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Thread: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

  1. #61

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

    Quote Originally Posted by lancey View Post
    cheap cheap scum clients can tell the difference between a money-faced pro and a non-money-faced one though. And these money-faced pros charge higher to satisfy their material goods, not because their photos are better. They THINK their photos are better.

    Yes, i agree. Most couples wouldn't know what's a good picture, let alone why their camera man need that lexus for.
    not just the couples couldn't tell the diff between good n bad.

    so many times i look at some of the wedding photographers' work,
    where there were tons of 'good', 'nice' n 'well done',
    i have no idea where these comments were directing to.

    modesty forbids me to claim that they r bad,
    faults has to be with me.

    this is one field that i think brand name(the photographer, not the group) matters to me.

  2. #62

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

    Quote Originally Posted by chngpe01 View Post
    Yes blunt and to the point.

    As a pro photog I would have said the same to the others pro who do nothing with his/her own competitiveness but keep whining like a broken record. Worst still even expecting CS to spoonfeed and do something to "prevent competition".
    I fully agree to this view. Protectionism and spoon feeding is not going to do any good. Which is why I also fully agree to the importation of FTs into SG where employers have access to cheaper IT professionals, engineers, or other specialists alike. We're in the world of survival of the fittest. Not that I like it, but that's the way it is. It is a global competition out there. Whatever profession we're in, we have to continually learn to adapt and evolve. So rather than complaining about foreigners taking away their rice bowls, these whiners should consider changing trade if they are outclassed by the competition.
    Last edited by snowspeeder; 16th November 2010 at 02:25 PM.

  3. #63
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    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by Agetan View Post
    I don't know about the Money face or non money face photographer, I know some photographer are driven by money and I suppose that was some of your point right Lancey?

    I don't really like the term cheap cheap scum clients... What I know is every client has their "budget" in mind... of course, those budget may not suit what you charge... but that doesn't qualify them as cheap client.

    I do know some minority of people think, expensive is good. One can hype about their work, one can use sales technique to get their job, but what the most important thing in keeping up your own standard is the level of satisfaction from your client who uses your service.

    Lets face it, Singapore is pretty darn small country... words travel fast... Good news spread slower and Bad news spread a lot quicker. I have seen too many so call "Hit & Run" business... but at the same time, I have seen quite a lot of honest business who offer value and services.

    What I always believe in is honesty in offering your service. I charge more, because that is one way to reduce the "volume" that I want to do. I want to enjoy photography and spend time with my family and I don't feel good rejecting client who want to book my service, but if you charge beyond client's willingness to pay, there is a good chance that they won't like to pay for your service. So that will reduce the "volume" naturally as I don't enjoy volume as it takes my free time away too much.

    I value my time more than money personally, life is too short...If God wants me tonight, I may not have tomorrow.

    As far as I know, the higher you charge, you tend to attract client who understand about what they really want. These clients typically won't bother wasting their time, but they will buy services which have the "product" that they want.

    Clients who has money and social status are very smart... they do KNOW what looks good and what is not, at least to their standard.

    Regards,

    Hart
    Well-said.
    G

  4. #64
    Senior Member Anson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by stor View Post
    Tell me 13 willing freelancers who charge at $30 an hour could deliver equal quality works?
    Like to know too..

  5. #65

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

    Quote Originally Posted by bengchiat View Post
    not just the couples couldn't tell the diff between good n bad.

    so many times i look at some of the wedding photographers' work,
    where there were tons of 'good', 'nice' n 'well done',
    i have no idea where these comments were directing to.

    modesty forbids me to claim that they r bad,
    faults has to be with me.

    this is one field that i think brand name(the photographer, not the group) matters to me.
    If they couldn't tell difference and you could, yet you mention that it is your modesty that forbids you to input your comments, then I have serious doubts. Is it modesty or a fear of being upfront because you might have offend the couple which may bring bad name to your own business?

  6. #66

    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.
    Woohoo... What a wonderful way of making money.... I would love to have this type of agency style photography... Sadly I can't bring myself of doing it.

    Hart

  7. #67
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    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Wow... this thread has unwittingly ruffled lots of feathers....

    Adding my hopefully balanced 2cents to the fray...

    I still believe that different tiers of photographers exist to serve different tiers of clients. Why high-earning photographers can command the big bucks they earn is because they know their clients well enough and are able to differentiate themselves (consciously or otherwise) such that the clients are willing to pay more for the perceived value on top of photographs.

