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Thread: perspectives on the market...

  1. #101
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Ken,

    Thanks for that considered and researched post! I certainly found it helpful to know how many weddings there were in Singapore in 2008.

    Although your figures for potential wedding photographers are not definitive I also found it a good help not being based in Singapore.

    However, you suggested you can shoot for the papers on an assignment basis if you are freelance. Is this really possible in Singapore? I was led to believe that all the photography work is kept in house for cost reasons. If you know otherwise that would be great to find out more about.

  2. #102

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    However, you suggested you can shoot for the papers on an assignment basis if you are freelance. Is this really possible in Singapore? I was led to believe that all the photography work is kept in house for cost reasons. If you know otherwise that would be great to find out more about.
    Erm, I don't know how much I can divulge on the web because these are possibly considered as information for the industry insiders. There are not that many companies I can talk about when I use the word 'press' you see? Plus photogs working with them may not be too pleased to see a influx of competitors.

    All I can say is, I know it's possible because one of my associate photographers does that.

  3. #103

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    photojournalism does not have much of a scope in singapore... at least in terms of spot/breaking news and features due to the limited freedom of press . Singapore ranks one of the lowest on the press freedom index.

    If you want to make some money.. USA, UK etc. where press has a lot of power and influence will be the best places to have a serious career in

  4. #104
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    I already work as a PJ in the UK, but I am... considering returning. I don't think I would even remotely consider it as a full time source of income in Singapore, but the idea that it might contribute something towards the income is not something I can realised before.

  5. #105

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    how's the industry in the UK? any good?

  6. #106

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    Ken,

    Thanks for that considered and researched post! I certainly found it helpful to know how many weddings there were in Singapore in 2008.

    Although your figures for potential wedding photographers are not definitive I also found it a good help not being based in Singapore.

    However, you suggested you can shoot for the papers on an assignment basis if you are freelance. Is this really possible in Singapore? I was led to believe that all the photography work is kept in house for cost reasons. If you know otherwise that would be great to find out more about.
    Hello Jed,

    I know stringers and full timers in ST. Stringers get <$100/day. And there are people willing to do it for that rate. Agencies like AFP, etc have their own photogs, some of them local. Full timers are usually employed by the agencies & companies. I don't know anyone who has been living off press/magazine work fulltime without being employed or paid a monthly salary by the companies.

    Btw, magazine work is approx $100-$200/page.

    In spite of the rates, these 2 industries have photographers knocking on their doors for work.

    Z
    Last edited by Zohan; 24th October 2009 at 09:06 AM.

  7. #107
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Thanks for the info Zohan,

    I guess as there are wedding photographers out there who are happy to shoot for not a lot, the same applies as I have already suggested earlier in this thread - for a lot of people for whom photography is not their only source of income, then some income is better than no income.

    In all honesty that probably holds true for professional photographers as well, just we couldn't maybe live on $100 per day for all our work.

    In comparison for example in the UK a shift for a newspaper will get you anywhere from $170 to $500 or so depending on the paper, with the bottom end being regional rates and the top end being the more generous nationals.

    While the cost of living here is a little higher, the cost of camera equipment is almost on a par these days which means that for example equipment cost for the photographer is about the same, and certainly not the difference in rates as explored here.

  8. #108

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    Thanks for the info Zohan,

    I guess as there are wedding photographers out there who are happy to shoot for not a lot, the same applies as I have already suggested earlier in this thread - for a lot of people for whom photography is not their only source of income, then some income is better than no income.

    In all honesty that probably holds true for professional photographers as well, just we couldn't maybe live on $100 per day for all our work.

    In comparison for example in the UK a shift for a newspaper will get you anywhere from $170 to $500 or so depending on the paper, with the bottom end being regional rates and the top end being the more generous nationals.

    While the cost of living here is a little higher, the cost of camera equipment is almost on a par these days which means that for example equipment cost for the photographer is about the same, and certainly not the difference in rates as explored here.
    Hello Jed,

    No worries. You might be surprised to find that living costs and rental is kinda high here in SG too. The cost of groceries has been going up quite a bit since 2005. A taxi ride (in the last year) will probably cost $10-20. It's not a AP increase, it's a GP increase.

    Thanks for sharing the info. I'll be honest with you, when I wrote <$100, I meant way below, something like <$50.

    In SG, with rates like this and cost of living rising exponentially, it's going to be pretty hard.

