The Winners and Losers of Photography in 2021

Yoshiko Yap

Table of Contents

Do you feel you have your finger on the pulse of the photography sector? Who nevertheless retains the title for most used cameras: Canon, Nikon, or Sony? What lenses are the top rated 3 most employed lenses? Which specialty of photographers make the most dollars and which make the the very least? What genre of images took the major losses for the duration of the pandemic?

Being a previous (artwork) trainer I produced a pop quiz for you. Jot down your solutions, then get pleasure from these insightful conclusions from the 2022 Condition of the Photography Sector report by Zenfolio and Format and see how you did.

In this study, 3,398 photographers ended up surveyed, across 97 distinct nations.  71% of respondents were full-time or component-time self-utilized photographers, with the remainder designed up of hobbyists, college students, and total-time workforce. 


Now let us see if you were being appropriate: below are some of the interesting findings from this year’s expansive report. 

The endless Canon vs . Nikon rivalry was distinguished for yrs, but there has been a new great child on the block: Sony. Photographers of each level, from beginner to pro, nonetheless gravitate primarily to the top two giants: Canon and Nikon being the alternative by over 70% of the respondents. Sony and Fujifilm represented 15% and 7%, respectively. Canon [does happy dance] took the in general lead.

As considerably as bodies go, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Nikon D850, Canon EOS R5, and the Sony a7R IV are the top 4 digital camera designs utilized by photographers surveyed.

This next 1 was a surprising stat to me: right all around 50% of respondents have produced the switch to mirrorless. Most photographers who manufactured the switch were in specialties where by a lighter, fewer obtrusive camera would make perception: documentary, life-style, and travel.

Searching at all images specialties, zoom lenses arrived in in excess of primary lens. What lens did you guess what the most used lens? The reply shocked me. It’s what I referred to in a earlier write-up as the “jack of all trades, grasp of none”: the 24-70mm. Behind that came the 70-200mm in 2nd, and the “nifty fifty” 50mm in third. 


Industrial and foodstuff photographers are the specialties that have the most people today that make in excess of $100,000. The specialties that had the least volume of folks who described generating $100k+ ended up way of living, still everyday living, family members, documentary, landscape, and trend.

Regardless of whether a photographer is section-time or comprehensive-time, and irrespective of whether they do the job for them selves or an employer, the biggest earning prospective resides firmly in the “commercial” genres. Individuals focusing on “art” have the lowest earning likely. What may well not be anticipated is that on the internet sales of prints and electronic downloads conquer out in-particular person product sales in 2021. This is probably due to COVID limits and the increasing acceptance of on line income in standard.

Inspite of most respondents naming Instagram as their most important way to showcase their function, word-of-mouth nevertheless usually takes the lead for how most respondents make new clientele.

Effects of COVID

It really is been 2 several years now since the pandemic designed its way via our life and just one of the focuses of the study was to locate out the state of photographers now. The study located that 43% of full-time self-employed photographers lost above 40% of earnings in 2021. Respondents who discovered as component-time self-used had been the most negatively impacted for the duration of COVID. Just about 50 percent reported dropping a lot more than 40% of normal earnings. Boudoir and party noted the most significant drop in profits owing to COVID. Regardless of these bleak reportings, optimism remains as above 50% of photographers hope 2022 to get busier. 

Did you do perfectly on your pop quiz? As a summary listed here are the answers to your thoughts which have been woven in previously mentioned.

1: Canon was the most made use of, adopted by Nikon then noteworthy significantly at the rear of Sony and Fuji.
2: Term-of-mouth created the most new clientele.
3: Commercial photographers make the most dollars.
4: Wonderful art photographers make the least sum of revenue, followed by vacation photographers and continue to lifestyle.
5: The most employed lens is the 24-70mm.
6: Proper around 50% of responders have built the swap to mirrorless cameras.
7: Boudoir took the greatest decline of cash flow in 2021.

Thanks to Zenfolio and Structure for their in depth get the job done on this examine and I look forward to reporting back again on up coming year’s findings. You can click below to go through the comprehensive 68-site report. 

Did any of the stats shock you? Go away a comment down below

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