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Thread: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

  1. #61
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    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    I'm sure some of you have met clients like these...


  2. #62
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    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Wedding photography market will always be segmented into different groups, to cater to the different needs. At the moment, the top range is probably between 5-8K for wedding photography. That figure is probably unheard of 10 years back and if economy continues to progress, then I believe wedding photography rates will grow with it. We just had a slower start as compared to our western counterpart.

    Everyone has their own opinion on how much to pay for their wedding photographer, but there is 1 simple reason to justify for the "over the top" rates, and that is memories. You can't put a number on memories. If the consumer is someone who treasures a well composed, well caught, well edited moment, then it is worth more than gold. No matter whether the groom is sweating his heart out in hot humid singapore, being sabo-ed by the bridesmaid, or whether the uncles and aunties dress like they are going to a party at their local Kopitiam, when attending the dinner reception, there's still great moments of love, joy, appreciation and sometimes even a tinge of sadness/regret to be captured. And it's these moments that will endear forever in their hearts. Some might think that because we are living so near to each other that the images aren't as important. But what about 30 years on, when some of the guests are no longer around.

    So I do believe good photography is worth every penny to whoever appreciates it. At the same time, I also believe that those who charges a premium should sweat blood to get those amazing images for their couples. It's only fair Cheers!

  3. #63
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    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Quote Originally Posted by ckuang View Post
    When you consider that Singapore has the highest concentration of millionaires at around 12%
    Just wondering if you have a link to some figures? 12% seems implausibly high if I'm honest... that means 1 person in every 8 is a millionaire.

    Given probably more than 20% of the population are aged under 20 and therefore majorly unlikely to have made a million, that makes the percentage even higher among people of working age.

    Put another way; 1 in 8 members on Clubsnap would be a millionaire, all other things being equal. There are more than 8 posters in this thread, so according to a 12% rate you'd expect one to be a millionaire... ignoring things like the possibility that millionaires wouldn't spend their time on an Internet forum.

  4. #64
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    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Quote Originally Posted by Agetan View Post
    I don't think Photography biz market is saturated... If it is too saturated, I don't think anyone will be interested to start earning money from freelancing perspective... and obviously, they see some opportunity.
    Not necessarily true. Many freelancers have little to no outlay and therefore quite literally have nothing to lose. They might have an exceedingly slim chance of getting any work, but if it doesn't cost much/anything to "enter" then they'd be quite happy to give it a go.[/QUOTE]

  5. #65
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    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Quote Originally Posted by gymak90 View Post
    So to the client, more photographers = more competition = cheaper pricing. So why should they pay that much for your supposedly "good service?"
    Quality? Nowhere in that quote have you mentioned anything about quality, but that can be a very important factor in a lot of industries, not just photography. But in a way your statements echo a lot of the client market in Singapore (and elsewhere)... cheaper = better, why do I need to bother to pay more. As opposed to, better quality = better.

    I understand sometimes price is very important, but the fact that you totally ignore the quality aspect is just typical of the way a lot of clients are now viewing this.

  6. #66
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    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Quote Originally Posted by pointblankshots View Post
    Only the barely standing photography business are complaining about being saturated... There's no competition... There's only competition when one's photography is screwed up, that forces the client to look somewhere else...
    That unfortunately is a pretty idealistic viewpoint. Your photography can be up to scratch, even good, but someone else of a similar standard pops along and undercuts. That person will then get undercut in turn, and so on and so forth. That's price competition, and the main differential there is price not necessarily because someone's "photography is screwed up".

    Quote Originally Posted by pointblankshots View Post
    Photography itself is service oriented, i hate to hate this, but it's almost like a waiter having to wait on the customer. The food on the table very much depends on how it's presented to them to even start with...
    Yes, but to take your point above, cheaper is also always better given equality in other areas. Good service helps, as does a good product, but they aren't the only factors. The quality of food is probably at least important as the service; as a photographer you're in control of both, at least.

  7. #67
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    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Quote Originally Posted by pointblankshots View Post
    I don't think so.. A reality check, when a photographer does a cheap job, cheap meaning he undercut to get a job.. He/She, knowing that it's a cheap job, under delivers the job, and clients do know e quality of work to some extend.. So this just isn't getting any better...

