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We just completed a survey among 881 professional photographers in primarily Europe and North America that researched these pro’s use of standalone cameras and smartphones, along with their camera preferences and needs.

The core questions I’d like to address here:

  • Have the professional photographers by now been swayed by the benefits of smartphones the way the general population has, resulting in the pros now taking most of their photos – whether for work or personal use — with this always-with-you camera?


  • Or are they so used to the benefits of their high-end cameras and their pricey accessories (specialized lenses and flashes) that they use these cameras to take any kind of photos whenever possible? In other words, are they thinking: why drive an automatic Prius if you have a fully-paid stick-shift Porsche sitting next to it in the same garage?

As you might have suspected, the choice of camera depends a lot on whether they’ll use it professionally or for their own pleasure. 13% of the surveyed pro photographers take half or more of their professional photos with their smartphone, while 64% do so for their non-professional photos.

In other words, no matter the often smartphone-disparaging reader comments you might find on pro photography websites, most pros use smartphones quite often for their personal photos and are therefore quite familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of smartphones vs. standalone cameras.

If the smartphone is increasingly the device of choice for personal photos, what is holding these pros back from using the phone more often for their pro work? Dissatisfaction with the features, concerns about their clients’ perception when using the same smartphone the client owns, a lack of high-quality accessories suitable for smartphones, or some deeply rooted misconceptions about what sets a pro photographer apart from an amateur? (Spoiler alert: it should not be the equipment!)

The majority of our study explores the data points that shines light on these questions, covering a range of topics, including:

  • What types of smartphones or standalone cameras do the professional photographers use for their professional vs. personal photos?
  • To what degree is the use of smartphones for professional work declining, stable or on the rise?
  • For what type of professional or business photography do they use their smartphone?
  • What types of productivity benefits could they see themselves gaining from using their smartphone (more often) for their professional or business photography?
  • What types of creativity benefits could they see themselves gaining from using their smartphone (more often) for their professional or business photography?
  • If anything, what is holding them back from using their smartphone (more often) for taking professional or business photos?
  • [for those who have concerns about their clients’ perception of using smartphones] Have their concerns about their clients’ perception of using smartphones changed over the last 12 months?
  • Have they had any experience taking photos with any of the latest high-end smartphone models?
  • How often do they use a flash today when taking professional or business photos with any of their cameras?
  • What could make them (more often) use an external flash with their smartphone?

Click here for more info or to purchase the on the Pro Photographers and their Camera Use report

And a few more things… other news

Lightricks. Going video. It’s not Lightricks’ first video product (it already offers Videoleap), but it is a major step into video territory. The company releases Facetune Video, which is designed to help you touch up selfie videos. It has the Facetune-familiar features, such as changing the brightness of the video, smoothing out your skin, whitening your smile, and even changing the size of your nose and eyes.

PicsArt & D’efektPicsArt is also going further into video territory. The company acquired motion-based video effects company D’efekt. D’efekt offers motion-based video effects, including light illusions, music responsiveness, and fractal motion-activation.

Mimeo Photos. Going webMimeo Photos, a photo print product solution that started its life as a macOS Apple Photos extension, now added a web-based ordering solution for its photobooks, wall decor, calendars, cards and prints products.

From Google to Adobe. One of the most discussed career moves in the last week: Marc Levoy, the brain behind the Google Pixel camera is building a universal camera app for Adobe.

Capsule @ Visual 1st. I’m very pleased to welcome Capsule as our 6th sponsor of Visual 1st 2020. Capsule brings people together to instantly create and share personalized videos. Stay tuned for more Visual 1st announcements!

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Hans Hartman


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