Damn....I should have been a doctor or a makeup artist.
It's interesting that some people equate length of experience with quality/ability of photographer.
probably the most lucrative trade one can do with a digital camera/and card and some marketting skills.
It takes a lot to share together.
Eat breath LIVERPOOL!!!
met CK during one of my friend's sister wedding. nice and down-to-earth chap who cleverly positions himself better than other wedding photogs.
earn more wth less quantity.
Hey Sprewell, man love your fashion stuff. Thanks for the kind words.
Lancey, weddings are not quite lucrative here in Singapore. You'll see what I mean when 39 East makes a really interesting announcement within the next 6 months about our positioning towards the future. But you know what's crazy lucrative? The Walmart photo studio model. If i only could figure how to make it work in Singapore. That's the most lucrative model to be in with a digi camera and some business cards IMO.
Just to clear up some issues with the article, the amount of $8k was quoted based on a 12 hour day with an album as they wanted to bring everyone to a common standard of deliverables. Will be happy to let everyone know that i have not shot a 12 hour wedding in years and hope I won't for a long time to come. Most of the weddings I shoot range between 6-8 hours only. The paper did not quote my disclaimer so i hope readers won't take this info out of context. Hope this info helps readers make an informed judgment about the state of the industry and not get fooled by the sensational headlines.
TNP is a **** paper anyway and loves to blow up incomes to infuriate its lower class readers. I recall some article about blog shops, where they claimed the girl owning the shop earned 10,000 a month when in truth, it was something like 10,000 in turnover before minusing costs. The girl tried to get a retraction printed but SPH apparently threatened legal action when she posted the truth on her blog.
I haven't read local news in ages, well, except the tiger killing.
Research Institute for Unicultural Visual Arts - Riuva.com
Point of the matter is irregardless of how much you pay in Singapore for pictures of your wedding, most of the time, they will be hidden under the coffee table.
If you look at your wedding pictures at your wedding anniversary for about 5 years, then perhaps it is worth it.
But the bottom line is still. Most couples would only show their pictures once or twice at the most 3 to 4 times and then it would be hidden.
Do correct my understanding if I had gotten it wrong.
Depending on what sort of photo you are there for, ie, family portrait, baby portrait, head shots, they will ask you to do a few set poses, shoot it on a digital camera and then after the shoot of about 10 minutes, you will go to a computer screen and pick the shots you want and the images will print there and then. The prices are pretty reasonable. I think something like $20 for an 8R and a few 4Rs. Most people i observe end up buying more than the base plan. I think part of the secret is because the price is cheap, they have constant business and constant turnover.
Multiply a few clients a day over a year and it actually becomes quite a bit of money. i think their strength lies in economies of scale due to the volume of prints, but the real strength lies also in the fact that they have simplified the process down to a point where a few teenagers can do the job from shooting to printing, making the cost of labor really really low and minimizing the reliance on skilled labor. This also means that their business model can tolerate turnover in staff because it is so simplified. So back end and front end, the system is sorted and self perpetualizing and that's something I'm still trying to figure out how to do.
Actually, I'm quite puzzled.... How come some of you (full-time wed photogs I suppose) are happy about TNP article? In what way exactly? That by that news and public exposure, you hope you can also charge like those guys, ie $5-8k per assignment?
I'm curious as to how you all feel shortchanged about your job right now. I personally feel True, wed photog is not are easy as a photography newbie might expect, but I feel it's not so bad that one leads a poor life from it.
I think I know where Lancey was coming from when he said in his post that wed photography is a "lucrative" business. No, you won't likely be an overnight millionaire. But come to think of it, which other career allows you to start immediately or at least somewhere with hardly any credentials? (Ok, the one other job I can think of is giving tuition, which not surprisingly, is illegal in some countries!!)
You don't need to study photography academically, you just need to own a DSLR, nevermind what lenses, kit ones will do, worst case, and a portfolio. That's it. Sounds simple? Yes. My point is, AT LEAST it's possible. Compared even to taxi drivers, knowing how to drive is not enough. You need a license from the cab company. You need to go thru tests, and you can be sacked if you don't perform your duty well. For a doctor, for eg, you need to study many years, and not just get any academic cert, but a recognized one, have sufficient clinical practice, a proper medical license, and if you are found to have malpracticed, you can be sued and out of job. Wedding photographer?? None of these.
You can maybe take 10 weddings, 6 screw-ups, 4 not too bad, you can use those 4 as your portfolios. No one knows how bad you could be. If you screw someone's pictures, how? Apologize, refund some money? Maybe, but that's not going to cure anything. What's the money worth anyway to the couple? Nothing much. The wedding's over. And you can still possibly go on. That's the worst case scenario of course. There's no governing body to review your work, to maintain your professional license, etc. In other words, you can be into photography with a mere 1 year experience and if you THINK you are ready, you can go full-time. No one can stop you, assuming you do get enough trust from your clients.
That's why I'm amused that some people can say experience is not important in wedding photography. When you see a doctor/lawyer or an expert in anything, don't you want someone with lot of experience? So why should photography be different?