    If you're good in what you do, there can be people cheaper than you, but never delivering better than what you deliver in results. That way, you keep clients until you undercut somebody and history repeats again...
    I don't think there's any industry where people worry about cheap competition that isn't up to scratch. The issue is competition that's of similar standard to your own, where the person for whatever reason undercuts the price.

    You're basically assuming that anyone of any standard will charge prices commensurate with their standard and product; that simply isn't always true.

  8. #68
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    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Quote Originally Posted by pointblankshots View Post
    With no disrespect to wedding photography, but I find myself not being capable to bring sexiness out of a ordinary coke can...
    That's like saying, "no disrespect but I think xyz is the most boring photographer in the world."

    Perhaps you need to find out whether the problem is the Coke can, the pervasive desire for sexiness, or the photographer.

    Quote Originally Posted by pointblankshots View Post
    Whichever the case, if you believe in your work, irregardless whether it's wedding, prints, or fashion, then make it different...
    Haven't heard/seen that in a while now

  9. #69
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    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    Just wondering if you have a link to some figures? 12% seems implausibly high if I'm honest... that means 1 person in every 8 is a millionaire.

    Given probably more than 20% of the population are aged under 20 and therefore majorly unlikely to have made a million, that makes the percentage even higher among people of working age.

    Put another way; 1 in 8 members on Clubsnap would be a millionaire, all other things being equal. There are more than 8 posters in this thread, so according to a 12% rate you'd expect one to be a millionaire... ignoring things like the possibility that millionaires wouldn't spend their time on an Internet forum.
    http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking...ry_544850.html

  10. #70
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    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post
    So I don't see that as a challenge for these photographers. Unless they want to quickly charge like above $10k in a few short months. That will be unrealistic.
    Actually that might be one reason why Western photographers charge more; wedding season lasts for maybe six months, with very few weddings (not no weddings) outside of those times.

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post
    Their weddings can be super grand. Some of them live in very beautiful big houses with large gardens which our local semi D can definitely not match.
    Actually, the average family here in the UK probably live in a smaller home than the average family in Singapore. There are a good number of reasons for this, one being cultural and what people are used to, but the heat factor that you've mentioned more than once is also one reason - it's far easier and cheaper to heat a small place than a large one. The concept of grand mansions is very much limited to the upper classes, but the working class home generally doesn't compete with a Singapore semi-detached house.

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post
    Many of their guests wear nice jackets and tuxedos, the bridesmaid are all decked out in their beautifully designed gowns. Their cars are not the usual Mercs you find here. They have Bentleys and Rolls Royces. And they get married in super beautiful churches that none here can compare with.
    The attire is just down to social/cultural norms; people are used to that over here; for example students wear gowns to formal dinners once a week, people attend black tie dinners fairly often, etc. So it's not exactly extra-formal for people to get in a suit.

    There are few Bentleys and Rollers here, and if I'm totally honest the rank and file Singapore would generally drive a bigger car than the rank and file here. Not to mention the same sized car in Singapore costs a lot more than the same in the UK. The reason people get Bentleys or Rollers to their wedding day is simply because there are companies that hire them out for the day, not because their friend or relation has a big fat Bentley or Roller to lend them. And in terms of churchs; that's just a legacy that we happen to have due to history. Having said that, there are some very nice churches in Singapore, and a good number of them are a lot bigger than the churches over here; we have more with rustic charm but that's just down to the fact that some of them are as old as Singapore itself is. In terms of "grand", if you're happy with "modern", then Singapore certainly doesn't lose out on the church front.

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post
    Now, if you ask me, I'd say paying the photographer $12k, heck make it $15k makes sense. The photographer himself is also dressed very smartly in tie, jacket, no less. Everyone and everything looks classy. The price of the deco matches the price of the photographer.
    Plenty in the UK are happy to pay 0-500 as well, so it goes in both directions. There are plenty of photographers who do not work in tie and jacket... myself included. If anything, I think that is very much the exception rather than the rule these days as the role of the photographer has moved towards reportage; most people do not unreasonably expect you to run around and be active in a suit.

