– Misconception No1: Photojournalism is not being killed by celebrity photographers. In fact, photographers who cover the celebrity scene, wether red carpet or streets scenes have the same ratio of good to bad photographers than in news. It takes some of the same skills to cover news and celebrity. Regardless. Time or Newsweek have not increased their celebrity photography coverage. They just have just lessened their news coverage budget.

– Misconception No2 : Editorial photography is dying. What is dying are the daily and weekly print publications. Newspapers, magazines, and old brands. They cannot compete with the speed of  news anymore. What is dying is the image formatted for a print support with a rectangular format. What is dying is the photography taught in school and colleges today. There is a new medium for editorial photography that has never existed before, that knows no boundaries will it be in size, amount, artifact and pricing ( the Internet). What really is dying here is an old mentality.

– Misconception No3:  Video will replace stills. Take a look at the amount of video images coming out of the Olympics. Hours and hours of footage. Now, tell me who will sit down and edit film pumped out at 25 frames per seconds to find the right image ?While you think, look at this great gallery done by Stern magazine and see what can photographers can do.

– Misconception No4: Anybody can shoot great images these days. Why would anyone say that when pro photographers have always used the same equipment as amateurs. This is not like dentistry or chemistry where the tools are hard to find, let alone the knowledge. Photography has always been easy to learn and the equipment always available to anyone. The only part that has changed is how easier it is these days to share. But really good images created by amateurs have always been around. Not as accessible, that is all. It’s not the equipment that matters in great photography, it is the person holding it

– Misconception No5 : If you produce a lot of images, you can make a living with your photography. A rule of thumb more in the stock photography world than in the editorial one. It was true for a while when it was expensive to distribute images to clients. Today, it is a dangerous thought. Quantity will slowly be replaced by quality as the market will no longer be able to support myriads of photographers hoping to make a living. Image buyers will no longer be capable of keeping up with offer and start closing doors.

– Misconception No6: A photo editor knows a lot about photography. A photo editor only knows a lot about the photography used in their publication. He or she works, breath and sleeps in a very confined universe. Their ability to make one publication look great almost never  translate in making any and all publications look great.  That is why very successful photo editors never leave the publication they work for. They grow into them.

– Misconception No7 : Blogs about photography are useful. Besides posting press release they never read or repeating something they read elsewhere, they actually do not help much. Only a very few escape the ego narcissistic trip of the popularity contest and give out extremely valuable insight. They are extremely rare. The rest are operated by hit counters.

– Misconception No8: Every Magnum / VII photographer is a great photo editor. Why do thousand of photographers flock to have their portfolio edited by another photographer? It would vaguely make sense if one would want to be that photographer or replace him/her. And even so, photographers are the worst editors of their own work. But what makes a successful photographer a better editor than a non photographer ? If anything, if they see a great portfolio, wouldn’t they  try to dissuade that person from stealing their job?

– Misconception No9 : There is still room for a news agency. With AP, AFP, Reuters, Getty, EPA, DPA and other wire services employing some of the best photographers in the world while controlling most of the sales channel, it does seem obvious. There is no more oxygen. The best one can hope to do is represent a small pool of extremely talented photographers and help them get assignments, but even that is not a given. If they are extremely talented, they really do need much help. So what makes all these agencies try to cover events like the Olympics with 1/10 of the resources the others have with medium to mediocre photographers( crumb photographers)? Hope ?

– Misconception No10: Free photography will save the world. or a new pricing.or a association of good willing people. There is only one thing that will save photography, if it actually needs saving. It’s photography. great photography

Author: pmelcher


  1. Misconception No2 : >>>>

    … There is a new medium for editorial photography that has never existed before, that knows no boundaries will it be in size, amount, artifact and pricing. What really is dying here is an old mentality.


    Would you please explain the statement above. I’m not following you.


    Marc Carter

  2. Author

    Marc sure.

    The internet is a different medium. Up to now, including today. most of what we see is print magazines applying the same layout rules as thy have for print. It is because they have this old belief that print layout and image usage is the absolute rule.
    There is almost no limit on how photography can be used online, yet, as of today, it is still used as it is in Print. This will change.
    does that help ?

  3. The magazine is confined to the paper page.
    The Internet is confined to the electronic page.
    Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, as celebrated as it is, is confined to a framed canvas, just like all framed paintings before & after it.
    Cubism was not predicted in advance of its birth.

  4. I like your thoughts. you have a rational and I assume informed view of this market

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