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Thread: Supply and Demand and Free Market

  1. #1

    Default Supply and Demand and Free Market

    "Its a free market..."

    "Its supply and demand..."

    How often you see these statements float around CS discussions whenever it gets a bit hot on the topic of prices? I do not mean to offend or insult anyone, but are these excuses?

    Free Market in reality refers to the uncontrolled and unregulated way to do business - without the restriction from government or any bodies. Thus prices can dive or soar depending on supply and demand. Because of this; some individuals use it as an excuse to offer cheap prices for photography. But pause awhile and think, the reason for Free Markets is really for your to maximize your potential profits - not use it as an excuse for falling behind.

    Yes, I agree that forces of supply and demand are in place. Yes I agree - but it does not mean you have to succumb to it. Its like saying "exams are hard!" or "working is tiring!" Are those excuses to fail the exams or to stop working? Of course not.

    It is hard to deny that now its a way better time to be a photography hobbyist than a professional. Everyone owns a DSLR system and many wants to make some extra money from photography. Yes, now there is a lot of supply and now there are less demand. Market forces are at work, but you really don't have to compare yourself with the tom dick and harrys with cameras and let their prices affect your prices.

    If you have what they don't have, if you do what they don't do, if you know what they don't know, if you dare what they don't dare, if you think what they don't think, if you shoot what they don't shoot, if you say what they don't say, THEN you are not bind or controlled by market forces, or at least to a lesser degree. THEN you are no longer one of the CS mob that does mediocre work responding to cheap offers at Services Wanted forum.

    What I am saying is you find your niche and do your thing. We discussed it before here: develop your style, your vision. And niches need not necessary mean you must be the only unique one doing it, niches can be shared, as long as that niche market is big enough - it often is, coz photographers are often, only one person and one person only have so much time and one person can only serve a limited number of clients.

    And - I don't have the answer of how you can get niched or develop a style. That you have to do it yourself.
    Last edited by JasonB; 5th February 2012 at 10:46 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Supply and Demand and Free Market

    I seriously think those people are the same as google chanters... Irritating with nothing better to say and most probably they are the guilty ones offering free/cheap services.
    Inferiority Complex Behavior Signature: A900.D3x.M9..I have this and that blah blah...

  3. #3

    Default Are you earning Money? Are your prices Realistic?

    Are you earning Money? Are your prices Realistic?

    If you tried to set your prices by looking at another photographer's prices and then comparing yourself with him, OR if you find yourself guessing how much would a client pay, then you need help. Either both ways are wrong.

    First, if you are trying to set your own prices by referencing other photographers, you probably find yourself measuring other photographers' worth based on his work or portfolio, then you look at your own work and you guesstimate a price for yourself. No good. You are thinking like a consumer this way. If you reference more photographers and you will see prices are everywhere and its seldom proportionally tied to quality. Different people have different cost of operations, different popularity, different priority, different hunger for profit, and different business skills.

    Second, if you are pricing yourself by guessing how much would a client pay, no good, again thinking like a consumer. Consumers most of the time wants to pay at little as possible. Do you want to get paid as little as possible? Of course not. You want to be paid handsomely or at least fairly. And different people have different spending power. If you set your prices based on your own opinion of how much would client pay, you are restricting you profit potential or even making a lost.

    How should you price or charge? Definitely not based on the other guy or what the client want to pay. I keep it simple by considering the three important factors here:

    Time/man hours
    Operation/material cost
    Risk/Profit

    Time and man hours
    Photographers, we are often, one person. We only have certain 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and so on. We only have a very very limited time to use, after taking away sleep, healthcare, family time, a little leisure for mental well being. It is not a lot. The time you WASTED you ain't getting it back. The time you spent too much on Client A, it meant Client B suffered. The extra time you wasted on Job A, it means you have no time to do another Job B, which means a lost of income. You have to charge for your time, it is the most precious resource. Post processing and post production takes time. When I 'shoot and burn' events, I have a 1:1 ratio. Meaning for every 1 hour of event shoot, I spend another hour in post work, from invoicing to editing to burning disc to delivery, etc. A newbie photographer, might take up to a 1:5 ratio depending upon volume and complexity, especially uncontrolled events like weddings. Client care, client management, emails and marketing, etc all takes your time. Best re-read this.

