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Thread: Being a Professional

  1. #1

    Default Being a Professional

    Hi Guys,

    I'm at a crossroad in life. I'll be graduating from a degree in economics and finance come July, and I'm deciding my career choice at the moment. Going through the list, private banking, economists, finance, etc etc... comes a possibility, a photographer.

    Amongst the things I really want to do in life ( being an f1 driver, rally driver ) , being a photographer seems most realistic. Still, it is almost impossible to be successful in Singapore. My skills are below par, absolutely below a standard required to be successful. If I do decide to fiddle with the idea of becoming a real, professional, full time photographer. I'll probably have to take a year off to brush up my technical skills, especially in the area of lighting, studio lighting. My real interest in photography marries my passion for cars, I love Car Photography... be it journalistic or commercial. It is a niche market, which is good in a way. Of course being a car photographer entirely wouldnt be exactly feasible, I need to do other areas of photography too... perhaps glamour, product, etc etc, but primarily a car photographer. I need a huge studio to photograph cars, and lots of lighting. This studio (somewere damn ulu) could possibly be used for glamour, etc etc, rented out to other car photographers maybe.

    I guess some of you could possibly be laughing your ass off reading this, because its like building castles in the air. Well, it is actually. Nothing concrete, just all ideas , all talk. Its such a big step to take, incredible. The possibilities of failure is enormous. And I have no capital at the moment. But i really want to do something I like in life... definitely nothing to do with what I study.

    It is highly unlikely that I undertake this thought and ambition of mine. I wish I could have the guts to take the bite. My parents wouldnt be supportive in my opinion.

    What are your thoughts ?

  2. #2

    Default

    pursue your bread and butter, i.e. real job, freelance as photographer....which i am doing also..

  3. #3

    Default

    I dont have anything that I regard as professional in quality, which is quite sad really. Here's some of the better ones ard.






  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    hey bro,
    i'd be graduating in about 1 1/2 years time and i'd be where you are too then. I'm also thinking of going into photography but my skills - unlike yours, are way below yours! lol will probably have to spend a lot of time brushing up before I even try to go pro. It's like a dream...

    many people dare to dream... but how many actually dare to chase their dreams? the risk factor is the deciding factor between one who dares to chase his dreams and someone who won't chase his dreams because of the fear of failure. There is always the chance of failure, but which would you rather know? - know that you tried and it didn't work out/ did work out or know that you didn't have the guts to try, and continue dreaming of the endless possibilities

    to be or not to be, that is the question - shakespear
    Budget wedding photographer :)

  5. #5

    Default







    terrible!
    Last edited by marcwang; 1st May 2005 at 01:18 PM.

  6. #6
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    Go for it


    What I've learned is that I will no longer make a hobby into a living. Hope you can strike it far.

  7. #7

    Default

    I kinda like your red porsche photos. Always wanted to own one since school days.

    Well most important in life is to do what you're happy with. But be prepared to meet a lot of challenges and sacrifices. What u mentioned earlier about the technical traning is only a portion of it. No doubt skills are important, but skills alone without business planning (marketing and strategy) won't get you far.

    Perhaps some things you might want to ask yourself to determine if you really have the drive to enter this field full time are:

    1) Are u prepared to go thru financial tough times in the beginning (unless u come from a loaded family then that's different)? Not just in the setting up of the biz but maybe even bread an butter issues?

    2) Through the course of your continual upgrading of skills (as u passionately immerse yourself into it), are u prepared to sacrifice your social life to the extreme in the event u have to choose one and abandon the other?

    3) Do u have the full support of your famly and friends? If not, wlll u still be able to follow your heart without hesitation? This will be a true measure of your passion in photography.

    If you really determined in this, it will certainly be my pleasure to meet you someday and have an open discussion on the possibilites of challenging the seemingly impossible concept of doing this for real that many would find it too daunting to even dream about.
    Last edited by snowspeeder; 1st May 2005 at 01:55 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Virgo's Avatar
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    Be steadfast about what you intend to do, but be prepared for the worst, cos if a hobby becomes a job, then you may one day lose interest in it. You have to think of how passion can flow throughout your career.

    As for your pics, they're quite well taken. For car photos, it not only depend on yourself. It will need a whole team of graphic designers, project managers, etc to bring out the best in your pics.