I suspect, many of these pros themselves do not have that wealth of experience so they argue the un-importance of experience. So where do you get your skills from? Born talented? Unlikely. It's thanks to the digital medium likely. If we are all back to the film days (and photographers back then who earned only $1-2k a month were considered not bad already), maybe as much as 30% of more of today's wedding photographers would quit.
So that's why I'm curious about what it is that you guys are not happy about. There are photogrpahers who charge less than $1000 to the very high $6k or more. Isn't there a wide enough spectrum of photographers to capture different needs of couples?
There are three possible reasons I can think about for the unhappiness:
1. You have little academic qualifications and want to make a quick buck through weddings. But you are not getting enough good clients willing to help you survive in the trade.
2. You think you should get due recognition by TNP article, so now, you hope that soon, you can up your fees from $1k to $3k, or from $3k to the purported $8k like the guy featured in TNP.
3. For those who are already charging $5k or more, you want to go beyond $10k.
4. You are a whiner who complains Money No Enough anyway.
I think everyone earns his or her own keeps through an honest day's work. Be it a teacher, accountant, hawker, IT specialist. Wedding photographers are no diffrerent. If weddings are so difficult to do or survive on, as many here seemed to insinuate, why not change jobs or think of something else? Getting into in and complaining you are not paid enough is kinda lame. Really no offence. Cos I find that kind of thinking a bit disrespectful to others. Why?
Those other professions like teachers, cleaners, engineers... their jobs are no easier than yours. And they may not even enjoy their work and may earn even less than you. So I think it's really a case of Everyone Wants More Money For Himself. I totally agree with one of the contributors to the AsiaOne forum. (Go read it.)
If some of you are trying to compare yourselves to top wedding photographers overseas, no offence again, but it's a far-fetched idea IMHO. We're on a different class. To begin with, the wedding culture and perception of photography here are very different. Like the contributor from AsiaOne, I feel you can't pluck a situation out of context and want to apply it to yourself. Cars and housing are so cheap overseas, but surely we can't expect that here? Or to borrow an example, Hollywood actors/actresses earn millions of $ for their work. shouldn't our local actors/actresses earn that kind of money also?
I see a darker situation for wedding photography here. Digital technology is improving so quickly and there will be more and more people taking up weddings. That means competition. Coupled with our local mentality that we must get "cheap and good" stuffs, it's going to make the whole competition even stiffer.
Forget about changing or, to use a high sounding word -- "educating" the people here. It is almost impossible to be done. It's like we have the age old task of making our society more gracious. We have failed continually. (Just for your interest, the Courtesy Campaign started in 1980 and look how miserably we have fared after almost 30 years?) Accept it, it's our culture here. Just be thankful you even have the job as a wedding photographer at all. If not for it, what else can you or will you want to be?
So I feel TNP article actually may be more detrimental than something for you full-time photogrpahers to glee about. Why? Cos newbies will read, rightly or wrongly, Wow, $8k easy money. Even an ex-teacher can earn so much. I also want to go into the trade.
As for the perception of couples, it is unlikely to change. I don't see how by that one article, people will suddenly wise up and say, OK, let's pay wedding photographers more. Right now, I know many friends who are more than happy to hire photographers who charge $1k or less. Even when you try to convince them, this is the work of a $5k photographer, they won't buy the idea. $5k is like more than 1 month's worth of salary for many couples. But for those high up in the corporate ladder, $5k is nothing to them perhaps.
yes, read about a few articles shared by current and ex Walmart photographers. some junior photographers don't mind take up the job from walmart, to gain experience.
btw, some other major department stores also have studio operate same as Walmart business model,
the customers are don't mind queuing up for hours to have their child/ren photos taken, the session time very short.
think if local any department stores would want to do this, that will be Harvey Norman the first one I come in mind.
I know a number of people who spent 8k on their hifi speakers (not including cables, amp etc) and it ends up collecting dust and eating up precious space in their houses. Heck, my 8k setup is collecting dust - literally.
I know a number of people who spent sums exceeding 20k frequently on timepieces which they keep in the box and hardly take it out to view it - ever. And even forget about them.
I know a number of ladies who'd forget about their 5-figure worth of handbags in their storage rooms.
I can go on and on about the numerous examples of products and services which priced far above their perceived value. Any business person who tries to cap the product of their price and service according to their own experience will only be able to price their products or services as such.
I can't help but notice that many participants in this forum likes to argue against the 'worth'. Asking 'why is it worth so much?' or arguing 'why it should not be worth so much'... When the real question to ask, in this forum - the Photobiz forum, is 'how did you guys make it worth so much?'. These guys are still in the business. People are still paying what they're asking. So at the end of the day, they ARE worth this much, no matter how you argue why it should and shouldn't be.
Maybe all the attempts trying to place a fair value on wedding photography should be more suited in forums like singaporebrides, where such discussions come from the consumers' point of view.
Ultimately, to apply any pre-conceived notions of worth in business is vastly limiting. You're just one human being existing in one singular social-cultural context.
So to bring the discussion to context, why not ask if Kuang, Stephen and Kelvin are willing to share 'how' they managed to price as such?