By Paul Barbagallo
On the basis of their salaries, most professional photographers lack the spending power to merit attractive direct mail offers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income of salaried photographers was $22,300 in 2000.
But amateur photographers—anyone from the retired, aspiring portraitist to the stock-broker who travels on the weekends to capture nature with his lens—represent a profitable market segment fit for myriad offers.
"Amateur photographers are simply those people out striving to perfect their passion for picture-taking," asserts Mike Gural of American List Counsel, manager of the Outdoor Photographer magazine subscriber file. "The subscribers [of Outdoor Photographer] tend not to be professionals. These are affluent, educated people on vacation who are out hunting for the perfect shot."
A Range of Resources
The subscriber files of photography and outdoor recreation publications are among the most frequently rented lists by marketers looking to reach amateur photographers. Many photography magazines now feature articles on fundamental photographic techniques, equipment-usage tips and new product information that appeal to novice shutterbugs.
Outdoor Photography magazine, for example, offers a predominately "how-to" slant to its editorial.
"[The readers] are striving for the photographic perfection that appears in the publication," says Gural.
Most enthusiasts subscribe to photography magazines or newsletters, such as Outdoor Photographer, American Photo, Aperture, DigitalFoto, Photoworld and Popular Photography. Many also belong to camera clubs.
What They Buy
Because amateur photographers must keep up with the latest technological advances in cameras, printing and imaging, they are prospects for anything that's in line with their passion of photography, says Gural.
While such a pursuit imposes less of a demand on a consumer's wallet than boating or yachting, it does require some disposable greenbacks.
"Amateur photographers may not be in the highest income bracket, but they can still certainly afford life's luxuries," Gural says. "All you need is $5,000 to pursue your passion. The financial barriers are a lot less [than with some other pursuits]."