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Thread: How much does a professional photographer earns?

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe N.M
    hmmm...seems that the market is quite saturated here. I have heard that other photographers (particularly outside singapore) have made big bucks out from their careers. Why not Singapore??????

    knight Ong says: "degree holder start pay 2.5K hearsay ... quite good".
    Sorry to say this but do u really need to have a degree to become a photog and to achieve a start pay of 2.5K. It seems funny to me coz photography is a skilled art and it is not based on academic performances. Correct me if i am wrong. If this is right then the true skilled photographer will die liao. hehe.
    Right and wrong.

    Paper qualification is still important. Although Photography is skilled profession but it's the process that you go through in university you learn to strengthen your foundation skills. Getting a degree does not make you a professional photographer overnight. After getting my degree in photography, I still need to start all over again when I start my own business but with the technical knowledge I received through the 3 years in RMIT, makes me open up my horizon better.

    Your portfolio that you present to your client is your academic performance. Based on what you have learn and experience, your image is your selling point. In today's society, great academic performance, great folio and latest equipments will not bring jobs to you automatically. Most of the time when a deal is clinch is all about how good your relation is with your client. PR skills is the one that clinches deals.

    You should have heard is before. "It's not what you know but who you know"
    There are times when Business and Art do not blend in together. If you want to survive, you have to think like a businessman, not like a photographer.
    Last edited by Pro Image; 23rd June 2005 at 04:48 PM.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by agape01
    Excuse me for saying this, but what Knight Ong says is quite correct.

    I'm sure that everyone knows that here in Singapore, paper qualifications is a must. If you don't have paper qualifications, do you think that you will be hired by SPH?

    Even if your shots are good, do you think that they want to hire you? Even if the interviewer wants to hire you, but the interviewer's boss doesn't, what can you do?

    Wheras in the US, it is very different. If your shots are good and if people wants to hire you, they will pay you for what it is worth. No degree also can.
    I know some SPH photographers. AFAIK, nowadays they have to write articles also, other than just snap snap.. so I think paper qualitication do play a part than just photography skills.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pro Image
    You should have heard is before. "It's not what you know but who you know" There are times when Business and Art do not blend in together. If you want to survive, you have to think like a businessman, not like a photographer.
    I think also same for all kind of jobs lah..

  4. #24
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    Being skilled in your profession like photography is one thing, but these days you need other skills as well if you are to be successful. Such as PR, management, logical and research skills. Sure you can say that these skills can be picked up alone the way, but it probably won't be as efficient and thorough as going through proper education.

    Even as a professional photographer (non-photojourn), you can't survive on enthusiasm or photography skills alone. If you are lacking in other areas, you wouldn't be as successful as you should be. Same thing applies for any occupation.

  5. #25

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    what i am about to reveal may shock some, then again it is not all unexpected, given the bloom of 'photogs' these days.

    i came across a couple upcoming organisations (i wont name names) that proclaim to provide regular photoshoot oppts with some form of payment.

    however later as i came to hear from my friends who happen to work in one of those 'clients' those organisations are 'liasion with', these clients are sort 'offered tie-ins' with these very organisations where they (the clients) are assured they just need to come up with bare payments (i mean bare payment payments, think deeper and see what is implied here) to get a project done. Of course these projects are not those major major ones, but then again they are on usual good enough for a, well, good fee.

    Commission or not dont know, these organisations get to tap a pool which cant possibly sustain long term professionally (even semi-professionally) on those 'rates', no way, but the (more and more?) clients get locked-in easily, becos of obvious savings each tme. photography becomes like flipping burgers.

    eventually anyone turning pro have to think very very hard. you might be squeezing for space with trigger happy kids left and right next round.. and more and more of them each time.

  6. #26

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    Photography business is abt 90% business and social skills and 10% phtographic skills...

  7. #27
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    To be a pro is a way of life, a calling and an ascent to misty high mountain.

    It may have something to do with money. But it has more to do with the dream, the unseen door and the need to walk alone without being alone.

    He can show you to see what you want to see.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by oeyvind
    Photography business is abt 90% business and social skills and 10% phtographic skills...
    Actually let's increase that to.....

    90% on Social and Business Photography and another 110% on Photographic Skills.

    That's 200% of your 100%......wanna to come in to photography line?

    Tough but I enjoy every minute....

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by deslim27
    I think also same for all kind of jobs lah..
    I wouldn't say all jobs....

    My friends working as an Admin do not need to entertain. Working in factory line do not need to entertain. Working as a police officer also do not need to entertain. I would say it caters to certain job in the market.

    Mostly likely that jobs which needs to entertain could be when you need to meet up customers/client in person.

  10. #30

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    I'm not sure if this is just my personal view, but let's see...

    I think it's really difficult for a newbie to gain a foothold in pro-photography in Singapore. For one, we don't really have high demand for photojournalists. SPH has plenty on their payroll already, and rarely do they hire newbies w/o decent portfolios (which is another slippery slope, no job for newbie how to get portfolio that's recognizable by SPH? Not say impossible, just really tough)

    Also, you can be a very zai photographer, but what can you do when you see another so-so photographer, who has excellent connections, always getting new jobs and assignments? Bobian loh...Life's like that.

    Another point is that most of the money in photography is in wedding photography and studio photography. Almost no one will turn to newbies for photos that will appear in magazines, etc. But then, trying to break into those markets is also tough. Look at the number of wedding/bridal photography/bridal gown rental stores around the island. Look at the number of store-fronts offering glam/makeover shoots.