    Operation and material cost
    Your yearly equipment service/upgrade/replacement, software, advertising website, pro-photog-association fee, hard disk/storage, legal/accounting fee, government tax, insurance, albums, stationaries, staffing ie assistants/models, or even a studio which gets more complicated. You cannot ignore these. Add up and you will get a figure to calculate into your rates/packages based on projected sales. Then work to hit those projection. Quarterly or half yearly, you have to stop and reassess.

    Risk and Profits
    On top of charging for time and operation costs, you still need to charge for your profit margin. Otherwise you don't call this a business if you don't aim to make profits, you call it a job. BUT this is NOT a job because a job offers you job security and risks were shouldered by your employer, regardless your employer made money that month or not, he still pays you. But your own business does not. You are in risk whenever you are in business. And your profit margin must be wide enough to cover some of your risk or possible lost.

    So are you charging that job or client enough that in case you fall sick or had an emergency, you can afford to hire another photographer of your equivalent skill and style to fulfill the contract? That is why, if you charge cheaper than your worth, you cannot afford to hire a similar level photographer in event of sickness or emergencies. You end up suffering a lost when you do hire someone more expensive to do the job, or you end up suffering bad repute or client's wrath when you hire someone cheaper. In other words, just by being cheaper than your worth is risky to you.

    Are you charging enough that in case you need to reinvest more man hours due to servicing bad/difficult clients, do a total reshoot, or hire someone out of your own pockets to fulfill agreed work you later had no time to fulfill due to mentioned difficult clients, or to warranty a faulty deliverable (ie a bad print or an album error) that you won't suffer a such a bad lost?

    After all that is done, you have a 'baseline' price. And you have to get clients and jobs based on that baseline price. If you cannot get clients with that baseline prices, either you better your work/marketing or lower your price. If you lower your price, it should not be at a lost to you but rather
    look at where you can cut costs instead of incur lost.

    If you do take all these into considerations, you might realized many prices 'out there' won't sustain a living for long, much less to say a business.

    So when people say 'Its a Free Market' its 'Supply and Demand' yes, I agreed. Its there. But Supply and Demand and Free Market cannot drive your prices down till you actually loss money and enter into financial risk just by taking up jobs. If so, then perhaps its better not to take those jobs.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Are you earning Money? Are your prices Realistic?

    JasonB, based on your last post... I shall let Singapore see this website...

    Imagine a pricing calculator to see how much you should charge.

    Focht Creative Pricing Calculator

  5. #5

    Default Re: Are you earning Money? Are your prices Realistic?

    In terms of pricing, I agree with JasonB.... That is charging as much as possible that clients still willing to pay for your service.

    There are a few good reason why you need to charge MORE and not LESS.

    1. By having more profit, you can reinvest it...
    By re-investing, I don't mean spending every cents on equipment that you don't need.
    There are things like, having the website done properly, going for a business seminar, going for courses and upgrading your packaging and advertising is very expensive, so if you have more profit, you can invest in more variety of advertising to reach your goal.

    2. By charging more, you will constantly upgrading yourself so you do better everytime to ensure clients like your work and you increase your "value".
    The more you charge, the more value that you need to provide, clients at the end of the day still like to weight your service to the value that they actually getting out from you. If they think it is value, pricing is no longer an issue.

    3. By charging more, you have more time
    Time, as JasonB mentioned, is FIXED and you have only 24 hours a day. By having less client volume, you have more time doing and servicing each and every clients to your best ability. In terms provide better value in service area. Having more time also gives you a space to think and reflect on things that you have done so you can do better things.

    4. You have more leverage in using the best products.
    Every think that a particular product is so expensive, you prefer to find cheaper alternative to sell it to your clients? think again? every products that is out there with your work on it, is your reputation, using the best do increase your reputation and in terms building your brand image.

    5. You get to enjoy your life a little better....
    At the end of the day, I believe everyone that work because they want to be "better", live in a nicer place, having a nicer food and going for holidays, so why not reward yourself a little bit for all your hard work so you can energize yourself and do better things?

    Sure, money can't buy everything, but it is convenient to have it....

    If you want to compete with another cheaper photographer in terms of inclusion and pricing, think again... is it worth it? it achieve nothing but anger and frustration.

    I hope it make sense.

    Regards,

    Hart

  6. #6

    Default Re: Supply and Demand and Free Market

    i think this kind of debate can go on and on and it's just quite a waste of time discussing it because there is no right or wrong. As we all know, it's been years, and people still bring this topic up! Just so you know, this is not a situation happening only in Singapore but in many other countries.

