The latest profession to be hurt by the internet is photographers, especially the ones who specialize in travel or nature shots. The rise of digital photography has made it easier for amateurs to take good pictures and the internet provides a way for them to share their work. Their budgets squeezed by the recession, more and more editors are turning to stock photos posted on Flickr and similar sites. They can license these existing photos for a small fee, and they can find and purchase them right away. Getty Images, one of several firms in the business, licensed 1.4 million images in 2005 but 22 million last year. Since many of the people selling images online are amateurs or only semi-professional, they are content with any amount of money. Eventually the recession will end, but now that editors are in the habit of buying stock photos, the number of photo commissions will probably never return to the old level.
And, really, why should it? There are great photographers, but most of the shots that appear in the average Travel and Leisure article could be taken by anyone with a $1000 camera.