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Thread: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

  1. #101
    Senior Member jOhO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    If you're already satisfied, what's there to complain about?

    perhaps it's ironic but the person who i think can charge 12k here is now shooting overseas.. hahaha! i'm sure he still does the odd job here in singapore. given, 12k is highly unattainable for most photographers here but that is now. we can't expect things to change upwards instantly but we can expect that it WILL go upwards, taking my points i mentioned in the last blue section.

    as for satisfaction, i would candidly like to remind you of my boardroom meeting example where all the directors can go on holiday for 6 months because the company has earned too much


    (had to split the post, 10000 character limit)
    Last edited by jOhO; 2nd July 2010 at 02:24 PM.

  2. #102
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    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    what's this argument all aboot again?

    Anyway, back to the original question, I do wonder what it's like for the commercial shooters. Is it saturated for them? or the fashion shooters? I imagine so, with so many of the art school, and polytechnics churning out hundreds of students aspiring to be fashion photographers or globe trotting photojournalists, actually the wedding photography industry in some way has been spared the brunt of the influx. I think maybe for fashion it's quite bad, but i'm not sure. Maybe some commercial and fashion photographers like mattlock and sim4nee can give their views. Wish we heard from them more often.

    But anyway, to my fellow wedding photographers in Singapore, my heart goes out to you. Having seen the scene from inside and now from outside, you guys in Singapore have a really really tough job. I sure as hell won't move back to SG to shoot weddings filled with men dancing around in women's underwear at 5am, 14 hour days in the tropical heat, and night after night of table shots. certainly not for $8k a wedding. you guys are real soldiers. Is the wedding market saturated? In the low and medium end, yes, I think so. In the high and very high end. Not so much. but I think many photographers wash out/burn out by the time they reach that high end level because it's a high stakes game where your cards needs to be played very very carefully and hats off to photographers like Joho who have longevity at that level.

  3. #103

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

    Quote Originally Posted by ckuang View Post
    what's this argument all aboot again?

    Anyway, back to the original question, I do wonder what it's like for the commercial shooters. Is it saturated for them? or the fashion shooters? I imagine so, with so many of the art school, and polytechnics churning out hundreds of students aspiring to be fashion photographers or globe trotting photojournalists, actually the wedding photography industry in some way has been spared the brunt of the influx. I think maybe for fashion it's quite bad, but i'm not sure. Maybe some commercial and fashion photographers like mattlock and sim4nee can give their views. Wish we heard from them more often.

    But anyway, to my fellow wedding photographers in Singapore, my heart goes out to you. Having seen the scene from inside and now from outside, you guys in Singapore have a really really tough job. I sure as hell won't move back to SG to shoot weddings filled with men dancing around in women's underwear at 5am, 14 hour days in the tropical heat, and night after night of table shots. certainly not for $8k a wedding. you guys are real soldiers. Is the wedding market saturated? In the low and medium end, yes, I think so. In the high and very high end. Not so much. but I think many photographers wash out/burn out by the time they reach that high end level because it's a high stakes game where your cards needs to be played very very carefully and hats off to photographers like Joho who have longevity at that level.
    kuang-san, thats why we do it, to prepare for our ICT. LOL. jon-san is not high level. he is on another level.. i think...

  4. #104

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Ah_K View Post
    kiwi:

    I think the main question here is are we allowed to dream? To dream of a better salary, or a better life for example.
    Dreaming or imagining about a better possibility is healthy. To an extent, every success once started as merely a figment of someone's imagination. The boutique you see along Orchard road didn't just happen. Someone had the courage and tenacity to imagine that possibility and eventually made it happen. It is something I would invite you to try for yourself, the imagining bit that is.

