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Thread: perspectives on the market...

  1. #141
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zohan View Post
    Hello Ian,

    This is true. Pro photographers in a well known association are lowballing each other too.

    How goes the situation in Oz? Are the commercial photographers getting together to do something about it?

    Z
    Most serious pros here are members of the media allience and we have union rates which aren't undercut by other members. The lowballers here end up not getting repeat work as their work is so shoddy in many cases. Client education does work but only if you take the time to show the client *why* you get what you pay for.
    Last edited by Ian; 16th November 2009 at 02:36 PM.
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  2. #142
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Most serious pros here are members of the media allience and we have union rates which aren't undercut by other members. The lowballers here end up not getting repeat work as their work is so shoddy in many cases. Client education does work but only if you take the time to show the client *why* you get what you pay for.
    woo
    at least the situation isnt too bad back home,
    where in australia are you mate?

  3. #143

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Most serious pros here are members of the media allience and we have union rates which aren't undercut by other members. The lowballers here end up not getting repeat work as their work is so shoddy in many cases. Client education does work but only if you take the time to show the client *why* you get what you pay for.
    Hello Ian

    That's good to hear. I broached this subject of rate standardization but got jumped on for 'government coming down on price fixing'. The situation here had swung to the other extreme where the term 'free market' is used to end all conversations on issue of rates. I strongly believe that the only long term viable solution is some form of rate control among professional ranks.

    However, I don't have the influence to effect change in the community. As long as the big dogs are happy to keep to themselves, the community will suffer.

    Z
    Last edited by Zohan; 16th November 2009 at 06:11 PM.

  4. #144
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by rgy1993 View Post
    woo
    at least the situation isnt too bad back home,
    where in australia are you mate?
    Read my !@#!@ info under my name on any post I make. It says exactly where I am haha.
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  5. #145
    Deregistered rgy1993's Avatar
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Read my !@#!@ info under my name on any post I make. It says exactly where I am haha.
    oh wow, i have never noticed that thats where location is displayed

    I'm from melbourne myself haha

    back to topics!

  6. #146
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zohan View Post
    Hello Ian

    That's good to hear. I broached this subject of rate standardization but got jumped on for 'government coming down on price fixing'. The situation here had swung to the other extreme where the term 'free market' is used to end all conversations on issue of rates. I strongly believe that the only long term viable solution is some form of rate control among professional ranks.

    However, I don't have the influence to effect change in the community. As long as the big dogs are happy to keep to themselves, the community will suffer.

    Z
    So true Zohan,

    After all "free market capitalism" has proved to be a dismal failure, no better and no worse than communism in the long haul, as witnessed by the US banking sector meltdown and the Global Financial Crisis that's ensued. What politicians world wide lack at present is political backbone, to make really hard unpopular decisions that may cost them office but which will sort out the mess.

    Maybe your Singaporean Photographic Associations should get together and create an umbrella organisation and start an advertising campaign aimed at educating the public why they should ONLY hire a photographer who belongs to the organisation and associations.

    Offer the photographers some incentives to join, such as group insurance rates, professional indeminity insurance and loss of income packages (for when injured or ill), professional development courses at low cost such as how to be better at running a business, basic accounting skills, clerical skills and so on. Also look at making it a condition of membership that the minimum rates as set out by the Association must be adhered to at all times with failure to do so resulting in expulsion from the organisation. Use "mystery shoppers" to check members are adhering to the pricing structure.

    It's a long hard battle but it can be fought and won.
    The Ang Moh from Hell
    Professional Photography - many are called, few are chosen!

  7. #147

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    So true Zohan,

    After all "free market capitalism" has proved to be a dismal failure, no better and no worse than communism in the long haul, as witnessed by the US banking sector meltdown and the Global Financial Crisis that's ensued. What politicians world wide lack at present is political backbone, to make really hard unpopular decisions that may cost them office but which will sort out the mess.

    Maybe your Singaporean Photographic Associations should get together and create an umbrella organisation and start an advertising campaign aimed at educating the public why they should ONLY hire a photographer who belongs to the organisation and associations.

    Offer the photographers some incentives to join, such as group insurance rates, professional indeminity insurance and loss of income packages (for when injured or ill), professional development courses at low cost such as how to be better at running a business, basic accounting skills, clerical skills and so on. Also look at making it a condition of membership that the minimum rates as set out by the Association must be adhered to at all times with failure to do so resulting in expulsion from the organisation. Use "mystery shoppers" to check members are adhering to the pricing structure.

    It's a long hard battle but it can be fought and won.
    Thank you for your insight and detailed information. It would be great motivation for pro photographers to join.

