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Thread: Thinking of earning from photography?

  1. #21

    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    To earn or make a living from photography, you need to be able to master two very diametric skills. They are firstly Photography and then business, in that order.

    Mastering the basics of photography are the prerequisites of becoming a commercial photography. Having a good eye for photography will set you apart from the crowd. Despite all these, you still need to know how to run a business. This can be very hard for a lot of people as most are only inclined towards either photography or business, very rarely both.

    The most successful commercial photographers can handle both areas well or they are smart enough to find a partner to take care of the business side. Running a business is very different from taking good photos. The skill sets and requirements are very different.

    It is very important to do an honest self appraisal of oneself before taking the plunge into commercial photogrpahy. You need to do a SWOT analysis and take the appropiate actions. SWOT = Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

    The above are from materials I read from books, articles and my personal experiences.
    Last edited by VR Man; 20th October 2006 at 12:40 AM. Reason: typo

  2. #22

    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    Kudos to the TS for this thread! I think this is a great initiative to highlight the cost of running a business in photography in Singapore. This is a high risk business while it may seems like easy money to many who knows very little about this trade, let alone to run a profitable business.

    I have a friend who shot a budget wedding without getting paid a cent when the photos were delivered! There was nothing much he could do since there was no contract being signed. I would also like to add that bad debts is another overlooked area for many budding entrepreneurs for photography. There is nothing one can do to recover the money unless he has some spare cash to sue the customer and, hope against hope, get him to pay up the dues.

    Allow me to link a series of video by Rick Rickman. I think he explained this business just as well, too.

    http://www.sportsshooter.com/special...biz/index.html


    Cheers and blessed journey to all!

  3. #23

    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    A very impressive thread! Now that's quality writing!!

    Just to share my thoughts....when meeting up with couples, there will always be those that would appreciate the photographer's work and pay for the service, even though the couple may not be well off. And there will always be those who bargain around to find the cheapest deal in town.

    Whatever it is, the consultation session with the couple is an important time, not just for them to see your portfolio, but for the photographer to assess the couple's expectations. At times, if they expect too much for too little, it is better off to politely turn them away. I always make it a point to find out which hotel they choose or will be choosing to have their wedding. Find out how many guests, get to know them better, etc. It will be more difficult to smoke me once I'm on the right track.

  4. #24

    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by contaxable View Post
    I have a friend who shot a budget wedding without getting paid a cent when the photos were delivered! There was nothing much he could do since there was no contract being signed. I would also like to add that bad debts is another overlooked area for many budding entrepreneurs for photography. There is nothing one can do to recover the money unless he has some spare cash to sue the customer and, hope against hope, get him to pay up the dues.
    In my case, I only accept the client's wedding day booking when I receive a 'non-refundable' deposit. I made sure they pay the balance amount on the actual day of the event. Any delays would mean the automatic delay of them getting to receive their photos. Of course when conveying this to the customer, one has to be firm and polite. Earn their trust and respect.

    This will avert any possibility of non-payment and frustration.

  5. #25

    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    this is a brillant thread, shrinken has successfully pointed out the woes photographers have. this does not applies to wedding photography, but events as well.

    in many cases people will take the photographer for granted, they are unaware of the cost behind such an expensive hobby.

    think of this question, would you allow strangers to use our car or your apartment free of charge? the same concept applies to photography, will you allow your service to be regarded as free of charge?

    the fact that many people around do not understand the true cost to photography only makes this situation worse.

    well i guess we just have to live with it...

    again. kudos to shrinken for coming up with this thread, i believe you have put in lots of thought for it
    random equipment.
    where are my primes?

  6. #26

    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    Ken, good useful work!

  7. #27
    Senior Member glennyong's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    i think this thread is placed in the wrong place.

    simply because; put it this way. those pple who are looking for cheap photographers will NOT come into this section to read it.

    So why not placed it at the services section and there as a sticky with a title.

