View Poll Results: Are we being taken advantage off?

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  • Yes we are killing ourselves.

    242 34.82%
  • No, this will benefit the newbies.

    142 20.43%
  • I dunno.

    42 6.04%
  • Its all part of the game.

    269 38.71%
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Thread: Has ClubSNAP become a sourcing spot for cheap photographers. Are we being taken adv?

  1. #41
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    $100 may be excessive to some but not to all. There're people who earn a lot more than $100 an hour. I've ever attended a seminar where the presenter said that he was offerred a job that paid US$3.5K an hour but he rejected it cos it's boring. Would this be too excessive? It's not to the company.

    There's no real need to justify. Prices are not determined on the basis of cost alone. It's also a balance between supply and demand.

    It's not necessary to hire a pro for wedding; it's not even necesssary to take pics during a wedding. It's a matter of want. Some people wanted greater assuarance in the final results and are willing to pay the extra to get it.
    Last edited by mpenza; 26th November 2003 at 10:47 AM.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pro Image
    If you are good, your clients will come back to you because of your quality.
    Certainly agree with you on that level. The only problem is, how do you get that first job if you are charging S$200 (a very modest amount), and other people are doing it for less/free. Because they'll never use you in the first place, they'll never get the chance to see your quality.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by pureflow
    I used to charge per hour, then i started charging per image basis. at $200-$300 per image.

    for myside, clients usually prefer per image basis, what about you pro-photogs. out there, how much do you charge?
    It depends on so many things that it's impossible to put a figure down. The type of work done, time it will take to get the shot, intended usage, size of usage, circulation, etc, all play a part.

  4. #44
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    You know, I've just found a brilliant illustration of the way photography is sadly perceived by some people. It's nothing personal, TME, but it's your post.


    Quote Originally Posted by TME
    and actually, unless I am pretty good, I won't offer my services... u can always be backup at wedding or at events, etc and get some practise first. But really nothing beats actual shooting at an actual event!
    I agree with you here. And I'm glad you think this way, but the question is, how many people are as responsible as you?

    and I think I'll raise the hackles of the pros here but the way I look at it, pro photographers seem to very highly paid, overpaid even.... $1200 for 8 hours work? Photography requires skill, yes, and great skill deserves to be paid well... but $1200 or more for 8 hours? Some of my friends get quoted for $2000 - 5000 for a single day wedding shoot (i.e. from morning make-up to evening's dinner)... sorry I dun see the need to pay so much for my photographs.... some one who can do a decent job (A friend perhaps) would be fine...

    Exactly what I've been saying in my original lengthy post. I'm not annoyed with you for saying that, because you're not writing my pay cheques. I'm just worried about your perception.

    But your attitude is typical of what I've been saying, people who do not appreciate photography as a profession. Good photographers are no different from good doctors and good lawyers. Or good accountants. Or good designers. As you say great skill deserves good pay, so why not S$1200 for 8 hours of work? During an attachment at a law firm, I was writing letters in 20 minutes that got the lawyer S$1000. And believe you me, that required far less skill than taking pictures at a wedding. At least, if you want to take them well.

    Where do you draw the line and say who's being overpaid? Photographers at S$1200 for 8 hours? Lawyers at S$1000 for 20 minutes? Footballers at 50000 for 7 days? Michael Jordan at US$30 million for 1 year?

    Is the best photographer in the world as good in his profession as Michael Jordan was in his? Yes. Does he get US$30 million in a year? No.

    What I am expressing is the popular sentiment towards pro photographers.... there really isn't a need to (IMO and the opinion of others) spend so much on an event (wedding especially)...

    And therein you're just proving my point.

    Dun flame me, just what I feel and what others feel..... so please dun feel too aggrieved.

    It's not you I'm aggrieved about, it's this prevailing perception. And it's something that's well known, which is why we're all worried about it.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by szekiat
    To add a little: Photographers can justify their high price tags because companies that pay such money often stand to gain a lot more from the image rights.
    Which is why as I said above (not to Szekiat), you cannot just blindly quote a figure per image. You need to know plenty of other details.

    As for weddings, it is after all your BIG day. The photographer needs money to fund his equipment too.

    And professional insurance. What's that? Good question.

    As for weddings, yup, it's your big day. And professionals are paid to not screw up, and if you want your wedding day screwed up, then take a risk, and risk losing the happiest day of your life. Sometimes you need to weigh things up, if saving a bit of money floats your boat then fair enough. But try explaining a mess to your wife. Or your parents. And when professionals screw up, which should in theory happen far less than amateurs screwing up, that's where aforementioned professional liability insurance comes in.

    For some of the pros, 3/4 of what they earn goes back to equiping and running costs. Studio rentals, d&p, lights...an initial setup can cost them up to tens of thousands already. Do they not have a right to demand something worthy of their investment.

    It's strange, but in terms of pure profession (ie discounting starting a company) photography is one of the most expensive out there. I looked at this some time back and a person wanting to enter my line of work needs about S$50 000 in equipment to do his job. More if you count the car.

    I haven't mentioned start up cost until Szekiat brought it up because I want people to concentrate on the skill aspect of it. You pay the photographer. Otherwise there are amateurs walking around with more expensive and sophisticated kit than some pros I know (see above RE D2hs) and that would make them deserving of better pay... not necessarily.

  6. #46

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    I really think that the dropping cost of cameras and the advanced technologies associated with the cameras nowadays are the main reasons why amateurs are entering the freelance market.

    Many "cheap" semi-pro cameras can make almost a perfect exposure using the automatic metering the camera has. Therefore, almost any Tom, Dick and Harry can just press the shutter to get brilliant pictures. Especially for event photography such as wedding, there is less chance for a really experienced photographer to show off his experience via let's say the use of studio lights, so anybody with a decent camera and minimal experience might actually do well at a wedding event shoot.

    The sad effect is that the Pros usually need these jobs to pay for their equipment but the amateurs can afford these equipment through their day job or otheriwse( family background ). So I hope that the amateurs will give this a thought and not do free jobs as much as possible (unless it's for charity or for a good reason ). I am sure there are pros out there who is use more modest equipment than some of the amateurs we have here.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by TME
    It is true that I do not understand fully the complexities of a pro's life but surely, even with all the work done, would not charging $100 or more an hour be considered excessive? Frankly, there are many people who work longer hours who do not even earn $100 an hour... these include white collar workers...
    Right. And wrong. Forget per hour comparisons. They're misleading. But take a look at the monthly income. How many photographers are making more money than the average professional? Lawyers, doctors, engineers, architects, accountants? If people start to take us as seriously as those people (and your wedding day is at least as important), then it doesn't seem as high a paying job as it was before. You have to realise that I can earn 83 an hour; usually the job per se only lasts about 10 minutes. But I don't get jobs every hour, don't get them every day, don't necessarily even get them every week.

    For corporate shoots, I can well understand the need to charge high prices for the companies require top notch work. So you do need to do a lot of work. We will leave this aside.

    Huh? Corporate work is lucrative because corporations have budgets. Weddings should pay well because it's a very very important occasion. That cannot be messed up. If you can see that corporate work demands high prices, I really struggle to see how you would not make the same connection with wedding work. It just makes your stand more difficult to comprehend.

    Would the couple have noticed that "that" shot isn't really that good? I mean the couple ended up with about a thousand wedding shots for that one day wedding(including repeats, etc)... actually they were pretty horrified at the excess.... I can understand photojournalists, corporate even photographers having to go to that extent but weddings??

    Two things. First, no they won't notice it's not there. But they will notice when it is there. Think about that. And if they don't notice, that's like saying, why do people bother with perfume? Why do people bother with branded products? Why do people buy luxury cars? If you notice those things, or their absence, whichever way, what's stopping people from not noticing non-excellent wedding photographs, and why shouldn't they be happy to pay for them if they're happy to spend money on other premium items?

    Secondly, you've also illustrated another problem with too many cheap amateurs floating the market. A professional shouldn't be giving the couple a thousand wedding shots. So the couple shouldn't be horrified. That's why the profession needs a boost, because its image is being muddied. A professional should behave professionally, and that includes presentation and editing your work before presentation to the client. I wouldn't dream of that as professional practice, yet you accept it as standard. Why?

    In any case, can the couple really can distinguish between the product (not studio work, mind you) from a pro shooting and a decent amateur and between developing the shots at a pro lab (either yourself or lab) and a decent commercial lab. Cos seriously I can't quite (at least the difference is minimal to me) and unless u have really fancy shots, I also dun see the need for pro labs... perhaps my standards are not high enough... but then again, I believe that I represent a large section of people who feel the same way and hence feel that photographers charge exorbitantly.

    Again, two points.

