Summary of our market study

Since 2020, the market for professional photographers has faced a dichotomy: while the practice of photography and the demand for photographic services continue to grow worldwide, professional photographers themselves are facing significant challenges. In particular, the proliferation of high-quality smartphones and the consequent democratization of amateur photography have resulted in a surplus of images available at little or no cost, exerting downward pressure on professional rates and revenues.

Despite this, areas such as digital advertising and digital corporate communications offer growth prospects. Market estimates for 2021 put global photographic services at around $38.9 billion. Forecasts predict an increase to $42.1 billion in 2022, and continued growth at a CAGR of 4.7% to reach $50.6 billion by 2026. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to drive this growth.

In France, the market was worth 1.238 billion euros, and while traditional independent photographers are suffering, new players and online platforms such as Meero are emerging in the space, shaking up the market with innovative business models.

Dynamic trends in the French professional photography market

The professional photography market in France presents a multifaceted landscape, characterized by a diverse customer base that spans corporate communications, public commissions and direct sales to individuals, among others. This diversity of clientele has played a fundamental role in shaping the range of activities undertaken by professional photographers, who often diversify their segment to adapt to changing demand. Although it has faced significant challenges in recent years due to the democratization of photography and the professionalization of amateurs, the market has proved resilient.

The French market for photographic services, valued at between 1.2 and 1.3 billion euros, has grown steadily after a notable upturn. This positive trajectory is mainly attributed to entities engaged in ancillary activities rather than independent photographers. Businesses were the main source of revenue for professional photographers, contributing over half of total sales, while private individuals accounted for just over a third. It is worth noting that the majority of customers, almost 87%, are national, underlining the localized nature of the market.

The proliferation of digital technology has had a significant impact on consumer behavior. The explosion in sales of digital cameras at first, then of smartphones equipped with high-quality cameras, has led to an abundance of readily available images and a culture of free photography. Both developments pose problems for professional photographers in showcasing their work.

Nevertheless, specific photographic services such as wedding and identity photography continue to be in demand, confirming that there are market segments less affected by the influence of amateur photography. In addition, the global market for photographic services, of which France is a part, is expected to follow an upward trend.

The size of the global market is estimated at between $38 and $43 billion, with growth expected to reach $50.6 billion in the coming years. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to be a major driver of this future growth. The structure of the market reflects the diversity of participants, with self-employed status becoming increasingly common among professional photographers.

Despite various difficulties, digitization has opened up new opportunities for photographers to showcase their work and reach a wider audience. Young companies, such as Meero, have emerged as intermediaries between photographers and customers, offering comprehensive services ranging from matchmaking to image retouching.

Industry regulations are also having an impact on photographers. The obligation to denounce images retouched for commercial use underlines the growing awareness of the effects of image manipulation, and the need for transparency is a legal necessity. in the future, the rise of digital advertising offers a promising avenue for professional photographers.

Key players shaping the professional photography market landscape

The professional photography market is made up of a number of players, each contributing in their own way to the sector's dynamism and growth. Let's take a look at the main players influencing the market, as presented in the professional photography panorama.

  • Nikon, Canon and Sony are major players in the photographic equipment industry, providing professional and amateur photographers alike with the tools they need to capture high-quality images. These companies are at the forefront of technological innovation in camera manufacturing, constantly improving the features and capabilities of their products to meet changing market needs.
  • Canon is a household name synonymous with photography. Offering a wide range of cameras, from entry-level to professional, Canon has helped shape the photographic experience for individuals and businesses alike.
  • Sony has positioned itself not only as an electronics giant, but also as a key player in the world of photography. Sony's camera division is known for its cutting-edge mirrorless cameras, which have had a significant impact on the market, pushing back the boundaries of what is possible in digital photography.
  • Panasonic is another formidable player, best known for its Lumix brand of digital cameras. Panasonic's presence in the photography market is marked by its emphasis on innovative features such as 4K video recording, which addresses both the photography and videography markets.
  • Meero is changing the game in photographic services by offering a platform that connects photographers and customers while providing end-to-end solutions, from connection to complex post-production work. The company is transforming the way photographers do business, as well as the way customers buy and manage photography services.
  • AP Production Paris stands out in the field of photographic production, having consolidated its reputation on the French market thanks to professional services that cover a variety of photographic needs.
  • CEWE and Photoweb specialize in photo printing, with a particular focus on personalized photo products. These companies have taken advantage of technological advances that make it easy for consumers to print their photographic memories on everything from traditional photo books to more original items such as mugs and cushions, making a significant contribution to the B2C sector of the photography industry.
  • Caméléon, Alliance and Maison Thieullent are examples of companies that have made their mark on the professional photography landscape by offering specialized services that meet the unique needs of different customer segments.
  • Négatif + and Photomaton have become synonymous with identity and instant, vital, quality photography services.
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  • Last update : 22/11/2023
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Market definition

