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Thread: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

  1. #41
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Yes, that is a truth that many photographers starting out small, cheap, and desperate, I also one of them, and not ashamed to letting people know.

    but the debate here is can anyone survive and last long enough with this strategy if decide to take this route?

    everybody looking forward to pay increment, rank promotion, no exception to photographers as well, why you all can make noise when your bonus being cut or not getting enough, why can't photographers expect the same thing too?

    everyone (customers) seem to enjoy cheap and good things, Ok, that is fine, as long ones able to find that and get it in a legitimate way.
    But when the cheap and good things won't last long, why KPKB? just go and find the next sucker offering cheap and good things lor!! never mind what? for every one is downed two will come up, you will have endless supply of cheap photographs..

    anyway, have seem enough people tried and failed to be a photographers over all these years, and there are many reasons for the cause of failing, but for sure that offer cheap or free services just make it much sooner to come.
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  2. #42
    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    aiya. cheap doesnt mean low quality anyways. its just different suppliers. if professionals cant take the heat... i guess we cant do anything either.

    do product differentiation. make your product different from other photographers. if as a full time professional, if your works are the same as a freelancer who is just making pocket money, then something is very wrong hahha...

    if you are different, ppl will naturally hire u, at the rates u want.

    i believe if your product justifies the price, there shldnt be a problem getting clients. it is only when ur product doesnt justify the price, then you have problems.
    Last edited by allenleonhart; 16th November 2010 at 10:25 AM.

  3. #43

    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanalore View Post
    To draw a parallel:

    When the "cheap" Japanese cars and "cheap" Korean cars first appeared on the market, the big-time auto-manufacturers were also complaining about them spoiling the market with dirt cheap prices and lousy products. They never took the cheap Jap and Korean seriously, and they became complacent.

    Today, we know that the Japs and Korean cars are up there. They stole the world while the seasoned pros stayed still and lamented about the cheapos.
    Therefore, the Volvos, Land Rovers and Saabs of the world have switched hands.

    To the pro photographer, I want to pay for your expertise, but don't just sit on your laurels. Someday, the cheap photographer may be teaching you a thing or two.
    yup. this i agree with. but no economic model is really pure. that is to say, nothing can stand alone by itself. looking at all the economic models adopted by all the countries in the world, they're all using one idea, but bolstering it with a mixture of others.

    what i'm trying to say is, true there might be cheap photographers who have the skill and take it on at cheaper rates just for that few extra bucks in the wallet, but the majority of them out there (and that's what i feel) are people who lack the expertise and skill and technique and creativity. they are those "i've got a DSLR let me shoot for you cheap" photographers. i've seen many, and i realize that a majority of them are just using the fact that "it's a DSLR! it takes better photos!" to sell their "business".

    now i don't use my camera for business, but i've seen the images of some friends who are professionals who charge a higher sum than those "cheap photographers" and when i look at those images, and when they explain to me how they came up with the storyboard, composed the image, edited the image etc, i feel that it's justifiable to pay that price for the whole package of creativity, knowledge, skill etc. that price i feel involves the pre-shoot, on-the-shoot and post-shooting effort put in and it's worth it.

    but there are some claiming to be professional, yet doing shoddy and crap work for a high price (my family's experienced this with a "friend" who owns a 8K plus DSLR complete with studio and lighting... yet shoots and PPs his images worse than my primary school friend with a very old DSLR and "i put it together myself set-up")

    to sum it all up, a cheap photographer doesn't neccessarily mean he's a crap photog, and a photographer charging high amounts doesn't mean he's a good one. in the end, it's always the client who has to THINK what he/she is paying for and the background of the photographer. if the client is someone who just wants cheap and can't be bothered about the reputation (even if it's bad), then i say, you get your money's worth. and i would say you're better off without these people, because they make alot of demands for that miserable price.

    and what i feel is, the people who really understand what a good quality image represents will be the ones willing to pay top dollar. but getting that client is up to your luck.

    i can spend the whole day writing an essay on this... but i think my boss will kill me when my work's not done so i'll leave it at this haha

  4. #44

    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    I loved that article. Learnt a lot from the sharings from other photographers there. Personally, I value my own work and even though i'm just a new freelancer moving into the industry, I choose to price my services higher than the "cheap photographers" out there and I haven't been getting any jobs lately - lol, to put the blame on "cheap photographers" is an easy way out. I like to think that I have not built up a strong enough portfolio, and that my marketing/branding is bad. So the arrow goes back to me.

