30-40 years (and more) ago, the only qualification to be a pro photographer was to be able to afford the gear. At least now it can be in the hands of the truly talented. Unfortunately it can also in the hands of the far less than talented.
There is a lot of junk out there but I am liking some of the 'photo real' that emerges. It's nice to see some of those stars shine. Now if we can only get rid of the over use of photoshop. My incentive to shoot better was I was (am) a dufus for print.
In the UK, in my experience working in rental and equipment repairs to these type of studios, the owners started employing people who couldn't operate lights, meters or even cameras outside of 'auto' - consequently the quality of the portraits went downhill. Often the camera and lights were pre-setup and the operator only had to press the shutter. As one of the comments on the above article says - one day we may want better photographs rather than more.
It is a shame in one way. The "portrait mills" were a reasonably good place to develop a photographer's ability to work with people, and they did help reinforce the idea that paying for a photograph was a good thing.
By the way, this thread is in the wrong sub-forum. Feedback and Discussion is intended to refer to "Site Feedback and Discussion about APUG"
Maybe the name of the sub-forum should be changed to help those who are new here?
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
I think it's as much about how people share photos as it is about how they take them. So much is now shared online.
To be honest, I don't think the loss of the formulaic, mass market "studio" photos is all that great. In fact, I think the spontaneous cell phone photo beats their posed photos 99% of the time. But the loss of an actual print (vs. screen display) is a shame.
"Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer