The gig economy brings lifestyle values back to photography


Consumers are busier than ever – or at least feel busier than ever. This accounts for the immense popularity of gig economy services that help us outsource tasks we can’t, or would rather not, do ourselves: cook, walk our dogs, clean our house, fix that jammed door, run errands, organize our closets, drive to our destinations.

However, when it comes to recording the events of our lives, which we increasingly find compelled to record through an estimated 3 trillion photos per year, we’re still overwhelmingly behind the camera, capturing the photos and videos ourselves. Too often that’s at the expense of enjoying the moment. Millennials particularly, who often care more about experiences than material goods, want the option to fully experience an event with friends or family without being separated from it by their responsibility to capture the memories.

That’s why in recent years a broad range of gig photo solutions vendors have brought to market frictionless and affordable solutions inspired by gig economy services like Uber, Airbnb or TaskRabbit, that free consumers from image capture, editing or even organizing tasks. These gig photo solutions effectively leverage the vast population of pro and hobbyist photographers eager to generate income while keeping control of when or where they work, according to new study, Building the Gig Photo Economy by Suite 48 Analytics, a market intelligence firm for the consumer imaging market and host of the annual Visual 1st executive conference.

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Through the click of a few buttons, consumers can now not only free themselves from being stuck behind the camera, they can also engage photographers to acquire better photos than they might take themselves (the traditional reason for hiring pro photographers, made easier and cheaper.) In addition, they can receive photos taken at locations where they can’t be, like a faraway construction project or a birthday party they’re forced to miss.

At the same time, photographers can relieve themselves from back-office tasks, such as administration, scheduling, receiving payments, and managing photos. Some solutions even perform photo editing and post-processing tasks for the photographer or recruit the customers for them, thus enabling the gig photographers to expand their photo services beyond their traditional markets – and focus on what they like to do most: taking photos.

The 81-page Building the Gig Photo Economy report analyzes 25 gig photo solutions, covering the six segments it defines within the gig photography industry:

·      Photographers on Demand,

·      Volume Photographers,

·      Self-Promoting Photographers,

·      Microstock Photographers,

·      Local Guide Photographers,

·      Non-Capture Photo Service Providers.

For each segment the report analyzes the current market dynamics, the evolution of customer behavior, representative gig photo solution vendors, trends for the near future, disruptions to established business models with consequent threats and opportunities for incumbents, and implications for adjacent products and services.

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The 81-page Building the Gig Photo Economy report analyzes 25 gig photo solutions, covering the six segments it defines within the gig photography industry:

  • Photographer on Demand

  • Volume Photographers

  • Self-Promoting Photographers

  • Microstock Photographers

  • Local Guide Photographers

  • Non-Capture Photo Service Providers

Publication date: 
June 2019; updated July 2019