    Quote Originally Posted by flipfreak View Post
    wedding no. commercial, i have seen mattlock trying with viral marketing.
    Hello Flipfreak,

    I stand corrected. You're right, thanks.

    Z

  8. #148
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zohan View Post
    Thank you for your insight and detailed information. It would be great motivation for pro photographers to join.

    Z
    You're welcome Zohan. It's a case of small steps and build as you go but it's very do-able if there's enough determination, you really need to enlist some of the top end of town and well known photographers. I'd suggest seeing all of the existing organisations and trying to get a think tank going, after all unless you take action there will be a lot of starving professionals in Singapore.
    The Ang Moh from Hell
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  9. #149
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    So true Zohan,

    After all "free market capitalism" has proved to be a dismal failure, no better and no worse than communism in the long haul, as witnessed by the US banking sector meltdown and the Global Financial Crisis that's ensued. What politicians world wide lack at present is political backbone, to make really hard unpopular decisions that may cost them office but which will sort out the mess.

    Maybe your Singaporean Photographic Associations should get together and create an umbrella organisation and start an advertising campaign aimed at educating the public why they should ONLY hire a photographer who belongs to the organisation and associations.

    Offer the photographers some incentives to join, such as group insurance rates, professional indeminity insurance and loss of income packages (for when injured or ill), professional development courses at low cost such as how to be better at running a business, basic accounting skills, clerical skills and so on. Also look at making it a condition of membership that the minimum rates as set out by the Association must be adhered to at all times with failure to do so resulting in expulsion from the organisation. Use "mystery shoppers" to check members are adhering to the pricing structure.

    It's a long hard battle but it can be fought and won.
    Though I have no professional experience, just some thoughts. Those are great ideas and the creation of an 'umbrella' organisation will hugely increase photographer's price-setting power with clients - if they can't get quality work done at lower prices, no choice.

    Just to draw a parallel, the government in S'pore has been working with NTUC & companies to determine wages in the National Wage Council. So, yes this does help standardize rates.

    However, a key difference is that photographers are not just labour but actually 'sell' a final service. The govt & CASE (consumer welfare) will definitely want to assess this situation.

    Not only that, worker unions in the US enjoy high wages (like steel) as the labour is relatively homogeneous, but photographers' skill & style varies a lot. If prices are set, the variation in skill/ preferences of the client will render some photographers unemployed. (I assume this is based on freelance/ project-based work) This may benefit only the best photographers - and the rest have no incentive to keep to the set prices if they are out of jobs. So what if they're expelled? Better to have jobs at a cheaper rate than none at all.

    Perhaps a 'softer' approach like a website/portal with profiles/contacts of reputable photographers would be better - like a yellow pages for photographers. And this can be done by peer review - making it self-sustaining. This can also achieve standardized rates without any formal agreement - photographers will look at others' rates and set theirs close to or at these rates.

  10. #150

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Most serious pros here are members of the media allience and we have union rates which aren't undercut by other members. The lowballers here end up not getting repeat work as their work is so shoddy in many cases. Client education does work but only if you take the time to show the client *why* you get what you pay for.
    Setting prices in this fashion isn't a breach of australian competition law?

  11. #151
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by dnaxe View Post
    Setting prices in this fashion isn't a breach of australian competition law?
    Absolutely not. Under Australian Law individual jobs have a minimum salary or wage attached to them, including things such as doctors consultancy rates, lawyers in house fees for telephone calls, advice per hour and so on. It's known as a minimum award rate and it covers most jobs in the work place except managerial positions. Safety standards, and also perhipheral standards are also set.

    Breach these as a business and be prepared to pay some big fines and back pay to your staff.

    The anti competition laws prevent companies from price fixing (cartelling) for retail and wholesale producs, for example two cardboard box manufacturers here were done a couple of years ago for price fixing, one of the CEO's is now in Prison over the price fixing. They strangled the market with inflated prices.

    Cheap ass freelances undercut the Media Allience prices but few major players such as advertising agencies, the press and big corporations will dare pi$$ off the Alilience as it covers a wide range of graphics and news media professionals ranging from journalists, photographers, copywriters, compositors, graphics specialits etc etc.
    Last edited by Ian; 24th November 2009 at 10:26 PM.
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  12. #152
    Deregistered rgy1993's Avatar
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by visage356 View Post
    Though I have no professional experience, just some thoughts. Those are great ideas and the creation of an 'umbrella' organisation will hugely increase photographer's price-setting power with clients - if they can't get quality work done at lower prices, no choice.

    Just to draw a parallel, the government in S'pore has been working with NTUC & companies to determine wages in the National Wage Council. So, yes this does help standardize rates.

