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Thread: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

  1. #21

    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    I find it useful hearing professionals explain their rates and such online, and it is very generous of them to state their prices in public like that.
    Are there sites which list general guidelines for pricing for certain services (photography, modelling, etc etc)?
    I figure that if there is some resource online then it can be used as a starting reference point to educate people on rough estimate of market prices

  2. #22

    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Yes that'd be a good idea. I've heard of people charging 400 for 2 full days with coffeebook and actual prints, which i thought was ridiculously cheap.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock
    I find it useful hearing professionals explain their rates and such online, and it is very generous of them to state their prices in public like that.
    Are there sites which list general guidelines for pricing for certain services (photography, modelling, etc etc)?
    I figure that if there is some resource online then it can be used as a starting reference point to educate people on rough estimate of market prices
    I wish there was such website but even if there is, who really follows?

    How do you stop people from going below the market rates?

    Unless the ROM department set a website for us, (make-up artist, photographers and videographers) ALL couples must apply through them to look for a photographer to shoot for their Actual Wedding Day and ROM.

    Whether you are working photographers or not, you have to register with them so that the fees is regulated accordingly. Although there maybe loopholes but this would be a start.

    Just my 5 cents suggestion but I doubt it will happend.
    Last edited by Pro Image; 14th August 2005 at 10:53 AM.

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    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by shojibake
    Yes that'd be a good idea. I've heard of people charging 400 for 2 full days with coffeebook and actual prints, which i thought was ridiculously cheap.
    $400 for 2 days plus coffeebook and actual prints?

    Man this photographer should be hang.......

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    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pro Image
    $400 for 2 days plus coffeebook and actual prints?

    Man this photographer should be hang.......
    Hung with cable release from a Manfrotto Tripod?

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sion
    Hung with cable release from a Manfrotto Tripod?
    Haha.....his not even worth to use a Manfrotto to hang his neck. Get one of those Made in China brand tripod....and for cable release. Wasting too much money......! Just a rafia string will do.

    Since he is selling himself cheap, we should go cheaper than him.....

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pro Image
    $400 for 2 days plus coffeebook and actual prints?

    Man this photographer should be hang.......
    Don't need lar, after 2 jobs he sure die straight straight.

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    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pro Image
    I wish there was such website but even if there is, who really follows?

    How do you stop people from going below the market rates?

    Unless the ROM department set a website for us, (make-up artist, photographers and videographers) ALL couples must apply through them to look for a photographer to shoot for their Actual Wedding Day and ROM.

    Whether you are working photographers or not, you have to register with them so that the fees is regulated accordingly. Although there maybe loopholes but this would be a start.

    Just my 5 cents suggestion but I doubt it will happend.
    Hi Pro Image, actually, we don't have to wait for the ROM or the government because I really doubt they will step in to be involved in such private enterprise. With relation to AD wedding photography, some photographers [approx 15] and I have gotten together to try and create a uniform pricing standard at which we will not shoot weddings for less than $120 per hour. Price does not include prints or albums. Now, this alliance is not 100% worked out. We still have niggly issues to get through, but it is a start though and I am encouraged that we as an industry can eventually work together to force prices up to a realistic level so we can actually make a living from photography and have something to retire on.Perhpas you may want to consider froming such alliances with your friends too.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by ckuang
    Hi Pro Image, actually, we don't have to wait for the ROM or the government because I really doubt they will step in to be involved in such private enterprise. With relation to AD wedding photography, some photographers [approx 15] and I have gotten together to try and create a uniform pricing standard at which we will not shoot weddings for less than $120 per hour. Price does not include prints or albums. Now, this alliance is not 100% worked out. We still have niggly issues to get through, but it is a start though and I am encouraged that we as an industry can eventually work together to force prices up to a realistic level so we can actually make a living from photography and have something to retire on.Perhpas you may want to consider froming such alliances with your friends too.
    Actually I do have a bunch of friends who will stick to their pricing as well.....haha! Same like you, we are trying to uniform a pricing but with only such small amount, I doubt we can do anything for now. Fighting against under cutting photographers has given us plenty of headaches as well. Instead of taking just 15-20 mins to convince my clients, I sometimes needed a few days and plenty of follow up.