    IMO, the reason why a lot of freelance photographers here want to shoot for free or dirt cheap rates for the sake of getting jobs is because of many reasons, 1) passion over money, 2) lack of mentors/education, 3) gain some experience. Of course, is it a sustainable business model? Highly unlikely...

    Then again, think about it this way, some people assist other photographers for 1-2 years before starting their own business... while some others choose to start out straight away by taking cheap jobs or shooting for free for 1-2 years before starting to re-brand themselves and to charge the "market rates". I don't think either approach is right or wrong, it all boils down to the individual's perspective.
    It's all about the moments; and the moments in between. 8 Perpetual || Flickr

  5. #45

    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Really short-sighted. Time and again, this kind of topic surfaces and stubbornly, we get the usual photographers who said those photographers who charge cheap will not survive in the long run, blah blah.

    Firstly, I'd like to ask: What does that matter to you? Are you scared or jealous? Otherwise, why spend your precious time here or other forums ranting about it, since "Time is $$$" to you??

    Photographers charge low for a variety of reasons. Why must some of you guys be so short-sighted and think they are interested in making photography a long-term career? In fact, if you ask me, photography is a very uncertain career. You may do fairly well now, but no one can guarantee you a stable job in future. It's unlike other professionals like engineers, doctors, lawyers, where the older you are, the better you tend to get and you can earn a lot more even when you are old.

    Just think: Photography is one area where it's relative easy to earn pocket money. Must everyone make it as a career? Of cos not. Tell me which other job allows you to earn money as easily as photography. Example: If I play good tennis or golf, would people pay to see me play? No. Unless I am at least one of Singapore's best which is so difficult to get to. With a camera, how difficult is it before I can start shooting some decent shots?

    Those Uncle Joes you see in weddings who wield expensive brands, some similar or better than a full time pro. You think they can't take good pics? I'm sure they can if they want to. But for many, photography is just a hobby. Some of these guys earn big money as brokers, high flying CEOs, bankers, etc. Why would they want to be a typical photographer who earns pittance in comparison?

    So I'd really like to say, as a full time paid photographer, do your job and just shut up (for lack of better word). If you think you are high and mighty and want or can charge big money for your work, good for you. But sometimes I have my doubts. Cos big earners don't waste their time pondering and writing stuffs here, looking down on "photographers who charge cheap".

    I think some people need to "wake up their ideas". Photography is getting a lot easier to master, camera gear are getting more automatic and sophisticated. You will expect tons of people getting to the same standard as the present pros in a short amount of time. There is absolutely no way you can prevent that from happening.

    Stop being so small minded and constantly complain and pick on photographers who charge cheap. It's really none of your concern, unless you are just secretly plain jealous/scared of being surpassed.
    Last edited by kiwi2; 16th November 2010 at 11:08 AM.

  6. #46

    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    I have 13 events of 5 hours each at $100 per hour. Managed to recruit 13 willing freelances who will charge me $30 per hour. If not for them how to do business.

  7. #47
    Senior Member Anson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by jopel View Post
    I have 13 events of 5 hours each at $100 per hour. Managed to recruit 13 willing freelances who will charge me $30 per hour. If not for them how to do business.
    Are you doing QC on the works of the 13 freelances before giving it to your clients? If not may just be bashing your own portfolio...

    At the end of the day you may become a photography agency.

  8. #48

    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by lancey View Post
    i know what u r saying but it doesn't make sense and it seems like a redundant observation , at least not a very contributory observation.

    so what if the rich is very focus on what they want and will go get it? does it mean it is good? if it's not good, what difference does it make if one is poor and not get it becos he couldnt afford it.

    if a poor person cannot afford a good thing, he will look for a cheaper alternative. Does it mean all cheaper things are bad? No. So why assume all expensive things are good? if not all expensive things are good, why does it matter if one is poor or rich? In essence, your observation serves no purpose. U r assuming all rich will get the best becos they get the most expensive ones.

    Seems like an over-simplistic view bordering on a total lack of knowledge on human psychology in marketting terms.

