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. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry
    so, my frens here, you may discuss this until the sun goes down and the cows jump over the moon but nothing's gonna stop DSLR-wielding newbies from wrecking/maiming the industry. IMHO i think it's all a matter of time - it's a slow painful process but people have to get "bitten once" to realize that photogy isn't as simple as pressing the shutter release. once you've hired a el cheapo photogr and get screwed for shoddy work, you'll appreciate the value of professionalism. using my earlier example of my sister's wedding and the lost roll of film, do you think that anyone in our immediate families will risk just getting any joker to take important photos?

    my 2 f-stops end here.

    BTW, how does having amateurs or newbies wreck the market? If they are as bad as u say, then they wouldn't find a second assignment... and if u are good, then why worry about them spoiling your market? Afterall, as many have mentioned here, quality will tell and people can appreciate it.... I dun understand the ranting against newbies or amateurs or part timers who offer their less than perfect skills for free or a nominal fee...

  2. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by TME
    Why should he spend his hard-earned money on flash? Afterall it's all going down the drain.. who cares how grand your wedding was if your marriage fails... it's the relationshp that is more important... and newly weds have a lot more important priorities than having the grandest wedding their wallets can afford... I applaud your friend's sensibilities.
    How ironic. You're just placed your wallet over your relationship.

    I'm not saying it needs to be flash. But sting on your wedding so you can afford to buy Prada and Gucci and a nice flashy car?

  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by TME
    Most are not like that.... a swallow does not make a summer...
    No, I agree. But at least he's shown us a swallow. I'm waiting for your swallow, let alone the rest of summer. Instead of telling us that his swallow doesn't a summer make, let's see your summer then.

  4. #124
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    Some or a handful is more than enough...With cameras getting cheaper everyday...everyone can be a wedding photog! but the customer I've met was damm piss. He himself do wedding formerly. Better still, the bride regretted the decision! so you see, good things don't come cheap. When I 1st started out years back, I charge S$30 per roll, S$300 for services, you think thats good money?! batteries, taxi fares, makan, albums, all these are costs!! You think I shoot wedding everydays??

    even photogs as mention eariler charge S$400 for the CD-ROMs only, you think PROs charge people expensive?!

  5. #125
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    Jed:
    I am not anti-amateur, and I am not pro-professional.

    I'm simply arguing that people who have no capability to do the job, whether amateur or professional, should be responsible enough to not do the job, rather than do the job for free, or for less money.
    This would be ideal but we do not dwell in utopia

    That's all. I want fair competition. I'm happy enough for an amateur to come into the market, be able to do the job, charge whatever he likes, and do the job well. That's fine. If he's capable and knowledgeable, he won't sell himself short either and the pricing will take care of itself.

    I stress again, the problem is people who undercut professionals (even amateurs) because they can; because they have a day job that pays their bills so photography is a bonus; because their parents have bought them their camera and their parents are putting them up and feeding them.
    So is it wrong to undercut? And if he's really lousy, so what? It's a free market... In any case, he's an amateur or a part-timer out to earn some pocket money, and if the couple are willing to take the risk, why not? Why force your ideas of what should be and should not be on the couple or the part-timer?

    so the couple who spend millons on wedding who go get themselves the best, and the garden party wedding couple can ask a newbie to do it for $50 (or what ever)

    No problem with that. But does the newbie know what he's doing? Is he responsible and a good photographer? If the answer was yes, would he be charging $50? Because clearly that's all he thinks his time is worth, OR that's all he thinks he can get away with charging because there'll be someone else out there, with far less skill, who'll do it for the same amount otherwise. Your example newbie is getting shafted himself by this poor perception of the profession.

    Again, u are in no position to question if the newbie is responsible or not. Neither should anyone question his perogative to charge $50 for his skills. Many people waive their fees for many reasons, including altruistic ones. It's their right. If a top surgeon decides to waive his fees bec he's so rich he can afford to do so, then? Strike him off the register?

    I have seen some couples who look at the shots the newbie photograhers take and say "very good, it's good enough for me" and they may not even be able to identify which photograph was taken by a pro and which was not, so does it warrant him to pay for a pro when he cannot see the difference?