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post
    Now back in Singapore. Our climate is so warm. Guests are not well-dressed. Even the activities can look frivolous. I dunno about you guys, but when I see all those crazy gate crashes, guests who dress in plain shirts or even T-shirts, mundane customary tea ceremonies, plain churches with boring 4 white walls, etc.... The price of a $12k photographer just doesn't match the occasion. No matter how good his skills are.
    If that were the case, then people shouldn't drive Rollers or Bentleys or even Mercs in a t-shirt and shorts. They might stick out a bit from the plush cars they drive, but it doesn't mean they shouldn't spend the money on one, if they feel it's worth it. By the same token I fail to see why this should disqualify anyone from spending S$12k on a photographer if they feel it's worth it, just because there might be a few guests there in casual wear.

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post
    Just some digression... The way I see wedding photography here, I think it's so darn crazy. The photographer will have to wake up super early to be at the bride's home by unearthly times like 5am. They literally have to run around, snap snap snap, be called to snap boring ceremonies, then before they could even take a good breather, it's time to leave again at 5pm and prepare for the dinner. And everything ends only by super late 11pm.
    I share those sentiments certainly, and I don't particularly fancy shooting a Singapore wedding!

  11. #71
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    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Thanks for that. I'm not sure what "households" means though. 11.4% was the "household" percentage, not the total percentage.

    The article mentions 125, 000 millionaire households... assuming we have 1 millionaire per household that means 125, 000 millionaires out of a population of 5 million people... which works out at 2.5% as opposed to the 12% first quoted. That does sound a lot more plausible.

  12. #72

    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Well said (all round) Jed. Still looking forward to the coffee.

    By the way, another figure thrown around was 81000 millionaires in Singapore.

  13. #73
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    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    Haven't heard/seen that in a while now
    Oh, it's persistent! I still hear it these days...

    Interesting read I must say. I'll have no doubt that once you have a DSLR (refering to any newbie), the thought of trying to make a quick buck with your so-called "investments" is prevailing with most.
    Last edited by kriegsketten; 1st July 2010 at 08:16 AM.
    Myflickr | Zoom in for the KILL!

  14. #74

    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Jed:

    When I mentioned Rolls Royce/Bentley, beautiful houses, nice dressing, etc etc, it's to justify the high costs of the wedding photographer and memories that come with the pictures. Not that just cos the couple has rented a super luxury car, then the photographer is expensive also. Of course, his skills are final works are also important. But just that when you look at the pictures, it makes sense why you want to get an expensive photographer. Everything tallies. Everything reeks of class and sophistication. It's like when you attend your friend's informal birthday party, you won't want to wear a suit. Well you can and no one is stopping you. But the dressing doesn't match the occasion.

    I didn't and I'm certainly not pointing out that ALL western weddings (or those in the UK where you are based) are posh. Sure, there are people in the US who live in small apartments and they only have very simple weddings.

    I'm just pointing out so far, those in the West who pay big money will usually have a very nice wedding with all those stuffs I mentioned. I don't know why and I certainly haven't heard people paying a lot to the photographer and their guests turn up only in T-shirts and plain clothings which often happen over here. Of course, there could be exceptions, maybe the couple feel they have too much money and hate money (!!!) but certainly not I have heard of and I believe it's not common.

    The discussion here is not so much that everything is rosy and classy in the West while Singapore's landscape and weddings pale in comparison. But more of the justification why the price of photographer should be very high. Yes, one may argue the photographer has very good skills. But the culture like I said cannot be detached from the pricing, like it or not.
    Standards of living have to also be factored in.

    The last I heard from my friend, a McDonalds meal in Europe can cost S$15 (or maybe more?). Are we to say, if they can sell it at that price in Europe, why can't we in Singapore? That wouldn't make sense. Same goes to wed photog. There are important factors to consider.

    I'm not optimistic that higher end wedding photographers here can charge a lot higher and match their overseas counterparts. Even if their prices increase along the way, it's due to inflation and future higher costs of living rather than anything else. Nevertheless, there is some progress and it's not like the pricing here remains standstill for the past 1-2 years. So I don't see a bleak future for these photogs. There shouldn't be much complaints here.