    However, a key difference is that photographers are not just labour but actually 'sell' a final service. The govt & CASE (consumer welfare) will definitely want to assess this situation.

    Not only that, worker unions in the US enjoy high wages (like steel) as the labour is relatively homogeneous, but photographers' skill & style varies a lot. If prices are set, the variation in skill/ preferences of the client will render some photographers unemployed. (I assume this is based on freelance/ project-based work) This may benefit only the best photographers - and the rest have no incentive to keep to the set prices if they are out of jobs. So what if they're expelled? Better to have jobs at a cheaper rate than none at all.

    Perhaps a 'softer' approach like a website/portal with profiles/contacts of reputable photographers would be better - like a yellow pages for photographers. And this can be done by peer review - making it self-sustaining. This can also achieve standardized rates without any formal agreement - photographers will look at others' rates and set theirs close to or at these rates.
    in that case its then the question crops up.. better to have a few talented people around sucking in all the jobs, or way to many charging way to cheap for what might not be the best stuff around...

    i think what drives this though is the culture of whatever place you might be in, like back in Australia the culture is that you pay good money to get good work done, whether it be photographing, business, sheep shearing, whatever the deal... your pay is based on what you deliver so there is still quite a market for higher end photogs. (please correct me if i'm wrong Ian)

    as for here, and i mean no offence in this in any way, the culture is more towards "thats the cheapest guy, i'll hire him... it can't be that hard right he's just pushing a couple buttons? might as well save save save money" its just the way things work... and like i said i think this 'cheapest wins' attitude is what is causing unhappiness to photographers that might be looking to charge a little more but in the end deliver higher quality work.

    to be perfectly honest i see this a little from work experience, every now and then i do a few family portraits for people that might know me in my school... part of the expat population of singapore. I charge what i believe i'm worth, and they are willing to pay up because they believe my work is worth it.
    yet at the same time, i offered same rates to a friend-of-a-friend who were locals for some portraits and they basically said 'thats too expensive, cannot lah'.
    again, i mean no offence at all but thats just my observation...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Absolutely not. Under Australian Law individual jobs have a minimum salary or wage attached to them, including things such as doctors consultancy rates, lawyers in house fees for telephone calls, advice per hour and so on. It's known as a minimum award rate and it covers most jobs in the work place except managerial positions. Safety standards, and also perhipheral standards are also set.

    Breach these as a business and be prepared to pay some big fines and back pay to your staff.

    The anti competition laws prevent companies from price fixing (cartelling) for retail and wholesale producs, for example two cardboard box manufacturers here were done a couple of years ago for price fixing, one of the CEO's is now in Prison over the price fixing. They strangled the market with inflated prices.

    Cheap ass freelances undercut the Media Allience prices but few major players such as advertising agencies, the press and big corporations will dare pi$$ off the Alilience as it covers a wide range of graphics and news media professionals ranging from journalists, photographers, copywriters, compositors, graphics specialits etc etc.
    i think, for the sake of photographers here, a union style thing like that needs to be set up.
    my home boi kevin rudd should come around and teach businesses here the union approach! haha
    Last edited by rgy1993; 24th November 2009 at 10:30 PM.

  13. #153
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by rgy1993 View Post
    i think, for the sake of photographers here, a union style thing like that needs to be set up.
    my home boi kevin rudd should come around and teach businesses here the union approach! haha
    I think it's very hard to achieve in S'pore. Setting up such an organisation is easy enough - but I doubt they will have much power because it'd be going against the govt's policies - wage flexibility & no collusion or monopoly on pricing (except govt's own of course). As I said, not just wages but it's price setting for a service - technically equivalent to what Ian mentioned about the cardboard manufacturers in Australia. Would be a great achievement if one succeeds in formally setting market rates

    rgy1993: Valid points about the different cultures - Singaporeans are used to cheap things eg. $10 cab fares vs $40 elsewhere, etc. Also, large income gaps - we don't have a welfare system quite like Australia's - thus the price each individual is willing to pay for the same service varies a lot, as you said.

    In the end, though, the price of the service is a compromise between the client/consumer's valuation and the photographer's valuation. So price-standardisation is largely unnecessary - if you want a higher price - dun accept anything less (and the trade-off is volume). If you want both at the same time - then either create a demand by advertising or educate your clients. Price-standardisation will ensure both if you're good - difficult to achieve in S'pore & harmful because the photog may charge ever-increasing prices though the costs & service is the same. (no offence to those in the business)

  14. #154

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    very interesting thoughts in here... its been an education

  15. #155

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    at the end of the day, I don't think price-fixing will work in Singapore.