    No it doesn't. As I've pointed out above. Like branded goods, many people can't tell the difference if not for the label. But in as much as anything else, as we've pointed out above, that's if you get a decent, competent amateur. Not necessarily good, just competent. But what if you get a bumbling fool? I know of an instance where someone took on a couple of assignments and he didn't understand the least bit about flash. And because he's in this country rather than aforementioned Singapore, he's using a Pentax MZ-M and a manual flash gun. Oh dear.

    Next point is, that's as much down to the pro's fault, in your little scenario. It's up to the pro to distinguish himself. Do you get people thinking, oh I'll hire this guy off the street to do my operation because I won't be able to distinguish his result from the surgeon next door? No. Back to my whole point about perception, people need to appreciate the photographic skill. I don't mean, *think* a pro photographer is better than a newbie, I mean, be able to see it.

    And it's up to us as photographers, ALL of us, to educate the public into a better appreciation of the photographic art. As well as arts in general. Like it or not, Singaporean society does not accord it its due status, whether performing art or fine art.

    Evian mineral water and the bottled mineral water from indonesia (VIT) taste the same to me, and I also opt for cheaper ones (sometimes, even Free from the taps, since singapore tap water is safe to drink by WHO standards), does it means the cheaper mineral water or the free tap water are depriving Evian of their market share?

    Yes!

    I get what you're trying to say, and I agree with you. Some people will still buy Evian. But look at it my/our way of thinking. If there was no tap water and no VIT, would Evian's market share not be a LOT higher because the options are cut down. Everyone who drank tap water and VIT would have to switch to Evian. Market share goes up.
    There is no market share in this case, it would be a monopoly!

    I'm not trying to champion a monopoly. That's not good for the market either. But I'm warning against untreated water that is not safe for consumption flooding the market because they promise to *pay* you 2 cents per litre. It just undercut tap water, VIT and Evian all in one. Same with photography, let legitimate professionals and amateurs earn their money, do their jobs. Don't let riff raff who don't know the slightest bit about photography aside from the fact that their camera has 11 megapixels undercut the market.

    U cannot mix the issues that involve life and death and issues which do not! Drinking untreated water can kill, but getting a lousy bumbling amateur won't! Of course u have to legislate for the water case but not for the amateur case. In any case, even for other services, like medical or legal services, there are doctors and there are doctors. U pay what u can afford, and what u deem necessary. Is if wrong especially if a top surgeon charges lower than another top surgeon? Undercutting?

  6. #126
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    Well, all I've to say is "To Each His Own". You think it's not important to capture your moment, then It's your choice. But to me, it's important, when I grow old, me and my wife can get the album out once in a while to have a look, recap what happens when I going to get her, how is our march in. our childrens can see what happen during our wedding day and see my face when I'm young, . all this is our memories, we don't stay young forever.

  7. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by TME
    I think u are confusing the issue here...... u cannot compare the doctor or lawyer to a photographer....
    Okay, we seem to be going around in circles, I'm saying you can, you're saying you can't. I'm half lawyer and half photographer, and I reckon you can.

    And if u dun get a lawyer to draft your legal documents, title deeds, will, u might lose everything or more than u would lose in business or in a legal case, etc.

    Not all lawyer facilitations are life and death, or necessary. Getting convicted criminals off lightly. Bringing litigation against someone for monetary gain. Anyone with a bit of general education and 20 minutes of reading can figure out how to write a will properly.

    These areas require very specialized skills.

    Yes but so does photography.

    I faced this exact same dilemma when I was trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life. I knew that being a photographer I would forever have an uphill battle to convince people of my respectability. Being a lawyer was the easy option. I don't expect to be able to change views overnight, but I strongly believe in my own position and I am happy within myself that as a photographer, I am as much of a professional as I would have been as a lawyer.

    BUT if u dun get a professional photographer, all u end up with are poorly take photographs and maybe a bad taste in the mouth.... nothing life-threatening.

    See above regarding not all lawyer-involved actions being life threatening. Not all doctor actions are either. If so, then those S$16 per hour consultations wouldn't be happenening would they?