    So when u see a rich lady approaching your shop, i assume u would assume she knows what a good photograph is and will get it becos u charge 3x more than market rate?

    might as well tell us the dog is the biggest animal in the world becos that's all you have seen walking.
    I just love your negative assumption on everything. If u read carefully, I did mention expensive service does not mean it will automatically good.

    I don't divide my client or choose my client. Quite simply, I charge what I charge to have enough to enjoy my craft and have time for my family. It has nothing to do with client or how good I am. Of course this is about me and my service.

    Client choose what they want and what I did was just a pure observation, if u don't think it is constructive.... So be it.

    Regards,

    Hart

  9. #49

    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by muvouser View Post
    I love how digital photography has given the mass the opport to learn and master the art. I love the Internet for its power in facilitating sharing and learning.

    Why cry father cry mother? Cheap photographers are probably not doing photography work for a living. They only want some earnings to cover their expenses. Nothing wrong with that.

    Professionals with narrow minds should wake up and know that good photography skill is no longer exclusive to them. Stop condemning others who are charging cheaper.

    If so kiasu,...may I advise you to change your trade. Even amateurs and hobbyists have studio equipments in their home now or making their own montage albums. The level of skills in amateur is fast improving with some with skills better than the highly paid professionals.

    Why? Because they have passion to learn because it is a hobby to them. While it is a "job" to the outdated or complacent professionals who feel tired and bored.

    Face it. If you (the professionals) cant face the competition from the hobbyist and "cheap" photographer as you call it. Get out of the trade cos I can assure you it will be more competitive and more demanding in time to come.
    Can't agree more...

    Hart

  10. #50

    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by Anson View Post
    Are you doing QC on the works of the 13 freelances before giving it to your clients? If not may just be bashing your own portfolio...

    At the end of the day you may become a photography agency.
    No, those who shoot for me know that I don't need their porfolio neither will I QC their works. Cos they are far better than me in photography skills.

  11. #51
    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by jopel View Post
    No, those who shoot for me know that I don't need their porfolio neither will I QC their works. Cos they are far better than me in photography skills.
    and thats how u earn money

    yea. this is actually pretty common.

  12. #52

    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by allenleonhart View Post
    and thats how u earn money

    yea. this is actually pretty common.
    yes, that's how I have time for family and shoot wedding for free for couples who are from very, very low income group that can't afford those 'no-money don't come here photographers'.

  13. #53

    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    if only i could realize this business model earlier, we indeed need more cheap cheap photographers.

  14. #54

    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by ilikeit View Post
    if only i could realize this business model earlier, we indeed need more cheap cheap photographers.
    each model serve different group of people. At the end the service provider must be satisfy with the profit he made and is able to satisfy his customer.

    some only eat Mandarin Hotel chicken rice to match their status. Some will be happy to eat whatever dish out to them for free from the church or temple.

  15. #55
    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by jopel View Post
    yes, that's how I have time for family and shoot wedding for free for couples who are from very, very low income group that can't afford those 'no-money don't come here photographers'.
    but for me i'll take 70% instead of 30 cause remember. u are getting the middle man money. 30% good

  16. #56

    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by allenleonhart View Post
    but for me i'll take 70% instead of 30 cause remember. u are getting the middle man money. 30% good
    you JC boy alredi wanna 70% ah

  17. #57

    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post
    Those Uncle Joes you see in weddings who wield expensive brands, some similar or better than a full time pro. You think they can't take good pics? I'm sure they can if they want to. But for many, photography is just a hobby. Some of these guys earn big money as brokers, high flying CEOs, bankers, etc. Why would they want to be a typical photographer who earns pittance in comparison?
    My aunt got married last year and my advice to her is to look for a proper wedding photographer and she can actually afford it. One of my uncle who is passionate about photography and own a very good dslr happened to offer his service for free and well, she took it for granted he will do a good job. The wedding day happened in such a fast pace that my uncle was struggling to capture the moments with pestering request from relatives to shoot group shots. I can see him exhausted by the end of the day and the best part.... my aunt did not appreciate his effort at all! as the photos did not turn out like some specialist wedding photographer. To be fair, it's those typical photos what all dslr can do. I told her you pay for what you get... at least most of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post
    So I'd really like to say, as a full time paid photographer, do your job and just shut up (for lack of better word). If you think you are high and mighty and want or can charge big money for your work, good for you. But sometimes I have my doubts. Cos big earners don't waste their time pondering and writing stuffs here, looking down on "photographers who charge cheap".
    You should know the term "spoiling the market", right. While I am not in the photography line but work for a distribution company, I really detest those who are out to gain market share by slashing till rock bottom price just that they can meet their own quota. I have seen enough of any tier of client including the budget hunters demanding for same type of services and deliverables even if they pay peanuts.