Photography refers to the practice of obtaining fixed, lasting images of objects through a physical mechanism based on light. Professional photographers are individuals who take photographs for commercial purposes.

The market for professional photographers is characterized by a wide diversity of players on both the supply and demand sides. Professional photographers differ in their legal status and the nature of their activity, but generally operate in several market segments.

In fact, there are many customers, which explains the diversity of professional photographers' activities, who rarely confine themselves to a single market segment. The main segments include corporate communications, direct sales to individuals, public commissions, press publishers, press agencies and art galleries and dealers.

The market for professional photographers can, however, be divided into three main categories:

  1. News photography, for newspapers and magazines.
  2. Art photography, for exhibitions and art galleries.
  3. Commissioned photography, for commercial use (advertising, events, weddings, etc.)

The professional photography market in France covers a wide range of segments and players, as well as ancillary activities such as photographic development and printing, networking between professionals and customers (Meero), and photo restoration and retouching (

In France, photography has enjoyed rapid growth since the 2000s, with the practice becoming much more democratic. Thearrival of digital photography, which developed particularly strongly in the 2000s, and the subsequent surge in smartphone sales and the increasing quality of their cameras, have led to a radical change in the market for professional phtoographers.

The professionalization of amateurs, the profusion of images and their massive communication have fuelled growing difficulties for photographers to add value to their business. The main effects have been a drop in rates and therefore in remuneration, the widespread use of theauto-entrepreneur status, an increase in copyright infringement and the trivialization of free photography.

Professional photographers are thus facing new challenges, but they can still count on significant growth levers. The main growth drivers are the digital tools that facilitate communication, but also the massive segment of corporate digital communication.

1.2 The growing global market

The global market for photographic services was estimated at $**.* billion in ****, and is expected to reach $**.* billion in ****. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR (***) of *.*% in subsequent years, reaching $**.* billion in ****.

Global market for photographic services France, ****-*****, in billions of US dollars Source : Businesswire Global market growth ...

1.3 A growing market for photographic activities despite photographers' difficulties

The activity of professional photographers is recorded in the Insee nomenclature under NAF code **.**Z: Photographic activities. This code covers :

commercial or private photographic production: identity photography, class photography, wedding photography, advertising photography, publishing photography, fashion photography, real estate photography, tourism photography, aerial photography, video production for events: weddings, meetings, etc. film ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Diversity of demand: individuals, businesses, public authorities

Professional photographers have a wide range of customers.

Their business is both BtoC and BtoB. In fact, photographers' customers include companies wishing to develop their communications, public commissions, press publishers, private individuals, illustration agencies and press agencies.

Breakdown of sales by type of customer France, ****, in Source: ****

In ****, the majority of ...

2.2 Changes in consumer photography practices

New technologies have had a significant impact on the market for professional photographers in recent years, not least because of the effects they have had on consumer behavior.

Two main effects contribute to the difficulties encountered by professional photographers:

The professionalization of amateur photographers and the improvement of their equipment The ...

2.3 Business opportunities

The different segments

There are many different types of customer, and most photographers position themselves in several market segments. In ****, a survey questioned photographers on the segments in which they are mostly positioned and which generate the largest share of their revenue.

Although the survey was carried out on a small ...

