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Thread: Price to pay to be a professional photographer

  1. #41

    Default Re: Price to pay to be a professional photographer

    Interesting thread.

    The problem with photography as a profession in S'pore is that anyone, even a fresh grad with interest and "self-proclaimed passion" and no experience at all, can call himself/herself a pro... if he takes a wedding job and gets paid $50. Technically he IS a pro cos he gets paid.

    The problem starts when the overzealous "pro" sets up shop and realises his "talent" isn't going to bring him any business. The real pros making good money seldom share their "secrets" preferring to let others find their own ways. Why should they willingly share their secrets and let the younger ones erode their market share? No one owes anyone a living.

    Photography, from a technical point of view, isn't that hard to master. Anyone with dogged determination can learn to master the techniques. I used to have a very good veteran photographer working for me who is technically correct in terms of lighting etc like 90% of the time. He seldom gets it wrong. His problem? Lack of creativity and not knowing how to keep up with the times. He came to me once, asking me to help him look over his portfolio and remake his career. I looked at hundreds of his slides and advised him throw away his old stuff and start over. The stuff he has can NOT be shown to clients. Problem is, he doesn't get it. He walked away probably thinking I am jealous of his years of experience (and probably a much wider portfolio than me)... he forgot I was his boss. And quantity is not quality.

    What cannot be taught (or learned from colleges of fine arts) are the soft skills - eg an eye for detail, how to tell what's good light, composition, balance, PR and communication skills, larger-than-life persona, how to dress, entertainer, joker, life-of-the-party, popular guy on the guest list of high-society parties etc. Yes, you hate all these things (I hear some photographers protesting), but then if you don't network, who will know about you?

    My advice to all aspiring "pros" and those who really think they are good. Don't be a self-judge. Pitch your work to big MNCs and publishers worldwide to establish yourself and let your work stand out amongst the world's best. If you are really good, you will stand out. Look at folks like Ian Lloyd, etc. They started like a regular Joe snapping at scenes in a teeny island state of S'pore and have since gone international. Are there any more enterprising photographer/businessmen like him around? Unfortunately NO... or not many. For every one Russell Wongs, I can name you 10 dunno-who-they-are's walking around in a zombie-state with a Nikon D50 strung around their neck wondering if they will be evicted next month for failing to keep up the monthly rentals.

    My best advice to aspiring "pros"... unless u r darned good (like the top 1% in your field and proven so... not just hearsay or simply because u think u r good), go get a proper job. When you have saved enough money as a regular employee and set aside some money for retirement, then act out your fantasy of being a pro photographer.

    PS: Sorry if I don't sound too encouraging or negative and pls don't flame me. Just telling it as it is. Reality is tough.... but wake up to it.

  2. #42
    Member Taurean's Avatar
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    Default Re: Price to pay to be a professional photographer



    Quote Originally Posted by astroboy
    Interesting thread.

    PS: Sorry if I don't sound too encouraging or negative and pls don't flame me. Just telling it as it is. Reality is tough.... but wake up to it.
    Behind every success story, there are many whom couldn't make the grade too

  3. #43

    Default Re: Price to pay to be a professional photographer

    Quote Originally Posted by astroboy
    The problem starts when the overzealous "pro" sets up shop and realises his "talent" isn't going to bring him any business. The real pros making good money seldom share their "secrets" preferring to let others find their own ways. Why should they willingly share their secrets and let the younger ones erode their market share? No one owes anyone a living.

    PS: Sorry if I don't sound too encouraging or negative and pls don't flame me. Just telling it as it is. Reality is tough.... but wake up to it.
    Eat breath LIVERPOOL!!!

  4. #44
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Price to pay to be a professional photographer

    Quote Originally Posted by astroboy
    My best advice to aspiring "pros"... unless u r darned good (like the top 1% in your field and proven so... not just hearsay or simply because u think u r good), go get a proper job. When you have saved enough money as a regular employee and set aside some money for retirement, then act out your fantasy of being a pro photographer.

    PS: Sorry if I don't sound too encouraging or negative and pls don't flame me. Just telling it as it is. Reality is tough.... but wake up to it.


    It is easier to do it as moonlighting, have fun, make some spare cash, but when do it fulltime, maybe 2nd round only...


    GAMEOVER!




