Technology Kills Technology

Camera phone revolution has sent professional photographers out of business because photography is now an all comer’s affair

By Chinwe Okafor  |  Nov. 18, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

IT IS no longer business as usual for professional photographers. Since the arrival of mobile phones with in-built cameras and digital cameras, patronage for their services has reduced drastically. People now take their own photographs at parties and other events, using their phones and related devices. Lawson Odum, a professional photographer, said that the emergence of camera mobile phones has contributed deeply to the decline in the business.

He said he has lost many customers since the evolution of mobile camera phones. “I vividly remember those good old days when I had so many clients coming to me for one event or the other but these days, if a client comes around at all, I do the best I can to make sure that he or she does not go somewhere else to get the job done at a cheaper rate. Mobile camera phones have put a decline in this business because not everybody still hires professionals to do the job. Some other people even go to the extent of buying a personal camera to use and get pictures which can be printed later.

A photo studio
A photo studio

“I just wished something can be done because many of my colleagues are out of job, running around and doing so many other menial jobs just to make ends meet.” According to him, the decline in business started since the evolution of mobile camera phones and other mobile devices which people use to take pictures by themselves, adding that even though there is still very little patronage some times, business has not been the same as before. “People don’t come to the studios to take pictures again like before. This is because everybody including the young and old has one or two camera phones which can be used to take pictures.” He lamented that the business of photography is no more a rave of the moment and no longer lucrative.

Investigations have revealed that the advent of mobile phones with inbuilt cameras have adversely affected professional photography thereby making the business no more profitable. Ogechi Ugwu, a corps member, likes taking pictures with her phone. She said her phone’s camera is the best for taking pictures because she’s with it at all times. Mobile phone photography, according to her, is much more prolific than the average amateur big camera, adding that phone cameras have their photographic brains switched on at all times looking for possibilities. Ugwu said: “Though some mobile phone cameras sometimes take very dull photos, it doesn’t matter, because there are hundreds of applications to help turn the pictures into something amazing.

“Mobile camera photography gives me the creative power of photo shopping and more. I have never gone to a photo studio to take pictures since I started using a camera phone and I don’t hope to go there soon. A scenario played itself on November 3, at Ifeanyi Okoye’s residence at Festac town, Lagos state, during his one year old daughter’s birthday. As the family anxiously waited for friends and well wishers to grace the occasion, Okoye took pictures of the day’s preparation with his mobile phone which has an in-built camera. He also recorded the arrival of some of his guests on his camera phone.

A digital point-and-shoot camera
A digital point-and-shoot camera

Soon after the event started, it was time for the children and friends to dance. At this point, guests with all kinds of gadgets like smart phones, iPads, tabs, Blackberry and other forms of mobile devices emerged and struggled for space to take pictures. Before the emergence of camera phone revolution, such occasions would have been flooded by one or two professional photographers. This decline in business does not only affect the professional photographers in the studio but has also affected the business of photo lab technicians. Investigations have shown that producers of photographic films abroad have scaled down their production capacities due to a drastic drop in demand for films.

Afam Okeke, who works in a photo lab studio, said that the drop in photography business has also affected his own business. According to him, since the advent of memory cards and colour printers, people no longer come to wash films, thereby making the business no longer lucrative. But not everybody likes camera phone pictures. Grace Ofure, a mother of two, said she prefers the hard copy pictures to the ones that are being snapped with camera phones. “These days I hardly see a professional photographer to take pictures, it is very appalling. Sometimes, I feel for them and their families  and I wonder what would have become of them because I see no possible way the business can become lucrative,” she said.

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