The growth in the number of people who have access to a high end camera, or smartphone with camera, is often seen as a threat to the world of professional photography, or people who use any creative art as a way of making a living.
Yet, what it also represents is a huge increase in the market for people who need help with their photography. The growth of cloud computing gives photographers a number of ways they can help meet that need in such a way as to generate different income streams as a professional photographer.
Most people have heard about ‘the cloud’ and either tend to think of it as a bit of a techie buzz word, or understand that has something to do with storage and backups etc. While this is true, anyone who is serious about making a living from photography needs to understand the basics of the cloud, and in particular understand the potential that the cloud offers to entrepreneurs.
The cloud can be thought of essentially in two ways. Firstly, it is very much about backup and storage. It is very easy nowadays to sign up to a number of companies, that allow you to automatically backup photographs and videos to the cloud. Secondly, the cloud should be understood as a platform that allows individuals and companies to essentially host their software so that it can be accessible from any device anywhere there is internet access.
Photographers have needed to innovate and massively expand their own entrepreneurial skills since digital became the normal mode of taking and sharing photographs. Many professionals have shown an inclination to teach, often in colleges of higher education, to write and to run residential and non-residential training courses. The cloud offers many opportunities in all these areas, most especially nowadays in that of online training.
Although the cloud is still in effect in its infancy, it has already shown its massive potential for companies to use it as a way of making money – think Netflix, Pinterest, Instagram etc.
Photographers and other freelance creatives need to think of themselves as businesses in order to fully make the most of their opportunities. Running online training courses is rapidly becoming one of the most powerful ways for photographers to diversify their profession.
Many universities around the world have seen the benefit of online courses, and many produce short ‘taster’ courses, that are often free, as a way of introducing people to both the subject matter, and to the University as well. On the back of these, a number of websites have been set up, such as UDEMY, which host training courses in photography as well as a whole range of related subjects.
These sites of course use the cloud as the basis for both hosting the courses, and managing student participation in them. Any photographer or creative freelancer wanting to run an online training course can take full advantage of the cloud as a way of creating either a taster course as above – which can also act as a lead into a complete course – or of setting up a course of any size and nature in its own right.
The potential for teaching people all types of photography or video animation etc., is huge, and photographers can be in control of the whole process themselves.
Hosting a course with any major cloud provider does require a learning curve, the trade-off being that the photographer can use numerous different components of cloud computing to configure an exact level of the software they need for the course. They can have total control over costs, bandwidth, storage etc.
The advantage of using a ready-made platform hosted on the cloud is that there is no technical knowledge needed and there is considerable ease of use. The decision as to which to use is simply a matter of personal preference.
The cloud should be thought of as a means to an end, in this case the end being an opportunity to run a significant number of different types of training courses. These can be aimed at people with different levels of experience, can focus on any area of photography from basics of digital to fashion to travel. They can be part of a training course in their own right or part of a real life training program, residential or non-residential.