  10. #30

    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by ckuang
    Hi MattLock

    I'm in the photographic industry and have increased my prices significantly over the last year as opposed to going lower and even when I started I was far from being the lowest. I never try to undercut other photographers and will not do so for the following reasons [my main source of money is from actual day wedding photography]

    1. Every single time i use my camera there is a depreciation/operating cost to it, i cannot charge lower than the operating cost, because if i did, i might as well stay home and not use the camera. I think many photographers that try and undercut do not realize how expensive this depreciation is. Say you invest a small $8000 into a camera system, charge $600 to do a wedding, depreciate your equipment over 4 years and do 50 weddings a year, your equipment depreciation is $60 per wedding which is a whopping 10% of your day rate. Ouch. This is even before transports, food, pay, utilities, advertising, computer equiment, repairs, and on and on.

    2. I target higher end clients. Their concern is not money as much as quality. In fact, if i tried to undercut they would see me as having no class and there's the end of my market for me. The strange thing is that the more expensive I am, the better they like it. I know strange when you kind of think about it but it's true.

    3. If i was going to work for peanuts, there's a lot of other jobs out there that are better paying and more fun to do.

    4. There is a big tendency for young photographers starting out to try and charge low rates, especially in the wedding industry. Terrible, terrible mistake because they don't realize that the price you start at is the market segment you are going to be stuck in for a long long long time. So if you start at $600, they are going to be stuck in the $600 segment because the referrals you getting are going to be for that market sector. Their reputation and personal image becomes associated with that market sector and higher end brides wouldn't want to go near them with a 10m pole. Yes, in know it sounds snobbish but this is seriously how it works. And when you want to get out of that market sector, it's like having to start your business all over again because all your past referrals now no longer fit into your marketing/business plan. I can't say for sure if this is the same for commercial work, but i have a strong feeling it is.

    So what is the solution to undercutting...there are several which I feel would work well for aspiring wedding photographers in Singapore

    1. Assist first until you are up to par, then start your own business at a sensible pricing so you won't be stuck in crappy market segement for the rest of your life.

    2. Make sure you have a definable style. I find people tend to pay a lot more if you have a very strong style. Not everyone will like it, but those that do are the ones that will pay a lot more and be more appreciative.

    3. Get together with other photographers to form groups to share resources and set a minimum pricing. For some strange reason, I find photograpehrs in Singapore hate to work together and share. That's a terrible loss as an industry.

    4. Quit worrying about those low cost photographers from Malaysia or India or whatever. They will always be here and that's fine. Even with them around, our market is still not even as competitive as New York or London. Instead of trying to match them on price, why not try and see where you can market yourself differently or provide value added services which they are unable to to

    5. Consider investing in client education. Wedding photographers here spend thousands and thousands on gear thinking it will make them a better photographer or that clients will pay them more. 99% of my clients couldn't care less if i turned up at their wedding with a holga. The only times client have paid me more is when i have approached them with the intent of educating them about my work.

    6. The one thing unique about so many Singaporean wedding photographers is that they have talked themselves into a corner by constantly complaining that the client won't spend money, have low budgets, etc, etc. They've said it so often to the point where they actually believe it's true and have become too scared to raise prices and have stayed low for years and years. But think about it if a couple if willing to get 30 tables and spend 30k you think they really give a crap if the photography is 1k or 3k or 5k or more?

    So anyway, that's my spiel on undercutting.
    I love what you said Me too same like you and i agree what Pro Image reply to you. This line so long liao-------and been told so many beginers.

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    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock
    I met a photographer today who wanted to bypass the talent agency and so hired people off the street for shoots, and since these people aren't knowledgeable about pricing they're ok with small amounts. I was quite distressed when I found out how little the photographer was paying, and without even any contractual agreement.

    many of the modelling agencies here have grouped together to try and raise the rates being offered to models for runway and print, which sounds like a good plan

    but what's a good way to convince people that it's worth paying a fair price for services?
    there was quite abit of mention of wedding photographers who undercut like hell to get jobs.
    It'll be great to hear more personal experiences, for those who are still surviving in their businesses.
    want to rope together a/several groups of photographers?
    i m in!