    I agree that a large section of people feel the same way. That's the whole gist of my argument. As long as people keep feeling that way, professionals are screwed. But everywhere you see people buying Prada and BMW, and other luxury items. They spend money for it. The public needs to realise that spending money on photography *will* result in better pictures.

    Secondly, you're completely missing the point about pro-labs. As a professional I don't charge more because I use a pro lab, which at most will add a few tens to the job. I charge more because of my expertise and experience. You don't hire a lawyer because he uses expensive stationery. You don't hire a surgeon because he operates with expensive scalpels. But you expect the lawyer to have expensive legal journals and the surgeon to have expensive operating equipment, just like you generally expect photographers to have expensive equipment, and that includes pro labs. But that's not why you pay them more, you pay them more because they know what they're doing. In the photographic context, you pay them more because their shots are composed better and they are more creative and appealing.

    And frankly, (again in my own understanding), u buy the equipment that you need, and surely there is no need to upgrade everytime something new (and/or better) emerges if what you have already helps u achieve what you want anyway? Isn't the constant upgrade and hence the need to defray the cost of upgrading unncessary?

    It depends. If a new surgical procedure with new equipment came up, would you not expect your surgeon to upgrade? Ironically, I see that upgrade problem more as an amateur problem than a pro problem; profesisonals are more jaded and pragmatic, and the bottom line matters.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaotic
    ...I really think that the dropping cost of cameras and the advanced technologies associated with the cameras nowadays are the main reasons why amateurs are entering the freelance market.

    Many "cheap" semi-pro cameras can make almost a perfect exposure using the automatic metering the camera has. Therefore, almost any Tom, Dick and Harry can just press the shutter to get brilliant pictures. ...
    One small comment here, sophiscated and multi-functional, multi-feature cameras doesn't necessary constitute good shots, less say "perfect exposure". I'm sure a lot of people can attest to this.

    There are 101 ways to screw up a perfect moment with the perfect camera.

  9. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by chaotic
    Many "cheap" semi-pro cameras can make almost a perfect exposure using the automatic metering the camera has. Therefore, almost any Tom, Dick and Harry can just press the shutter to get brilliant pictures.
    Hmm...but I've seen so many people ask why they get grey pictures when they shoot a white subject.

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by TME
    pro photographers seem to very highly paid, overpaid even.... $1200 for 8 hours work? Photography requires skill, yes, and great skill deserves to be paid well... but $1200 or more for 8 hours?
    good photographers get paid alot, as much as a good lawyer or doctor, but most are in the "average" grouping.

    there is a usual misconception about a photographer's working hours, you need to factor in post and pre shoot work.

    Sharing my experience with weddings here

    pre-wedding

    Meeting clients, you'll proabably need to meet up with a few couples, to get one sign up.

    and you'll probably need to meet the client at least 2 times, first time to view portfolio and second time to sign contract.

    post-wedding

    it takes about 6 hours to edit 300 photos for print, 4 if you can do it without break.

    you'll need to make a trip to the shop to sent the photos for print and another trip there to collect.

    another trip to meet up with the client to give them the photos.

    this is just the time taken to do 1 job, as as Jed mentioned, it is NOT about time (although it is part of the factor), the overall value is in the artistic quality the photographer is able to produce.

    a swatch tells time, a patek phillipe tells time too....... you get the drift

  11. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by TME
    I'm not sure if I sound reasonable but this is my current perception. I would seriously like to hear a detailed account from a pro or serious freelancer. It would be most appreciated in terms of widening my view of the world of professional photography.
    I can share the break down with you
    but not in public heheheh, over kopi sometimes maybe

    cheers

  12. #52
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    I think that's a sad mentality of people. Not everyone who lugs a SLR or dSLR is a pro and not everyone who lugs a 35mm Compact cam is a newbie. so what it boils down is FACE VALUE.

    Cheap and Good = motto of Singapore. Fish and prawns also want.

    As a photographer for wedding, a lot of hidden cost and time is spent on making that photo. It's not as simple as finger on shutterbutton and send for processing fullstop. Choosing and arranging the photos/ tweaking and enhancing the photos/ travelling to the print center...etc these are just a small part of a hella job we got to do.

    until one day you have to do a job PROFESSIONALLY, then you realise the tedious work flow behind it.