    All the best to your decision.
    Kind Regards
    My Picture Website

  9. #9

    Default We could be riding in the same boat

    Quote Originally Posted by marcwang
    Hi Guys,

    I'm at a crossroad in life. I'll be graduating from a degree in economics and finance come July, and I'm deciding my career choice at the moment. Going through the list, private banking, economists, finance, etc etc... comes a possibility, a photographer.

    Amongst the things I really want to do in life ( being an f1 driver, rally driver ) , being a photographer seems most realistic. Still, it is almost impossible to be successful in Singapore. My skills are below par, absolutely below a standard required to be successful. If I do decide to fiddle with the idea of becoming a real, professional, full time photographer. I'll probably have to take a year off to brush up my technical skills, especially in the area of lighting, studio lighting. My real interest in photography marries my passion for cars, I love Car Photography... be it journalistic or commercial. It is a niche market, which is good in a way. Of course being a car photographer entirely wouldnt be exactly feasible, I need to do other areas of photography too... perhaps glamour, product, etc etc, but primarily a car photographer. I need a huge studio to photograph cars, and lots of lighting. This studio (somewere damn ulu) could possibly be used for glamour, etc etc, rented out to other car photographers maybe.

    I guess some of you could possibly be laughing your ass off reading this, because its like building castles in the air. Well, it is actually. Nothing concrete, just all ideas , all talk. Its such a big step to take, incredible. The possibilities of failure is enormous. And I have no capital at the moment. But i really want to do something I like in life... definitely nothing to do with what I study.

    It is highly unlikely that I undertake this thought and ambition of mine. I wish I could have the guts to take the bite. My parents wouldnt be supportive in my opinion.

    What are your thoughts ?
    Hi marcwang,

    I'm NOT laughing at you.

    Your situation sounds very much like mine, although I'm sure there are many others from S'pore who may share our aspirations.

    I graduated with a degree in engineering, but have been doing freelance event photography for several years. I'm still employed as a studio portrait photographer (on a casual basis) in Melbourne. I've pondered long and hard about the prospect of going professional in Singapore but that is very difficult.

    If you have been around long enough, sit and ponder, you probably agree with my reasons why:

    1) Photography and photographers (just like any form of art and sports) are not viewed as respectable careers in S'pore. They don't enjoy that skilled and professional status which you will see/feel more in Australia.

    2) While there is no governing body in S'pore to regulate and control the standards of freelance photographers, I suspect that the market in S'pore is oversaturated (long ago). Simply speaking, the piece of the pie is getting far to small to sustain a professional.

    3) Affordable DSLRs and their rising popularity is making the situation worse. Skills aside, more and more are becoming freelancers, and undercutting the market with incredibly low fees. I'm actually surprised how low such fees have become -- S'poreans are willing (and hence force other peers) to take on heavy work for very little pay. (I supposed that's called efficiency - I choose to call it self-induced slavery?)

    In Australia, (the above) points 1 and 2 will be more in favour of us.

    However, I've realised something in Australia that would affect us both. In Australia, there are many properly taught photographers with B. Art (Photography), not self-taught fellows in S'pore. If you want to find work as a professional photographer with Aussie-run companies, you really do need that piece of paper. (I have been told to b*gger off until I get that paper.)

    I've been to, and used, a large studio you described in Melbourne. It was used for shooting cars, but I went there to shoot glamour. I may be wrong but I suspect that studios of such a size and purpose don't exist in S'pore. There is even a lack of places to do your location car shoots.

    I could say that I'm also building sandcastles in the air. Nothing concrete, just ideas, especially when I've no $$. However, I suspect it's easier to get a bank loan in Australia to start a photography business than in S'pore.

    Seriously speaking, you and I would have better prospects doing photography in Australia.

    I also want to do something I like in life, not spend the rest of my days calculating nightmarish formulas and working on huge equations to build the next Canon EOS 1D Mk 3 or Nikon D3.

    I also wish I had the guts to take the bite but I also know that my parents didn't send me 6600km out of S'pore, spent a 6-digit figure on my education, to happily let me play with cameras all day long.