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    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pro Image
    I wish there was such website but even if there is, who really follows?

    How do you stop people from going below the market rates?

    Unless the ROM department set a website for us, (make-up artist, photographers and videographers) ALL couples must apply through them to look for a photographer to shoot for their Actual Wedding Day and ROM.

    Whether you are working photographers or not, you have to register with them so that the fees is regulated accordingly. Although there maybe loopholes but this would be a start.

    Just my 5 cents suggestion but I doubt it will happend.
    when everything must go thru the garment,
    in the end only the Garment-link and their cronies get the job.

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Judeseah and Pro Image, maybe you guys can help me here. Some of the little niggles about forming this alliance we have are the following

    1. There needs to be benefits for all the photographers in this price alliance. Besides referrals, what else would both of you like? What sort of incentives woudl make you join? Joint advertising to reduce advertising costs?
    2. Any ideas on how to monitor this group to ensure price cutting doens't happen within the group?
    3. Who gets to join? Who doesn't? What are the criterions for joining?

    Any help/input you can give on ths would be greatly appreciated.

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by ckuang
    Judeseah and Pro Image, maybe you guys can help me here. Some of the little niggles about forming this alliance we have are the following

    1. There needs to be benefits for all the photographers in this price alliance. Besides referrals, what else would both of you like? What sort of incentives woudl make you join? Joint advertising to reduce advertising costs?
    2. Any ideas on how to monitor this group to ensure price cutting doens't happen within the group?
    3. Who gets to join? Who doesn't? What are the criterions for joining?

    Any help/input you can give on ths would be greatly appreciated.
    1) I guess the line is hard to draw here.

    The alliance must be clear if it's a partnership (common group name/ common funds/ mund manager/ percentage of contribution..etc) or non-committal references. Yes, if you are in a alliance, you get to enjoy lower rate of advertising but your work exclusivity is reduced amongst the number of photogs you have in the group. Group discounts on equipment or certain level of sponsorship can be seen as incentive OR incentives like a common fund that's used ot get something useful for everyone or organise trips just for the group itself.

    2) Monitering is really hard. Really boils down to integrity. Unless all contacts are handled by one key person and then the job is assigned to ensure uniformity, consistence and pricing. Then again, if this is not a partnership, then it will be hard to control.

    3) Depends on what your group is. Diverse genres or common genre? Photog's character, track records, photography styles and standard are the basic critierias. They are the reflection of what your group is.

    Hope it helps.. my 2 rupiah's worth

  15. #35

    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by SniperD
    1) I guess the line is hard to draw here.

    The alliance must be clear if it's a partnership (common group name/ common funds/ mund manager/ percentage of contribution..etc) or non-committal references. Yes, if you are in a alliance, you get to enjoy lower rate of advertising but your work exclusivity is reduced amongst the number of photogs you have in the group. Group discounts on equipment or certain level of sponsorship can be seen as incentive OR incentives like a common fund that's used ot get something useful for everyone or organise trips just for the group itself.

    2) Monitering is really hard. Really boils down to integrity. Unless all contacts are handled by one key person and then the job is assigned to ensure uniformity, consistence and pricing. Then again, if this is not a partnership, then it will be hard to control.

    3) Depends on what your group is. Diverse genres or common genre? Photog's character, track records, photography styles and standard are the basic critierias. They are the reflection of what your group is.

    Hope it helps.. my 2 rupiah's worth
    I'm not sure if it's feasible to create many benefits for a group, apart from referrals. Even any fees charged will be barely enough to create benefits, unless there is good sponsorship.