    Singaporeans are very good at comparing prices and going for the cheapest deal. For most people, photography is a commodity and it boils down to who can offer the lowest price and how much the couple can squeeze out of the photographer. In the weddings that I've been asked to take (for friends for free), the brides never even asked to take a look at my portfolio. Yes, there are brides who like a certain style or theme, but most of them don't even know what they want. If they don't even know what they want, how can they place a value on what the photographer is offering? No wonder the race to the bottom that is taking place.

    Price-fixing is unlikely to succeed because there are always newcomers trying to break into the market who are willing to do it for almost free in order to get referrals and to build up a brand.

    Client education has never worked since honestly Singaporeans by and large don't appreciate the artsy fartsy stuff.

    Someone mentioned something about cheap cab fares. Look at what happened when all the cab companies tried to raise the cab fares: the total daily ridership fell over the last year. Consumers vote with their wallets and if they cannot discern quality by default they will go for whoever offers the lowest price.

  16. #156

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by datan View Post
    Someone mentioned something about cheap cab fares. Look at what happened when all the cab companies tried to raise the cab fares: the total daily ridership fell over the last year. Consumers vote with their wallets and if they cannot discern quality by default they will go for whoever offers the lowest price.
    actually taxi fares went up 30% to 50%.consumers voted with their wallets for a month...then went back to taking taxis.
    hahaha.
    bad analogy

  17. #157

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by datan View Post
    at the end of the day, I don't think price-fixing will work in Singapore.

    Singaporeans are very good at comparing prices and going for the cheapest deal. For most people, photography is a commodity and it boils down to who can offer the lowest price and how much the couple can squeeze out of the photographer. In the weddings that I've been asked to take (for friends for free), the brides never even asked to take a look at my portfolio. Yes, there are brides who like a certain style or theme, but most of them don't even know what they want. If they don't even know what they want, how can they place a value on what the photographer is offering? No wonder the race to the bottom that is taking place.

    Price-fixing is unlikely to succeed because there are always newcomers trying to break into the market who are willing to do it for almost free in order to get referrals and to build up a brand.

    Client education has never worked since honestly Singaporeans by and large don't appreciate the artsy fartsy stuff.

    Someone mentioned something about cheap cab fares. Look at what happened when all the cab companies tried to raise the cab fares: the total daily ridership fell over the last year. Consumers vote with their wallets and if they cannot discern quality by default they will go for whoever offers the lowest price.
    btw. I disagree with you. I'm not sure which market you are looking at but client education does work. Look at wedding photography. the standards have gone up as have the client expectations. alot of my friends demand a certain level of quality and avoid the cheesy studio style photos of the past. This is due partly to their exposure to photography in the rest of the world plus their own interest in photography.

    I don't think it's about "price-fixing". It's about helping educate our own community and others about how much it costs to be a photographer.
    Go search the threads and see how many threads actually STATE concrete figures.
    everyone's trying to protect their secrets, not share some prices, for some strange reason.
    Wesley has put up guidelines on pricing before. We need more things like these to at least see how our peers are pricing themselves.

    I've had friends in other industries, freelancers who didn't realise they were undercharging.
    Very talented people but no one was telling them that "hey the industry charges around this amount". It spoils the market.

    if your friends ask you to take photos and they don't care about your portfolio, you either have friends who don't give a fk and they just see you as a free alternative.

    Be aware that there ARE alot of clients who ARE actually quite savvy, marketers who are fully aware of what's going on in the world, in other markets, and actually do sometimes take an effort to try and reach that standard (which means they need good photography)

    but here lies another question, why is it they can be willing to fly in an american photographer but so many times try to squeeze local photographers so much?

  18. #158

    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post

    but here lies another question, why is it they can be willing to fly in an american photographer but so many times try to squeeze local photographers so much?

    cos ang mo is better than a stinkaporean!


    i can't believe it when i heard it as well. i am sure local photographers are just as good if not better.

  19. #159
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    Quote Originally Posted by flipfreak View Post

    cos ang mo is better than a stinkaporean!


    i can't believe it when i heard it as well. i am sure local photographers are just as good if not better.
    Yep, it's the old old "second class Asian" arguement and as an Ang Moh I can say it's bollocks (crap).. Too many people fall for the "American photographers are the best" BS globally. Fact is they aren't. They are just better at self promotion than the Europeans and Asians, often with the ego to go with it though...
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  20. #160
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    Default Re: perspectives on the market...

    perspective on the market...

    hmm,

    there was a beggar who asked for video services for free,

    another one asked for photography services and commented that SG$250 is very expensive for covering the event, but he added that he paid over $5k for his wedding package.


    in short...

    we should close down this forum for services required, if you asked me, cause only clients and beggars of extreme low quality come up here for services...

    it's demeaning.

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