Photography Studios

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 9,100 photography studios in the US sell professional still, video, or digital portrait photography products and services. Major revenue categories include general individual and group portraits, school portraits, wedding photography, and special event services. Firms may offer related products and services, such as yearbook, directory, or memory book publication or commercial photography and print production services.

Competition from Amateurs

Falling prices for photographic equipment allowed many amateur photographers to produce high quality work, effectively reducing the need for professional services.

Seasonal Peaks in Demand

Demand for photographic services is highly seasonal, with peak periods varying depending on specialty.

Industry size & Structure

The average photography studio operates out of a single location, employs 5 workers, and generates about $527,000 annually.

    • The photography studio industry consists of about 9,100 firms that employ about 49,000 workers and generate $4.8 billion annually.
    • The photography studio industry is concentrated at the top and fragmented at the bottom; the top four companies account for about 38% of industry revenue. The top 50 companies account for about 54% of industry revenue. Some freelance photographers work out of home studios.
    • Large companies include Lifetouch (Olan Mills), Picture People, and North American Theatrical Photographers.
                                  Industry Forecast
                                  Photography Studios Industry Growth
                                  Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                  Recent Developments

                                  May 14, 2024 - Slower Growth Forecast
                                  • The US photography studios industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 2% from 2024 to 2028, slower than the overall economy's growth, according to a forecast from Inforum and the Interindustry Economic Research Fund, Inc. The report noted that consumer confidence levels are expected to be higher in the forecast period, which bodes well for the professional, scientific, and technical services industries, which include photography studios. Additionally, consumer sentiment has seen a degree of improvement following sustained lower levels. Factors limiting spending are high prices and interest rates, though both are expected to improve in 2024. Post-pandemic, consumer spending has shown slower gains of 2.5% in 2022 and 2.2% in 2023, supported in part by savings compiled by households from federal pandemic relief programs.
                                  • The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) monthly jobs report shows that unfilled job openings were up in April 2024, with a seasonally adjusted 40% of business owners reporting jobs they could not fill. The reading is up three points from March 2024, which had the lowest reading since January 2021. A seasonally adjusted net 12% of small business owners plan to create new jobs over the next three months, up one point since March. About 19% of owners reported labor quality as the most important problem facing the business. According to NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg, “Hiring plans among small businesses once again in April, but open positions remain largely unfilled as owners struggle month after month to find employees. Overall, small businesses are not reporting net gains in employment as wage pressures and inflation keep the labor market tight.”
                                  • The average cost of a wedding in the US increased by 3% to $30,119 in 2023 over 2022, with the photography and video category showing growth, according to The Wedding Report. This marks the third consecutive year of growth following a pandemic decline in 2020, when the average cost was $20,290. The report revealed that most of the growth in 2023 came from higher costs in categories such as wedding venue, beauty services, attire, and entertainment. The photography and video category showed higher expenses in almost all categories compared to 2022. Specifically, average costs rose for wedding photographers (5%), wedding albums or photo books (3.4%), prints and or enlargements (3.1%), and photo booths (2.6%). However, the expenses for engagement sessions remained mostly flat (-0.3%), while digital or photo CD/DVD only increased slightly (1%). The report was based on more than 30,000 data samples from people getting married.
                                  • Consumer confidence levels fell in April 2024 from March 2024, marking a third consecutive month of weakness, according to data from The Conference Board. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index was 97 in April 2024 from 103.1 in March 2024. According to Dana Peterson, Chief Economist at The Conference Board, “Confidence retreated further in April, reaching its lowest level since July 2022 as consumers became less positive about the current labor market situation, and more concerned about future business conditions, job availability, and income.” Peterson added that confidence declined among consumers of all age groups and for all income groups except those in the $25,000 to $49,999 range. Plans for vacations, home purchases, and large appliances decreased on a six-month basis.
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