    The last point is Asian/Singaporean mentality. Take a new photographer with no proper studio, who can shoot AMAZING portraits that bring a person's personality to life, and a well-known studio who has boring photographers. Ask any Singaporean to choose and they'll pick the studio anytime. Why? Because it's all about seh, face and what-not. Seh hoh can already. "Where did you take these family portraits?" "Oh, that one loh, very famous (aka expensive) one". "Wahhh".

    I rest my case.

  11. #31
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    On that last bit.... thought in Singapore it's the cheapest photographer win?
    That's why everyone is always complaining about undercutting mah.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pro Image
    I wouldn't say all jobs....

    My friends working as an Admin do not need to entertain. Working in factory line do not need to entertain. Working as a police officer also do not need to entertain. I would say it caters to certain job in the market.

    Mostly likely that jobs which needs to entertain could be when you need to meet up customers/client in person.
    Erm... Some correction on your misconception on Police Officers.

    They have to entertain. And they have to entertain BIG TIME: The public, media, the Investigating Officer, the Judge, the DPP, the Defense Counsul, the family of the suspect, and even criminals and suspects.

    I'm not sure what kind of 'entertainment' u're referring to, but these are juz one of the many examples the police need to entertain. Same goes for other civil service ppl. Sigh...

  13. #33

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    same everywhere
    with the advent of digital cameras everyone's a photographer
    so, like any other job, you have to be damn bloody good, so good that people will pay your fee because they know you will deliver quality lah
    people can undercut you but they can't deliver quality most of the times

  14. #34
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    learn the art of selling, not entertain.

    Whether it is selling your skills to your boss for that admin position, or to the interviewer on your abilities to become a police officer.

    Note: One don't need to become pro to enjoy photography or

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pro Image
    I wouldn't say all jobs....

    My friends working as an Admin do not need to entertain. Working in factory line do not need to entertain. Working as a police officer also do not need to entertain. I would say it caters to certain job in the market.

    Mostly likely that jobs which needs to entertain could be when you need to meet up customers/client in person.
    Actually, I interpret the "business" as "The occupation, work, or trade in which a person is engaged".

    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=business

    Making a personal interests into an occupation does often turns out to be the way one wants or expected. I prefer to keep photography as hobby.

  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by deslim27
    Making a personal interests into an occupation does often turns out to be the way one wants or expected. I prefer to keep photography as hobby.
    I so agree with you. Freelance only when the chance knocks on your door, otherwise hobby only. Less worries, more creative freedom too.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe N.M
    It seems funny to me coz photography is a skilled art and it is not based on academic performances.
    True. But that skilled art needs a bit of skill naturally, and university is one such place to acquire that skill in a formal manner. You can be self taught (in theory you can self-teach yourself most things) but a degree gives an employer better assurance that the prospective employee will have the necessary skills, along with (and these are generalisations) better independence, responsibility, etc.

    Also in response to Flourite, there's a lot of experimenting amongst professional photographers, including photojournalists. Possibly less so in Singapore because of the non-competitive nature of the national press. You can't just do your job, because you job is to do more than that and get something different from what everybody else is getting.

    I have also heard about this multitasking within SPH (writers who can take pictures/photographers who can write) and I think it's sad. It's an example of money getting in the way of quality. Okay, there might be the rare individual who can do both to high standards, but both disciplines require different skill sets that share not a lot in common. By the law of averages if nothing else, the number of individuals who can both write well and shoot well must be rarer than finding just a good photographer or just a good writer. It's like in the game of cricket, you have good batsmen, or good bowlers. Good all-rounders that do both disciplines as well as dedicated batsmen/bowlers are extremely rare and extremely treasured.

    Also in some situations I have no idea how you can do both disciplines side by side. Sport is an extreme example, but there is no way I would be able to write a decent match report whilst taking pictures. You miss so much looking through the little window that is your lens. And vice versa, if you're busy getting different aspects of a story, how do you find the time to also get different photographic aspects?

    It's sadly a case of can do will do make do, rather than trying to get the best stories and best pictures in the papers. But that's what a lack of competition will do to you.

    I so agree with you. Freelance only when the chance knocks on your door, otherwise hobby only. Less worries, more creative freedom too. - data1ore

    I think as photographers we need to help fight this misconception. As professional photographers there is no reason why we should have less creative freedom. A client should be paying you for your creative work, not because you can use a camera to literally transcribe his ideas into a photograph. And that is part of the reason why photographers earn so little. As machine operators it becomes a menial job. But with creative expression and input in the process, that's what you're being paid for. Which is why artists get paid more, sportspeople with talent get paid more. It's that something that you have that no one else has.

  18. #38
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    about paper qualifications look at john clang and geoff ang... both have less than a diploma and look at them now... earning big bucks.

    in spore paper qualifications is a must, only if you want to work for other people. if you want to be your own boss... you just need to have guts and capital

    professional photography is less about photography and more about PR.
    Art is subjective, sometimes you just gotta talk a person into liking your pictures. provided they are decent la.

    seems that when you are in it for money art seldoms takes precendence
    maybe self expression but seldom art.

    sph wanted to offfer me 2k, but after thinking bout it.. i think shooting at sph will be a tactical mistake at such an early stage in my career

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