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Thread: perspectives on the market...

  1. #61
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by limwhow View Post
    Yupe. They have already established a foundation for such a union overseas. I am not sure (maybe some of you can enlighten me) if back here in Singapore we have such a union or association. Because if we don't have such a strong body, and we want to establish one now to oversee the industry, it will certainly create an uproar as no precedence has ever been set.
    I'm not sure what union you refer to overseas. But an organisation like the National Union of Journalists (which includes photographers) does nothing to assure quality of its members, aside from them being able to prove that they are working (photo)journalists.

    The problem with photography is that you can't create an organisation to regulate the quality of work. For example I for one happen to think that almost all contemporary art photography is not my cup of tea. And while I can generally appreciate good photography in fields that I don't specialise in, appreciating contemporary photography is beyond me, in the same way that appreciating something like Piet Mondrian or Jackson Pollock is beyond me.

    So who decides? Ultimately the client is the boss, and it doesn't matter if my photography is rubbish; if a client likes my work, it's good work.

  2. #62
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by audiografx View Post
    My perspective is, the newbies with low prices simply is just putting market equilibrium in the economy. There is a counter balance to keeping high photography prices in check....

    So stop hunting those who offer lower prices by giving an excuse that were protecting the image of the industry. its just another way of self protectionism. THere will always be customers who want big packages and those who can only afford a lower price photographer.
    The market has always self-regulated to this extent. That is why there are wedding professionals that charge 550 and there are wedding professionals that charge 1500 and there are those that charge astronomical amounts. From my point of view there is no problem in that.

    But as I've explained in a previous post, there are price advantages a non full-time photographer has that we simply cannot compete with. There are people in CS offering full day photography for sums of money that I just cannot contemplate as a professional. At those rates as a professional I'm not sure I could cover the costs of turning up and providing a service, nevermind making a profit.

    And it might not necessarily be all rosy for the customer. Ignoring the very top end (both customers and photographers, the price elite so to speak), we may reach a day whereby professional photographers give up altogether as they cannot compete with the amateur. There are other posts on here from working professionals lamenting the rise in business expenditure. A lot of this the part timer doesn't have to factor in to his prices.

    So we then reach the stage where photography becomes provided by people for whom it is not their full time job. Who might not take it seriously. Who might not be insured. Who might or might not be able to deliver. And that's where the customers lose out, if this becomes the only choice out there. Invariably the quality will go down across the board, for example if the Premier League suddenly went part-timers only.

  3. #63
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    how many horrible hawkers that can't cook for nuts still manage to scrape by every month?
    I take your point totally but this example is invalid I'm afraid. It would relate more to a professional photographer who took rubbish pictures :P

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    the thing is, each and every one of these people who can and should be perceived as "avoid as all costs" still manage to get something out of it. that amazes me constantly, but that's how it is.
    Absolutely. And who you know, how many you know, when you know... are all every bit as important as your photographic ability, if not more so. And never underestimate the important of sheer dumb luck.

  4. #64

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    I take your point totally but this example is invalid I'm afraid. It would relate more to a professional photographer who took rubbish pictures :P
    that is true.

    maybe a weekend curry puff seller (illegal, i'm afraid) is a better comparison..

    i wholly agree with your statement here:

    the issue as far as I'm concerned is "amateurs" earning money through cheap (and poor) photography.
    anyways, there are also such that earn money through expensive and poor photography. i think the issue isn't really with amateurs vs professionals, cheap or expensive. the issue is good or poor photography.

    but then again, i have obviously, family members that are not into photography. what i find unacceptable.. for example, flare in wedding photography smack on the groom's face.. they don't seem to notice. so who are we to judge? after all.. to many, just having relatively noiseless images is what they are willing to pay for.

  5. #65
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    oh wow... this thread grew overnight haha

    cheers for all the replies Jed, definetely some valuable insight in there...

    I think one thing reoccuring here is that more often, and defo with the increase of technology and cheaper prices of cameras, people value a photograph less and less. Since, the common belief is all we have to do is push a button.
    Compared to, say, painting where you need to well... paint which for some reason the general public seems to believe requires so much more skill than photography...
    maybe the regulating bodies (PPAS or whatever) could help to educate clients on the real value and how much work actually goes into each photograph?

