hearts, not their marketing plan.

          • @Cletus,

            Whoa, are you suggesting that Chase gives back simply because it’s part of his marketing plan, not because he’s more-so doing it out of the kindness of his heart?

            Almost every photographer I know gives back out the kindness of their heart, too. But, that wasn’t necessarily what I was getting at earlier in the debate. To clarify, what my point actually was, was that out of all of the photographers who work with the level of clients/assignments Chase works with, he’s one of few who consistently gives back to a large extent.

            By no means is he my favorite photographer. But, basically, what I’m saying is that he’s done more good than harm for photography, and his success should be applauded (along with everyone else’s success) even if he does things his way (not yours, not mine). We photographers don’t benefit from behaving like piranha.

        • @Brandon D.,

          What exactly is “given back to the community”?
          Who is this “community”, and why do they needs gifts?

          My gut feeling – the self promoter needs the “community”,
          more than the community needs the self promoter. However if I’ve missed something, I’m here to learn.

          The most creative talents I’ve known have developed on their own.

          • @Bob, You didn’t answer my question: are you suggesting that Chase gives back simply because it’s part of his marketing plan, not because he’s more-so doing it out of the kindness of his heart?

            Btw, if you really are here to learn, and if you really want answers, then go to Chase’s blog:

            In addition to his self-promotion, there’s plenty of advice and videos that help get insight into what it takes to do what he does — it’s almost like he lets you see into his world which sort of flies in the face of the “secrecy mentality” that some photographers have. I’m not saying that he’s the only one out there who does this kind of stuff. Others who do it should be applauded to, but they’re a minority.

            (Like I said, he’s not my favorite photographer and I’m not a self-appointed expert on him, but I know enough about what he does that he does far more good than harm.)

            • @Brandon D., This comments thread has lingered way off the topic of the original post, but I’ll respond to your note.

              You appear to be pretty young. It’s not that I and others are unaware of the blog you posted. I don’t find much useful there. Apparently I am not part of your community – which is why I asked *you* to explain personally.

              AFAICT – Your community is hobbyists, amateurs, newbs,
              looking for a shortcut. The self promoter gets the attention (and sometimes $) they need and the newbs get info they need. It’s a co-dependent relationship.

              Your expectations of “giving back” don’t add up.
              A creative person busts their ass, spends decades developing their art & business. Probably hundreds of thousands of dollars as well. How much has this “community” you reference been involved with the work and investment these creatives have strived towards?
              Why is your community entitled to a gift? Where is the mutual exchange?

              In some cases the glut of imagery provided by this “community” through crowd sourcing, dollar stock, etc may be oversaturating markets. Not just as finished images but as components in PS composite illustrations. These contributors may not have a strong business sense.

              Bottom line, there are no free lunches. Creatives who pay dues and work hard develop their own strengths. However today with the over saturation of images available, even great strengths will not necessarily add up to a viable career. Nor one that provides a healthy ROI next to any other endeavor. If you are looking to just have fun, I’d say carry on.

              If you are serious about this as a career, I’d suggest you take business classes (and possibly join APA) to determine if there is a ROI in the marketplace before you get in too deep and waste a decade or two.

          • @Bob,

            Brandon, I would also like to know the answers to these questions. What community? What has been “given back”?

            One of my assistants said EXACTLY these same things about Mr. Jarvis to me last year when we were wrapping up a shoot. EXACTLY.

            I told him this. There is no “community” with regards to professional photography, it is business. In my opinion, the “giving back” is actually “look at me!”. It obviously works for him and THAT impresses me more than anything. He is a good photographer and a great self promoter and I applaud him for that.

            I would love to hear your answers to Bob’s questions.

            • @Victor John Penner,

              Mainly aspiring photographers and amateurs who want to improve their photography.


              In addition, he receives hundreds of questions (or more) from random, aspiring photographers every week, and he makes an effort to answer most of those questions. I don’t know many other photographers who shoots the same caliber of clients/assignments he shoots with, who does the same thing.

              If you really want to get a sense for what Chase does to give back and who he gives back to, then check out his blog and find out for yourself. Spending a some time on his blog will give you a MUCH better sense of “the community” than I could ever explain.

                • @Victor John Penner,

                  Great! You’re very welcome. I didn’t know if I could explain it that well. But, I’m glad you could understand it clearly. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays… :-)

    • @Brandon D., You wrote:
      It’s ironic that someone out there always finds an excuse to try to poke at the very few photographers who actually become successful in business, rather than applaud the rare successes that do occur.

      I think the only point in your comment is the thinking that there are only a “very few” photographers who actually become a success.

      It depends on how you frame success. Bigger and better is not always the best avenue to drive down. There are shooters who score huge ad campaigns with big bucks who don’t bray about it on the net. They don’t scream look at me on their blogs or web sites.

      Mr. Jarvis found the interstate to success. I’d rather take the scenic route and enjoy the journey.

