Survey Says: Online is Here to Stay

Written by
June 20, 2019

Want to know what your fellow photographers are up to? This past spring, we conducted a broad industry survey of volume sports, school, and event photographers across the nation. We learned that our industry with its changing demographics and sentiment has reached a tipping point as more photographers are ready to tear up paper order forms and take their businesses online.


Our survey showed that 84% of respondents were using an online gallery service for some or all of their spring 2019 jobs, and 42% said they were using an online gallery service for the “vast majority” of their jobs.

We also learned that 64% say they’re planning to take business online in 2019 - 28.7% are planning to go 100% online, while 36.2% are seriously experimenting with it this year.


When asked about their hopes for taking business online in 2019, 72% of studios in business under 5 years said they were doing it or seriously experimenting  with it compared to 57% of studios in business for 10+ years said the same. That said, a vast majority - 86.5% of photographers in business under 5 years - were using online galleries for some or all of their spring jobs. But this number was only slightly lower for photographers in business for 10+ years, at 82%.


While the respondents were pretty evenly split between men and women, the study showed that more women are starting out in the industry.  Women represented 60% of respondents who have been in business for under 5 years, compared to only 33% who have been in business for over 10 years.

Men and women share similar sentiments about going online, with women seeming to be a bit more ready to jump in. 70% of women said that they were planning to take their businesses 100% online or seriously experiment with it in 2019, compared to 58% of men.


If we look at age, only 20% of photographers age 55 and over said they were not doing any online sales this spring. That’s not too different from the 17% of photographers under the age of 34 who were not doing any online sales this spring. Age doesn’t seem to be a big factor anymore as everyone seems to have entered the digital age. Respondents age 45-54 make up the largest demographic (35%) who plan to test online gallery services this year.


We surveyed 310 volume photographers. Here’s what we know about them:

  • 82% indicated that they plan to photograph more than one type of event this year.
  • Almost evenly spread between men and women (45% male, 41% female, 4% not identified).
  • Ages range from 18 to over 65. Nearly half were between the ages of 45 and 64 (48%).

The event types ranged:

  • 65% youth sports / 52% high school sports
  • 40% dance schools / karate schools
  • 29% preschools
  • 55% senior portraits
  • 32% public schools
  • 25% private schools
  • 42% events (both public and private)

The annual number of subjects captured by photographer:

  • 64% between 1,000 - 5,000 subjects
  • 12% over 20,000+ subjects

Experience levels in business:

  • 12% 1-2 years
  • 18% 3-5 years
  • 15% 6-10 years
  • 16% 11-20 years
  • 26% 20+ years

While this survey was conducted by PhotoDay, it’s important to note that only 18% of respondents were PhotoDay users.

Taking business online can mean significant time and cost savings for photographers, as well as higher sales and profits. However, we know from experience that just uploading photographs to an online gallery and hoping to see these benefits isn’t the best strategy. Photographers who are finding the greatest sales success and workflow efficiencies know that an online platform requires a new approach to sales and marketing. For tips to help make the transition a smooth one, check out 5 Ways to Take Your Business Online without Risking Sales.

Are you one of the 84% ready to take your business online? Then, you should check out PhotoDay – it’s free to get started. Our team can help you put in place an online strategy that works for your unique business. Contact us here.

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