    I don't think it's an excuse to say it's a Free Market or that it's the law of supply and demand. They are actually truths! Of course, like any debate, you try to make white turn black and vice versa. At the end, no one says you are right or wrong. Just a different POV. But what do you gain from such debates as a photographer, if you truly value your time and skills? Are people debating this issue because they are really worried about their own business or trade, rather than want to be a police and set rules? What's your priority, to provide good end results for your customers, or go out there continually arguing about photographer's salaries? As far as Singapore is concerned, who feels they are duly paid enough in the first place? Already, there are tons of foreigners coming in here who will accept less pay than what we should rightly have. And as such, many locals get laid off. It's a never ending debate.

    In photography, it's a free market because you don't need special training to be a photographer. You don't need a degree or educational qualification. You won't likely be sued here if you screw things up. Maybe you just get a bad name or incur the anger of your customers. Unlike say a doctor who needs many years of training, license to practice and they can be sued if they are found negligent. Consider yourself lucky you can even earn money without a qualification to begin with.

    How much you want to charge is up to you. If your customer likes it, they will choose you. Or if they THINK you are good, they will choose you. I use capital letters there because sometimes, photographers themselves are liable for not living up to their expectations despite all the hype they promise. More on this later.

    And I feel this issue has been blown too big. In other service professions, it's the same. Have you ever eaten food A that tastes much nicer than food B, but the eating place for food B charges more? Maybe it's the ambience of the place for food B. Maybe it's the way they attract customers. But should you go to A or B? There's no right or wrong. It's up to you. It's how you feel. It's the same with photography. Customers choose you for some reasons. You should not be afraid of those who charge cheap. Everyone's been there before. Why worry unless you are not competent yourself or you are in the same league?

    This is a real story. I've a friend who married a few years ago. Paid a few thousand $ to the photographer which by that kind of price, should produce decent results. Cut long story short, it was below expectations. So you guys who argue Yes, charge more, charge more. On what basis are you arguing that? If you have already done that and you think it's justified, and you have a broad customer base, then good for you. I can assure you there are already many who are "charging more". I'm sure we all know that.

    But why worry for those who charge less? I'm suspecting there's this intention among some photographers to want to create a market where photographers in Singapore (since we are here) all earn an $x amount of salary. Say, for example, the cheapest photographer charges $2,000. You want very good ones, they are above $10,000, maybe $15,000 and above, like how lawyers, doctors and other trained/licensed professionals earn. So you start commanding a salary that gives you good life, even though you may be only an average photographer.

    IMHO, this is very very NOT possible. For reasons of common sense and the arguments above. Ok, maybe 0.0001% possible, perhaps inflation hit so high that every other profession and cost of living went up to that unimaginable level. But that's besides the point. You mean you want the student who just bought a DSLR to charge the couple $2,000 for a wedding? Then we are opening up another can of worms. And I think the problem we would face then is a lot bigger than whatever it is now that some are complaining.

    I always believe if you have what it takes, you won't waste time arguing about charging more. Cos you are already "there" and you already have your customers. You won't be afraid. Let others do what they want or need to, unless you are part of them, ie little skills but want to earn more money for the sake of it.

    If at all, think about your customers also. We argue so much from the POV of photographers cos this is a photography website. But have you ever been in the shoes of a customer who got cheated or got less than desirable standards from photographers who charge $x amount but don't live up to it? How to charge more, charge more?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Supply and Demand and Free Market

    I don't think we are here to ASK people to charge more and I do not think we are worry about people who charge less.

    In my point 2, I have mentioned the More you charge, the more Value that a photographer need to offer.

    I don't see it as a debate here, but my view is, there are a few good reason why a business needs to charge more and reinvest to upgrade themselves.

    Of course, in any trade, there are services that is plainly expensive and without much value.

    Sure, we should think for clients not just for us... But clients will have to owe themselves to their research before buying a service.

    At the end of the day, for those of us who have already establish ourselves, we are more than happy to keep evey knowledge that we have within ourselves and there isn't a need for us to help if we think purely for ourselves.

    I generally find people are pessimistic for everything that is out there rather then looking at it from a positive POV.

    Sure, if people think what we wrote is pure nonsense, perhaps we should just be quiet and let people figure it out themselves. Maybe I should just spend less time educating and more time for myself.