3 Market structure

3.1 The photographic profession and industry organization

There are many different types of professional photographers, but it is possible to highlight the main categories.

Segmentation by legal status

Professional photographers fall into * main categories: author-photographers employees/freelancers of the press and press agencies auto-entrepreneurs craftsmen state or local authority employees Over the past few years, the status of ...

3.2 Macroeconomic trends in the sector: a photographic boom that is paradoxically detrimental to photographers

Although photography is doing well and enjoying growing success, photographers have been encountering a number of financial difficulties for several years now. There are several reasons for this, the main one being the arrival of digital technology and the profusion of images. Indeed, the arrival of digital technology has led to ...

3.3 A wide range of ancillary markets

Emerging new players

Image banks: the ability to dematerialize images has opened up new potential. In particular, the online consumption and distribution of content has led to the development of numerous online photo distribution platforms. Image banks enable photographic content to be widely distributed.

Sharing platforms such as social networks and ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 Offer typology

According to the cartography of the French Ministry of Culture, photography can be divided into four main typologies, which can be highly permeable to each other, with certain players navigating between them. This is particularly true of intermediary players: many agencies and image banks offer information, illustration or art content.

Art ...

4.2 Slight price increases

Prices for photographic activities remained relatively stable, but this stagnation can be explained by a wide divergence in price trends between the various players. While freelance photographers' prices fell, those of other activities followed a more upward trend.

Consumer price index for photographic services (***) France, ****-****, base *** in **** Source: ****

A photographer's ...

4.3 An increasingly innovative offering that competes with the photographer

Recent innovations in advertising photography

Advertising photography has seen many innovations over the years, including the introduction of new photographic techniques and technologies, such as the Internet and artificial intelligence (***).

Computer-generated imagery (***) - Computer-generated imagery has been used in advertising since the ****s, but its use has increased in recent years. ...

5 Regulations

5.1 Image rights regulations

Image rights are the exclusive rights you have over your image and the use made of it. Images can be photos or videos in which you appear and are recognizable, whatever the context: vacations, family events, cultural or religious events, etc.

Certain images do not require authorization from the persons concerned, ...

5.2 The obligation of transparency in image retouching

The decree of May *, ****, published in the Journal Officiel stipulates that in the case of retouched images, it is mandatory to display the mention "photographie retouchée".

This mention is obilgatory for all clichés for commercial use, "when the body appearance of models has been modified by image processing software, ...

6 Positioning the players

6.1 Segmentation

As photographers are largely self-employed, information on their business is limited. Consequently, the segmentation chosen deals with the photography market in general.

Camera manufacturers

Photographic services in France

  • AP Production Paris
  • Cewe
  • Cameleon
  • Imalliance
  • Thieullent Maison
  • Negatif +
  • Photomaton
  • Photoweb
  • Talent and Partner
  • Canon
  • Canon
  • Myphotoagency
  • Getty Images

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Breakdown of the global photographic services market by region
  • World market for photographic services
  • Photographic activities market (File 7420Z)
  • Breakdown of sales by customer type
  • Breakdown of sales by customer origin
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Latest news

Getty launches its own artificial intelligence image generator - 26/09/2023
  • Getty Images competes with image generators such as Midjourney and DALL-E.
  • Getty Images relies on generative AI trained on its own image base, not on billions of images extracted from the web like its competitors.
  • Getty's image database does not contain photos of celebrities or brands.
  • Getty Images has around 830,000 customers. Getty promises an AI that masters the legal rules of each country and totally eliminates legal risks.
Myphotoagency wants to dust off the class photo - 19/04/2023
  • 30%: percentage of revenue generated by photo sales donated to schools by Myphotoagency.
  • 3,500: number of photographers in Myphotoagency's address book.
  • 30: number of schools Myphotoagency began working with in January.
  • 500: number of schools Myphotoagency aims to convert over the next two years, focusing on nursery and elementary schools in the Paris region
  • the purchase rate is close to 90% for kindergartens and primary schools. It drops to around 70% in junior high schools, and then to 50% in high schools.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

AP Production Paris
Thieullent Maison
Negatif +
Talent and Partner

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