The US photo studios and commercial photography industry includes about 13,000 companies with combined annual revenue of about $6 billion. Large companies include portrait studios CPI Corp, Lifetouch, and Olan Mills, along with commercial photo services Getty Images and Corbis. The portrait studio segment is fragmented: the 50 largest companies generate less than half of segment revenue. The commercial photography segment is highly fragmented: the 50 largest companies generate about 20 percent of segment revenue.
Demand is closely tied to consumer income and corporate marketing activity. The profitability of individual companies depends heavily on effective marketing. Large companies have economies of scale in marketing and production. Small companies can compete effectively by offering specialized services or holding favorable locations. The industry is labor-intensive: average annual revenue per worker is less than $65,000 for portrait studios, $135,000 for commercial photography companies.
PRODUCTS, OPERATIONS & TECHNOLOGY
Major products are family portraits and images for corporate advertising and marketing materials. Portrait studios account for about 60 percent of industry revenue. Peripheral sales (frames, albums, and related products) make up a small fraction of total revenues.
Family portrait companies specialize in just one segment of the industry, while many commercial firms also produce family portraits in addition to commercial work. In the commercial segment, most companies work on assignment to produce original photographs, and a few large firms like Getty and Corbis license photographs they buy from outside sources.