    Hart

  8. #8

    Default Re: Supply and Demand and Free Market

    Agetan,

    Please don't get me wrong. I wasn't directly targeting at you in whatever I had written above. Actually, I didn't even read your earlier post so I don't know what you had written! I only replied in relation to the first post by JasonB. And even then, my reply was not targeted at him personally or to belittle him. Like I said, there's no right or wrong. Anyone can disagree with me. I'm fine with it, just as I have a different POV.

    Actually, you are one of those photographers who have given constant good advice on running the business. You are sharing to help those who want to learn or don't know where to start. I have nothing to target that. So as I've said, my reply was to the original post here that was brought up about the excuses of photography being a free market and all that.

    I don't think you can entirely blame the customers for not doing research. They may do a lot of research but some things you just can't tell or predict. Which is why I said the argument of charging more seriously needs to be looked into.

    I'd also like to offer this as further food for thought:

    Not all photographers who charge are out there with the intention to stay long. Some don't view it as a business. There are many students, part-timers out there who do it for "pocket money". To them, they feel they should charge what they deem to be desirable. And yes, some can produce decent enough results for the price which their customers feel happy also. So to this group of people, "charging more" is quite irrelevant.

    Then of course, there are full-time professionals who charge a lot lower than others. As JasonB rightly put, they may go out of business soon. Then let them be! That's where you distinguish yourself as a photographer in your own right. But I do know photographers who charge less than what they can. But they have a different business strategy and they are happy about it. Still surviving very well. It's also how you view yourself ultimately and what your intention is that determines how much you charge.
    Last edited by kiwi2; 7th February 2012 at 09:53 AM.

  9. #9
    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Supply and Demand and Free Market

    u cant view the market as a homogenous market... once u realise its a spectrum, with very different consumer groups, then individually, each one has their own kind of market structure.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Supply and Demand and Free Market

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post
    i think this kind of debate can go on and on and it's just quite a waste of time discussing it because there is no right or wrong. As we all know, it's been years, and people still bring this topic up! Just so you know, this is not a situation happening only in Singapore but in many other countries.

    I don't think it's an excuse to say it's a Free Market or that it's the law of supply and demand. They are actually truths! Of course, like any debate, you try to make white turn black and vice versa. At the end, no one says you are right or wrong. Just a different POV. But what do you gain from such debates as a photographer, if you truly value your time and skills? Are people debating this issue because they are really worried about their own business or trade, rather than want to be a police and set rules? What's your priority, to provide good end results for your customers, or go out there continually arguing about photographer's salaries? As far as Singapore is concerned, who feels they are duly paid enough in the first place? Already, there are tons of foreigners coming in here who will accept less pay than what we should rightly have. And as such, many locals get laid off. It's a never ending debate.

    In photography, it's a free market because you don't need special training to be a photographer. You don't need a degree or educational qualification. You won't likely be sued here if you screw things up. Maybe you just get a bad name or incur the anger of your customers. Unlike say a doctor who needs many years of training, license to practice and they can be sued if they are found negligent. Consider yourself lucky you can even earn money without a qualification to begin with.

    How much you want to charge is up to you. If your customer likes it, they will choose you. Or if they THINK you are good, they will choose you. I use capital letters there because sometimes, photographers themselves are liable for not living up to their expectations despite all the hype they promise. More on this later.

    And I feel this issue has been blown too big. In other service professions, it's the same. Have you ever eaten food A that tastes much nicer than food B, but the eating place for food B charges more? Maybe it's the ambience of the place for food B. Maybe it's the way they attract customers. But should you go to A or B? There's no right or wrong. It's up to you. It's how you feel. It's the same with photography. Customers choose you for some reasons. You should not be afraid of those who charge cheap. Everyone's been there before. Why worry unless you are not competent yourself or you are in the same league?

    This is a real story. I've a friend who married a few years ago. Paid a few thousand $ to the photographer which by that kind of price, should produce decent results. Cut long story short, it was below expectations. So you guys who argue Yes, charge more, charge more. On what basis are you arguing that? If you have already done that and you think it's justified, and you have a broad customer base, then good for you. I can assure you there are already many who are "charging more". I'm sure we all know that.

    But why worry for those who charge less? I'm suspecting there's this intention among some photographers to want to create a market where photographers in Singapore (since we are here) all earn an $x amount of salary. Say, for example, the cheapest photographer charges $2,000. You want very good ones, they are above $10,000, maybe $15,000 and above, like how lawyers, doctors and other trained/licensed professionals earn. So you start commanding a salary that gives you good life, even though you may be only an average photographer.

