Challenges Faced by Photographers (Part 2)

In the previous blog post, I argued that today’s photo market place is dramatically affected by smart phones, and their ease of uploading images to social media.

And, it’s not just the traditional photo marketplace that has been affected!  Even greenscreen photography production is challenged — just recently, I came across a green screen iPad ap, written by one of the software companies I use(d), that lets an iPad become a green screen production photographer (with mixed results.)
This is even more obvious with the rise of photo booths — those closed (and now open) photo executions that utilize a “photo technician”, a booth, some kind of background, and a box of props.  I saw one booth with a (hand written) sign that said “LOOK HERE!” and an arrow pointing to a hole where the camera lens stuck out.  The background was literally duck taped to the wall.  Sigh.
At two recent shows, I participated (as in, I was a participant) in two different booths.  Both with (what I view) as disastrous results.  The one booth was a huge touch screen.  You looked at the screen (I was unclear where — maybe they needed that sign!), a “photo technician” hurried you through the process, selected a background, selected digital props, made a collage, exported the photo, printed the photo, and handed you the photo, before saying “exit right here!”
Yes, you are reading this right.  The “photo technician” said two things to me:  “Hello”, and “Exit right here!”
At a conference last year, there were “photo stations” that didn’t even have a “photo technician”.  For this one, you looked into a lens, a counter counted down, and the photo clicked.  After approving the photo, you entered your email, and it said, “your photo will be emailed to you shortly!”
There were 5 photo booths located throughout the event, and I did all 5 on different days.  I didn’t receive a single email.  Yes, I checked spam.  Worse, there was no one to ask.  
How do these photo booth style photo executions affect me?  I hate photo booths.  I don’t have a photo booth.  I call them “vending machine photos”.  Now, that said, like the iPhone photo, there is a place for vending machine photos.  Maybe a barmitzpha?  Just a thought.  But, how effective are these for corporate photo booths?  Right now, they are all the rage.  I’ve had potential clients hang up on me when I tell them we don’t offer this style of booth — and suggest a photographer can’t be replaced by a “look here!” sign.  Am I that snarky?
And, most important to the average green screen photographer, how do you compete?
Do you just throw up your hands and buy a booth or two?  Add it to your menu of services?
But wait before whipping out the AMEX card.  As smart phone/ tablet applications become more sophisticated (and cost $4.99), why would a client bother to pay you (or a “photo technician”) to execute a green screen?  And then what happens to your $5000 photo booth sitting in your storage unit?
Last, the price of these executions varies wildly.  Usually, when all is said and done, the cost to the client is SIMILAR to a traditional photo execution.  Why?  Shipping a booth around the country is tough.  Some are franchised, and you can only compete in a select (small) market.  And, their very popularity means there is a ton of competition, which, of course, drives down price.
So now I’ve spent two blog posts defining the problem.  First, iPhones are replacing the professional photographer  Second, photo booths are replacing the professional photo production company.
Are you reaching for the Advil PM yet?  That bottle of Merlot?  Put the gun down, on the next post we’ll start talking about solutions.

Our last greenscreen photo booth for Yamaha