    And yes monitoring is of course hard but I'm thinking that the people who are convinced to join the group are more knowledgeable of the long term effects of undercutting the market.
    An honour system with a group name seems doable, but then comes into consideration the criteria for which photographers get allowed into the group.

    then comes the question of, what benefits do the clients and consumers get for choosing to hire a photographer within the group, when the consumer can get an undercutting photographer?

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    guess it all boils down to marketing

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    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by ckuang
    4. There is a big tendency for young photographers starting out to try and charge low rates, especially in the wedding industry. Terrible, terrible mistake because they don't realize that the price you start at is the market segment you are going to be stuck in for a long long long time. So if you start at $600, they are going to be stuck in the $600 segment because the referrals you getting are going to be for that market sector. Their reputation and personal image becomes associated with that market sector and higher end brides wouldn't want to go near them with a 10m pole. Yes, in know it sounds snobbish but this is seriously how it works. And when you want to get out of that market sector, it's like having to start your business all over again because all your past referrals now no longer fit into your marketing/business plan. I can't say for sure if this is the same for commercial work, but i have a strong feeling it is.
    i agree with this the most. yes there are a lot of monkeys out there who will work for peanuts just to get the bit of extra cash (freelance and FT pros alike) coming in but ultimately they get stuck in that market segment. so it'll become next to impossible for them to move on and ask for higher price - you'll just be stuck with the image of being a cheap photographer. i myself have a standard rate and i don't budge on it much without good reason (e.g. good portfolio piece, or new client but i make sure they know its a one-time thing for them to get familiar with my work). this is the same for all businesses, not just photography.

    Case in point - no one will ever pay top dollars for a 'high-end' Toyota car. so what did they do? they created the Lexus brand and marque.

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    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by SniperD
    1) I guess the line is hard to draw here.

    The alliance must be clear if it's a partnership (common group name/ common funds/ mund manager/ percentage of contribution..etc) or non-committal references. Yes, if you are in a alliance, you get to enjoy lower rate of advertising but your work exclusivity is reduced amongst the number of photogs you have in the group. Group discounts on equipment or certain level of sponsorship can be seen as incentive OR incentives like a common fund that's used ot get something useful for everyone or organise trips just for the group itself.

    2) Monitering is really hard. Really boils down to integrity. Unless all contacts are handled by one key person and then the job is assigned to ensure uniformity, consistence and pricing. Then again, if this is not a partnership, then it will be hard to control.

    3) Depends on what your group is. Diverse genres or common genre? Photog's character, track records, photography styles and standard are the basic critierias. They are the reflection of what your group is.

    Hope it helps.. my 2 rupiah's worth
    Agree what Ron has said.

    For my group, we really based on trust (at the moment, this is the only way). So far so good. No bickering about it as we all know that selling ourselves cheap, everyone in our group will suffer. So we really stick to our pricing as we do not question each other.

    We all know that we all want to shoot for our clients. Our mind maybe thinking "What the heck, $600.00. I'll accept it. Better than sitting at home doing nothing at all." This kinda of consequences will lead to plenty of clients bargaining for even lower pricing.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry

    Case in point - no one will ever pay top dollars for a 'high-end' Toyota car. so what did they do? they created the Lexus brand and marque.

    Hooo hooo.....

  20. #40

    Default Re: Undercutting & Underpaying: is the short term gain worth the long term loss?

    Its inevitable, the price cutting and stuff.. But look at the IT industry which has suffered big time from the price competition. All IT people are working like slaves while people who benifit for ITs services still earn big bucks. After some time in this industry you can not help but feel short changed. Name me one company whos says it ok their IT system fails for a day. Lets say not even the system, just the email service outage for 1/2 hour everybody curses and swears but who borthers paying the joker behind slaving like a dog to keep everything working nicely with 24/7 standby, nobody... So finally the all the IT people get all stressed up quit their IT jobs and become photographers and then wack the photography pie. So I guess blame all the jokers out there who want IT services, but want to pay us IT people peanuts to do the job, iregarless weather we provide quility services. Cheap is good... So Next time anybody who wants their IT stuff running smoothly please pay us decent money to get that spiffy web site up or set up the mails server etc... Heh heh..

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