    IMHO, this is very very NOT possible. For reasons of common sense and the arguments above. Ok, maybe 0.0001% possible, perhaps inflation hit so high that every other profession and cost of living went up to that unimaginable level. But that's besides the point. You mean you want the student who just bought a DSLR to charge the couple $2,000 for a wedding? Then we are opening up another can of worms. And I think the problem we would face then is a lot bigger than whatever it is now that some are complaining.

    I always believe if you have what it takes, you won't waste time arguing about charging more. Cos you are already "there" and you already have your customers. You won't be afraid. Let others do what they want or need to, unless you are part of them, ie little skills but want to earn more money for the sake of it.

    If at all, think about your customers also. We argue so much from the POV of photographers cos this is a photography website. But have you ever been in the shoes of a customer who got cheated or got less than desirable standards from photographers who charge $x amount but don't live up to it? How to charge more, charge more?
    Thank you for furthering the discussion Kiwi.

    First of all, this is not a debate. Have anyone of you noticed? There are usually less than 5 persons viewing the Photo Biz forum at one time. The Services Wanted forum, usually twice to sometimes thrice this number. I observed this for a long time. It suggest there are more people interested into providing professional service but less interested in learning how to do it properly. In short, only the people who care, only the people who are genuinely interested will be reading these threads in the Photo Biz forum.

    Writing this thread took me 2 man hours, and I will probably still spend more time into it over the discussions. Do you know how valuable that time is to me? Look at Hart, he spends time here plus he went even further - he conduct free classes for the interested few, in his studio, money out of his own pockets and spending even more time. Can he make more money with that time? Of course he can. Do you know worldwide there is a phenomenon of successful photographers conducting classes for hundreds or even thousands of dollars per head per day? What does Hart gain by providing free education? What do I gain by wasting time here telling people how to better business?

    Once again, only the aspiring photographers who are SERIOUS will come here and read. I care little for the mob.

    If this is a debate, I would had posted it on Kopitiam forum. All sorts of sentiments and comments will come in but not many of those replies will be beneficial to people genuinely interested in professional photography.

    Supply and Demand are true indeed, but excuses are excuses. I refer to my earlier post where I said, "I agree that forces of supply and demand are in place. Yes I agree - but it does not mean you have to succumb to it. Its like saying "exams are hard!" or "working is tiring!" Are those excuses to fail the exams or to stop working? Of course not."

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post
    But why worry for those who charge less? I'm suspecting there's this intention among some photographers to want to create a market where photographers in Singapore (since we are here) all earn an $x amount of salary.
    Your suspicion is true. I hope all full time photographers will earn enough to raise a family, have self esteem and be proud to be in the photographer professional, have a retirement and have a good life. I hope part timers who aspire to leave their day job and switch into full time, will also earn enough to worth the switch. Unfortunately many full timers don't last more than 5 years, and many part timers still cannot afford to switch to full time even after 5 years. Something must had done wrong and its hard to deny that the main realistic reason is the insufficient income.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Supply and Demand and Free Market

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonB View Post
    Thank you for furthering the discussion Kiwi.

    First of all, this is not a debate. Have anyone of you noticed? There are usually less than 5 persons viewing the Photo Biz forum at one time. The Services Wanted forum, usually twice to sometimes thrice this number. I observed this for a long time. It suggest there are more people interested into providing professional service but less interested in learning how to do it properly. In short, only the people who care, only the people who are genuinely interested will be reading these threads in the Photo Biz forum.

    Writing this thread took me 2 man hours, and I will probably still spend more time into it over the discussions. Do you know how valuable that time is to me? Look at Hart, he spends time here plus he went even further - he conduct free classes for the interested few, in his studio, money out of his own pockets and spending even more time. Can he make more money with that time? Of course he can. Do you know worldwide there is a phenomenon of successful photographers conducting classes for hundreds or even thousands of dollars per head per day? What does Hart gain by providing free education? What do I gain by wasting time here telling people how to better business?

    Once again, only the aspiring photographers who are SERIOUS will come here and read. I care little for the mob.

    If this is a debate, I would had posted it on Kopitiam forum. All sorts of sentiments and comments will come in but not many of those replies will be beneficial to people genuinely interested in professional photography.