    Are you married? I'm not either, but I know I'd regret it for a long, long time if I'd penny pinched my way to bad wedding photographs. And I wouldn't envy the spouse whose decision it was.

    I'm not here to judge your or anyone else's value decisions. I'm saying, if you want good photographs, then pay for them. If you want and are prepared to accept poor photographs, then fine. It's not my decision whether you want to blow your excess cash on posh wedding photographs, a posh car, a posh camera, a pet, whatever. That's your call.

    Standard photographs I'm fine with, and have no problem delivering that. What I want are people who cannot deliver even standard photographs, entering the business and ruining its perception among the public.

    Far as I'm concerned I'm going to agree to disagree with you because I don't seem to be getting anywhere. Admittedly, nor do you (seem to be getting anywhere) with me.

  8. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jed
    How ironic. You're just placed your wallet over your relationship.

    I'm not saying it needs to be flash. But sting on your wedding so you can afford to buy Prada and Gucci and a nice flashy car?

    Does it necessarily follow that saving on wedding celebrations mean that the couple must spend that cash on Prada or Gucci or a car?

    There may be more pressing practical needs, like planning for a baby, paying installments for a HDB flat, giving allowances to parents who need it, paying for siblings who are still schooling, buying a small car because of the family, etc..... Not everyone is rich and has money to splash. In any case, it is always wise to be prudent with one's money....

    I know of someone who splash >$20K on their wedding, they borrowed leeft right and centre.... and before they even got married, they were already in debt to the tune of around $50K or more...... not to mention not having budgetted for a flat, for a family, for parents' allowances, etc..... so enjoy now suffer later? Or spend prudently, enjoy moderately and enjoy that little joy for a lifetime? Take your pick!

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    TME, relax. You're getting quite worked up now so I'm going to concede the point to you, because I don't want to ruin what has been a very civil discussion.

    As to everyone else, keep going, let's overtake that U/W photography thread from a month ago. Kekeke.

  10. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jed
    No, I agree. But at least he's shown us a swallow. I'm waiting for your swallow, let alone the rest of summer. Instead of telling us that his swallow doesn't a summer make, let's see your summer then.
    There will always be black sheep in whatever profession, errant lawyers, irresponsible doctors, dishnost salesmen, etc.... does it then mean that all salesmen are dishonest? There are amateurs who are also responsible and I'm sure that there are some here in CS.... so u can generalize with a blanket statement and say that cheap means bad or non-pro means lousy or anything along those lines...

  11. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by TME

    I know of someone who splash >$20K on their wedding, they borrowed leeft right and centre.... and before they even got married, they were already in debt to the tune of around $50K or more...... not to mention not having budgetted for a flat, for a family, for parents' allowances, etc..... so enjoy now suffer later? Or spend prudently, enjoy moderately and enjoy that little joy for a lifetime? Take your pick!
    I call that, "Don't wear a big hat if you don't have a big head!" all this plan by the couple themselfs, no body force them to get the "best hotel ballroom", the biggest "Benz",designer gown. This happens when they wanna act big headed and never plan.

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    I'm curious as to how much they spend on the photog.S$1200 on the photog vesus the S$50k on god knows what. don't forget, you get the albums for keeping and most importantly, your memories.

  13. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jed
    TME, relax. You're getting quite worked up now so I'm going to concede the point to you, because I don't want to ruin what has been a very civil discussion.

    As to everyone else, keep going, let's overtake that U/W photography thread from a month ago. Kekeke.
    No no... I'm not getting worked up... I think it's been a great discussion... frankly I've enjoyed the intellectual stimulation... that's what forums are meant for anyway.... civil discussion

    I think we can agree to disagree. And I think we understand one another's position.

    In any case, just to clarify, how does someone who poses as a good photographer ruin the market? I'll like to understand how u arrive at this. It may well be that the photography trade has its own pecularities which I am not aware of.

    The way I see it: In any trade, u have your fair share of posers, but really I dun see any trades getting ruined. Like many people say salesmen of 2nd hand cars are all sharks (to a certain extent, this is true, but not all), but I dun see the 2nd hand car trade being ruined....

