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Thread: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

  1. #61
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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong
    Thankfully not everyone has decided to make $2k a norm then. Otherwise there would be group of photogs who have no standard but also charge $2k because that is the "norm". The average standard will not go up, in fact if anything it will go down as mediocre photogs join the industry. Why? Because they know that no matter how lousy they are, they can still command $2k.

    My point is that the photog's skill should determine his pricing. Not some industry "guideline" or norm. That is a prescription for disaster, as it will attract all sorts of mediocre photographers because the norm makes it attractive for them to come in.

    For my own wedding we engaged Eng Keow, he was very expensive but he was booked solid for months. I could have gone cheap, engaged some of the studios like Broadway at IMM but of course they did not have the style and vision that we wanted.

    But at least, even if Broadway doesn't work for me, at least they work for other people who are looking for a cheaper alternative, whether by choice or due to budget constraints.

    Price and quality should be well-related. If you are good, you should be able to command a price. The analogy would be you are like SIA, able to charge more than MAS because you provide better service. However, remember there is always a place in the industry, not only for MAS, but even for AirAsia. Some people really want it cheap (they may really not be able to afford it) so they are willing to compromise on quality, and the market should be able to support customers at different price points.

    When I said norm, it doesn't mean that EVERY single person charges minimum $2k. The norm for some of the budget photographers seems to be hovering around $600-700, compared to 3-4years back, it used to go for $188 - 350. Anyway, there isn't a price regulation here, i.e. no such thing as a stipulated minimum that one should charge. I don't look at it as a budget constraint, but people just don't portion out a bigger piece of the pie for actual day photography and would rather spend more $ on other stuffs. We respect the individuals on that, but our job is to educate them on the value of our services as wedding photographers.

  2. #62

    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    Maybe that's not what you mean, but your words, under any ordinary interpretation by any reasonable person, are quite unequivocal:

    Quote Originally Posted by canturn
    If every photographer decides to make $2k a norm and minimal market rate, the standards of wedding photography here will definitely go up because people are competiting to produce quality work, by giving more, rather than charging less, giving less and killing themselves on the long run
    "Every" normally means "all" and therefore means "every single photographer out there"

    "norm" means "a standard practice"

    "minimal" means "no less than"

    Taken together, your words mean that you believe every single wedding photographer out there should charge at least $2k.

    I'm not here to show you up, like some people here are wont to, I can accept that sometimes we can use the wrong words, but I just want to say that you should choose your words carefully.

    Anyway, my more important point is that a "norm" is not a good thing for the industry. Further, a norm is meaningless without being related to quality. If you want Russel Wong standards, the "norm" is definitely not $2k. If you want Broadway standards, the "norm" should never be $2k.

    Rather than talking about "norms", one should talk about what one can offer.

    The wedding photography market is highly competitive, this means there are many service providers offering different levels of service at different prices, which is a good thing for consumers. The consumer has the choice of spending $500, $5,000 or $50,000, depending on what he wants. Similarly, the service provider has the choice of competing in the high-end, middle or low-end market, and coming up with packages which meet various price points and still allow them to make a reasonable profit. This is good for everyone.

    I also find much talk about "educating" the customer. If you believe the customer is king, it is not the customer but the service provider who needs to be educated. The service provider needs to be educated about what the customer values and what he doesn't, what is important and not important, what can be compromised and what cannot be compromised.

    As an example, in my case I engaged an expensive photographer for my studio shoot but a cheap photographer for my AD shoot because I felt that the studio shots, which come on archival paper in nice leather albums was far more important. On the other hand, getting 300 4R pix of people doing yamseng, doing tea ceremony, kena saboh during the wedding night, etc. was not really that important to me.

    But of course, that's me and my wife, other people may be just the exact opposite, scrimp on the studio shoot while splurging on the AD photography because they need to distribute the 4R pixs to five generations of demanding and picky relatives who want to look good.