    What are these perceived values? Reliability, comfort, skills, peace and prestige are some common values that are associated with the branding of a professional/company regardless of the industry they are in. One might argue that these perceived values are not worth the difference in prices but obviously, some consumers are willing to pay for them whether these values are real or perceived. One might also argue that what affect other different industries do not affect us but this is not entirely true. The specifics and details may be different but the underlying fundamentals still remain. E.g. Do people pay extra for peace of mind? A traveller may be willing to pay additional by flying a full-fledged national airline with a reputation of almost zero cancellations than to fly a budget airline with a reputation of many cancellations. Why? Because that traveller feels that the peace of mind is worth the price difference. Does it mean that the full-fledged national airline will not cancel on the traveller's trip but the budget airline will? No, but to the traveller who values peace of mind, this perceived peace of mind of not worrying about the hassle of cancelled flights is incentive to fork out that extra. Is it worth it for the traveller? Only the traveller knows.

    On photographers who offer cheap rates, it is actually one way of entering a market with a low natural barrier of entry by disrupting the market. <<Cue in the hypermarkets who put mom & pop stores out of business>> It is a legitimate way of doing business and gaining a market share fast. But there are risks that are inherent in this method. You need a huge warchest or a steady income to sustain loss-making prices or your prices may not be attractive enough. What does it mean for photographers? If a photographer charges way too low that costs cannot be recouped, the photographer needs to be sufficiently rich or to have a stable income to sustain the loss. If the photographer is sufficiently rich, one day, it will run dry or the industry will just crumble, leaving the photographer a monopoly (ideal situation) which the photographer may then raise prices since demand outstrip supply but doing that will just invite the low prices tactic from new competitors. If the photographer has a stable income, the photographer will not be able to take on too many jobs which shouldn't affect the market too much since there is another commitment. Either way, the photographer with a reputation of using this method will not be able to increase the prices without losing clients (unless a monopoly is obtained) because the reputation will be built on being a 'more affordable' photographer (I am not going to be drawn into the fight of whether such a photographer is skilled or not) and will attract such clients looking for that price range.

    To be a good photographer, one must study fundamentals and techniques relating to photos and the art of it. To run a successful photography business, one must know the underlying fundamentals that affect all industries and to be able to apply them to the photography market. Protectionism is certainly a defensive mechanism that can be called upon but the economic states of countries practising protectionism leaves nothing to the imagination. You can be the judge of whether such methods work.

    Personally, building a brand value is what I personally prefer but to each his own. There are different client tiers out there and if one is able to sell oneself to a tier successfully and make money, who is to say that it is wrong? The absence of 'more affordable' photographers do not necessarily make the market conditions better. In fact, I will be bold enough to say that the presence of such photographers make photography services affordable and thus, clients who would otherwise not even be in the market will be able to try photography services at the price that they are comfortable, effectively expanding the market. These clients can either go to the next tier of photographers when they realise the 'more affordable' ones do not provide the right value at the price or remain status quo which higher tier photographers would in the first place not be able to serve anyway. Of course, some will also fade away. Likewise, some clients in the higher tier segments may move up, remain status quo or move down. This is the dynamics of most industries.

    But regardless of which side of the fence you are on, just stay cool and enjoy what you are doing.
    G

  8. #68

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Anson View Post
    Like to know too..
    they are my disciples how can I said they are lousy. we eat, sleep, dream, talk about photography .Find more time to pass on your skills to some of the youths who drop out from the society.

  9. #69

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

    Quote Originally Posted by GeonSG View Post
    If they couldn't tell difference and you could, yet you mention that it is your modesty that forbids you to input your comments, then I have serious doubts. Is it modesty or a fear of being upfront because you might have offend the couple which may bring bad name to your own business?
    no la

    was referring to online postings by some photographers.

    but again, i have to say,
    maybe i m not up to that stage to appreciate those pics.

    as for me, i only speak my mind or i save my effort.
    but have stopped ever since i wrote something here
    and received every nasty emails for my comments which i thought is valid.

    BC

  10. #70

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

    Quote Originally Posted by bengchiat View Post
    no la

    was referring to online postings by some photographers.

    but again, i have to say,
    maybe i m not up to that stage to appreciate those pics.

    as for me, i only speak my mind or i save my effort.
    but have stopped ever since i wrote something here
    and received every nasty emails for my comments which i thought is valid.

    BC
    oh, haha. No wonder. It is just that you are a better man to me then Anyway nice thread.

    Cheers.

  11. #71

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

    $3000 per AD wedding consider cheap????
    Eat breath LIVERPOOL!!!