  6. #66

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Well, like all the other industries, with new technologies and globalization there will be increasing competition.. For example , due to the high global demand and industrial growth in China, Chinese brands are starting to compete with Japanese, European and American brands in electronics and vehicles, and we all know that there are some chinese brands which produce really low quality stuff but for really cheap prices (for example in the case of mobile phones) , but the Multinational companies still maintain their stronghold on the market by innovating further. Now professional photographers in Singapore are confronted by the same problem so the only way to really stand out from the competition is offering new/extra services along with heavy marketing,

    And regarding PJ, there are alot of photojournalists who are shooting for Nat Geo as freelancers and even if they aren't shooting for Nat Geo or TIME, they shoot for Reuters or such agencies. And of course there are the less known aspiring photojournalists who shoot for the local newspaper or editorial. I think the future of photojournalism is in video and multimedia, as the computer and internet have given so many possibilities for what you can do with your images. And why do you think Canon & Nikon are releasing HD video on dSLR's? part of the reason is to attract photojournalists. Now video will be an integral feature of dSLR's cameras.

  7. #67

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by krishna91 View Post
    And regarding PJ, there are alot of photojournalists who are shooting for Nat Geo as freelancers and even if they aren't shooting for Nat Geo or TIME, they shoot for Reuters or such agencies. And of course there are the less known aspiring photojournalists who shoot for the local newspaper or editorial. I think the future of photojournalism is in video and multimedia, as the computer and internet have given so many possibilities for what you can do with your images. And why do you think Canon & Nikon are releasing HD video on dSLR's? part of the reason is to attract photojournalists. Now video will be an integral feature of dSLR's cameras.
    this is a topic for a different thread but first thing's first, you have to see if people are actually interested in news anymore.
    How is HD video going to make the news of the stock market falling any more interesting?
    Also, there's a difference in the way people perceive a moving image and the time it takes to view a moving image vs a still image vs text.
    Each have a certain level of disruption (personally too many moving images irritate me.)

    How many of you get your news from text vs watching videos? Personally I can read much faster than I can watch a video and listen to someone narrate a text.

  8. #68

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post

    But as I've explained in a previous post, there are price advantages a non full-time photographer has that we simply cannot compete with. There are people in CS offering full day photography for sums of money that I just cannot contemplate as a professional. At those rates as a professional I'm not sure I could cover the costs of turning up and providing a service, nevermind making a profit.

    And it might not necessarily be all rosy for the customer. Ignoring the very top end (both customers and photographers, the price elite so to speak), we may reach a day whereby professional photographers give up altogether as they cannot compete with the amateur. There are other posts on here from working professionals lamenting the rise in business expenditure. A lot of this the part timer doesn't have to factor in to his prices.

    So we then reach the stage where photography becomes provided by people for whom it is not their full time job. Who might not take it seriously. Who might not be insured. Who might or might not be able to deliver. And that's where the customers lose out, if this becomes the only choice out there. Invariably the quality will go down across the board, for example if the Premier League suddenly went part-timers only.

    When someone offers a price for photography (let's say $500 for a day), and an unsuspecting client sees that $500 price, it may be for a totally different form of photography or the demands might be different, but for him he now has this idea that photography has that sort of pricing.

    and most people assume photography is generally similar in that it's a guy with a camera.

    The problem with photography is that it's actually a very varied field in terms of production and costs, but it's hard to convince a client of that (because it's a services industry, we don't have physical products to show them most of the time)

    It's easy to tell people that a proper bowl of shark's fin costs at least $60
    But how do you convince someone that your day rate of $3000 is justified in view of the fact they could get someone to do it for $500?

    People are not very visually trained in singapore so they are hard pressed to tell the difference between a $500 and a $3000 photo.
    Worse is that when quotations are sent for approval, the people who approve these quotations have little to no artistic education.
    look at the government, their attitude is based on cost rather than quality when it comes to quotations a lot of the time

    I am not going to blame part-timers for this, in my field part-timers can't compete.
    But I'm interested in seeing how we can actually convince clients of our value and not play the undercutting card against each other

  9. #69

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    I believe to command a higher price tag means clients have to perceive that you are better or worth that price, or if you truly offer more value than your peers.

    On the other hand, price competition is also very real. For domestic jobs, the local market is pretty crowded and facing fewer jobs, there is tremendous pressure to lower prices and also innoVATE in order to survive.
    For the regional jobs, you will find that Bangkok is a very stiff competitor that offers lower prices and very high production quality. So whether local or regional jobs, competition is always intense.

    if you want to command high prices, then you have to compete in the top tier of the market. If you want to have volume and command lower margins, there is always the lower tier market. There is no right or wrong tier to compete in. the competition will always be intense. The million dollar question is: It's how you lead the pack that makes a difference.

  10. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post
    this is a topic for a different thread but first thing's first, you have to see if people are actually interested in news anymore.
    How is HD video going to make the news of the stock market falling any more interesting?
    Also, there's a difference in the way people perceive a moving image and the time it takes to view a moving image vs a still image vs text.
    Each have a certain level of disruption (personally too many moving images irritate me.)

