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SALT LAKE CITY — Have you noticed the increasing number of amateur to professional photographers popping up around Utah? More and more people are deciding to take the plunge into photography, making Utah a hot spot for wedding photography.
According to a state occupation report published by Projections Central and using data from the Utah Department of Employment Security, the popularity of photography in Utah is quickly growing. As of 2014, five-year projected growth within the photography industry was 10.6 percent, higher than any other state in the country. The 10-year projected growth for the state of Utah is as high as 32.8 percent, meaning the photography industry is growing greatly and quickly.
Part of the reason for the large number of wedding photographers in Utah could have to do with Utah’s marriage rates. As of 2015, Utah’s marriage rate was 8th in the nation at 8.1 marriages per 1,000.
However, photographer Alicia Pope suggested that there could be other factors that contribute to the high number of wedding photographers in Utah.
“Utah definitely is a hot spot for photographer growth. It’s gorgeous, has all the scenery, mountains and great weather for the most part. I also think it has become a trend. When you see peers and friends doing it, you’re more likely to take interest in it. From there, it grows exponentially,” Pope said.
This trend has led to greater competition within the photography world. Hunter Fowler has been working as a photographer for more than five years and has noted that the increase in photographers has taken a toll on her business.
“There’s high competition, and a lot of people that don’t want to pay for quality photos because a lot of photographers will do it for next to nothing,” Fowler said.
Pope agreed that the competition in the photography industry in Utah is high.
“Since there are quite a bit of photographers in Utah, I would also say that the competition is high," Pope said. "It is interesting that everyone has a different style of photography and business strategy. So, in a sense, the competition isn’t too high if you have a specific style and, therefore, clientele.
“A lot of people are having families, getting engaged and married in Utah and so this is also an influencer in the photography scene in Utah,” Pope said.
Yet, some would argue that the high competition is a good thing.
“It’s better to have a variety. I want to be able to have a photographer that will take a picture that I think is beautiful,” said Emmy Visick, a recently engaged Brigham Young University student.
To Visick, quality was the most important factor when choosing a photographer.
Although, Pope pointed out that quality may not be the determining factor for everyone. “For some people, a photo is a photo—they just don’t have an eye for amazing photography which not everyone does,” she said.
For that reason, a photographer that offers a lower price may be more optimal for those particular couples.
Regardless, Fowler mentioned that it is easier for her to book full-price paying clients outside of Utah.
Despite the high competition and the toll it has taken on her business, Fowler does not plan to change anything about her business to accommodate the wedding photography market in Utah.
“I know what my photos are worth and I don’t think it’s fair to my business to charge less than what I know I’m worth. I also shoot film, so it comes at a cost to me. So, I give less discounts now. I book less, but I also just book the ideal client,” she said.
McKayla Robinson is a student majoring in communications at Brigham Young University with an emphasis in news media.