    "Before posting, please read !"

    maybe like a system similar to BNS.

    let them read and read.. den post. at least the message and life of the photographer is displayed there of course...

    but nevertheless i salute the TS for the great amount of work being placed on the thread. maybe a similar one can be placed on other forums to increase awareness of the life of a photographer ?

    AIYAH. forget it lets have a short movie "Becoming Photographer"

    but anyway. there will still be pple who pays peanuts and expect you to give them 100kg worth of gold to them....
    Last edited by glennyong; 20th October 2006 at 08:28 AM.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    I once had a customer who had his wedding dinner in a 4 star hotel of 40 tables. Somehow I think the wedding was not really blessed by the relatives in that sense, only abt 10 tables were filled. There were 2 photographers and 1 videographer that day. We never got back our money.

  9. #29

    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    Thanks for the appreciation. What I'm doing is merely giving back the place which gave me what I have. I've benefitted immensely from the selfless photographers here in Clubsnap, of course, my mentors overseas as well. What I know today, would have to be part of some fellow senior here who had been willing to share with me, teach me and guide me.

    On the note of getting paid, or rather, not getting paid, you may want to consider getting a retaining fee, or what's popularly referred to as "deposit" here in SG. When I started out and was targetting lower end clients, they were unwilling to pay a deposit. Some even describe the act of collecting deposit as "unscrupulous sales tactic", which made me scared to ask for a deposit, despite advice from my mentors and seniors. When a couple played me out, I decided either it's a deposit or no-go. With my targetted market now, non have any objections with paying a deposit upfront. I understand events seem to work differently from my very limited experience, so I can't comment on how it works for other fields.

    But seriously, even if the amount is small, collect a deposit. Otherwise the bargain hunters who find a better bargain tomorrow could just very well ditch you for another photographer who's undercutting you with a better deal. Or worse, refuse to pay upon delivery.

  10. #30

    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    I'm stealing what catchlights wrote in another thread. I don't think he'll mind as he's one of those selfless mentors I told you guys about.

    For event photographers wannabes, there are tons of event organisers looking for cheap or free photographers, dangling the "portfolio carrot" (as opposed to the "sob story carrot"). I quote catchlights
    event photography as portfolio? sure can! why not?
    but first you MUST have all the super big shots as the "G.O.H", and YOU are the only photographer cover that event.
    if you have this one, you don't need to show other things liao.
    I believe the above is very true, even from my extremely limited experience in events. Most paid jobs for events, as far as I know, is through word of mouth. Unless you tie up with event companies. While the portfolios for weddings are indeed important, I'm not so sure the same applies to events. Simply because it is extremely difficult to impress, or rather, distinguish one event photographer's work from another. The best way? Show off portfolio which includes personalities like politicians or celebrities. Faces everybody knows about. That's the best portfolio. Trust me on this. Compared to another photographer whose photos sharp sharp and bright bright, my poorly taken celeb shots can land me a job much easier.

    To build a portfolio for events, you can always crash an open event and try to shoot the significant parts of it as portfolio. That way, your work as an event photographer will continue to have commercial value. If you shoot for free today, tomorrow, there will be ten other vendors coming here to ask for free event photographers. Ultimately, it will make no sense for these event vendors to pay for photography. I quote one of them:
    "Why pay when you can get it free from Clubsnap?"
    Of course, the above is not applicable if you're in for a quick thrill and quick buck. Or maybe quick meal. I don't know the carrots they dangle these days.

  11. #31
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    Thumbs up Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    Great work!

  12. #32

    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    For event photography, I work thru an events company who occasionally outsourced their photography to me. I'm glad they are good people so the working relationship has been so far so good over 2 years, as they have been a good pay master -- only at times a slight delay in the pay check.

    For my other events and someitmes corporate shoots, when at times it may not be appropriate to collect a deposit, one of the most important terms i would state is that 'full payment is to be made upon the delivery of the photos/images'. The client will have to acknowledge this as a standard practice if they are gonna expect good service.

