In God we trust,
others please pay cash upfront.
am glad I no longer shooting weddings
My justification to the couple is, I prefer to spend time working on their image rather then chasing for payment. As the more time I use to chase, the less time I spend doing their stuff and it is true. If you allocate one 8 hours slot for a wedding retouching, if I am on the phone 5 mins and 5 mins to recover, it's 10 mins less. Good clients appreciate this...
It is scary in the beginning to charge in full... But you will get used to it.
To date, as I don't do many weddings as I don't advertise for it, but book 100% of enquies, I had my couple chasing me to pay me the money prior to their wedding day as they want to make sure I turn up.
But you better worth it (both from image quality and service) at the end of the work.
It remarkably effective and clients have been more then pleased with their "investment".
So remember promise little, get paid in advance and deliver your best. This is always work for me... But please communicate with your clients.
I recently wrote an entry on knowing how to charge the right amount to your clients. While it is more geared towards professionals, I think part-time photographers will find it helpful as well.
I was approached by people from GroupOn and to be honest... Are they really sure they can handle the volume if we put the money aside? I consider myself busy at 300 clients a year, I can't image how to do 500 clients in 6 months at $9 and give CD?
What Wei mention is true... But of course some can debate that they can live with lower income... But don't we all want a better future? You can't have better future if all you do is covering your cost, some even making in providing their service?
Of course, you can't measure success purely from amount of money you make, it is just part of the equation.
I learn that, success is a progression in chasing the dream and those who has a dream (and work hard) will not be denied.
But please think about it when you do something... You would really don't want people keep calling you and say, oh, can you extend the group on promo.... You seriously think there is any retainers after the so call "exposure"? Guess what, someone else will do the same and gosh, they will go to the next when they need the photography again... Maybe in next 1-2 years...
I do pity newcomers who don't have enough experience to know this until being hit hard.
On the other hand, it could be a scam, people just put their business on group on, get 1000 booking at $9 (after fee) and run away and disappear?
Just my thought...
I agree to TS
I m a fresh grad nw , for e past few yrs I did some freelancing (web design, graphic, photography, illustration) I also encountered those 'cheapo' cilents that will try v hard to push the cost to nearly 2 digits.
I once accompanied a fren who just grad fr local art sch at tt time to meet her freelance client to discuss abt the $, e client literally calculated fr the norm dip. salary rate divide it into e no. of working hrs in a mth and sae that he will not pay more than the hourly rate
tt time was 1.6k for dip so = $1600 / 160hrs = $10/hr and also gave us the excuse sayin it will be a gd exposure etc . He also compared us to his whatever relatives charge very low and/or FOC but it really made pple wonder alot , if ur relatives can help u FOC why do you want to find students photographers/designers to do the job?
My personal experiences when I was a student years back (v noob that time, n totally dunno any1 in the creatives field at all) also included client did not pay $, my charging too low, etc .There are alot things sch don't teach and we have to source out on our own, I learn along the way by being auto , look into the industries , finding professionals and ask, google.
Every creatives have different quotation on the projects, so i also did something like I wrote my rough quotation then I show a few frens (by then I noe some pple in the creative industries) to ensure I wasnt spoiling the market n discussed things to look up for , sometime I tag along with them to go assignments =p and learn.
* a hobbyist photo, so still learning the ropes
I've always told students, charge 10% less than the going professional rates as that will give you a taste of what's to come and you'll be fairly compensated for the work you do and the mistakes you make.
GWC's are fast becoming the global bane of professional photography. The number of these twits has grown exponentially in the last decade. My Bulesheet detector can smell a gearmeaurebator a mile off and a GWC at 2 miles and sadly almost everywhere I look there's a GWC lurking in the undergrowth. Some days I swear I wish we were back in the days of manual only cameras .. the pickings on the carcass of the money tree were far better back then.
Last edited by Ian; 16th June 2012 at 01:46 AM.
The Ang Moh from Hell
Professional Photography - many are called, few are chosen!
this thread is so good , thanks all the seniors for sharing their valuable idea
For anyone wishing to do it right and make this a career, even part time, as long as its doing it right and not undermining the market, I am sure many pros are more than willing to teach them. But for those who are trying to do a pro's job just to pretend they are pro, for show or to impress their friends, for thrill or fun, or those who simply have wrong values or just plain dumb, then sorry, I just cannot see my enemies taking food away from my family and still be friendly. I try my best, the only way to hope that majority of photo hobbyists understand there is still a need for professional photography and not to take it lightly.
This is the era where people have a super camera like D3S but don't know how to take a proper group photo nor understand exposure, YET wanting to do a pro job.
This is the era where GWC call themselves wedding second shooters when they don't even qualify as assistant's assistant, I cannot fathom how blatant and shameless one can get when they have to ask advice to learn HOW TO FOCUS their own camera yet they are calling themselves second shooter. Just obnoxious Uncle Bob, no matter they call themselves second shooter or eighty-ninth shooter.
This is the era where GWCs took a photo at a wedding they are suddenly a wedding photographer, took a photo at news event they are suddenly a photojournalist, weekend at the zoo and suddenly they are wildlife photographer. Please, come take some pictures of my toilet and be my toilet photographer.
Sorry for the rant. Its 3am.
when some people know nuts about photography business come and shoot weddings or whatever for fun or extra pocket money, they call themselves shooting for passion.
and expect pros to teach them how to shoot, and can't hold back anything some more.
but when come to their own jobs facing competition from juniors or foreign talents, they make hell of noise, can even want to complaint to MP.....
very strange hor? lol
If your work is half past six and can't do nuts about everything else, claiming bigger then you are not only make u like a fool but also tarnish people who is in the same trade. People start to lose faith to the real "award winning photographer" which is sad.
