James Broadbent, the CEO of the photo organization and editing platform Narrative, has made several major photography predictions for 2023.
His list of arguments for crucial photography trends this year is definitely worth a read due to the details its presents and backs up with metrics.
With that said, here’s a look at some of the main takeaways from Broadbent’s photography predictions for the industry in 2023.
For starters, Broadbent is extremely optimistic about the prospects of AI’s integration to photography workflows and the photographer’s profession in general. In fact, he emphatically states “no AI will not be replacing you.”
He does however also add that “it will have a significant impact on the industry whether you choose to adopt it or not.”
In other words, AI will increasingly play a part in capturing photos and in the creation and editing process, but it doesn’t need to be perceived as a threat to people in the field taking real photos with their cameras.
Broadbent’s main starting argument from these initial points is that you should adopt AI as a tool or risk getting “left behind” by those who do.
The Narrative CEO then underscores that a large chunk of his job is about clarifying the challenges that photographers face in their work.
He also links to Narrative’s even more comprehensive “Professional Photography 2022 Census Report” to back up many of the insights he then goes on to make.
It’s worth noting here however that the 2022 Census Report he refers to was compiled last year.
This was before or right around when many of the truly major leaps in AI image-rendering technology that we’re now seeing had really fleshed themselves out. The timing difference might not make a difference, but it’s worth bearing in mind.
AI and Photoshoot Time Savings
Broadbent’s main prediction for photography this year is that photographers will increase the volume of their photoshoots.
He argues that a major limiting factor in photoshoot workflow is time, but that AI-based software has the power to dramatically reduce the time needed for the desk-bound editing process. This in turn will let photographers schedule more shoots overall.
Specifically, Broadbent predicts that AI-based technology will help photographers increase the number of shoots they can do by 5 to 10% in 2023 alone thanks to AI tools.
It’s worth mentioning that Narrative’s own platform offers these exact resources with savings on photo editing time as one of its key goals.
Income Diversification, Increased Earnings and Higher Business Costs
Three other major predictions in Broadbent’s 2023 photography report relate to each other in that they all predict changes in the business expenses and dynamics for photographers in 2023.
First among these is the prediction that the percentage of photographers who earn income exclusively through photography will decrease.
Broadbent argues that temporary recent impediments to field shooting, like the COVID-19 pandemic, are still resonating in the industry. These have caused many photographers to offer related services like digital educational courses, mentoring and selling presets.
Here Broadbent seems to argue that despite lockdowns and social distancing being over, many photographers are sticking to the safety net of diversifying their income sources.
At the same time, according to the Narrative CEO, pro photographers will earn more from photography in the next year.
This seems contradictory at first glance, but it makes sense in the context of diversified earnings coupled with photo shoot workflow optimization letting professionals schedule additional shoots alongside their diversified income.
Broadbent specifically predicts earnings increases of $9,000 to $12,000 for some pro photographers.
Another trend that will help pros increase their earnings this year and beyond is outsourcing according to Broadbent. Similarly to AI tools, outsourcing will compress workflow while making it cheaper.
Lastly, Broadbent predicts that pro photographers will spend more on business tools, but that the costs of paying for specialized tools will create major savings. An obvious example of this is using AI software tools, which will pay for themselves according to the CEO.
Broadbent cites savings of over $2,300 just on reductions in photo culling for professional photographers using tools like Narrative’s Select. He also argues that these tools will give major advantages to professionals who use them over those who don’t.
Moving to Mirrorless
Two of Broadbents final photography trend predictions are that more photographers will use Canon cameras and that more of them will shoot with mirrorless cameras in general.
The trend towards mirrorless is obvious to anyone working in this industry, largely because these cameras deliver superior focus performance, better ergonomics and more high-tech shooting options.
Camera manufacturers are also pushing this trend forward faster by abandoning DSLR cameras in general.
With that in mind, Broadbent’s prediction about Canon camera use rings is plausible, mainly because Canon already dominates the camera industry and has now heavily ramped up the development of wholly new, high-quality mirrorless cameras for different budgets.
The rest of this photography industry predictions report for 2023 is really worth a look, especially for the additional predictions and details it outlines.