Professional Photographers Optimistic About 2015

Dozens of insights about what professional photographers and photography enthusiasts hope to accomplish in 2015 are featured in PhotoShelter’s new guide, “The Photographer’s Outlook on 2015.”

The report summarizes responses from almost 7,500 professional photographers and enthusiasts worldwide. It discusses their top business goals and challenges and their plans for marketing their work, using social media, and attending industry events.

According to the survey, 65 percent of the photographers feel positive about their prospects this year, with 52 percent expecting to get most of their revenue from new clients. When asked about their primary sources of revenue, 65 percent of photographers said they get most of their revenue from commissioned assignments and 11 percent get most of their revenue from in-person sales. Only 5 percent got most of their revenue from print sales online and only 5 percent got most of the revenue from stock photo sales. The highest source of revenues for the other 14 percent  included personal-use downloads (3 percent), commissioned video work (3 percent), gallery shows and events (2 percent), workshops and seminars (2 percent), and other (4 percent).


This is the third consecutive year PhotoShelter conducted the survey. Compared to the 2014 survey, The Photographer’s Outlook on 2015 reveals:

  • 64 percent of enthusiasts aspire to one day earn a majority of their living from photography (down 10% from last year).
  • The number of professionals who use Instagram as their number-one social-media platform was up 150 percent.
  • The number of professionals who expect to make most of their revenue from new clients increased by 30 percent.

“We’re thrilled to release The Photographer’s Outlook survey for the third year running,” says PhotoShelter CEO, Andrew Fingerman. “We’re encouraged to learn that a majority of professionals and enthusiasts are optimistic about 2015. But as the survey revealed, we know that photographers are most challenged to find new clients. We’re committed to continue educating the community on how to market themselves more effectively and reach the clients they want.”

The Photographer’s Outlook on 2015 survey was emailed in November 2014 to the PhotoShelter community, which includes users of PhotoShelter products, as well as members of the photography community at large who receive PhotoShelter’s monthly newsletters. Of the 7,408 photographers who responded, 69 percent were male and 31 percent were female.

The professional photographers (those who said they earned more than 50 percent of their income from photography) received a different set of questions than enthusiasts. The results of the two groups are reported separately.

The top specialty among enthusiasts is landscape/cityscape photography (19%). Among professionals, the top specialty is portrait photography (15%).

PhotoShelter is a world leader in photography portfolio websites and sales and marketing tools for photographers. “The Photographer’s Outlook on 2015” is the latest in PhotoShelter’s ongoing series of free business guides for photographers and marketing professionals. PhotoShelter’s library includes 40+ educational guides including topics such as creating a successful photography portfolio, email marketing, and starting a photography business.


The Photographer’s Outlook for 2015