    Supply and Demand are true indeed, but excuses are excuses. I refer to my earlier post where I said, "I agree that forces of supply and demand are in place. Yes I agree - but it does not mean you have to succumb to it. Its like saying "exams are hard!" or "working is tiring!" Are those excuses to fail the exams or to stop working? Of course not."



    Your suspicion is true. I hope all full time photographers will earn enough to raise a family, have self esteem and be proud to be in the photographer professional, have a retirement and have a good life. I hope part timers who aspire to leave their day job and switch into full time, will also earn enough to worth the switch. Unfortunately many full timers don't last more than 5 years, and many part timers still cannot afford to switch to full time even after 5 years. Something must had done wrong and its hard to deny that the main realistic reason is the insufficient income.
    I often feel that many consider photography a passion and can only be treated so and it is impossible to make a living out of it. My intention is to give people some perspective how to move beyond as an artist to business side which put food on the table.

    Still get ask often, "do you make enough?"....

    The answer is yes, it is possible to make a living out of it.
    To become extremely rich from photography? possible but not very easy.

    I do believe in provide for the family while doing something I love is simply living a dream. I have this dream and I work hard for this... but I do ask, how many often dare to dream and more importantly dare to make the dream a reality without many excuses?

    Tomorrow, when you wake up, go to the mirror, spend a couple of minutes looking at yourself... and ask yourself... what will you do today to make your life better tomorrow?

    Good nite.
    Regards,

    Hart
    Last edited by Agetan; 7th February 2012 at 11:20 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Supply and Demand and Free Market

    There is an additional dimension here not really looked at. We all agree that as a full timer, and running as a business i.e. you expect to be able to earn enough to support a family, have money for savings and retirement there fore we need to charge an amount that cover this. We also have a percentage of part time people out there who either from day job or from family money that hey they already can provide for everything and they shoot more for love of shooting and charge what ever they want simply because the normal reasons do not apply to them. Add a little talent and these will be the blokes than can upset the market.

    Of people who charge beyond what they can deliver - in a short time news spreads, Singaporeans are probably world class leaders in complaining. Clients also become more savvy in being able to judge what is good or not - hey day may come when client says they want to see more portfolios from a single client rather than 40 to 100 shots of your best of many many jobs. Boom goes the illusion you can make magic happen. I know of young wedding photographers who after 3 years feel the need to do something else, I seen their portfolios and know the reason why. On the other hand I know of the other group who works grows at rate only a hungry young photographer can do, who are heading up the food chain at a pace I cannot keep up. So at end its talent, passion, drive and realized ability plus business sense (if we are talking normal people not like the Eric Khoo's of this world) that will separate the professionals from the wannabes.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Supply and Demand and Free Market

    Quote Originally Posted by ellery View Post
    We also have a percentage of part time people out there who either from day job or from family money that hey they already can provide for everything and they shoot more for love of shooting and charge what ever they want simply because the normal reasons do not apply to them. Add a little talent and these will be the blokes than can upset the market.
    I disagree with you though... for people who is very talented and love shooting, they will become a full time professional as they will soon find themselves "pull" by the market demand and they will take a piece of pie surely. However, for talented and doing it for fun, they will probably going to take up very very very small percentage of the market share which really don't mean anything and won't upset the market.

    I am not sure how many weddings happen in Singapore each year but I think the market is big enough for people who can provide. How many can you shoot a year? 20? 50? 80? or 100 or more?

    For example, Singapore Birth Rate is about 40,000 each year, I could only do about 150 newborn a year, that is <0.5% and there are about 39800 more out there. Lets say we have 100 newborn photographers, and only 20% of these number wants photography, there are still about 80 sessions per photographer if taken linearly. If you want bigger piece of pie, you will need to increase your value to attract more. But there are not more than 50 newborn photographers in Singapore at the moment, so there are more than enough for everyone.

    So you do not need to worry about competition, but the real issue here is how one business attract their clients and put their name on client's face and let them book your service. Why not spending time thinking about this rather than spending time worry about "competitors"?

    Me and one of my competitor actually work together to get discount for property that we bought (different units) recently and we do give out each other's name to clients if we can't shoot... this is a good and healthy competition as I don't shoot how she shoot and she don't shoot how I shoot and she target clients wants her service and I target different sets of clients... At the end of the day, we compete to better ourselves and also outside business, we are all friends. These are the community that I wish to help building. Lets make some money together so we can live and enjoy each other differences and compete to better ourselves in a healthy way.

    See competition as a form of encouragement.