      • @BD,

        Please re-read my original post. My original point was that we photographers seem to be addicted to tearing down other photographers — ESPECIALLY those who arrive at “business success.”

        I specifically referred to “success in business” — not to “success in general” or anything of that order. I was referring to one type of specific success for my own reasons, and I had every right to do so in my statement.

        And, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t saying that business success was the only success there is. And, my point had nothing do with arguing against other types of success. My original statement means exactly what I stated, word for word.

  11. My predictions:

    Chase Jarvis and Vincent Laforet hit the saturation point, and people get sick of hearing about them.

    Everyone with a new dSLR thinks they are a videographer, albeit an awful one. Those with true video skills rise above.

    Someone is named a part of “PDN’s 30 under 30” by having taken direct-flash pictures of their hipster friends in hipster clothing.

    People finally realize that audio slideshows are at best tedious to sit through.

    Every person has a blog, thereby defeating the purpose of a blog.


    People realize that the internet actually sucks, and is a huge waste of time.

    A little cynical, but that’s the way I see it.

    • @Mickey,

      Yea, only “a little” cynical.

      My guess is that if someone out there has heard about Chase Jarvis and Vincent Laforet too much, then they’re probably on the internet way too much and they need to get a hobby. None of us are forced to read blogs or discussion forums.

      Hopefully, it ends up in someone’s prediction that photographers find a way to spend less time on the internet.

    • I was tired of them


      I was tired about hearing of them years ago. It is hard to not see there name everywhere when every fanboy magazine pushes their “work” or latest exploit. Whatever. Let people follow them. I would rather do real work that matters.

  12. Let’s see – Chase takes a technique that was used to great success in the nineties – say shooting underneath plexi glass while side lighting the subject and covering yourself and everything underneath the table in black. Chase makes a video of it and everyone thinks he is giving back his technique. A technique that was used to great avail 12 to 13 years ago for a bunch of Golf and ski magazines. If you search through the Getty and Corbis files you will find a strong sampling of the technique.

    Same for quite a few other blog entries including Rob’s site – Chase uses the information and repackages it as his gift to the community.

    Yeah the guy is good, not great. He is great at promoting to other photographers and wanna-be’s who want to be like Chase.

    Good for him. Original, no I don’t think so. But who is when every one copies everyone else? I

    He gets angry when people call him out: calls them haters. As if people were obsessed or concerned about him.

    Really who cares. The guy is famous for being being famous amongst photographers.

    Until he has a significant body of work that is more significant than his promotion, it just doesn’t matter.

    This conversation is about trends, not Chase or Laforet or any other well known shooter in the blog, twitter, video, facebook world.

    I think this self-absorbed trend will continue.

  13. It takes a cowardly hypocritical egomaniac to anonymously excoriate other photographers for using new ways to share information and achieve success.

      • @Mark Cunningham, Hi Mark- The message was written by the messenger, and I understood the point, but what irks me a bit are these arrogant posters that say how “average” somebody is, yet are posting anonymously. Its gutless. Show us what you got. We know you are the best from your posts, but prove it.

        Or try saying something like “I’m not really into the work, but I congratulate his success.” That would take some guts.

  14. In the near future, almost any photographer spending their own $5,000 on a single photo or collage for the very best archival museum grade printing, framing, & protective glass will discover that they can sell that piece through a gallery in about 3 months for $10,000. Galleries will be needing them. The problem: galleries take 50% so photographers will, in a sense, be working for free — but they will be told getting their foot in the art world door is a great thing.

  15. “Local markets will go red hot …”

    So we should get ready for a stampede of highly creative photographers into the soon to be lucrative field of yellow pages photography?

    Now that is funny.

  16. Predictions: successful photographers will become like successful brands; self promotion will become more personal, sort of like micro-casting was to politics; resurgence of printed quality publications, because people will once again be willing to spend a bit on something they enjoy; entertaining people will become more important than informing people, because like Dan Wieden once said “it’s all about relationships”

    In all honesty, I only heard of Chase Jarvis about a month ago. First thing I did was look through Lürzer’s Archive 200 Best Ad Photographers, and in the few of those tomes I have here, I found not one listing of him. Then I checked through the CommArts issues I still have here, and again not one mention I could find, though perhaps I missed him. So I viewed his website, and the work is nice, but I have to wonder how I have missed his name.

  17. As someone who’s been teaching workshops for the past six years, it drives me NUTS when I see photographers with no interest in actual teaching jumping into the workshop world. Many of them not only don’t know how to teach, but will actually withhold pertinent information from their attendees, I assume out of fear of being copied. It makes me insane.

    Teaching is hard work, and those who are only in it for the money tend to crash and burn (out) very quickly.

    – CJ

  18. CJ

    That is how it always is. Those with no love for a particular field jumping on the bandwagon for a quick buck. In doing so they suck that particular field dry and once the ground is no longer fertile they move on to the next big thing to destroy it. So was the case of telecomm, IT, Photography, Real Estate etc. Talentless people are like locust.