    As far as coffee table books and following trends is concerned, any businessman should always be aware of the latest trends if only to know what the competition is doing. However, whether you want to jump on the bandwagon is a separate matter. Some trends are just fads (remember bubble tea?), others are significant changes which need to be studied closely. As an example, available light black and white reportage style wedding photography seems to me to be an example of the latter, and there are wedding photographers in other countries who specialise in this style of wedding photography, and who are doing quite well.

    So if you are playing in the low-end of the market, 300 4R shots may be more than enough to satisfy your customers. If you are playing in the high-end of the market, a coffee table book may be one way to keep up with your competition.
    Last edited by waileong; 12th July 2006 at 10:04 AM.

  3. #63
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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    I think what waileong says makes a lot of sense and I agree with his statements. Price and quality. If someone thinks his work or experience can't command that price and is perfectly contented to serve the lower end market, what is the real reason to keep pressuring him/her to raise his prices?

  4. #64

    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123
    I think what waileong says makes a lot of sense and I agree with his statements. Price and quality. If someone thinks his work or experience can't command that price and is perfectly contented to serve the lower end market, what is the real reason to keep pressuring him/her to raise his prices?

    the real reasons is the cost of running the business! Many many businesses fail to calculate the cost of running and that is why so many people rather shoot as a weekend job. Not a problem if you are a freelancer and earning your keep elsewhere but if you want to your business to survive and propser than make proper plans on your cost of business and you understand why its near impossible to shoot a wedding for less than a certain amount yourself.

    There are only so little weekends to go about. So many jobs you can shoot a year without going insanely crazy and boring after repeating your formula everyday. Want creative pictures, be more hungry in the mind and allow the right kind of clients that give you this creative freedom to pursure it.

    At the lower price point, very little clients will appricate what you want envision their wedding to be. Most just want you to cover the wedding. Most of my clients whom i shoot during my freelance times never wash those prints that i proudly display as my portfolio pieces yet got attacted by it in the first place.

    I'm a dreamer, i want to shoot great pictures and be paid for it, since my fashion days, i dreamt to be in a creative line and have a decent lifestyle to match with it. Although not there yet i'm working very hard on it.

    There is no sin to charge $300 or $3000 but what canturn is saying too is that we need a decent amount to charge for our craft, frankly $2000 per wedding is not that high considering all the overheads we have. Our D200 or 30D isn't any cheaper compared to overseas and rent and cost of running the business is not cheap.

    Unless you are in the business as a full timer you would understand what monies we folk out every month.

    Again I'm not worried if anyone charges cheaper or more expensive than me or there are many freelancers charging $700. I dare say most of freelancers and 60% of the professionals are going a great job serving the lower end market, JUST SHOOT.

    If you want that special touch, the difference in look and feel of your pictures you need to either sleek the photographer who pride their works. Who they are and how they do it, see the works to determine their worth.

    You be in great luck to spot great photogaphers who charge cheaply or cheaper than the competition because they lack the guts/market accurm/target market to price their worth. I feel slightly bad for them as they spent so much energy and passion to do what they feel good about but at the end cannot sustain themselves in the long run. Its a modern world and you need the right resources and focus to stay in track.

    Heck it cost money and time to write this, hope my client is paying for it. Consumer education.
    Last edited by Belle&Sebastain; 12th July 2006 at 05:14 PM.

  5. #65

    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    Quote Originally Posted by Belle&Sebastain
    the real reasons is the cost of running the business!
    The real reason is because some photogs feel the pain of being undercut by people they consider to be inferior to them.

    The real reason is that they feel this undercutting is unfair.

    The real reason is that they feel that part-timers and freelancers are ruining the market for them.

    I can empathise and understand their pain and frustration. But I do not think that calling for people to charge $2k as a norm is the way to solve the problem.

    For every freelancer who comes to CS and undercuts you, how many do not come to CS at all? How many have never heard of CS? How many are out there right now, undercutting you?

    How will making such a call on CS solve your problem?

    The other bunch of people who undercut you are not part-timers or freelancers, but pros who are just starting out, who are offering promotional low prices to get customers. It's a time-honored marketing tradition to offer promotional prices when starting out, so I don't see why they would avoid doing so, no matter what you write on CS.