  12. #72

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fotoudavid View Post
    $3000 per AD wedding consider cheap????
    to some, it is dirt cheap and will not entertain such clients. But i will humbly take it up.

  13. #73

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

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post
    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...
    Actually I do agree with some of the points, different range for different targeted audience.

    Probably because of the negative impact of 'price war' that have affected the company that I work for and eventually to my wallet, I really detest those who are there to test water and resorted to using cheap price and promise sky high as the medium to gain entry.

    We have been promoting a certain product and with enough marketing effort, the product begins to sell and as usual, anything that have gain awareness and is useful, you will see competitive products coming in but unfortunately, the market is not substantial enough for too many players. Some companies to testbed the market just brought in substandard product and selling at a faction of the cost and eventually ditch this market completely when they find it not lucrative enough. It might be good to know the bad apples are gone, but the damages are actually done. Because of the rotten price of previous product sold, it's has a kind of stigma that all the similar product should be price in that range and it's only worth that much.

    I see this trend in photography, unfortunately.
    Last edited by ilikeit; 16th November 2010 at 06:42 PM.

  14. #74

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

    why would anyone care how much the other Guy is charging? High or low... Who gives a f***? this its there crux of that article and the contention here. If you can answer that, you have got it. Anything else its just beating around the same bush and horse.

  15. #75
    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
    they are my disciples how can I said they are lousy. we eat, sleep, dream, talk about photography .Find more time to pass on your skills to some of the youths who drop out from the society.
    As their "master", your commission quite high...

  16. #76

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

    Quote Originally Posted by godzilla60 View Post
    Wow... this thread has unwittingly ruffled lots of feathers....

    Adding my hopefully balanced 2cents to the fray...

    I still believe that different tiers of photographers exist to serve different tiers of clients. Why high-earning photographers can command the big bucks they earn is because they know their clients well enough and are able to differentiate themselves (consciously or otherwise) such that the clients are willing to pay more for the perceived value on top of photographs.

    What are these perceived values? Reliability, comfort, skills, peace and prestige are some common values that are associated with the branding of a professional/company regardless of the industry they are in. One might argue that these perceived values are not worth the difference in prices but obviously, some consumers are willing to pay for them whether these values are real or perceived. One might also argue that what affect other different industries do not affect us but this is not entirely true. The specifics and details may be different but the underlying fundamentals still remain. E.g. Do people pay extra for peace of mind? A traveller may be willing to pay additional by flying a full-fledged national airline with a reputation of almost zero cancellations than to fly a budget airline with a reputation of many cancellations. Why? Because that traveller feels that the peace of mind is worth the price difference. Does it mean that the full-fledged national airline will not cancel on the traveller's trip but the budget airline will? No, but to the traveller who values peace of mind, this perceived peace of mind of not worrying about the hassle of cancelled flights is incentive to fork out that extra. Is it worth it for the traveller? Only the traveller knows.

    On photographers who offer cheap rates, it is actually one way of entering a market with a low natural barrier of entry by disrupting the market. <<Cue in the hypermarkets who put mom & pop stores out of business>> It is a legitimate way of doing business and gaining a market share fast. But there are risks that are inherent in this method. You need a huge warchest or a steady income to sustain loss-making prices or your prices may not be attractive enough. What does it mean for photographers? If a photographer charges way too low that costs cannot be recouped, the photographer needs to be sufficiently rich or to have a stable income to sustain the loss. If the photographer is sufficiently rich, one day, it will run dry or the industry will just crumble, leaving the photographer a monopoly (ideal situation) which the photographer may then raise prices since demand outstrip supply but doing that will just invite the low prices tactic from new competitors. If the photographer has a stable income, the photographer will not be able to take on too many jobs which shouldn't affect the market too much since there is another commitment. Either way, the photographer with a reputation of using this method will not be able to increase the prices without losing clients (unless a monopoly is obtained) because the reputation will be built on being a 'more affordable' photographer (I am not going to be drawn into the fight of whether such a photographer is skilled or not) and will attract such clients looking for that price range.

    To be a good photographer, one must study fundamentals and techniques relating to photos and the art of it. To run a successful photography business, one must know the underlying fundamentals that affect all industries and to be able to apply them to the photography market. Protectionism is certainly a defensive mechanism that can be called upon but the economic states of countries practising protectionism leaves nothing to the imagination. You can be the judge of whether such methods work.