    As with seeing the doctor's for a cold, your child can either see a paedetrician (and get your wallet burnt) or see a GP (and pay less) or go to the govt polyclinics (and pay a subsidised rate). No one accuses the government of spoiling the market for GPs or specialists either. The doctor at the polyclinc may not be as illustrious as the paedetrician but if the parent thinks, that's sufficient and it's cheap, then that's it. Same for legal services and just about any services or products that u want, different standards to cater to different market segments.... Spoil market? I dun think so lor.....

    Your turn...

  14. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry
    heh. weirdly enough i agree with this. to echo something that our resident mod Ian would say, "Low rent photographers are great for my business, as it removes the rubbish clients from my door."
    Well I've kept well out of this thread and gee thanks Larry for dredging up a quote from the long distant passt

    Rather than rehash the earlier arguements that have been well addressed by the likes of Jed, Pro Image, Larry etc I'm going to address a few specific points about why those of us who are professional photographers charge the fees we charge.

    Artistic conerns aside professional photography is first and foremost a business venture and should be treated as such. It doesn't matter how damn good your work is; if your business practices suck you'll never make it as a professional photographer, unless you want to be one of those malnourished artsy fartsy types who come and go in the industry all the time.

    There are four distinct components that make up the basis for an hourly charge or set charge in photography, these are:

    1) Standing and Statutory charges.

    These little babies eat up to around 50% of the hourly rate charged by most professional photographers, items include such things as the cost of renting your premisis (office/studio etc), electrictiy, phone, vehicle registration and insurance, cost of vehicle purchase or lease and any other government charges related to running a business such as licensing fees, police clearance certification and so on. Also included is professional indemnity insurance, equipment insurance (which combined often total around 6% of the total value of your equipment each year)

    2) Employee related charges:

    In most countries where most workers are PAYE taxpayers (Pay As You Earn) your employer pays your taxes for you and also deals with any other compulsory state levies such as superannuation, medical insurance, paid sick leave, work cover insurance and so on. Of course these charges vary from country to country however the bottom line is that it is extra outgoings that a professional photographer has to pay out of his hourly fee or shooting fees.

    This area is heightened if you have any employees apart from yourself.

    3) Consumable charges:

    These are the very similar for both an amateur and professional and include things like film, digital storage media, prints and processing charges.

    4) Equipment replacement:
    Most professional photographers own between 30 and 50 thousand bucks worth of gear, that is two complete systems, for example a 135 and Medium format system or 135 and Large format etc. Without getting in to the relative merits arguement it's sufficed to say that no one format is capable of doing all work for all clients.

    This equipment has to be replaced at some point, that means the professional has to include a charge for the eventual replacement of equipment in his charges. The exact cost of replacing gear is not an easy thing to guess at, as it's nearly impossible to forecast several years ahead where things such as inflation, value of the local monetary unit against the country of manufacture of the gear etc. The best most of us can do is to say value of gear / expected life +10% per annum to allow for high and low interest rate periods.

    Now down to the Amateur vs Professional bit (finally)

    Amateurs have lower overheads, they aren't having to shell out for numbers 1 and 2 above for a start. Nor do amateurs have to pay for assistants in most cases, nor professional models, site access fees, extra staff and so on. Also they don't have to add in extra to cover the cost of new equipment as their regular day job pays for their gear, which after all is what a hobby is about and an amateur regardless of their skill level is still ultimately a hobbiest as they are not making their living from photography...

    Finally being a viable professional photographer is more than just being someone making great photographs, you also have to be a good manager, librarian, marketing person, who can deliver the goods on time on budget with the minimum of fuss and wasted time and energy. Add to that you have to have a good understanding of commercial law, copyright law and a dozen other things ... as well as having the artistic and technical skills in photography itself.
    Last edited by Ian; 27th November 2003 at 01:21 AM.
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  15. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by vader
    I call that, "Don't wear a big hat if you don't have a big head!" all this plan by the couple themselfs, no body force them to get the "best hotel ballroom", the biggest "Benz",designer gown. This happens when they wanna act big headed and never plan.