    While I am not a wedding photographer, I worked in the private sector for many years. For instance, at Pacific Internet where I worked in the early 90's, for a long time it was a cosy competitive environment we had just three ISP's-- Singnet, Cyberway and PI-- and we had more or less stabilised our prices after three years of intense price competition.

    Then TAS gave out three more licences and suddenly Starhub started offering Internet dialup access (you paid only for the software and for any tech support calls). Overnight we lost so many customers you wouldn't believe.

    So how? We obviously could not call up Starhub's CEO to ask him to charge the industry norm. We had to fight the best we could, explain why free was bad, try to increase the value of our Internet service through promotional freebies, loyalty programs, subscriber benefits, etc. But still it was a uphill battle, and much more so because of the commodity nature of Internet access. At least in the wedding photography market, you can show that a $5,000 photographer produces higher quality pictures than a $500 photographer.

    I brought this up to explain that undercutting happens in a market economy, and there's not that much you can do about it, short of hiring gangsters to destroy your rivals. If you are unable to convince the market that you are better than part-timers and freelancers, then you should consider some other business. On the other hand, it may be a hidden blessing to avoid such ngeow customers. Obviously, they want cheap, they want fresh and they want big milk. This means they'll be very frustrating to serve. Do you really want such customers?

    If you have pros who are giving super-low prices because they are just starting out, not that much you can do except to show that you are more experienced than them and thus you can do a better job. If he's really in the business for the long-haul, he'll come to the conclusion that he has to raise prices to survive. Till then, you need to have sufficient cashflow to tide over. There's nothing much more to do, unless you want to hire some gangsters to burn down his shop.

    Wai Leong
    ===

  6. #66

    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al



    Wai leong, seriously, for the love of life, i cannot care if freelancers charge 700 dollars and if customers go for it. Its not the type of clients i wanna attract. No ones undercuts me by prices only by skill and marketing.

    Starhub or Pac net, what surfing differences experiences do i get besides the bills i pay each month? Photos for those whom those feel $700 freelance type is alright, why do they care? Those who appricate good work and will pay the difference is the type of customers i'm aiming for.

    Last edited by Belle&Sebastain; 12th July 2006 at 07:38 PM.

  7. #67
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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong
    I can empathise and understand their pain and frustration. But I do not think that calling for people to charge $2k as a norm is the way to solve the problem.
    Pain and frustration of being undercut? You gotta be kidding, and I think you have no idea how many enquires we are getting a day through advertisments and all. I got 3 bookings for June, charging $2400 for each job. For crying out loud, I think I'm really bothered with undercutters?

    I just feel that with our kind of standard in singapore, it a pity they can't charge higher, that's about it. Doesn't bother or "pains" me at all if they don't want to price themselves higher. And don't equate your IT example with photography services, that's 2 different worlds altogether.

    Gilbert, don't burn our houses down hor

  8. #68
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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    I think different style cater to different class. Most who pay less because they dun want or need the style. THose who want the style will have to pay more for it.
    I dun think I have attained a certain standard or style yet, so thats why I charge low first.

    Hope I get this right, Gilbert.
    Last edited by TrailsofLife; 12th July 2006 at 08:46 PM.

  9. #69
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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    Just a thought came out of my mind......

    I wonder how lawyers/doctors charges? Do they have a standard rates? Do they undercut other lawyers/doctors?

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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    Quote Originally Posted by Belle&Sebastain

    Wai leong, seriously, for the love of life, i cannot care if freelancers charge 700 dollars and if customers go for it. Its not the type of clients i wanna attract. No ones undercuts me by prices only by skill and marketing.

    Starhub or Pac net, what surfing differences experiences do i get besides the bills i pay each month? Photos for those whom those feel $700 freelance type is alright, why do they care? Those who appricate good work and will pay the difference is the type of customers i'm aiming for.
    For the love of life bro.......only we will know what a full time photographer will be like. They are not working photographers. So they are observing from a consumer point of view lar.....plus running a business is so much different from working for someone.

    Until they become like one of us.........the DARKSIDE.......wahahaha.....then they will know the powers of the Darkside side.