  13. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by chaotic
    Many "cheap" semi-pro cameras can make almost a perfect exposure using the automatic metering the camera has. Therefore, almost any Tom, Dick and Harry can just press the shutter to get brilliant pictures. Especially for event photography such as wedding, there is less chance for a really experienced photographer to show off his experience via let's say the use of studio lights, so anybody with a decent camera and minimal experience might actually do well at a wedding event shoot.
    again, photography isn't about technicality, it is about artistry, it is like saying you won't pay van gogh @100 million for his painting because he uses a humble brush, (which anyone can get for under 10$ at bras basah)

    it is that elusive "touch" the seperated the good from the also-ran. (with all wearing the same shoes)

  14. #54
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    Thanks Jed, for the explaination. Some people just don't know or don't understand because they have never been there before.

  15. #55
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    Talking Agree with JED..............

    You have my full support JED!!!!!!!!!!!!! What you said throughout is what's on my mind. We do not need to TME as I guess his perception of photography is still on the surface only as he is not a working photographer but I did mention to newbies and semi-pros that we are willing to help you all if you all are in a need for help.

    We do not monopolize the market as there are companies & wedding couples out there still look for amatuers but I have learn somehow when they look @ your folio they will know the quality of it. What you get is what you pay for.

    Quality of the photograph is done when you sacrifice the time and effort. Talking about the $200/hour. Well if you have the confidence, show what your clientele wants to see. Opportunity is given when you understand them well and plenty of PR work too. I have my fair share of difficulty when I first started this line 10 years back but when you knock on 100 doors every month, there are bound to have at least 1 company who is willing to try someone fresh.(Remember how KFC got his chicken famous? )

    Still JED, I will agree on most of the things that you have mention in this post. Hope your explaination will clear some clouded minds in CS members and non members as well.

    Oh guys let to let you know, I have a friend who works in US from assistant turn pro photographer. He has been in this line for about only 6 years. He daily charge on magazines fashion shoots or corporates shoots is around US$12,000 day. You did not hear me wrong. It's US$12,000 as day and he's assistant usually get 10% of what he makes.

    So over here the photographers are earning a honest living. To tell you the truth, Although the amount that I have charge @ $1,200.00 per day may seem a lot but there are months that I cannot even break even but that's the risk I am willing to take. So guys and gals out there, you may be taking home a monthly fixed pay cheque but we don't. Sometimes we even need to chase after payment as credit terms is 30 days to 90 days (sometimes up to 6 months). Well except for wedding and makeover shoots!

    So in the mean time what do we survive on? Grass?

    Anyway if someone wants to flame me go ahead! Make my day!

    JED! JED! JED! JED! JED! Long live the King!!!!!

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pro Image
    You have my full support JED!!!!!!!!!!!!! What you said throughout is what's on my mind. We do not need to TME as I guess his perception of photography is still on the surface only as he is not a working photographer but I did mention to newbies and semi-pros that we are willing to help you all if you all are in a need for help.

    We do not monopolize the market as there are companies & wedding couples out there still look for amatuers but I have learn somehow when they look @ your folio they will know the quality of it. What you get is what you pay for.

    Quality of the photograph is done when you sacrifice the time and effort. Talking about the $200/hour. Well if you have the confidence, show what your clientele wants to see. Opportunity is given when you understand them well and plenty of PR work too. I have my fair share of difficulty when I first started this line 10 years back but when you knock on 100 doors every month, there are bound to have at least 1 company who is willing to try someone fresh.(Remember how KFC got his chicken famous? )

    Still JED, I will agree on most of the things that you have mention in this post. Hope your explaination will clear some clouded minds in CS members and non members as well.

    Oh guys let to let you know, I have a friend who works in US from assistant turn pro photographer. He has been in this line for about only 6 years. He daily charge on magazines fashion shoots or corporates shoots is around US$12,000 day. You did not hear me wrong. It's US$12,000 as day and he's assistant usually get 10% of what he makes.

    So over here the photographers are earning a honest living. To tell you the truth, Although the amount that I have charge @ $1,200.00 per day may seem a lot but there are months that I cannot even break even but that's the risk I am willing to take. So guys and gals out there, you may be taking home a monthly fixed pay cheque but we don't. Sometimes we even need to chase after payment as credit terms is 30 days to 90 days (sometimes up to 6 months). Well except for wedding and makeover shoots!

    So in the mean time what do we survive on? Grass?

    Anyway if someone wants to flame me go ahead! Make my day!

