Photography in the US Industry Market Research Report Now Available from IBISWorld

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The Photography industry has experienced a number of changes, as digital cameras and postproduction technologies have increasingly affected operators. While photographers are benefiting from the changes by increasing their efficiency and availability, consumers are now able to take professional-quality images without the need for a specialist. Still, revenue is expected to improve slightly over the next five years, as operators focus on niche markets, like event, sports and church directory photography, to sustain demand. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has added a report on the Photography industry to its growing industry report collection.

IBISWorld Market Research

IBISWorld Market Research

Rising incomes and a shift to photojournalism will spur demand for professional photography

An abrupt drop in consumer spending, the prevalence of affordable cameras and popularity of online photo sharing have caused the Photography industry's revenue to dip. The decline in revenue commenced because of dulled enthusiasm for portraits. According to IBISWorld industry analyst Agata Kaczanowska, “During the past five years, consumers began to regularly take pictures of their own using digital cameras and smartphones.” The preference for informal photos solidified when disposable income suffered because of high unemployment during the recession. IBISWorld expects revenue to fall at an average annualized rate of 2.0% from 2007 to 2012. Despite the dip, industry revenue is expected to rebound in 2012 as the economy slowly recovers. People who delayed weddings because of financial considerations will pay to have their ceremonies commemorated, and commercial photography demand will increase.

During this time, the main source of revenue has shifted toward wedding and commercial photography and away from portraiture and other services. The proliferation of digital cameras and online photo sharing enables consumers to record their experiences and create albums or share photos online – all without hiring the services of a professional photographer. This shift is causing some businesses to shutter, but more manageable equipment costs have attracted some hobbyists. “The ease in setting up a photography business, facilitated by websites that enable photo sharing with clients, has led to a net increase in photography firms”, says Kaczanowska. The Photography industry is, for the most part, very fragmented. The two largest players, Lifetouch Inc. and CPI Corporation, focus on partnerships with larger retail comapnies to drive foot traffic into portraiture studios. The number of enterprises is expected to grow at an average annualized rate of 1.8% to 136,213 over the five years to 2012, and it is projected to continue increasing through 2017.

The industry must adjust to consumer demand as competition from amateur photographers escalates. Many studios are shifting toward a photojournalistic style, which is more informal than traditional portraiture. To incorporate these techniques, photographers must have a strong technical background and quick instincts. This style appeals to modern consumers who appreciate high-quality photos and strong compositions yet prefer more informal settings for photo shoots like wedding ceremonies or business websites. Higher disposable income due to job recovery will boost consumer spending on professional photography. As a result, IBISWorld projects that industry revenue will increase over the five years to 2017. For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Photography report in the US industry page.

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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

The Photography industry encompasses companies and individuals that offer photographic services. It includes still photography and some videography, such as for private events. However, this industry excludes all movie, television and video production.

Industry Performance
Executive Summary
Key External Drivers
Current Performance
Industry Outlook
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Supply Chain
Products & Services
Major Markets
Globalization & Trade
Business Locations
Competitive Landscape
Market Share Concentration
Key Success Factors
Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
Major Companies
Operating Conditions
Capital Intensity
Key Statistics
Industry Data
Annual Change
Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.
Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US industry. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit or call 1-800-330-3772.

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Gavin Smith
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