    However, on the same token, to be truly happy with where you are, I don't think it should be about a pursuit of greater wealth or material well being. The Bell curve applies here as with most other cases. The majority of us are gonna fall in middle part of the curve. Sometimes, we might get ahead and be in the top 5% and sometimes (and more often), we might slip back down. I have come to accept that not everyone of us are meant to be in the top 5% and that we can be happy wherever we are in the curve, even the bottom 5%. Concentrating on what you enjoy doing and doing it with a passion can provide good reason to be and stay happy. The comparison and pursuit of material returns on the other hand will more likely than not stop you from living your life and opening up yourself to the people around you.

    I have been following this thread with interest. It's amazing how much interest its generating. It is a topic that we are all obviously passionate about, the business of photography.

    I shoot mainly weddings, families and kids. My contribution is best taken with regards to this fact. I do very little commercial or event work.

    Everyone approaches their photography and business in his own unique way. Obviously, there is no right or wrong approach. For some, a Singapore wedding might be really hard work, while for another, it is an adrenaline rush. A small intimate wedding might appeal to some while to another, it might be really boring cause there is nothing to shoot. =) To some 60 weddings a year is a crazy amount, while to another, it isn't crazy until you shoot 110 weddings a year. My point is different strokes for different guys.

    How much you charge is along these same lines. The equation which I based my fees upon has a family component in it. To me, I am being paid because I am taking time away from my family and doing what I would otherwise be doing just so that I can commit this time period for the couple. If I could do it for free and still feed my family and lead the lifestyle that I do now, I would. For others they have their own equations. Once again, I doubt if we can agree on the best way to price yourself.

    As for comparing the higher end market here and abroad, I believe there will never be a satisfactory argument. However, for the sake of our discussion, let's assume that the guys in Australia and America are getting US$5000-$15000 a wedding. This might sound like a healthy amount and I have no issues with that. There's value in art and yes another culture and society might appreciate it more than another but we don't even have to consider that. Business-wise, they might have to charge more because for one, their cost of running a business is higher. Labour cost is higher, perhaps rental too and corporate taxes are also higher than here in Singapore. Besides, for western countries, most couples spend the bulk of their money on the wedding day. However, in Singapore, there is also the pre-wedding component, which until recently, was where couples spent the most amount of money. Combined together, the returns are actually similar or if not higher than some western photographers. Having said all that, some of the guys from the west have introduced new styles or genres of wedding photography that was unheard of before and I believe they are rewarded for it by the masses who liked what they are producing. In my humble opinion too, a number of local photographers have also benefited from this. They were inspired by these new images and it made them realised there were a lot more possibilities in wedding photography. In turn, our peers/generation of friends, who are very much influenced by western culture leaned towards this new form of wedding photography, for their own wedding. The local wedding photographers who first opened up to these new ideas were among the first few who benefited from it. They could command higher rates as well.

    I have spoken or corresponded with a number of photographers from Australia, France and the US. Some of them actually commented on how much more willing Asians are when it comes to spending for their wedding photography. A pre-wedding shoot alone can come up to $10,000. It's something the west find quite amazing.

    My personal take on this is that we find an amount to charge that we are genuinely happy with. By that, I don't mean we compare our rates to our peers or even international photographers and decide that if you charge more than you are better and hence happier. Some of us use these prices as a guide to help us. That is fine but to compare your rates with another without comparing a whole lot of other components isn't being fair to yourself and will probably cause you more distress than you deserve. These components include the quality of images (which is subjective), the amount of time and investment put in, the mindset of the photographer, his business model etc...

    My personal experience on this is that we can be happier if we are more aware of the position we are in. For example, if you are charging $2000 (as opposed to $8000) a wedding now, you focus on the amount of value you are giving for $2000. You understand that you are charging this amount because... (fill in your own reasons ) Possible reasons include... the fact that your overheads are lower, you are less experienced, you value your personal time and want some time off for your own activities... Similarly, if you are charging $800, you are again aware of why you are charging such an amount. You could possibly be doing so because you are just starting out or that you are very comfortable with the lower expectations from your clients, that you believe its incredible value for your couples. =) Lastly, if you charge $8000 a wedding... that you are not likely to get the same volume as a guy who charges $800. That you are content that your works are valued.