  5. #45
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    Default Re: Price to pay to be a professional photographer

    I am a freelance photographer and has only been in the business just 2 years. I am still green. I dont make much money out of it seriously but I do it to help me pay strange bills that pops in my mailbox every month. But over the past 4 years working in the publishing industry, I have met with several professional photographers here in Singapore and overseas. They would share some of their stories with me. Mostly sad ones. Haha.

    The only good and sound advice I got was: You're on your own and good luck. And dont forget to use your brains.

    -that's how cheezy can they can sometimes.

  6. #46
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    Default Re: Price to pay to be a professional photographer

    Waa... this is an interesting read.

    Quote Originally Posted by astroboy
    The problem with photography as a profession in S'pore is that anyone, even a fresh grad with interest and "self-proclaimed passion" and no experience at all, can call himself/herself a pro... if he takes a wedding job and gets paid $50. Technically he IS a pro cos he gets paid.

    Are there any more enterprising photographer/businessmen like him around? Unfortunately NO... or not many. For every one Russell Wongs, I can name you 10 dunno-who-they-are's walking around in a zombie-state with a Nikon D50 strung around their neck wondering if they will be evicted next month for failing to keep up the monthly rentals.
    Sounds like it is bad. What about the regulars/pros who usually post so much aobut undercutting/prices... what you think?

    I own a D50 but I cant shoot so nice pictures like many of the CS members here. So I just sometimes come to see and admire their photos.

  7. #47

    Default Re: Price to pay to be a professional photographer

    [QUOTE=astroboy]Interesting thread.

    The problem with photography as a profession in S'pore is that anyone, even a fresh grad with interest and "self-proclaimed passion" and no experience at all, can call himself/herself a pro... if he takes a wedding job and gets paid $50. Technically he IS a pro cos he gets paid.

    Well said. Totally agreed.

  8. #48

    Default Re: Price to pay to be a professional photographer

    Sounds tough.
    Deviate a bit - anyone in here a female pro photographer or a female assistant? Is the business harder on you?

  9. #49
    Senior Member Sion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Price to pay to be a professional photographer

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights


    It is easier to do it as moonlighting, have fun, make some spare cash, but when do it fulltime, maybe 2nd round only...

    GAMEOVER!

    Heheh I can think of many ways of moonlighting to have fun. Photography is a hard way to make "spare cash".

  10. #50
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Price to pay to be a professional photographer

    Quote Originally Posted by Sion
    Heheh I can think of many ways of moonlighting to have fun. Photography is a hard way to make "spare cash".
    just base on some people calculation, one wedding shoot charge $1k, 3 wedding shoots can buy 17~35f2.8 liao, 6 wedding shoots can buy D2X, don't you think moonlighting this way better then you buy 4D every pai luck lay pai?


  11. #51
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    Default Re: Price to pay to be a professional photographer

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights
    just base on some people calculation, one wedding shoot charge $1k, 3 wedding shoots can buy 17~35f2.8 liao, 6 wedding shoots can buy D2X, don't you think moonlighting this way better then you buy 4D every pai luck lay pai?

    u forget pai sah mah wu 4D hor...
    Logging Off. "You have 2,631 messages stored, of a total 400 allowed." don't PM me.

  12. #52
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Price to pay to be a professional photographer

    Quote Originally Posted by Del_CtrlnoAlt
    u forget pai sah mah wu 4D hor...
    sori, I don't buy 4D, totos or big sweep, tot only have pai luck lay pai.

  13. #53
    Senior Member Sion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Price to pay to be a professional photographer

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights
    sori, I don't buy 4D, totos or big sweep, tot only have pai luck lay pai.
    Must buy lottery one. Once kena $2 million can hang up D2X for good liao.

  14. #54
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Price to pay to be a professional photographer

    Quote Originally Posted by Sion
    Must buy lottery one. Once kena $2 million can hang up D2X for good liao.
    So easy meh, all heng suay one, if not I went professional in lottery long time ago liao.

    Anyway, many people buy 4D, is buying a hope, buying a dream, I understand this, but too bad, I don't believe in these.

  15. #55

    Default Re: Price to pay to be a professional photographer

    I think that once you turn an intrest into a job you might lose that intrest, its only when its a PASSION will you have the stamina to go through with it. I my main intrest would now problably be animal photography and that field is very hard to make money out of. I have made my own calendar recently and a few of my friends said i shloud have made it avaiable for sale, too bad never ask permission form some of the dog owners hehe. Thanks to all who have shared thier previous expereinces though its been an intresting look into the professional world.
    Furry Photos - Photography for the Modern Pet

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