These days, everyone’s a photographer thanks to always-on cell phones and an entire generation that thrives on selfies and social media. While amateur photographers are everywhere, it’s also a great time to be a professional photographer.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there were 54,830 people employed as professional photographers in the U.S. in 2013, and another 81,500 working for themselves in 2012, with that number set to grow to over the next ten years.
What Photographers Need
At Thumbtack we know firsthand that professional photographers are in high demand and we’ve helped nearly 600,000 brides, job applicants, new parents, and others get started getting their perfect portraits taken, and we send over $30 million in business to photographers around the country every year.
To better understand what factors influence the environment for professionals like photographers, Thumbtack has run an annual Small Business Friendliness Survey, which offers a one-of-its-kind look at what makes a state or local government work for small businesses. Based on survey responses from 18,000 small business owners nationwide, we use these responses to rank cities and states based on their friendliness to small business, from best (Texas) to worst (Rhode Island). And this year we looked at which cities had the friendliest environment for photography professionals.
Photographers generally scored their local government lower than other service professionals, but were more likely to encourage others to start their own small business. There were some surprising differences in which cities do well for small businesses and which cities do well for photographers:
Worcester, Tacoma, and Louisville all had significant jumps in perceptions of friendliness when we look at just the responses for photographers. Whether this is due to an active art scene, or an especially great market for photographers is hard to say. In addition to the typical rules that govern home-based businesses, commercial photography is subject to an unusual number of permitting rules that dictate where commercial photographers can and can’t take pictures on public lands.
See which cities photographers say are the best at our interactive map here: