View Poll Results: How much have NON-pros made from ad hoc paid assignments

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  • $100-$500

    22 41.51%
  • $501-$1000

    6 11.32%
  • $1001- $2000

    8 15.09%
  • >$2001

    17 32.08%
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Thread: For Non-Pros only - How much have you made from Assignments

  1. #41
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    Hope I am not the under-cutter! If not i will kenna hammer!

    I treat photography purely as a hobby and thus, never thot of recovering costs of equipment, just like rearing fishy, dun expect my fish to be sold for profit, just love the hobby.

    Dunno if i am consider a different league from you guys who purpose is to make money? Maybe I am a competitor in some ways!

    I did tell my "customers" up front that I am doing as a hobby and thus, no sophisticated equipment and a "hobbist standard and quality". Show them my portfolio in my PC.

    People just pass my contact to frens and frens...maybe that's people....free one must grab huh? I got satisified with my hobby and they got their photos.

    Most of them are OK with just normal photos and I am really surprised how budget are some of them! Before I took their projects, some have only frens taking for them in mini digital camera...

    Maybe i can consider myself doing charity in a way

  2. #42

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    Who would hire a newbie if its not cheap? If newbies charge the same as pros, its quite impossible to earn any pocket money at all.

    Personally i would take a job even if i end up making like 10-15 dollars an hour. Its newbie price.
    My Personal Folio (of random events and things)

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO
    everyone still learning, it's all in the attitude.

    So when can you bring me along and teach me a thing or two?

  4. #44
    Senior Member sykestang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO
    yo tang!

    i'm sure u (and we all actually!) know that these are your personal opinions, and i'm sure u're a nice person enuff not to force it upon anyone. anyway just to respond to your opinions:

    sometimes a photographer is NOT undercutting. that is just his stated price. i started off cheap too, i dunno about you, was ur first paid shoot for $1000 (or more?) if it was, then good for you, but i must say not many pple have that good fortune.

    another point u mentioned was "blame". i think that's a little too harsh. every where in the world, for almost every thing that can be bought with money, there is an "undercutter".

    i remember a conversation that if someone approached you for a wedding shoot under a certain amt, you would say no. and that is entirely up to you and everyone should respect that. i also think that respect is required for someone who's bottom line amt is say... $500. i wouldn't say that he is wrong, would you? it's just a matter of differing thresholds of acceptance on wat is worthwhile for their time, together with market mechanics, and the subjective topic of photo quality. honestly, as i've discussed above in my previous posts, having great photos does not necessarily mean u can demand more. there are PLENTY of couples that will not be able to tell which photos are better, a $2000 pro, or a $800 freelancer. (i know becos i'm THAT $800 freelancer)

    anyway back to your above post, i'm slightly confused. on one hand u say dun take it serious, just shoot, u even mentioned pros undercutting becos of bad market, but then u start blaming a person that does the undercutting? wat gives?
    Why u take it so seriously??? Because you're one of those who undercut the market also???

    My sentence in my early post is "... many others (even pros) under-cut their regular price just to niche the market especially in the wedding business". It simply means Pro lowering their usual rate to be more competitive. I believe the Pros here know how to charge and know their cost. Whereas on the other hand, many newbies first started out by undercutting the market rate cos they do not know the value of this kind of services and also not aware of their cost.

    Moreover in my early post, I am actually advising CSers here try not to undercut the market rate for the sack of recovering the cost of investment. Do remember your original intention to pick up photography as a form of hobby.

    I believe you don't understand the point of business is not based on how much the seller wants but is based on a fixed value on the services/items worth in addition to how much the seller wants to mark up his profit margin.

    An simple cost breakdown is:
    i. Wedding Photography + prints and decent album: $200
    ii. Equipment deprecation, maintainence, etc: $100
    iii. Basic professional work hour rate @$50/hrx10hrs: $500

    Everything in life have it intended price and value. In the above, a decent wedding photography should cost in the region of $800 and above. And many ppl actually would have this budget in mind when they get married. It just that, as most Singaporean do, we love to bargain. And many a times it is the photographer who loses out. I personally don't blame photographer who lose out in a bargain and gives way to a lower rate than $800 as he can lower his hourly charge. But what I disgust is those who advertise a wedding photography package at $500 or even lower, in the hope to niche the market share. In this regards, the photographer who charges $500 for the whole package only have $200 for the 10hrs job, providing professional services. Do note, photography is a form of specialised skills and is classified as professional services. That's why we buy professional equipment. Don't lower the value of photography.

    Not to mention names, there are even photographers trying to niche more market share by looking for backup photographers among CSers here without paying, claiming that he/she would teach the so called 'backup' photographer the style and skill to handle actual wedding day photography. This is absurb and preposterous, lets face the facts, as a engaged paid wedding event photogapher, you should be concentrating in the whole event, where else can you find time to teach and pass skills to the poor guy who come along in the hope of getting skills, etc. And on the other hand, is it fair to the poor couple who actually pay for the 'professional' photography service and little did they know that they are actually the 'guinea-pigs' in the middle of a photography class.

    Yes, you may be right by saying not all jobs can fetch $1000. I started out as a PA wedding photographer many years ago when I'm still a student. I was paid $150 - $200 a day covering for the outdoor photography and dinner only. Till date, if I do need backup photographer, I pay them no less than 25% of the total of my assignment profit. You can check with those who have shoot with me and I treat them as part of my team for the job not 'student' as I really do not find the time to teach.

    Although now I don't consider myself a pro, but I do have events photography assignments on and off, and I don't see why I can't pay my backup photographers when I do need them as way back in the late 80's a professional photographer can still afford to pay me for just being a PA, and I was not really suppose to shoot and even if I did shoot, my photo would not be used at all. A PA job back then is to change batteries, films, carry bags, holding reflectors, etc. Although he/she can gets to shoot a couple of shoots if he/she wants. BTW the beauty of being a PA back then is that the guy actually own a studio & darkroom and he actually developed my roll of film for me and he even gives me pointers after the wedding when the film is printed.

    That's bring out to a question. Since in the first place, the backup photographer is called upon as a form of learning actual wedding day photography did those 'wedding pro' who source for free backup photographer here gives the 'backup' photographer a post debrief after the wedding shoot and guide them based on their pictures?

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO
    everyone still learning, it's all in the attitude.
    Quote Originally Posted by espn
    So when can you bring me along and teach me a thing or two?
    Joho,

    Do bring me along also... I would like to learn a thing or two from you also...

  6. #46
    Senior Member jOhO's Avatar
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    Well tang i knew i'd get a well thought out response from you!

    busy at work now so i'll make this quick, hope you don't mind.

    before you hop out of your seat, there are many points that u've raised which i DO AGREE! i do agree that photography is a professional service and should be charged accordingly, absolutely! but this world isn't perfect. there are people that charge low, as many, or even more than, the people WANTING such low charges. that is why we have this "problem". we may not like it, but it happens, so i dunno about you, but i can't change the world. perhaps that's a "bad attitude" but i'm being practical and it helps me sleep at night better.

    you start off my post asking me if i undercut. well i don't know the answer to that question, but if you wish i can PM you my package for you to guage. my intention is not to be cheaper so i can get business, which is the meaning of "undercut" isn't it? someone charge $1000, i charge $800 for the same package, that's undercutting.

    my attitude is i dun care how much other pple qoute the customer. be it $500 or $5000, my rate is my rate. i mean wat happens when somoene says oh they got this package for $500 quoted, but they rather have me becos they prefer my personality and photography, for $800. does that mean i'm OVER charging? i think we need to realise the difference between undercutting, and having our own comfortable/well-thought out rate, taking in a/c time, depreciation, quality and TARGET MARKET (u should know the general concensus of the public is that freelance = cheap, and pro = expensive. alot of time customers come to freelancers is becos they want CHEAP hence the root of the problem of why i can't charge higher already).

    honestly, i really wonder what market rate is. perhaps i haven't been in the industry long enuff to have experience from the 80s, but the variance in the rates in the market these days is huge, how to determine wat a market rate is?

    i have to comment that you are spot on when u say newbies do not understand the work and commitment and depreciation and etc etc when they really charge low, or give free services. i believe some REALLY do not know until they shoot a few and realise, wah lau.. really boh hua. YET there are a few that will do it for fun, passion etc. whatever rocks their boat; we can't help it bro, it's like that. i dun get upset over them. at all.

    ok last issue, regarding "free" backup photographers:

    i don't know if you're referring to me as well, but let's for the record say that yeah i have had the honour of engaging a second photographer to shoot with me pro bono. the threads in consumers' corner tell no lies. now my attitude to that is somewhat mixed. while i agree with you that working for free is "wrong", i also believe that this is a way that someone could really gain experience becos I STARTED OUT THAT WAY. i am what i am now (a good or bad wedding photographer up to your subjective view) becos i was given that chance, not just once, but about three un-paid (except for angpows) shoots before i ventured out on my own as a main. as a matter of fact, i think just three back up shoots, straight away go into main, and as THE ONLY main already very fast, and damn stressful, but i managed and i'm happy with (and proud of!) my achievements.

    so i really dunno how to react to this. i constantly have this in my mind when i think of engaging photographers to help me for free. u have no idea the amt of PMs i get offering this. to me, i can/will shoot alone, i dun care. the fact of the matter is that the couples are paying me for ONE photog only. unless i can sell them a dual photog set up (which i did and will be shooting with gadrian in oct) then of course i will pay. this comes back to the point, that whether i like it or not, many of my customers are those ai pee ai chee kind. so one photog already bargain until pants wanna drop, how to add a second photog for them to pay?

    as for the "education part" yes i do from time to time during the wedding explain what i do, and why i do it. i wouldn't say i am teaching them, i'm just sharing my experience, up to them to take it in and learn it themselves. as for a shoot debrief, well that's indeed a good idea, if ever i engage a free photog to shoot with me, i'll definitely consider that!

    ahhaha this was supposed to be short and sweet.. i guess i lied! have a great day at work bro, my week is already screwed.. busy like shiat...

  7. #47

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    Actually, this problem of undercutting is not unique to the photography business. In all businesses, this is an ongoing challenge. How do you maintain margins in the face of budget providers? The major airline companies are suffering for it in the face of emerging budget airlines.

    There is no point lamenting that the budget guys are destroying the market in general. The fact is they are not. They are just taking away market share. creating a market segment. I'm sure they are not complaining. In fact, the customers are not complaining as well. They have given thousands the alternative for a no frills basic option to travel.

    Is there a market for amateur wedding photographers (with day jobs)? The answer is yes. And where is the market share going to come from? Well, they will come mainly from the mid-range price category. This is very unfortunate and most of the complaints we see in clubsnap are from photographers charging their services in this category. Can you imagine somebody willing to pay just $200 for a wedding shoot with no requirement for prints? I'm sure there is a market for that as well.

    On the flip side, I have friends who sought out the very best and famous photographers. They are willing to pay $3,000 to $4,000. I'm also sure the top guys in photography are not affected by low budget demand.

    I will be getting married in May next year and we have already decide on the photographer. How did we choose? We set a budget of about $1,000 and then keep our eyes peeled. Word of mouth and friend's wedding photos are a great source of advertising. I have yet to come across someone who thinks their photographer sucks either in skill or attitude. For that reason alone, I will immediately rule out anyone with bad feedback. My fiance saw pictures from a friend's album and liked it so much that the decision was more or less made on the spot (ie. I did not have much say since the lady has already made up her mind).

    If you are one of those photographers in the mid-range. What should you do? Convince all photographers to price higher? Don't waste your breath. You don't have the clout to do that. Complain and lament on the forum? You end up sounding like a loser. I suggest you work on giving your customers a good experience in order to get referrals. It is a myth to believe that people will pay more just because your photos are nicer. How do you define nice? Work harder on giving your clients a better overall experience from start to finish. Everyone knows it is easier to close on a referred customer.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO
    ... becos i was given that chance, not just once, but about three un-paid (except for angpows) shoots before i ventured out on my own as a main.
    Hmmm... you're indeed lucky to really experience for the 3 unpaid shoot as a backup....

    Well, to me, I wasn't that lucky, I guess. I was paid as a Photographer PA and I had to experience shooting a wedding day photography for 9mth with almost a wedding every weekend, before I dare to venture out as a main. Even then after I ventured out, I still turn back to my 'mentor' as his PA at times for the sake of the extra money... However that was many years ago. And now, I am more towards commercial events shoot than weddings due to the post-work involved after the shoot.

    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO
    ... i can/will shoot alone, i dun care. the fact of the matter is that the couples are paying me for ONE photog only.
    Then why bother to get another photographer to shoot for them. Unless you've the intention to show your 'quality service' by supplying 2 photographers for the price of one, in the hope that words of your 'quality service' will spread for you by the couple.

    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO
    ...
    ... (which i did and will be shooting with gadrian in oct) then of course i will pay.
    Can't imagine you have the cheek to ask GAdrian to shoot for you for free Even though I believe, GAdrian at his own self, at times do not mind to shoot for free...

    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO
    ... as for the "education part" yes i do from time to time during the wedding explain what i do, and why i do it. i wouldn't say i am teaching them, i'm just sharing my experience, up to them to take it in and learn it themselves.
    Still the same old point.. it is not ethical to teach during a paid job. Can't imagine that you can used your paying customer as 'guinea-pigs'... moreover how much can you pass on to your 'disciple' during a actual shoot?

    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO
    ... as for a shoot debrief, well that's indeed a good idea, if ever i engage a free photog to shoot with me, i'll definitely consider that!
    You better, this is the least you do for them as they sacrifice their 1day time and not to mention expenses like travelling, food, etc. for you to uphold your service level.

    That's why if you did not lowered down your price than the market rate, I believe at minimum $800 per wedding package, you definitely can spare your backup photographer (I'd prefer to call them photographer's PA if I ever need one), at least $100-$150 for the whole day work.

    Do consider my point.

  9. #49

    Red face

    for this poll, there should be another popular choice, ie. the negative amount.
    Many non-pros here are always shooting for our relatives and friends and most of the time they are asking for free photos to be sent to them or worse still, the next time you see them, they will scream at you in front of all the other relatives and friends (mostly ah sohs/aunties) on why you have taken and never sent to them the photos! So we spent a lot on film-developments, opportunity costs, etc.... Also young and pretty gals/models, etc.... how to ask $$$ from them (i mean afterall, we have really enjoyed/and felt shiok taking their pics).
    But on the whole, so far only received an angpow ($10) from a filthy rich relative family for a funeral, and nothing from a few weddings from all those filthy rich relatives! Received only "thanks" and "please develop ALL the images for us, we will appreciate it very much" thingy (of course, i only burned them into a CD for them). But i, like many CS members here don't really look forward to any financial rewards but we will be very happy if these ppl (esp the rich ones) will juz send us a nice appreciation card or a little gift.
    Any other ppl here have the same experience?
    always the Light, .... always.

  10. #50
    Senior Member jOhO's Avatar
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    tang,

    Hmmm... you're indeed lucky to really experience for the 3 unpaid shoot as a backup....

    Well, to me, I wasn't that lucky, I guess. I was paid as a Photographer PA and I had to experience shooting a wedding day photography for 9mth with almost a wedding every weekend, before I dare to venture out as a main. Even then after I ventured out, I still turn back to my 'mentor' as his PA at times for the sake of the extra money... However that was many years ago. And now, I am more towards commercial events shoot than weddings due to the post-work involved after the shoot.

    i dunno bro, sarcasm is rolling of your tongue. yeah well i INDEED think i am lucky, those few shoots carved the passion and made it clear to me that this is what i wanna concentrate on. not everything is counted in dollars and cents.

    Then why bother to get another photographer to shoot for them. Unless you've the intention to show your 'quality service' by supplying 2 photographers for the price of one, in the hope that words of your 'quality service' will spread for you by the couple.

    If you will only think that way, trust me that i will not try to convince you otherwise. i've already stated why i do it, and that not doing it doesn't make a difference to me.

    Can't imagine you have the cheek to ask GAdrian to shoot for you for free Even though I believe, GAdrian at his own self, at times do not mind to shoot for free...

    Yeah i can't imagine that either, becos it hasn't and won't happen. he's not shooting for free, perhaps you might wanna check with him b4 u hurl "accusations"? i think u're being very rude by not only assuming, but saying that i have the CHEEK to do something of such great audaciousness?

    Still the same old point.. it is not ethical to teach during a paid job. Can't imagine that you can used your paying customer as 'guinea-pigs'... moreover how much can you pass on to your 'disciple' during a actual shoot?

    how is it not ethical? i have plenty of time during the make up to brief the extra photog, i sit and eat lunch, can talk to the photog, in between "sessions" can talk, when we're travelling in the car, when i take a smoke break (yes i do, since i'm a smoker.) so, is it also unethical to pop out for a quick smoke when the bride is changing from wedidng gown to kuah b4 going back to niang jia?

    You better, this is the least you do for them as they sacrifice their 1day time and not to mention expenses like travelling, food, etc. for you to uphold your service level.

    true it's their sacrifice, a WILLING one. no one is forcing them. and i reiterate, it doesn't bother me if i shoot alone. i dun shoot with a "free backup" for any other reason than for the benefit of the photographer. you can say that it's not appropriate that someone shoots free, but i'll take it personally if you say or imply i do it for MY benefit.

    That's why if you did not lowered down your price than the market rate, I believe at minimum $800 per wedding package, you definitely can spare your backup photographer (I'd prefer to call them photographer's PA if I ever need one), at least $100-$150 for the whole day work.

    Do consider my point.

    if i do charge $800 (and/or more, depending on the package) it's becos i charge according to me as a SINGLE photog. we're going around in circles here. wat i charge has nothing to do with why i OFFER a photographer to come and get some experience. and i say again, if i promote a dual photog set up, then of course the couple will pay for that, and of course the photog will be paid (like gadrian). your points have been considered and rebutted.

    please refrain from being personal. what you say is no wrong than what i've replied. be mindful that it is opinions we are dealing with here and tact is important esp online. i've heard you speak in person, and it's not that tactful either, but that's not impt here.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO
    i dunno bro, sarcasm is rolling of your tongue. yeah well i INDEED think i am lucky, those few shoots carved the passion and made it clear to me that this is what i wanna concentrate on. not everything is counted in dollars and cents.
    Yes, I admit I am making a sacactic remark. Cos I did that on purpose as I really cannot bring myself to agree on your previous reasoning on why you do this and why you do that... you never answer to the question of undercutting, but jump into defend by indirectly admit that you are in fact undercutting.

    My 1st post in this thread is an advise given to photographers here, be it starter or pro, try not to undercut as it would ultimately spoils the market not only for others but yourself as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO
    If you will only think that way, trust me that i will not try to convince you otherwise. i've already stated why i do it, and that not doing it doesn't make a difference to me.
    It don't makes any difference to me either as I already niched my own market.

    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO
    Yeah i can't imagine that either, becos it hasn't and won't happen. he's not shooting for free, perhaps you might wanna check with him b4 u hurl "accusations"? i think u're being very rude by not only assuming, but saying that i have the CHEEK to do something of such great audaciousness?
    Somethimes I really wonder if you understand simple English terms and gesture. I uses terms like 'Can't imagine' it is totally different from saying 'You have the cheek'. Also the sentence, 'Even though I believe, GAdrian at his own self, at times do not mind to shoot for free...' is another gesture not an assumption. I don't need to check with GAdrian anything as I believe if he wants, in his good self, he can shoot for anybody for free.

    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO
    how is it not ethical? i have plenty of time during the make up to brief the extra photog, i sit and eat lunch, can talk to the photog, in between "sessions" can talk, when we're travelling in the car, when i take a smoke break (yes i do, since i'm a smoker.) so, is it also unethical to pop out for a quick smoke when the bride is changing from wedidng gown to kuah b4 going back to niang jia?
    Whether it is ethical or not to teach while your are actually being paid to perform a professional service, I leave it to readers here to judge. My own opinion stills stands. I respect my customers, just like they trust me to shoot for them. I personally would not teach or doing some other things during a paid job.

    The same concept goes for doing another job during your actual paid working hours. If you think it is ethical, be my guest and continue with it for all I care.

    The same question goes back to you, if you know your wedding couple does not like cigarette smoke or smell, would you still take your usual smoking break during the shoot. You can say that you're not aware, but did you specifically ask the wedding couple permission to teach during the shoot, are they aware of what you're doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO
    true it's their sacrifice, a WILLING one. no one is forcing them. and i reiterate, it doesn't bother me if i shoot alone. i dun shoot with a "free backup" for any other reason than for the benefit of the photographer. you can say that it's not appropriate that someone shoots free, but i'll take it personally if you say or imply i do it for MY benefit.
    Please answer the above point before you start defending your way out that there are indeed of no benefit to you by providing a 2 photographer on a job only fitted for 1 photographer.

    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO
    if i do charge $800 (and/or more, depending on the package) it's becos i charge according to me as a SINGLE photog. we're going around in circles here. wat i charge has nothing to do with why i OFFER a photographer to come and get some experience. and i say again, if i promote a dual photog set up, then of course the couple will pay for that, and of course the photog will be paid (like gadrian). your points have been considered and rebutted.
    Whatever, but please think twice before you try to make a S***** out of your customer and worst of all, the ignorance of any start-out photographers among CSers.

    And please stop bringing GAdrian's name here as he is totally out of this picture here and I am begin to wonder your intention by keep bringing him into the picture of this debate.

    I do not wish to debate anymore over this issue since you're so defensive and can't really understand simple advise given to English gestures.

    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO
    please refrain from being personal. what you say is no wrong than what i've replied. be mindful that it is opinions we are dealing with here and tact is important esp online. i've heard you speak in person, and it's not that tactful either, but that's not impt here.
    I do speak this manner selectively to certain ppl only. Frankly, usually I am tactful to most ppl unless they start to piss me off with their behaviour and doings or speech. I believe many CSers can vouch for me. To be frank, I don't like your style when it comes to speaking face to face either. Your doings to far at the 'Nikon Council' meet ups is not that wonderful either, borrowing photographic equipment for paid jobs/travel shooting, from lenses all the way to small items like Cir-Pls and Tripods! And now you talk about being Pro here.

    As a matter of fact, the above para is personal.

    This would be my last post here. What message I want to deliver has already been delivered. I believe readers here understand what I am driving at.

  12. #52

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    Does this gallery look like a $150 dollar wedding?
    http://www.pbase.com/nawoo/jeremy__sue

    heh heh

    Sigh, talk about being underpaid

    I love weddings. Seeing two people who are madly in love with each other deserves to be saved to memory.
    Last edited by FLiNcHY; 1st October 2004 at 12:26 PM.

  13. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by FLiNcHY
    Does this gallery look like a $150 dollar wedding?
    http://www.pbase.com/nawoo/jeremy__sue

    heh heh

    Sigh, talk about being underpaid

    I love weddings. Seeing two people who are madly in love with each other deserves to be saved to memory.
    Seems overpriced.

  14. #54
    Senior Member jOhO's Avatar
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    tang u are truly misguided. i'll be brief here becos you're not worth my time. i guess i'm being very gracious to even type this.

    what is there to undercut when i am shooting free when i'm a newbie (we were talking about my first three free shoots) it's DOWNRIGHT free, not even undercutting. you have already said shooting for free is wrong, so your point is put across.. and then? u want a medal? i buy u kopi at spinelli's lar hor? dun cry...

    and then my only other thing i have to DEFEND (yeah time to take out my sword and armour) is that i PAID to RENT the equipment, proving once again that what you say is all hogwash and bears no consequence except to malign someone. please, at least care more about your credibility. you're embarassing yourself.

    as for borrowing small items like CPL and all, well i did ask, but they weren't available so ok lor. anyway i dun see a problem in borrowing, whether for paid assignments or personal shoots on holidays, it's becos i have FRIENDS. so pls.. if u wanna change topic by all means, but anyway u've already said this is personal... so i guess anything goes ya?

    hope u sleep well tonite bro, you really need to clear your head.

  15. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by yulee
    Make money? More like loose money I shoot for my friends/family's special events/weddings as a favour - I end up paying for the film/development/prints etc, how to claim money back from them?
    Well the simplist way is to tell them up front you do not mind sparing the time and effort but ypu are transfering back the cost of film and processing - I take it they do want prints right ? Or they just want to see something and not keep anything ? A true friend never overlooks the simple small money stuff - those that thing you are more than willing to shoot and pay and pay for their prints well I would not call these friends - would you ?

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