    Z

  9. #109

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Hi

    I'm a newbie in the industry. I have a main job, but am shooting on weekends

    Like some forumers mention, my start-up is low. I only operate with a website and collaborate with a few other pg/vg who brings in the sales. At the same time I also take some sales from bridal studios.

    What matters to me now is the dev of quality. As I endeavour to up my standards, so am i watching my passion for the craft. I can safely say that I do not depend on photography for a living. Rather the various assignments I take help offset the costs of my hobby and give me extra spending money now and then. I'm a passion-driven person. I am sustaining my passion with actual assignments. I take responsibility for my quality.

    Photography has given me greater confidence as a person (i'm just a 28year old). More importantly I also see it as an insurance against retrenchment should the day come. It also tests my character and patience when I need to direct an entire day's wedding for my clients. So I do not see myself as out to ruin the market. I'm just serving a different market segment.

    While i'm at the bottom rung of the market, I see myself one day up there.

  10. #110

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Currently, you'd got the best of both world, a steady income plus a paying hobby.

    Imagine, just living on your paying hobby. Can you sustain ?

    And also, enter the field early will give you an added edge...of youth ( though 28 is no more young ) but if wait till 40, then it's worse.

  11. #111

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    I am not a professional photographer.

    I am a newly wed who had the opportunity to meet many many wedding photographers.

    I can therefore highlight my observations.

    My main message: Wedding photographers with significant volume of business, all have something that differentiates themselves from their competitors.

    They do this by highlighting their selling points:

    1. Some their selling point is low price;
    2. Some their selling point is nice album / coffee table book (wah some really damn nice paper lamination);
    3. Some their selling point is theme. This means their backdrop got certain style (ie. some feature peranakan furniture, some feature antique background, some classical roman, some postmodern minimalism etc). Some even travel overseas, eg Bali (ie. they know where to go to take pics...wah got blue colour leaves wan, sibeh swee lah)
    4. Some their selling point is posture (ie. vogue look that only photographer with fashion photography experience can do...wah he teach my fiancee to pose and pout damn sensual way, make her look like pro model)
    5. Some their selling point is a lot a lot of photoshop touch up on many many photos, not just the album selected one.
    6. Some their selling point is they show you their previous engagement work for some celebrity or big name.

    Depending on their selling point, they make it clear they are different from others. You therefore can make an informed decision.

    One mistake I often see: Many wedding photographers believe they got unique style in their pics, but actually it is either quite common, nothing special, or has been widely copied. I have not seen many photographers that possesses a unique style (of the 23 that I visited, I think only got 4)

    In every industry it is the same, you need to highlight what makes you different from others. I also noticed that many photographers who do not have big selling points, join the bridal boutiques and offer their services as part of a "package".

    One more thing. Photography as a business is difficult to scale. It is not like Breadtalk - can easily franchise and outsource to subcontractors to do all the work for you. Many things you have to do yourself to achieve the desired effect. That is probably what makes it difficult.
    Last edited by artspraken; 6th November 2009 at 02:06 PM.

  12. #112

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    there are also many publishing and media companies that operate heavily on outsourcing business models. these companies usually do not have inhouse photographer and will engage freelancers. also, many of these publishing and media companies do not care about style or quality, they just need runners to do the leg work to get to ground zero and get the snapshot.

    i feel this is an area of work that is seldom mentioned but is quite considerable. the only issue may be that many aspiring freelancers may not have the contacts to such companies.

  13. #113

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    also hah, I want to say a closely analogous vocation to photography is hairstylist.

    hairstylist is also difficult to scale, depends on style and is personality driven. similarly, once u get a big name client, the floodgates will open and you will make it big (okay lah, maybe not big enough to buy ferrari like banker, but at least ur name becum more famous and got more referrals easily)

    likewise, alot of the marketing for both hairstylist and photography is viral (ie. word of mouth and internet)

    that is why u will find that in the industry, hairstylist, makeup artist and photographer often refer client to each other.

    many successful photographer do alot of viral marketing in facebook, forums, twitter, blog, website etc etc
    Last edited by artspraken; 6th November 2009 at 02:08 PM.

  14. #114

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    My last observation is that many photographers make the mistake of renting studio in the business district, or centralised area. The rent to landlord is very...how to say chor....rough.