    How many of you get your news from text vs watching videos? Personally I can read much faster than I can watch a video and listen to someone narrate a text.

    You nailed it there when you mentioned 'personally' . I can't name many teenagers who would feel the same about reading news. Video caters to a wider audience, not everybody wants to read like you or me, people want to see what is happening, which is what makes video a great addition to dSLR's because it saves the photojournalists the time and hassle of lugging a big Sony or Canon professional video camera around. I know photojournalists who use cameras such as the 5D Mark II to shoot documentaries and they absolutely love it. Plus, data transfer of videos isn't much of a problem nowadays when you have satellite modems and those fancy 3g pen drives which you hook on to your computer. The BBC have videos all over the site now, and it is going to get ever larger with HD video on dSLR's.

  11. #71

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    In the higher ranking circle, some have form a cartel to bar new comers. I'd heard during a photo seminar, some top guy speaking over his cell phone in the washrm over to another guy, informing the other party of how much he had bid for the job and telling him to bid $50 lower.

    also aware that this is practiced in the construction industry, whereby builders team up to circle the project to avoid new comers.

    they call it a win-win situation.

    this time you win, next round my turn.

    let's celebrate at the club tonite.

  12. #72
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by rgy1993 View Post
    Words of wisdom right there mate...

    anyone here have experience in other overseas markets, ie; america, europe, australia?
    I'm told its more competitive, but pays better there as people aren't usually as thrifty (no offence) as they are here.
    ah singaporeans are cheapskates. i am a singaporean and i'm terribly ashamed.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by krishna91 View Post
    And regarding PJ, there are alot of photojournalists who are shooting for Nat Geo as freelancers and even if they aren't shooting for Nat Geo or TIME, they shoot for Reuters or such agencies.
    I don't know about "alot", honestly. Coming from American you must be acutely aware of the number of news papers in each town, state, nevermind the whole country. Each and every one of them has photographers who shoot relatively straightfoward bread and butter PJ work. There are a large number of PJs over here in the UK who do exactly the game. Nat Geo commission... 10 photographers a month maybe? Seriously, I stress again. It's fine to dream, just be aware that for the *vast* majority, it will stay a dream.

    Off the top of my head Reuters have three staffers covering sport in the UK, and a few stringers. Compare that to maybe 15-25 photographers that turn up at each game, multiplied by 10 games a week. That's just at the top level. You then have the Championship photographers, the League One and Two photographers.

    Quote Originally Posted by krishna91 View Post
    And why do you think Canon & Nikon are releasing HD video on dSLR's? part of the reason is to attract photojournalists. Now video will be an integral feature of dSLR's cameras.
    Maybe the situation is different in the US or Singapore, but frankly I can't see this. If anything it's solving a problem that doesn't exist. I don't know a single colleague who wishes they had HD video or any video on their cameras. Video is there because someone in R&D thought it was a good idea and the technology was there. The consumers figured it was a good idea. And since the technology is there we might as well put it in the pro cameras too.

    I'm not saying it won't one day become a crucial facility of the average PJ's camera. But it's not now and there's not a desperate clamour for it.

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post
    and most people assume photography is generally similar in that it's a guy with a camera.
    To be honest, that is a problem that I think is bigger in Singapore. I get asked that question occasionally over here and I tell them that as well.

    I like to phrase it such that people view photographers as "camera operators" in Singapore. Or put another way, machine operators. The creative input of the photographer is often ignored.

    The sad thing is I feel that there is a significant percentage of photographers who subconsciously feel the same way, because their focus is on the camera and technology rather than about how they can add to the picture taking process.

    I saw a post about someone asking about accessories for their 70-200/2.8 lens. In Newbies Corner. That would only happen in Singapore...

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post
    People are not very visually trained in singapore so they are hard pressed to tell the difference between a $500 and a $3000 photo.
    Worse is that when quotations are sent for approval, the people who approve these quotations have little to no artistic education.
    Agree entirely but the visual training part is not so much a specific Singapore problem, it happens the world over as well.

    I think one of the issues is just general perception and how people view photographers. I feel that in Singapore there just isn't the amount of respect for the profession that you would generally get elsewhere. And this leads to lower pricing.

    Slightly stretching the analogy and at the risk of pushing this OT, a similar-ish thing happens with modern art. There was a story I came across recently about a woman that had bought a Jackson Pollock style painting for US$5 at a junk shop. She then discovered that it might be a Jackson Pollock original, and they discovered his fingerprint on it, and suddenly it became possibly worth tens of thousands.