    For those photographers who has already did their portfolio and can deliver a respectable deliverable but continue to offer 'cheap' service just to get more client, they are ultimately not doing the market justice which eventually will goes back to them in the long run.

    Why do you think there are some many people here asking for free photography or TFCD for wedding even? and their bait, the typical, for your own portfolio...
    Last edited by ilikeit; 16th November 2010 at 01:07 PM.

  18. #58

    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by jopel View Post
    each model serve different group of people. At the end the service provider must be satisfy with the profit he made and is able to satisfy his customer.

    some only eat Mandarin Hotel chicken rice to match their status. Some will be happy to eat whatever dish out to them for free from the church or temple.
    I agree

    Unfortunately, many people pay for grade C stuff but demand Grade A quality so Grade C supplier must up their profit to crater for any extra demand at time of need.

  19. #59

    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by ilikeit View Post
    My aunt got married last year and my advice to her is to look for a proper wedding photographer and she can actually afford it. One of my uncle who is passionate about photography and own a very good dslr happened to offer his service for free and well, she took it for granted he will do a good job. The wedding day happened in such a fast pace that my uncle was struggling to capture the moments with pestering request from relatives to shoot group shots. I can see him exhausted by the end of the day and the best part.... my aunt did not appreciate his effort at all! as the photos did not turn out like some specialist wedding photographer. To be fair, it's those typical photos what all dslr can do. I told her you pay for what you get... at least most of the time.

    You should know the term "spoiling the market", right. While I am not in the photography line but work for a distribution company, I really detest those who are out to gain market share by slashing till rock bottom price just that they can meet their own quota. I have seen enough of any tier of client including the budget hunters demanding for same type of services and deliverables even if they pay peanuts.

    For those photographers who has already did their portfolio and can deliver a respectable deliverable but continue to offer 'cheap' service just to get more client, they are ultimately not doing the market justice which eventually will goes back to them in the long run.
    Ermm, I think you've misinterpreted my points.

    I didn't say everyone with any gear can take good photos. I'm pointing to the fact that people who charge low may have no interest to do photography in the long term as a career. So they charge low, earn some pocket money, but they have other plans in mind. This includes the "Uncle Joes".

    Of cos, to take good wedding photos, you need the commitment also. Perhaps your uncle is not committed enough or has no experience in it?

    Anyway, your uncle's case is a one off eg. There are really many hobbyist photographers out there who can be good, it's really whether they want to make it as a career, which is fraught with uncertainty.

    It is certainly not true that doing weddings is easy. My whole point is, anyone can pick up the trade and we are seeing many amateurs reaching the standards of pros quickly. This is something the pros have to accept and admit graciously. (By pros, I don't mean experts, but full-time photographers.)

    This is a misconception I have to dispel. There is no such thing as "spoiling the market". It's an open market rather. As they say, willing buyer, willing seller. I don't see how by charging low you have the power to rock the boat to a big extent.

    Ask yourself: Why does one charge low in the first place? I repeat, these so called "cheap photographers", they are not necessarily killing themselves as wrongly assumed by some.

    Here's an analogy:

    There are hostels, 2 star hotels all the way to 5 star hotels. Surely you can't say the cheaper 2 star hotels are "spoiling the market" right? I've heard how people praise this 2 or 3 star hotel is worth the money cos it's clean, comfy, good service, etc. Now look at the 5 star hotels. Are they out of business cos there are cheaper hotels? Of cos not!

    So you get the picture now...

  20. #60

    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    What you did here is nothing about professional photography at all. It is just the business model you employed and trying to profit through mass market strategy. This is where the market see photography as "Cheap". Tell me 13 willing freelancers who charge at $30 an hour could deliver equal quality works? Give me a break

    Quote Originally Posted by jopel View Post
    I have 13 events of 5 hours each at $100 per hour. Managed to recruit 13 willing freelances who will charge me $30 per hour. If not for them how to do business.

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