    JED! JED! JED! JED! JED! Long live the King!!!!!
    YOu have spoken
    struggling fulltime freelancer like me echo your sentiments...

  17. #57
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    Default Just to add on..........

    If you all think we really earn a lot which is $1,200 per day or $100/hour, do you think there will be a lot of people out there will take this as occupation? I think so and there will be plenty of millionaires!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It's not about just taking the photos but the process that you go through with your customers, be it wedding couples or corporate companies. If the client is willing to give you a chance, most probably your communication with them is good. Portfolios are essentials but it's always a little more that you need to do to clinch a deal. Your profesionalism will let the clientele know whether you have the confidence in doing a good or a lousy job.

  18. #58
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    I didn't want to jump in too early when this thread was going hot but here is my 2 cents worth.

    You get what you pay for. Who is to judge what is too expensive or too cheap? Only the buyer can make that decision. Is a heart or brain surgeon too expensive cf GP? An open heart surgury that takes say 6-8 hours can easily cost >$25,000. A GP charges you at most S$100 per hour.

    FYI, white collar works can commend much higher rates. A professional consultant can commend US$300 per hour! Yes per hour! That is not even the highest charge rate (I've seen US$500). They go on project that goes for a few years as well. So what? The company takes 9/10 of the amount to provide support, rental of office space, health insurance, training, and all the other things to run the company, HR, finance people, cleaning lady or coffee, tea, even news paper. I don't want to put "etc" because for most who have never worked for a few years or own or manage a company, you don't know where the money goes to.

    For amateurs, I feel that they can do for free if they want, but should be aware that 1) they distort the market 2) understand that pros have other mouths to feed besides themselves and 3) pros have to pay for equipment, etc while they do not (usually from some other source of income). At least, they should try to understand that the rates are not unreasonable and that every free job they provide, it means that they are denying someone else revenue.
    Last edited by Watcher; 26th November 2003 at 01:28 PM.

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Watcher
    FYI, white collar works can commend much higher rates. A professional consultant can commend US$300 per hour! Yes per hour! That is not even the highest charge rate (I've seen US$500). They go on project that goes for a few years as well. So what? The company takes 9/10 of the amount to provide support, rental of office space, health insurance, training, and all the other things to run the company, HR, finance people, cleaning lady or coffee, tea, even news paper. I don't want to put "etc" because for most who have never worked for a few years or own or manage a company, you don't know where the money goes to.

    For amateurs, I feel that they can do for free if they want, but should be aware that 1) they distort the market 2) understand that pros have other mouths to feed besides themselves and 3) pros have to pay for equipment, etc while they do not (usually from some other source of income). At least, they should try to understand that the rates are not unreasonable and that every free job they provide, it means that they are denying someone else revenue.
    Yahooo! Another supporter !!!!!!!

  20. #60

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    Wah, hot topic.

    Anyway, photography is an art, so like most arts, you cannot really put a price down to say that a 10yrs experience photog will command $xxxx pay and a newbie $xxxx pay.

    In the first place, there is no clear definiton of a newbie, how much photo shoots does one have to do to "get promoted out of newbie".

    Some photographers pick up photography only 1-2 years ago, and is creative, shoot well, client happy, pay more. Some photographers learn 4-5 years, still lousy, and cannot find clients.

    So the issue of does a pro photographer deserves to be paid so high, really up to the client who is obviously going to assess his work and decide. not for us to judge why so much (cost of this and that...etc).

    Sure there is a "GOING RATE" for wedding photographers, for studio photographers...etc
    But does it mean new comers to the field have to follow this charging scheme.

    If the newcomer thinks he is good for $200/hr and so does his client, then he is worth $200/hr

    There are many customers out there who don't need quality work and cannot afford the price of good photographers.
    There will be photographers out there to cater to this "type" of customers who are asking for less.

    Paying more for a pro does not guranatee against screw up and missed moments. Of course, Usually a pro is more experienced and is less likely to make mistakes.
    Hence some couples may feel that instead of spending $1200 for ONE full day pro photographer.
    Why not, spend $400 for TWO novice photographers, with 6mths to 1 year experience, to cover more angles and use the $800 left over for a holiday for 2 to Thailand.

    Where there is demand, there is supply. Even if there is some way to "force" everyone not to shoot for free and charge.

    So long as there are customers who are willing to use cheap photographers or free photographers (friends, colleagues..etc) then there will be people popping up to take the "low pay job" that the pros do not want to do.

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