    I'm not asking everyone to be a famous photographer. But if people attached a certain amount of respect to the profession like certain people attach a large amount of respect to Jackson Pollock, then the profession would be able to command higher prices.

    Yes, I know a LOT of people can take pictures these days, with all singing and dancing cameras. But a LOT of people can splash paint on a canvas too

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post
    I am not going to blame part-timers for this, in my field part-timers can't compete.
    Not in all fields, I agree. Most of my comments are in relation to wedding work first and foremost and mostly in relation to Singapore where this high affluence and high technology has created a slightly unique situation.

  15. #75
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by krishna91 View Post
    You nailed it there when you mentioned 'personally' . I can't name many teenagers who would feel the same about reading news. Video caters to a wider audience, not everybody wants to read like you or me, people want to see what is happening, which is what makes video a great addition to dSLR's because it saves the photojournalists the time and hassle of lugging a big Sony or Canon professional video camera around. I know photojournalists who use cameras such as the 5D Mark II to shoot documentaries and they absolutely love it. Plus, data transfer of videos isn't much of a problem nowadays when you have satellite modems and those fancy 3g pen drives which you hook on to your computer. The BBC have videos all over the site now, and it is going to get ever larger with HD video on dSLR's.
    As I said, the situation might be different for you in the US. In the UK there is not a single photo based PJ who has thus far been asked or burdened with shooting video. This might now change.

    What has happened is there are lots of written journalists at the lower end of the scale who have had to multitask usually shooting video clips for the web, taking stills off that when necessary. I'm not sure the 5D II or D3s are going to impact them because now they carry a little DV camera that does a good job (and is still easier to shoot video from). It's smaller, lighter, and most importantly cheaper than a 5D II or D3s.

    But who knows, maybe things are going to change over here.

    Furthermore for a lot of us it is going to cause a lot of problems due to broadcasting rights. The English Premier League for example sells its broadcasting rights very lucratively all around the world. As stills photographers we are prohibited from shooting any kind of video, and for that matter there is even a clause prohibiting us from sending too many frames of an action sequence. Once Sky realise that some random bloke with a D3s or 5D II is going to be able to saunter in and shoot decent quality images things are going to get even more restrictive than they are now.
    Last edited by Jed; 15th October 2009 at 10:17 PM. Reason: Added broadcasting considerations.

  16. #76
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    wow.. never knew the situation here was so downhill... :O

    has anyone ever thought about proposing to PPAS that they begin a list of like union certified photographers and studios so that when a client goes to them they know they are paying for quality work, not just a random thats like "DUDE CHECK OUT MY NEW 1000D AND I GOT PHOTOSHOP CAN MAKE MONEY AR!" haha

  17. #77

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by rgy1993 View Post
    wow.. never knew the situation here was so downhill... :O

    has anyone ever thought about proposing to PPAS that they begin a list of like union certified photographers and studios so that when a client goes to them they know they are paying for quality work, not just a random thats like "DUDE CHECK OUT MY NEW 1000D AND I GOT PHOTOSHOP CAN MAKE MONEY AR!" haha
    whatever gave u the idea it was rosy here?

    if u are working for a local publication here, it will be even worse. low pay, long hours and u need to own your own gear most of the time. and u need to be able to write.

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by flipfreak View Post
    and u need to be able to write.
    Very true actually. Something I'd largely forgotten but when I was last in Singapore five years ago I asked the question of various people and the consensus was full time PJ don't be silly, you'll be fully exercising the J part of that equation. If anything the information I was given was that you have to be a writer who can take a few pictures, rather than a photographer who can write a bit.

  19. #79

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    Very true actually. Something I'd largely forgotten but when I was last in Singapore five years ago I asked the question of various people and the consensus was full time PJ don't be silly, you'll be fully exercising the J part of that equation. If anything the information I was given was that you have to be a writer who can take a few pictures, rather than a photographer who can write a bit.
    yes. if u want to just shoot, then no chance. if u write and u happen to be able to shoot and own a slr, congrats, u got the job. my pj colleagues were so demoralised when they started working here. both had won awards in their respective field of pj but end up shooting events and other mundane things for the magazines and they make lesser than a good experienced writer.

  20. #80

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by rgy1993 View Post
    wow.. never knew the situation here was so downhill... :O

    has anyone ever thought about proposing to PPAS that they begin a list of like union certified photographers and studios so that when a client goes to them they know they are paying for quality work, not just a random thats like "DUDE CHECK OUT MY NEW 1000D AND I GOT PHOTOSHOP CAN MAKE MONEY AR!" haha
    hi rgy, before you go any further talking about PPAS you need to do some research on them first.
    things are not as simple as it seems.

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