    The photographers I visited base their studio in ulu ulu places or even their houses....to minimise rent and overheads. They never rely on "walk-in" business. almost all is viral marketing wan. It is also usual for the photographer to engage a helper to do the marketing (ie. squat in singaporebrides.com), so he can concentrate on his work. I have met many of these dynamic duo teams. I did not see many photographers who solo both marketing and photography.
    Last edited by artspraken; 6th November 2009 at 02:13 PM.

  15. #115

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Fully agreed with all the points highlighted in the four post above.

    To be successful in the biz photog, one has to be a technical person, a biz sense person and also an artist, all roll into one, but there are conflicts in each other.

    Remember during one PPAS seminar, overheard one MDP laughingly speak to a fellow member, Hi. Henry, don't work like a cow, let the cow works for you. ( some hidden message behind this statement ).

    Cow eat grass and produce milk, farmer sell milk to diary product company.

  16. #116

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by artspraken View Post
    almost all is viral marketing wan.
    Hello Artspraken,

    I think you mean word of mouth. Viral marketing is something else, I haven't seen any wedding/commercial photographer use viral marketing technique in Singapore.

    Not a personal attack, just to clarify your statement.

    Z

  17. #117

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    thanks. i stand corrected.

  18. #118

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    speaking of marketing, we do not have a Singaporean equivalent of Ken Rockwell, Thom Hogan, or Bjorn Rorslett right?

    I doubt anybody will deny their websites are widely read, widely sponsored and widely advertised. I mean, if bloggers like Xiaxue can rely on website as ricebowl, then surely photographer in Singapore can supplement their income from assignments with their websites. All that needs to be done is to go to a camera shop and borrow newly released equipement for review. Provided you agree to duly attribute and credit the camera shop, I doubt they will refuse to lend you the equipment. (of course must show them u are good writer lah).

    By creating a profile and online presence like Rockwell, Hogan or Rorslett, that is another surefire way of plugging your services as a professional photographer. In the same way, doctors and lawyers who have no business make it a point to teach in university or publish books or join conferences or conventions in their spare time to build their profile.

  19. #119

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zohan View Post
    Hello Artspraken,

    I think you mean word of mouth. Viral marketing is something else, I haven't seen any wedding/commercial photographer use viral marketing technique in Singapore.

    Not a personal attack, just to clarify your statement.

    Z
    wedding no. commercial, i have seen mattlock trying with viral marketing.

  20. #120
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    A down under perspective.

    Firstly Zohan has effectively echoed what I've been saying for years (Jed will probably remember me lecturing him about the importance of the business side when he was here in Perth years ago) and that is that professional photography is first and foremost a business and should be treated as such.

    There's way too many "starving artist" types in professional photography and I for one like big fattening meals, not mouse fodder. The average starving artist type lasts about 4 years before bankruptcy gets them or they wake up to the fact that all the artsy fartsy BS doesn't put food on the table, what puts the food on the talbe is hard contracts with not escape clauses for the client, massive penalties if the client pays late (I charge a 10% accounting fee per month for late payment, that sure gets the cheques flowing) and a no BS or hyperbole method of dealing with clients, no wishy washy promises and realistic timelines for major jobs.

    In terms of payment, well the days are now over where it was possible to pick up a 140K for 3 months or so assignment in some $hit-hole covering the locals butchering each other, now it's more likely to be 10-20K maximum. Why? Because globally the traditional print media are in deep financial messes, with falling readership, and a subsequent reduction of advertising revenues and competition from the InterNet. This has all been reflected in the rates paid to members of the press corps and other areas of professional photography in many countries.

    On the commercial side of the game the rates are still quite good here, sure there's some price undercutting from amateurs and the new professionals but since most of these folks are charging peanuts they don't impact much on my earning capacity as if you pay peanuts in photography you get a monkey taking your shots. Quite a a few clients wake up to this after one or two amateurs have butchered the job. We are blessed with several quality professional associations as well as the Media Allience that sets most of the minimum "going rates" or day rates for photography at a professional level and most professionals stick to the pricing, thus ensuring most of us get a good return for our work and skills.

    I really do feel sorry for the average professional in Singpaore, it's just too bad you guys can't get your act together as an industry and start charging rates that reflect the actual commercial realites of professional photography in the new millenium.

    As I've been saying on CS almost since it's inception, professional photography calls many people, but accepts few. - Think about this before you attempt to make a living out of photography!
    Last edited by Ian; 12th November 2009 at 05:48 PM.
    The Ang Moh from Hell
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