  11. #71

    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    Quote Originally Posted by Pro Image
    Just a thought came out of my mind......

    I wonder how lawyers/doctors charges? Do they have a standard rates? Do they undercut other lawyers/doctors?
    used to have standard rates, but now free market.

    'undercut' might not be the right terminology used. at time it is a neccesary strategy to stay in business. few years back there was this 'quite good wedding photographer' offering $199 for ROM. to me he is a much better known photograher than many of us here.

  12. #72

    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    well, i hope in 5 years time some of us can charge a princely US$800 per hour, match our work against those international photographers and have arab/indian/eurpoean clients flying some of us out of singapore to shoot their weddings overseas because there is a certain mood we can achieve with how we want to shoot their weddings.

    please re-read how i write in this thread, its to make a living with own photography business and try not to lose money and lose hope shooting. Certainly not about being afraid those charging $700 and doing a decent job at it.

    We have enquiries daily and when the first question is about price and not availabilty, its not the kind of clients we want and my phone conversation is even shorter, 15 secs. Wei Leong, my number is 98198684, why not try calling us one of these days and pose as a customer?

  13. #73
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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    Quote Originally Posted by Belle&Sebastain
    well, i hope in 5 years time some of us can charge a princely US$800 per hour, match our work against those international photographers and have arab/indian/eurpoean clients flying some of us out of singapore to shoot their weddings overseas because there is a certain mood we can achieve with how we want to shoot their weddings.

    please re-read how i write in this thread, its to make a living with own photography business and try not to lose money and lose hope shooting. Certainly not about being afraid those charging $700 and doing a decent job at it.

    We have enquiries daily and when the first question is about price and not availabilty, its not the kind of clients we want and my phone conversation is even shorter, 15 secs. Wei Leong, my number is 98198684, why not try calling us one of these days and pose as a customer?
    Why wait so long.......let's do it now......! Still waiting for some big power spending couples......

    Ok on the serious side, actually technically speaking we working photographers in Singapore have skills which is as good as the overseas photographers. Still really boils down to each of our clients on whether they have the spendling power $$$$$$ to do it.

    As you notice our good friend Kevin was in Sydney......*ME JEALOUS* had a great opportunity to be there to extend his skills and portfolio. Same with me I had a great opportunity to extend my own portfolio when I was in Sydney last year to shoot a few restaurants because of good contacts.

  14. #74
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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    Quote Originally Posted by jopel
    used to have standard rates, but now free market.

    'undercut' might not be the right terminology used. at time it is a neccesary strategy to stay in business. few years back there was this 'quite good wedding photographer' offering $199 for ROM. to me he is a much better known photograher than many of us here.
    Well yo did mentioned a few years back.......a few years back a bowl of noodle was cheaper by 50cents. MRT fares was cheaper. $199 for ROM a few years back may worth a lot to some photographers. Better known photographer? How well know is he.....and does he have a website which you can share with us.......share lar......don't be shy.

  15. #75
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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    Quote Originally Posted by Pro Image
    Just a thought came out of my mind......

    I wonder how lawyers/doctors charges? Do they have a standard rates? Do they undercut other lawyers/doctors?
    for private healthcare sector, it goes by the free market and obviously by qualifications and the specialty. it could be a general practioner, or a specialist in women's diseases or child diseases, or a medical centre that provides concurrent lab and imaging services, and of cos there are those private psychiatrists, plastic surgeons, radiologists or anaesthesists whose services are highly specialised and can't be compared with other disciplines.

    when it comes to the public sector though, doctors stay out of adminstation and concentrate purely on the patient's condition, and that is a good thing.

    as for undercutting, yes, many GP consider polyclinic an undercutting becos they are not just doctors, but also businessman at the same time. same with photographers.