  10. #10
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    hmmm...my 1000th post, guess it would be good that i m lending support to a fellow clubsnapper that i have been following for the past yr.

    marc, i dun noe u personally, yet i have been following ur pics, esp the car ones. i must say that u have the flair for it. i sincerely hope that u will have enough drive to push thru ur dreams as a car photog. i am not gonna give u the standard advice ur gonna get abt deciding ur bread and butter etc, but after giving it some thought, i came up with these:

    1. u could freelance for car mags
    2. base urself in aust. i dunno how crazy ppl there r abt cars
    3. set up a biz revolving round car pics. think theres a sizable bunch of car fanatics in spore. u could set up that car studio of urs(wch i think is a great idea) and do packages for car owners. do a photoshoot for them with their cars
    4. approach car brands to cover their events at car shows
    5. follow car groups as they go sepang or wat to race and cover them as ur package
    6. start a biz in car maintainance or some car related biz and include photography too

    car photog requires lots of flair. and i think u have it. if u r really driven enough... u will succeed!

    keep us updated on ur plans man!

  11. #11
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    Hey dude , dont worry that much , we live just once in life .... do what u like now or you will regret in yr later life . U doesn't need to be really successful but u need to be happy of what u are going to do . Heres two quote which i think is a motivation tool for me hope it helps u too !

    All glory comes from daring to begin.
    - William Shakespeare


    Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a
    day in your life.
    -Confucius

    Cheers!

  12. #12

    Default Nice images

    Hi marcwang,

    I don't do car photography, and have little interest in this field.

    My 2-cents worth of opinion is that your images look good enough for me, especially the close-ups. Some of the location shots are nice, but then it could be because of the Aussie environment (surely they are not in S'pore).

    I don't know, but I guess I, and you too, need to grow some balls (excuse my language) if we are to undertake a drastic change in our lives to pursue our passion.

    Seriously, balls can be quite difficult to grow, if you know what I mean. I still sometimes wonder if I've grown any (or enough) since coming to Australia to start almost from scratch with no connections and little "lobangs".

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by S11loop
    All glory comes from daring to begin.
    - William Shakespeare


    Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a
    day in your life.
    -Confucius
    I like the 2 quotes!

  14. #14

    Default

    I did not have to make choices that is "available" before you now. When I graduated 28 years ago, it was simply a matter of getting a job. My family's situation was such that the decision was so plainly and painfully obvious.

    However, I did have to make a decision to give up postgraduate studies in order to do humanitarian work. I realised then that there was no hard and fast rules. What was necessary on my part was to "count the cost", weigh "pro and con" and make a decision. At the end, I did give up postgraduate studies, although I was only 6 months away from my master exams. The reason for my decision? Conscience, or what I felt to be the right thing to do at that point of time.

    I was away for about two years. Poor as a door mouse. Really! At one time, my salary was one USD a day. On other days, I received no salary, but "honorarium" for services rendered. Almost ended up in Ethiopia! But life is strange, and somehow I returned to postgraduate studies, and eventually ended up an academic in NUS. I am no longer in NUS. While my classmates might have "gone ahead" in the two years I was away, I believe in the longer scheme of things, it really did not matter.

    My suggestion, which I am sure you are considering, is to weigh cost. Ask whether it is worth it. Ask if you could afford to "pay the price".

    I believe when a person has to agonise over decisions like these, whatever conclusions one comes to, cannot be far wrong.

  15. #15

    Default

    Dear Marc, I say, go for it man but do have a backup plan.

    My take is, there are very few russell wong around because other than skills, you must have the opportunity.
    While waiting for the opportunity to come, find a proper day job with your qualification. If no such opportunity arises, at least u have something to fall back on.

    Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a
    day in your life.
    -Confucius

    How many of us ever have the chance to choose what we really like to do?
    Life is interesting because of the limited choices we have, and what we make of them.

  16. #16

    Default

    In fact we all do have choices in life. It's only a question of cost (price to pay).

  17. #17

    Lightbulb

    look at the world as your oyster.

  18. #18

    Default

    I am reminded of that Guinness commercial:
    "...someone's gonna do it...why not you?"
    Last edited by snowspeeder; 1st May 2005 at 03:26 PM.

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by snowspeeder
    I am reminded of that Guinness commercial:
    "...if its gonna be someone else...why not you?"

    another one... to ponder about.

    "What your mind can perceive and believe, you can achieve."

  20. #20

    Default

    Thanks for your support and kind words.

    I dont think I'll come close to making a decision anytime soon. I'll be sending out my resumes to the banking sector soon, and while keeping my mind open.
    It doesnt help that Singapore is such a conforming society, and being raised in one made me narrow.

    Any real professionals out there to lend a word ?

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