    Personally, building a brand value is what I personally prefer but to each his own. There are different client tiers out there and if one is able to sell oneself to a tier successfully and make money, who is to say that it is wrong? The absence of 'more affordable' photographers do not necessarily make the market conditions better. In fact, I will be bold enough to say that the presence of such photographers make photography services affordable and thus, clients who would otherwise not even be in the market will be able to try photography services at the price that they are comfortable, effectively expanding the market. These clients can either go to the next tier of photographers when they realise the 'more affordable' ones do not provide the right value at the price or remain status quo which higher tier photographers would in the first place not be able to serve anyway. Of course, some will also fade away. Likewise, some clients in the higher tier segments may move up, remain status quo or move down. This is the dynamics of most industries.

    But regardless of which side of the fence you are on, just stay cool and enjoy what you are doing.
    Well said!

  17. #77

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

    So moral of the story is?

    If one is not happy with how the photography trend is going (and we can't do anything about that), better do something about it.

    1. Get another regular job to fill in Mon - Fri. Take leave for weekdays. If you are fit, 50 per AD/year is quite sustainable. May impact family life. This depends if wife is working or not.
    2. Get another means of income by expanding into genre of photography, or do videography. (some photographers have valid concerns about becoming non-niche)
    3. Do another business running parallel to full-time photography.
    4. Hope you have not been spending too much, and have enough bullets to whack in the stock market during a crisis.
    5. Differentiate your product/packages by adding in extras that the super part time guys cannot do. (more appropriate for the wedding crowd)

    In the end, all are just trying to earn money. So you may be earning 150-300k pa nowadays as a higher-end wedding photographer. But that does not mean able to stay there all the way. My wife and I are very practical people and are always aware of this as I am in for the long run. Your repu might be damaged suddenly by a stupid incident. I think someone who is quite high up there dropped down quite hard in terms of rates, not sure if you guys know if you heard the VGs talking about it. You need to diversify and ensure another path which you can take esp in your later years. After all, 十年风水轮流转. Having 2 or 3 streams of income is not impossible. Quitting your career at 30 to do fulltime wedding/commercial PG, major drop of income at 40 due to incident and also simply because "you get too tired as you age", try to go back to your main career nearly as a fresh candidate....woohoos. Better hope that you have at least 1000k/1 mil to see you through, if you don't mind taking a 2-3k per month job just to supplement (bare bare minimum to be sustainable in SG for husband and wife, oppps I forgot the kids and the car and chance of hyperinflation!). Some photography biz are husband and wife team, both quit from their respective fields/careers? Personally I think its a bad move, unless you have another biz income.

    I already have some China and Filipino FT colleagues who know that wedding photography is quite lucrative, they want to do but just that they do not even have a DSLR. Quite a number of them remit 1-2k back. It is not difficult to guess what may happen once they get more hungry. In the corporate world, a lot of us are getting squeezed. But due to the uncertain nature of wedding photography, I am still not quitting even though I earn more from weddings. (actually my aim is to retire early before 50). Today's society in Singapore is way too uncertain.
    Last edited by 2100; 16th November 2010 at 10:19 PM.

  18. #78

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

    This is OT,

    No matter how much you earn... make sure you don't spend it all.

    Spend money on things that will grow the money... so call investment.

    Lets face it, we have limited working life... we need to work on passive income... some turn to stock or microstock photography, some on other type of investment and some one something else.


    I don't know much about cheap (in terms of price) but I do know cheap photographer who skim in delivering quality products to clients.... and some is pretty cheap to do their business in terms of servicing their client.

    Why many fail as business is not deliver as promise... and we are not talking about exceeding expectation yet.

    Many, in order to get jobs, flaunt everything they have and don't have and try to "sell"... but can't keep up on the illusion of "hype" and unfortunately, business is getting harder and harder to do.

    Growing a long term sustainable business require very careful planning and building a good foundation. Honest business takes a lot longer to reach the peak but it will stay there a lot longer as long as the business keep up with the changes...

    If anyone think a mere great images plus good marketing will survive long term... then one would really just building a foundation over sand.

    Regards,

    Hart

  19. #79
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    Default Re: Cheap photographers only kill themselves, not the industry

    Quote Originally Posted by stor View Post
    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
    ahem. sadly, that is the truth. u pay 400 bucks, the middleman takes in a big chunk. u wont even know it this is a business model used by many companies. i know of a few.

  20. #80

    Default

    Quoted from some leadership training -

    "If business was a game, and it was fun why then do we treat each other as adversaries? If you are strongly committed to military strategies as your analogies to business strategies, then business is war. The field of business becomes your battlefield. Business tactics and strategies become entwined with deception, attack, and defence; there will only be win-lose for war is about winning battles, and battlefields of the mind. Unless you believe that the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

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