    but the nature of photographers will never be the same as a doctor. there is no compelling reason to see all clients that comes to you, but a doctor cannot refuse to see a patient by professional ethics. and no photographer is going to work non-stop without rest/sleep/bath for 36hrs, working 450hrs per month, skipped meals, received 4 paging per minute for new jobs coming in at the most intense period. and yes, for an intern, by the number of hours one work, that is about S$6 per hour, and someone more senior will be between $12-20 per hour. that is in the public sector that serves all that comes - photographers does not have that area to cover. all are private just like the private sector of the healthcare - one is charged for the expertise and most importantly the efficiency. you can all have up and down scopes and MRI and CT scans probably done in a day, whereas in the public sector, there is a long queue that last for months unless there is a critical (not self-claimed) need to do one's urgently before others.

    that makes the difference between the private and public sector. but as usual, the public are not aware of the resources distribution. they are not willing to pay more for the private sector, but wanted priority in the public sector, even if it means that others have to be pushed backwards so that they can get to be seen earlier. many still feels that medical care are expensive in singapore without noting that some disciplines are losing money to support the function and the price can only go down with the government plunging a lot more money to further subsidise. manpower and resources are severely limited and nothing will change without both of this is rectified by a few times - and that is the strain of the public sector.

    the only good thing about (most part of) the public sector is that you feel good and complete as a doctor without any financial consideration affecting your duty towards the patient.

    likewise the difference between someone who have a good job but shoots wedding events totally as an interest (dun mind the hours put in, and got as much as what he has to pay physically) and someone who works as a career and expect a certain level of income that matches his expertise. mentality is different.

    but most importantly of all, is not and never let this kind of mentality gets into a way of hostility or even a subtle suggestion of looking down on fellow photographers (who are not experienced reasonably charging professional wedding photographers.)
    Last edited by zoossh; 15th August 2006 at 02:08 PM.

  16. #76
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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    by the way, i think we have gone very much OT. i'm actually looking around looking for recommendations for a gd place to help me good quality binding for a coffee table that i wanted to give to my best friend. so far i'm only centralise my target on beautiful memories at stamford house but are looking for other alternatives to compare. i've done a print at sunshine plaza before and it is very disappointing.....

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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    Quote Originally Posted by zoossh
    by the way, i think we have gone very much OT. i'm actually looking around looking for recommendations for a gd place to help me good quality binding for a coffee table that i wanted to give to my best friend. so far i'm only centralise my target on beautiful memories at stamford house but are looking for other alternatives to compare. i've done a print at sunshine plaza before and it is very disappointing.....
    why don't you ask Joho. he may have some answer for you.

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    Smile Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    Quote Originally Posted by zoossh
    by the way, i think we have gone very much OT. i'm actually looking around looking for recommendations for a gd place to help me good quality binding for a coffee table that i wanted to give to my best friend. so far i'm only centralise my target on beautiful memories at stamford house but are looking for other alternatives to compare. i've done a print at sunshine plaza before and it is very disappointing.....
    Hi Zoossh,

    When I saw your respond to the thread, I thought you were a doctor.
    When I click on your link to the various reference, I think you are a nice guy.
    Interestingly, what do you do for a living?

    To do something for your best friend, no effort would be spared.
    I'll help you to print and bind for a small fee. Also for your support on my thread on "Coffee table books for professional".

    The map to the factory can be found here:
    http://www.kikuze.com/html/contact.htm
    It's a green and yellow building. The entrance to the factory is near the security guard post.

    What software did you used to design? What's the size of the book designed?
    I'll take pdf in cmyk hi-res or jpeg files.
    If you've printed the content pages, I'll just help you to bind it.

    Regards

    Winson

  19. #79
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    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Albums

    Oops!
    Meant to PM, turned up as a reply.
    Offer only for nice guy, not for others.
    Sorry.

    Winson

  20. #80

    Default Re: The Art & Design of Producing Professional Wedding Photobooks (Coffee-table) & Al

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong
    The real reason is because some photogs feel the pain of being undercut by people they consider to be inferior to them.

    The real reason is that they feel this undercutting is unfair.

    The real reason is that they feel that part-timers and freelancers are ruining the market for them.
    ...
    Wai Leong
    ===
    Just curious. Are you a wedding photographer by any chance? I mean, either as a freelance or full-timer?

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