    Regards,

    Hart

  14. #14

    Default Re: Supply and Demand and Free Market

    Quote Originally Posted by ellery View Post
    There is an additional dimension here not really looked at. We all agree that as a full timer, and running as a business i.e. you expect to be able to earn enough to support a family, have money for savings and retirement there fore we need to charge an amount that cover this. We also have a percentage of part time people out there who either from day job or from family money that hey they already can provide for everything and they shoot more for love of shooting and charge what ever they want simply because the normal reasons do not apply to them. Add a little talent and these will be the blokes than can upset the market.

    Of people who charge beyond what they can deliver - in a short time news spreads, Singaporeans are probably world class leaders in complaining. Clients also become more savvy in being able to judge what is good or not - hey day may come when client says they want to see more portfolios from a single client rather than 40 to 100 shots of your best of many many jobs. Boom goes the illusion you can make magic happen. I know of young wedding photographers who after 3 years feel the need to do something else, I seen their portfolios and know the reason why. On the other hand I know of the other group who works grows at rate only a hungry young photographer can do, who are heading up the food chain at a pace I cannot keep up. So at end its talent, passion, drive and realized ability plus business sense (if we are talking normal people not like the Eric Khoo's of this world) that will separate the professionals from the wannabes.
    Yes there is segment of semi pros who are good but never have the intention of entering full time. But it does not mean all of them are undercutting wannabes destroying the market. Some are, but many will not, if full time pros don't shut them out of the door.

    Everytime I see people asking for market rates, get answered with "there is no market rate it depends on individuals" some truth to it but these type of answers encourage wrong pricings. If I know related info, I will try to provide.

    The word wannabe is usually a demeaning word but not always. Not all wannabe pros are just wannabe in name or appearance (bad) but a lot really wanna do it like they are full time. I am sure we can find many CSers who are partime weekend wedding shooters who are $2000+++ per wedding, healthy rates.

    Especially after they invested so much - often raking 5 figures in equipment, website, marketing, and courses, they see no sense to charge below their worth and take loses. They already BREATH like full time pros and speak the same 'language' (sales).

    On the bad ones: I agree with Hart they can't hurt the established pros on client base or compete at their price level. But its these idiots who hurts the market perception and expections. It is also these idiots who like to 'educate' consumers on how expensive the pros are and how they themselves are the heroes saving the day.

  15. #15
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    But Hart, no offence, out of the 40k new borns that you quote, how many of their parents are willing to pay for such photography service? I consider myself in the middle income group and I have almost no friend that are parents willing to do so. I'm sure the final figure of new borns whom parents wants your service can sustain your lifestyle or even more. But for the whole market of newborn photographers? I'm not so sure...
    Last edited by Cowseye; 8th February 2012 at 07:14 PM.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Supply and Demand and Free Market

    Quote Originally Posted by Cowseye View Post
    But Hart, no offence, out of the 40k new borns that you quote, how many of their parents are willing to pay for such photography service? I consider myself in the middle income group and I have almost no friend that are parents willing to do so. I'm sure the final figure of new borns whom parents wants your service can sustain your lifestyle or even more. But for the whole market of newborn photographers? I'm not so sure...
    As a new parent , I have to say that if I can afford it and have the time to do it , I would go for newborn photography . Because as parents we want the best for little angels

  17. #17

    Default Re: Supply and Demand and Free Market

    Quote Originally Posted by Cowseye View Post
    But Hart, no offence, out of the 40k new borns that you quote, how many of their parents are willing to pay for such photography service? I consider myself in the middle income group and I have almost no friend that are parents willing to do so. I'm sure the final figure of new borns whom parents wants your service can sustain your lifestyle or even more. But for the whole market of newborn photographers? I'm not so sure...
    No offence taken, as mentioned on my post, I took a very conservative value of 20% to be the total market for newborn photography. I only want 0.5% of the total. Look, there won't be a lot of newborn photographer in Singapore, most people don't want to handle newborn's poo and pee... wedding is great with nice food, nice atmosphere and as a newborn photographer, I constantly have to shoot without any AC on. Many have tried to offer "newborn photography" but to be honest, many left it to cold as the feeling of having poo in your hand isn't something that is for everyone....

    I think my numbers are quite conservative in terms of working out the total. If there are more newborn photographers than the available market, competition will be pushing those who has vision up the level and those without vision, with no job.

    There are also huge percentage of weddings that don't hire photographer for that reason, but the ratio might be a lot smaller.

