We’ve seen major advertising campaigns employ mediocre or even amateur photography. Such sourcing obviously affects the bottom line of professional photographers who pursue such prestigious clients and their lucrative accounts. Now comes news that Shiseido cosmetics has opted to employ images shot by a celebrity with a cell phone rather than those created by a professional beauty photographer.

See: Lady Gaga Turning Her Instagram Selfies into Ads

Lady Gaga is the face — and photographer — of Shiseido’s New Year’s ad campaign.

With all of the competition coming from “cheaper suppliers of photographic content” already out there, it sad to note that at least one wealthy celeb is now competing with working photographers.

A prominent model agent upon reading the story noted to us that, “This is the ying to the model industry’s yang.” 

He explained: “For years top agencies spent time and money to develop elite models or “Supermodels” who could command high fees. In today’s market advertisers prefer using known television personalities who bring with them: a high recognizability factor, huge followings in either social media or via a weekly TV broadcast and with that the attendant media attention in US, People, Star, etc”.

He cited as examples:Any Kardashian, Ellen DeGeneres, Sofia Vergara. None are ‘trained models’ and each has been used instead of several ‘professional’ models”.

The use of famous athletes, actors and actresses has been a staple in the ad industry for decades. But the use of so called amateurs for fashion and beauty campaigns instead of traditional supermodels is a relatively recent phenomenon. With social media, what the subject looks like in an image is far less important than the number of eyeballs who view the ad and then how many times it reappears in social media.

Our expert opines that, “The days of the supermodel as a concept may be numbered. Since such models are profit centers for model agencies, the substantially reduced demand for them has resulted in the decline of the high end modeling agencies”. 

We are reminded of our dear ole’ drinking buddy Heraclitus (535 BC – 475 BC) who said,

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change”