    I do hope you understand what I am trying to express.
    Last edited by iamasaint; 2nd July 2010 at 07:22 PM.

  5. #105

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

    Quote Originally Posted by iamasaint View Post
    Dreaming or imagining about a better possibility is healthy. To an extent, every success once started as merely a figment of someone's imagination. The boutique you see along Orchard road didn't just happen. Someone had the courage and tenacity to imagine that possibility and eventually made it happen. It is something I would invite you to try for yourself, the imagining bit that is.

    However, on the same token, to be truly happy with where you are, I don't think it should be about a pursuit of greater wealth or material well being. The Bell curve applies here as with most other cases. The majority of us are gonna fall in middle part of the curve. Sometimes, we might get ahead and be in the top 5% and sometimes (and more often), we might slip back down. I have come to accept that not everyone of us are meant to be in the top 5% and that we can be happy wherever we are in the curve, even the bottom 5%. Concentrating on what you enjoy doing and doing it with a passion can provide good reason to be and stay happy. The comparison and pursuit of material returns on the other hand will more likely than not stop you from living your life and opening up yourself to the people around you.

    I have been following this thread with interest. It's amazing how much interest its generating. It is a topic that we are all obviously passionate about, the business of photography.

    I shoot mainly weddings, families and kids. My contribution is best taken with regards to this fact. I do very little commercial or event work.

    Everyone approaches their photography and business in his own unique way. Obviously, there is no right or wrong approach. For some, a Singapore wedding might be really hard work, while for another, it is an adrenaline rush. A small intimate wedding might appeal to some while to another, it might be really boring cause there is nothing to shoot. =) To some 60 weddings a year is a crazy amount, while to another, it isn't crazy until you shoot 110 weddings a year. My point is different strokes for different guys.

    How much you charge is along these same lines. The equation which I based my fees upon has a family component in it. To me, I am being paid because I am taking time away from my family and doing what I would otherwise be doing just so that I can commit this time period for the couple. If I could do it for free and still feed my family and lead the lifestyle that I do now, I would. For others they have their own equations. Once again, I doubt if we can agree on the best way to price yourself.

    As for comparing the higher end market here and abroad, I believe there will never be a satisfactory argument. However, for the sake of our discussion, let's assume that the guys in Australia and America are getting US$5000-$15000 a wedding. This might sound like a healthy amount and I have no issues with that. There's value in art and yes another culture and society might appreciate it more than another but we don't even have to consider that. Business-wise, they might have to charge more because for one, their cost of running a business is higher. Labour cost is higher, perhaps rental too and corporate taxes are also higher than here in Singapore. Besides, for western countries, most couples spend the bulk of their money on the wedding day. However, in Singapore, there is also the pre-wedding component, which until recently, was where couples spent the most amount of money. Combined together, the returns are actually similar or if not higher than some western photographers. Having said all that, some of the guys from the west have introduced new styles or genres of wedding photography that was unheard of before and I believe they are rewarded for it by the masses who liked what they are producing. In my humble opinion too, a number of local photographers have also benefited from this. They were inspired by these new images and it made them realised there were a lot more possibilities in wedding photography. In turn, our peers/generation of friends, who are very much influenced by western culture leaned towards this new form of wedding photography, for their own wedding. The local wedding photographers who first opened up to these new ideas were among the first few who benefited from it. They could command higher rates as well.

    I have spoken or corresponded with a number of photographers from Australia, France and the US. Some of them actually commented on how much more willing Asians are when it comes to spending for their wedding photography. A pre-wedding shoot alone can come up to $10,000. It's something the west find quite amazing.

    My personal take on this is that we find an amount to charge that we are genuinely happy with. By that, I don't mean we compare our rates to our peers or even international photographers and decide that if you charge more than you are better and hence happier. Some of us use these prices as a guide to help us. That is fine but to compare your rates with another without comparing a whole lot of other components isn't being fair to yourself and will probably cause you more distress than you deserve. These components include the quality of images (which is subjective), the amount of time and investment put in, the mindset of the photographer, his business model etc...