    Regards,

    Hart

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by junliang78

    As a new parent , I have to say that if I can afford it and have the time to do it , I would go for newborn photography . Because as parents we want the best for little angels
    Quote Originally Posted by Agetan

    No offence taken, as mentioned on my post, I took a very conservative value of 20% to be the total market for newborn photography. I only want 0.5% of the total. Look, there won't be a lot of newborn photographer in Singapore, most people don't want to handle newborn's poo and pee... wedding is great with nice food, nice atmosphere and as a newborn photographer, I constantly have to shoot without any AC on. Many have tried to offer "newborn photography" but to be honest, many left it to cold as the feeling of having poo in your hand isn't something that is for everyone....

    I think my numbers are quite conservative in terms of working out the total. If there are more newborn photographers than the available market, competition will be pushing those who has vision up the level and those without vision, with no job.

    There are also huge percentage of weddings that don't hire photographer for that reason, but the ratio might be a lot smaller.

    Regards,

    Hart
    I would guess almost everyone will take photos for their newborn, but to take it professionally, I would think the number of interested party would be much lesser. It may not be as low as 0.5% of the entire market but it might take some effort to convince the whole 20% of the market to be interested to have their newborn's photos taken professionally. But Hart, I do agree with you on the part where not many photographer aspired to do for newborn and you have created a demand that the market is looking for.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Supply and Demand and Free Market

    Quote Originally Posted by Cowseye View Post
    I would guess almost everyone will take photos for their newborn, but to take it professionally, I would think the number of interested party would be much lesser. It may not be as low as 0.5% of the entire market but it might take some effort to convince the whole 20% of the market to be interested to have their newborn's photos taken professionally. But Hart, I do agree with you on the part where not many photographer aspired to do for newborn and you have created a demand that the market is looking for.
    You are right, initially, the market for newborn photography was very small because no one know there is a possibility to even capture that. When I first started 3.5 years ago, no one (at least according to my limited research) was doing newborn photography. But today, there are a lot more and good thing is, the market just grow because people suddenly see the potential.

    I know one of my competitor only do newborn and she would easily turn over $7k-$10k a month this alone... but she is good and her price is very affordable. There are a lot more in the market who solely do newborn and do really well.

    I would think, there are a lot more than 20% market, but this is my guesstimate only.

    The thing is, people don't really know what they want until you show them.

    For example, for the longest time, my wife hated the iphone because it is expensive until she uses she think, it is a brilliant product.

    So it is a question of how do you make a demand out of your "product" and make people realise why they need it. The reason why people take up photography mainly is preserving memory... nothing about artistic side of it yet, but the need was simple, memories.

    Now, as our children grow, we can't turn back time, and generally, you only will know what is "missing" but you don't really see what you have at the moment.

    Many of my potential clients who inquire about the newborn and didn't end up doing it for any reason, some of them actually come back when their kids are older, but generally told me, they wish, they have took the newborn as their children don't look like that anymore... and they feel that they might want to have the next one and guess what? they will do the newborn photography. This is not an isolated one or two incident, but on going things that I heard.

    So what I am saying is, photography is about preserving memory as a basic need for many, and my work simply letting my clients know why there is a need and there rest is up to them.

    if we put back the above into the context is:
    If one is only complaining there isn't a market for anything that they do, there isn't one BUT you can create that market, IF and it is a big IF, you can understand why you want to do that or simply have a vision to do so.

    Secondly, there is always limited demand on everything.... so in business, one can always make excuses to not getting or meeting the demand or one can do everything and keep changing to be more in demand.

    Thirdly, those that is successful, tend to increase their price over the time, mainly to do with volume control and little that they know, they have more time to create a better thing and make their business more in demand. It is not because they are expensive that make them in demand (i can't deny, some clients will think expensive is good, but I would prefer to think, good thing aren't cheap), it is the "product" that makes them in demand. By product, I mean, the images and at the same time, the reputation and the brand.

    I hope this give you some food for thought but don't blindly start doing newborn photography because I say there is a market for it... Photography is for passion, and if you passionate of the subject, you will do well, otherwise, it is no different from working in the job that you don't enjoy.

    Regards,

    Hart

  20. #20

    Default Re: Supply and Demand and Free Market

    a few references have been made to the total market size for specific kinds of photography in singapore. has there been any published report/research on what exactly is the photography market trends and market size in singapore? if not, would the photographic business community be interested in something like that?

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