Aiya... Some people like to complain and get some "free advertising"...
To be honest, nowadays I could not care less with people's claim... I prefer to just doing my own thing and happier this way.
Have a good weekend and have a nice cold beer to chill bro JasonB, it is really no point of elevating your BP over things like this. Look back and remember why we are in this trade give me the focus. It is for my children and my own satisfaction so whatever people want to do, let them.
I don't find many are interested in business of photography so I won't run any for at least a few months... They can learn from their own mistake.
As for their antics, well the less I say the better as I really don't fancy high blood pressure from getting all worked up over those Ah Beng types who infest GWC world.
The Ang Moh from Hell
Professional Photography - many are called, few are chosen!
An interesting thread thus far. I'm a student still studying in JC, still learning the ropes of photography.
As a student, I can't afford pro equipments. Scrimped hard and managed to save enough money for a decent kit. D90, 70-200 2.8, 10-20, 35 50 85 primes, two pairs of strobes. It's not much but I'm contented.
To learn the ropes, I've tagged along in photography walks, outings, workshops, bought books and dvds, and use my friends as models.
I've a deep passion for photography, shooting schools events, family outings, participating in competitions.
However, I lack real world experience. I've always shot in scenarios that are safe, that I'm in control of, as stated by the examples I've cited above.
Yes, I do want to go out and shoot weddings, events and such but I do not have enough confidence in my abilities.
Seniors, gurus, shifu, masters, what do you think should be my next step? Should I follow what you have advised and start shooting events on my own, charging 10% less than what pros charge? Or should I shadow as a second photographer while tagging with professionals?
I'm more keen on experience and not really money. When I'm confident I'll strike it off on my own. I do not want to anger the photographic community, so here I am asking on what my next step should be.
Thank you for reading and I hope you can advise me
build a solid foundation on your basic photography, once you have good understanding of basic photography and apply them on whatever subjects you take, your pictures will show, people will know.
for an example, if someone put a plate of half eaten Char Kway Teow, ask you to shoot, you can apply what you have learnt and "shoot it in it's best light". people will know whether you 有料没料. rather holding a 5D or 1D, D4 or D800, but don't know how to make full use of it. 好看不中用!
when you already have these, clients and other photographers will trust you and you will able to learn to shoot in real events and build on your experiences.
most people think good gears is what they need, straight away want to jump in and shoot whatever they grasp, that is really laughable, once they screw up big time and won't able to get back on their feet.
As a professional who is doing portrait photography, I shoot with a DSLR + 24-70 f2.8 and 70-210 f4 and that is it. I think it will be cheaper than your "kit". One of my photographer is shooting with DSLR plus 50mm f1.8 lens for almost all the jobs. Actually, for one period of time (6+ months), I was shooting with DSLR plus 50mm f1.4 lens only and I don't think I am losing out on anything. Ok, sounds simple, but not really, or at least, it is possible if you know what you want and work around your limitation on your gear with your skills.
To certain extend, gear helps, but not the end of it.
You should put best portfolio together and show what you are capable of doing and find someone who you are inspired to (within what you want to do) and hope they give you a chance. It worth working for someone who will show you the rope not someone who merely need an assistant to do their work.
This will take a while to get someone to give you one chance, and if you do your best with that one chance, you will get more and that is how I started. I start earning something like a tiny $16.5 an hour. But money wasn't the issue at that time.
I don't recommend just to go out there and market your service until you understand what your true vision is. You can't market your "product" if you don't have the vision.
I hope you are well and take care.
Thank you all for your advice! Will shoot more myself and post more pictures!
So here we are clear that you should worry about skills more. And in pro photography:
Skill is only a small part in the big scheme of things.
Hart mentioned something about your product vision and identity. Yes you must know what you have.
Next thing is who you wanna sell that to? What type of people? Can you communicate intelligently with these people? Are they able to pay the price needed to sustain your business or have the volume to do so?
Marketing and sales - do you know how to get these clients, a lot of them and have them coming back? Once they are here in front of you, do you know how to sell and convince them and overcome resistance? What will you do when a hobbyist at this point offer your client free shoot? Will you loss the job or still retain it?
Without developing all these skills you are only a hobbyist or at the most a salaried photographer. And salaried photogrs are getting lesser by the years. And they often lives on the whims, rise and fall of the studio or publication he works for, making someone else rich.
With these soft skills plus the photography part, it is not hard to start off at the right price as long as you are not in a overly low demand genre or overly saturated one. Even within a genre there are different niches. That's where your market position, branding, product uniqueness/identity makes the difference.
You may apprentice or second under an established pro and can learn a lot if the pro is a really good one. But remember you are not him and what worked for him could be something he fine tuned over years to suit him and could be totally wrong for you. ie, He might be a people charmer, you might be an introvert.
Last edited by JasonB; 21st June 2012 at 08:22 PM.
hanson fong taught me this.
I charge as high as I can get away with
Did your cousin point a gun(or 2) to the 2 students' head and ask them to shoot..if not..?
No right? how is that exploitation? I bet the 2 students could think for themselves and walk out of a deal if they did their homework.
I bet if your cousin paid them 30k each, you'd be complaining abou tthe students instead using the same title of a thread, right? right.