    My personal experience on this is that we can be happier if we are more aware of the position we are in. For example, if you are charging $2000 (as opposed to $8000) a wedding now, you focus on the amount of value you are giving for $2000. You understand that you are charging this amount because... (fill in your own reasons ) Possible reasons include... the fact that your overheads are lower, you are less experienced, you value your personal time and want some time off for your own activities... Similarly, if you are charging $800, you are again aware of why you are charging such an amount. You could possibly be doing so because you are just starting out or that you are very comfortable with the lower expectations from your clients, that you believe its incredible value for your couples. =) Lastly, if you charge $8000 a wedding... that you are not likely to get the same volume as a guy who charges $800. That you are content that your works are valued.

    I do hope you understand what I am trying to express.

    wise words to hear from an excellent photographer and photography business.

  6. #106

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

    Quote Originally Posted by ckuang View Post
    what's this argument all aboot again?

    Anyway, back to the original question, I do wonder what it's like for the commercial shooters. Is it saturated for them? or the fashion shooters? I imagine so, with so many of the art school, and polytechnics churning out hundreds of students aspiring to be fashion photographers or globe trotting photojournalists, actually the wedding photography industry in some way has been spared the brunt of the influx. I think maybe for fashion it's quite bad, but i'm not sure. Maybe some commercial and fashion photographers like mattlock and sim4nee can give their views. Wish we heard from them more often.

    But anyway, to my fellow wedding photographers in Singapore, my heart goes out to you. Having seen the scene from inside and now from outside, you guys in Singapore have a really really tough job. I sure as hell won't move back to SG to shoot weddings filled with men dancing around in women's underwear at 5am, 14 hour days in the tropical heat, and night after night of table shots. certainly not for $8k a wedding. you guys are real soldiers. Is the wedding market saturated? In the low and medium end, yes, I think so. In the high and very high end. Not so much. but I think many photographers wash out/burn out by the time they reach that high end level because it's a high stakes game where your cards needs to be played very very carefully and hats off to photographers like Joho who have longevity at that level.
    Quite a number of commercial photographers have gone on to China.
    Fees and budgets here have been pretty stagnant, while the cost of doing business has gone up.

    Looking at economic factors, Singapore is a pretty mature market.
    Look at cell phone penetration, it's over 100%.
    Every house has a TV, and everyone has a pretty comfortable lifestyle.
    The economy is dependent on people spending money and if people don't spend money and have not many reasons to spend money then there's no reason to spend so much on marketing.
    Marketing needs come about from competition and really, how much competition do you see in Singapore?

    We have the government which helps fuel the economy alot also but as anyone who has dealt with Gebiz knows....it's about cost.

    What I see nowadays is a desire to get more volume rather than focus on quality
    Also there's a shift from TV & print to a more 360 degree approach to marketing, with clients stepping into more guerilla marketing too.

    Singapore is a saturated market no doubt. You need to develop a lot of relationships and even after developing those relationships, are the jobs paying enough?

    At the same time, a market is never really "saturated", because a smart businessman knows how to create new niches and create new desires in people.
    Case in point: Singtel has a super high cellphone penetration rate but they find new ways to get people to sign on to new plans such as for broadband on mobile, or tie people to contracts then release even more desirable phones and plans.

    And they have a healthy margin to show for it.
    So one way to look at it is, instead of thinking that the market is saturated, are there ideas we can share to convince clients of the need for more photography?
    Then maybe us as photographers can test out these ideas.
    Last edited by mattlock; 3rd July 2010 at 01:14 AM.

  7. #107
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    Default Re: Do you think photography biz market is saturated?

    Mattlock, thanks for adding your thoughts. It's really good ideas and brings a new perspective to the market.

  8. #108

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

    Thanks for the insight Mattlock.

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