I normally don't get into ranting too much, but I thought this issued needed some addressing. Lately, I've been spending a lot of time in blogs, forums, and doing some general social media networking. I've been talking to a lot of people about their photography business and how it's going and they all seemed to be concerned about the rising number of point-and-shoot amateurs picking up cameras these days. I realize that entry level models of cameras are getting really clever and that good equipment has never been more affordable, but the idea that amateurs are going to swoop in and steal your business is completely absurd.
Believe it or not, the gear doesn't make the photographer. If you walked up to someone on the street and gave them a jersey, shorts, and a basketball, are they going to be the next Michael Jordan? No. Photography is the same way. You can have the best gear, but if you don't know what you're doing, then your pictures will show it. On the other hand, give Joe McNally a point-and-shoot and he'll make a great picture, it's just a fact of life.
Another thing I would like to point out is that it's really hard to get a business started and self-sustaining. Most of the them won't make it a single year. It's a sad fact, but it's true. An estimated 60% of photography businesses fail in the first year and another 25% fail in year two and with our current economy, these numbers will grow even more.
Instead of worrying about the amateurs, you should focus on yourself. Think about rebranding, learning new techniques, boosting the quality of your images, streamline your business, and raise the bar on the level of service you give to your customers. There will always be business for those who treat their customers well and offer a great product. End of rant.