  13. #33

    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Belle&Sebastain View Post
    cost of sales

    CDs need money
    DVDs need money
    covers need money
    paper need money
    ink need money
    paperback need money

    ha ha sadly not many people in Singapore appreciate photography work.. The amount of special touches we add to each wedding often go unoticed. Most of us I believe dont shoot solely for money. For years I charged what I felt reasonable just a humble $750 met all sorts of clients. Just wanted to do a beatiful job for each special wedding till I kenna one too many weido cleints. Gave up price tag is a good filter :P
    Last edited by Tsangstudios; 20th October 2006 at 11:13 AM.

  14. #34

    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Belle&Sebastain View Post
    bills

    phonebills need to be paid
    servers need to be paid
    marketing tools need to be paid
    salary needs to be paid
    And I just realised that to transfer the incoming call from a land line to my mobile phone also NEEDS MONEY!

  15. #35

    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoky View Post
    Very materialistic world.... everything about money... no wonder pple commiting sucide or turn to terrorism...

    Sad but true, ITs all about COSTs... very valid point and lots of newbies think the Pros/semi-pros are making very easy money but have not considered the amount of hard work and the skill sets required to ;

    Firstly, Produce Imagery which can satisfy the client, even though the client says its a very "simple" job , I would politely tell the client, if its that "simple" then you do not need a pro to do it.

    Secondly, work your cost into your pricing/quotation(as has been stated by others).

    Thirdly, take a step back and take a long hard look at your work. Then ask yourself this question - How much do you value your work? How much do you think your service is worth? (last night was at an art gallery and saw works by an artist, which most ppl on this board could also shoot and enlarge, yes it was enlargements, sold as a set of 4pcs of 120cmx80cm print enlargements for S$76,800.00) that works out to S$19,200.00 per print. very interesting right?

    Also remember the fact, that there is no such thing as a free lunch!

    I totally agree with TS about pricing for the niche/higher end markets...clients tend to be much more human, for many years some friends often asked me why I do not target the lower segment of the wedding market, it a hugh market segment but it also comes with hugh problems, I've also encountered my fair share of these "lower end" market blues..too demanding. Decided to target the high end instead.

  16. #36

    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    This thread came about from discussions from two other threads.

    To those who make a living from photography, every cent counts. Your training, cost, and quality of work must be factored in when deciding fees for your service. This simple "rule" applies not only to photographers, but to other professions as well.

    However that other two threads talked about a potential client asking for services at a price which I too consider to be ridiculous. Nonetheless, there were takers for this offer. Why there are takers for this job is not ours to question. One can surmise many possiblities. To get practice. To get a portfolio. Or to a hobbyist, the little amount may be sufficient to buy another memory card. To me, fair enough.

    But there was concern that these people may not know what they were committing themselves to.

    Hence this thread to help them understand a little more about the considerations in such an undertaking to avoid getting into trouble.

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    Other than costs, I have seen a few photographers being sued for
    1. lousy photos
    2. lost photos due to loss of camera in toilet
    3. corrupted memory cards

  18. #38

    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by CreaXion View Post
    Other than costs, I have seen a few photographers being sued for
    1. lousy photos
    2. lost photos due to loss of camera in toilet
    3. corrupted memory cards
    Does this happen in Sg?
    Gallery | Facebook Page Spreading the Good photography.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Thinking of earning from photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by CYRN View Post
    Does this happen in Sg?
    Yes, it happen to my developer's customers, photographer and normal customers. However, not sure what happen to them after that.

  20. #40
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    Default part of the problem

    Just a piece of obeservation, I don't thinks schools like NAFA, LA Salle, the Polytechnics, are doing the photographic community any favors.

    They are churning out hundrerd of aspiring photographers every year with no business sense. So far i have found interns from these schools terrible at the business of photography. I think the local art schools should follow the Brookes Institute of Photography which make it mandatory for their students to do a year's worth of classes on the business of photography.

    Perhaps that would help. Many students don't know you can become bankrupt by being a photographer as well.

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