    Oh they did plan... they planned to have a grand wedding.....once in a life time mah..... but then they got themselves into debt cos they wanted the best...... like some here advocate that getting a pro guarantees (almost) best quality photos.... I didn't ask how much they spent on the photographer but I heard it was some professional who was rather well-known on the wedding circuit. Their photo album was fancy enough plus lots of creative images captured. But at what price? At the cost of their medium term financial stability!

    What I'm trying to say is that we must all cut our clothes according to the cloth that we have (to paraphrase a common saying/proverb). So people will continue to engage part timers/ fre lancers and pros who "undercut" the market rate since they get what they want at a budget they can afford.
    Last edited by TME; 27th November 2003 at 01:22 AM.

  16. #136
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    Ian: Thanks! Your posts are as always very informative and clear.

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    [QUOTE=TME]like some here advocate that getting a pro guarantees (almost) best quality photos....[QUOTE]

    Do they get a 50k wedding photog? part of the 50k will be spent on other stuffs. S$850-S$1000 for all the memories is nothing much compare to other stuffs they spend on.say they engage one photog for 1k, 50k-1k=49k. It's 49k on other stuffs. but then like I've say it before, "To Each His Own".

  18. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by TME
    Oh they did plan... they planned to have a grand wedding.....once in a life time mah..... but then they got themselves into debt cos they wanted the best...... like some here advocate that getting a pro guarantees (almost) best quality photos.... I didn't ask how much they spent on the photographer but I heard it was some professional who was rather well-known on the wedding circuit. Their photo album was fancy enough plus lots of creative images captured. But at what price? At the cost of their medium term financial stability!

    What I'm trying to say is that we must all cut our clothes according to the cloth that we have (to paraphrase a common saying/proverb). So people will continue to engage part timers/ fre lancers and pros who "undercut" the market rate since they get what they want at a budget they can afford.
    I don't disagree with you. I'm certainly not advocating stupid, irrational actions.

    And to borrow a not so ancient quote, "a swallow does not a summer make".

    And I'm not sure you were meant to agree with Ian's post either...

  19. #139
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    Somehow, we seem to be getting further and further from the original topic. :P
    Just a reminder guys, this is just a forum to express our views, it doesn't change anything. While we are in the midst of our little discussion here, our assignments are being taken over out there.....

  20. #140

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    A lot of us here feel that weddings are once a lifetime events which deserve good photography to preserve the memories forever. Well, I think most of us here would believe in that, believe in preserving precious memories of life through photography, which is why we all have chosen to take up photography, be it as a hobbyist or as a professional or a free-lancer.

    But a lot of other people outside do not necessarily subscribe such importance or priority to preserving memories in terms of photography. I have seen many friends who chose not to engage photographer for their wedding, and just have friends or relatives snap a few pictures with a compact camera, and they are just as happy. In fact, I saw so many such instances among my friends that it gave me heartache on their behalf (all those precious moments recorded on a compact camera with ultra-slow apertures and probably with ISO200 film), and I started checking with my friends who are going to get married, whether they are engaging any photographer. If yes, well and good, I sit back and enjoy the weddding dinner or event. If not, I just put my hobby and skills accumulated over the years to good use for the sake of my friends, as a wedding gift. I do not intend to do this for the sake of money as it remains foremost a hobby to me.

    There are always people willing and able to pay a premium for the very best (which is where the pros and good free-lancers can earn), and similarly there are always people who will try to scrimp and save where possible in every area. Bear in mind most young couples getting married would be just that: young people in their twenties who had just started working and saving monies for a few years. In the latter case, the onus is up to professional photographers or the very good free-lancers to convince this market of their 'need' for their superior quality services, or at the very least, to inform and educate the market about their superior professional services which they have painstakingly invested efforts and monies into accumulating both equipment and skills.

    Well, competition is stiff and the barriers to entry for photography as a profession is getting increasingly lower, as noted. That's a fact that exists in a lot of professions and industries too. If we were to ask our government and Ministers, I am sure they will answer, continue learning and upgrading our skills to maintain our competitive edge and relevance over upcoming cut-throat competitors and try to compete on other aspects other than price! Haha.

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