    Ah K mentioned you can't put a number to memories. But he is only considering one part of the equation. Yes, memories are treasured wherever you live in the world. But, one point that is missed is, how much VALUE do you put to those memories? It's not entirely up to the photographer to push his way and say: "Since memories are so important, all of us photogs will now increase our pricing by $1k every 6 months." Let me bring you back to reality. This is Singapore.

    Can local actors argue, you get good entertainment on Ch 8 like you watch a Hollywood movie/sitcom. Now Mediacorp got to pay us as much as what a Hollywood actor earns! Of course that would be a ridiculous argument! In other words, what I'm saying is, how much your services are worth is determined by market rates which in turn is dependent on where you live.

    Yup, Singapore weddings are a mad rush. Actually not only that, sometimes, I find it's jst a blind ritual and not anything romantic at all that should be enjoyed by the couple. Can be quite demeaning to the photographer also I must say.

  15. #75
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    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post
    I didn't and I'm certainly not pointing out that ALL western weddings (or those in the UK where you are based) are posh. Sure, there are people in the US who live in small apartments and they only have very simple weddings.

    I'm just pointing out so far, those in the West who pay big money will usually have a very nice wedding with all those stuffs I mentioned.
    The very same applies in Singapore, too, surely? I.e. that there are people in Singapore who pay big money and usually have a very nice wedding with all the things you mentioned.

  16. #76

    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    The very same applies in Singapore, too, surely? I.e. that there are people in Singapore who pay big money and usually have a very nice wedding with all the things you mentioned.
    Nope. Our high end wedding photogs here charge only $5-8k. The rich couples here don't pay them like more than $10k that you'd get overseas for high end weddings.

  17. #77

    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post
    Nope. Our high end wedding photogs here charge only $5-8k. The rich couples here don't pay them like more than $10k that you'd get overseas for high end weddings.
    I've booked weddings in excess of 10k before.

    Edit: I'm not 'high end'. And 8k is an artificial ceiling.
    Last edited by shinken; 1st July 2010 at 11:08 AM.

  18. #78
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    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post
    Nope. Our high end wedding photogs here charge only $5-8k. The rich couples here don't pay them like more than $10k that you'd get overseas for high end weddings.
    No, I'm not talking about the photographer, but those "stuffs (you) mention" (sic).

    That is to say, the lovely hall, huge car, nice church, and so on and so forth.

  19. #79

    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Quote Originally Posted by shinken View Post
    I've booked weddings in excess of 10k before.

    Edit: I'm not 'high end'. And 8k is an artificial ceiling.
    Wow, wait...

    Let me clarify. So you have charged couples more than $10k just for the full day wedding, without all the prints and albums? I'm also referring to local couples' weddings in Singapore.

    If that's the case, the ceiling is not about $8k as stated? Then I see no issue about how some full-time photographers are commenting or implying they are not paid enough.

    (Anyway, $10k is just a figure to denote expensive wedding photography service in Singapore. My view about culture affecting how much you can be paid still stands.)

  20. #80

    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post
    Wow, wait...

    Let me clarify. So you have charged couples more than $10k just for the full day wedding, without all the prints and albums? I'm also referring to local couples' weddings in Singapore.

    If that's the case, the ceiling is not about $8k as stated? Then I see no issue about how some full-time photographers are commenting or implying they are not paid enough.

    (Anyway, $10k is just a figure to denote expensive wedding photography service in Singapore. My view about culture affecting how much you can be paid still stands.)
    In excess of 10k represents the amount they spend with me in total. Not pure profit (ala 1k per hour for 10 hours)

    Figures really need to be contextualized. There are photographers who're not paid enough. I see them spending tons of money on advertisements, equipments, competitions and what nots, but charge a fraction of what I do, some of them arguably produce better work than I do - so I can, with a fair amount of confidence, deduce that these photographers are not paid enough.

    Even at my rates, sometimes it is more profitable for me to shoot events at $150/hr. All things considered.

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