Has ClubSNAP become a sourcing spot for cheap photographers. Are we being taken adv?

Are we being taken advantage off?


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Kit

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If you allow yourself to be exploited, then you probably will be but that's not so bad. Tragic part is that you don't even know it when you are being exploited.
 

Oct 5, 2007
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It's all part of the game... in photography or any other trade. In any industry, there will always be people who competes by cutting on price. And more so if the barriel to entry is very low (more supply = lower price). Photography for example, the barriel is low and all you need is a camera to join the trade. For other professions, such as Doctors and Lawyers, the barriel is very high. There are two ways to look at this. We either complaint about it and scream and shout the people undercutting, or deliver more value. Look at the car manufacturing industry, the Korean, Chinese etc makes are hitting the market at very cheap prices. However, people still go for others from Japan or Europe. Why is this so, because there is more value. The point is, it would be a better idea to channel our energy on improving and creating more value (and don't just restrict to photo quality and such... there are many more innovative ways...) and not fighting back on competition. To the pros, I am sure people will be willing to pay for value. Back to the car industry example. Big brands continues to pull away, delivering better and more expensive cars although there are loads of cheaper competitors. Reason... because they focus on making their cars better from all aspect (power, handling, comfort, styling... etc).
 

Jul 20, 2008
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Well, what I think is that you pay for what you get.

If your portfolio is amazing, then obviously there will be clients wanting to hire you.

If you suck and offer free services and the client is willing to accept that, then its their loss. I think its as simple as that. Correct me if I'm wrong. :)
 

Jun 25, 2008
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Well, what I think is that you pay for what you get.

If your portfolio is amazing, then obviously there will be clients wanting to hire you.

If you suck and offer free services and the client is willing to accept that, then its their loss. I think its as simple as that. Correct me if I'm wrong. :)
thats only one side of it. how about those companies/institutions/people looking for a cheap/free photographer for an event? they don't target the professionals with their claims of "free publicity" and "good exposure" (if they are smart). Instead they target skilled amatuers and enthusiasts, who are more to want some exposure and build a portfolio. they try to take advantage of "free publicity" to get free services. And of course there are always people willing to take it up. in the end, if photographers are willing to keep doing it (and ruining the industry while they're at it), people will keep asking for it. Having said that, in some cases it is genuinely a good opportunity.

a recent example here

but i do agree that what they pay for (or don't pay for), is what they get. If they're unwilling to pay, they cannot expect too much (at the same time the photographer still has to professional though)
 

sORe-EyEz

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Jun 28, 2005
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once companies/organisers/institutions get used to free photography, do u think they would ever want to pay a cent in the future?

how low can these companies/organisers/institutions stoop? so very low. :thumbsd:
 

naaz91

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Aug 1, 2008
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to me having clubsnap isnt killing the freelance industry.. its more of where we can fight for better shots... sometimes only certain people are able to capture a moment that others cant.. but if it is shared but not exposing the secret of it no one will copyright it.. teaching is totally different..

sometimes by seeing newer and better shots never seen before, we actually experiment more and learn more by ourselves...

to me people who post pictures and share their knowledge a little,
help those who aspire to be photographers to find out more.

sometimes courses dunt help much.. but its more of personal perseverance that makes a person take up a hobby and stuff and thus clubsnap is a way to find out..
 

OldFlower

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Mar 19, 2008
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Ah, so this question is finally asked...

I say the damage to this profession Freelance or Full Time, are those eager beaver teenies who advertise to offer FREE photography service, JUST BECAUSE they wanna learn.
This pretty much screws the market up real tight.

Undercutting prices/fees is bad enough, offering FREE services is the worst.
 

synapseman

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Ah, so this question is finally asked...

I say the damage to this profession Freelance or Full Time, are those eager beaver teenies who advertise to offer FREE photography service, JUST BECAUSE they wanna learn.
This pretty much screws the market up real tight.

Undercutting prices/fees is bad enough, offering FREE services is the worst.
I am of the opinion that it doesn't really matter, especially if you're targetting the middle-upper to upper segment of the market. Let the $0-$600 photographers fight amongst themselves. If they are good, they will progress and charge higher. If they don't, then they will most likely not be able to survive anyway.

I think everyone's got to start from somewhere. I suspect even the top pros didn't charge "market rates" when they did their very first shoot. From time to time, I still do shoot for free, but of course there are many conditions (mentioned clearly beforehand) to this also.

And of course, when you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys. If people insist on getting everything cheap-cheap, then let them be. These should not be your target clientele.
 

OldFlower

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I am of the opinion that it doesn't really matter, especially if you're targetting the middle-upper to upper segment of the market. Let the $0-$600 photographers fight amongst themselves. If they are good, they will progress and charge higher. If they don't, then they will most likely not be able to survive anyway.

I think everyone's got to start from somewhere. I suspect even the top pros didn't charge "market rates" when they did their very first shoot. From time to time, I still do shoot for free, but of course there are many conditions (mentioned clearly beforehand) to this also.

And of course, when you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys. If people insist on getting everything cheap-cheap, then let them be. These should not be your target clientele.
Hi synapseman,
A fair thought and points to note from you. However, I still feel there should be some degree of control in this industry. Singaporeans being what we know they are infamous for, should not be led into believing that there are Free Lunches to be had. The integritry of this trade, Freelance or any otherwise, is hence jeopardized by such FOC desperados.
 

eosandy

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Sep 14, 2008
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A good reputation is by no means an easy thing to come by.
A bad reputation is easy if you are not professional in your attitude towards your "customer".

Free services imply no come-back from your customer, which is maybe a reflection on the photographers confidence in his/her own ability.

If you want experience (the catch 22) then you may need to do some work where hosts/guests are offered photos at a set rate... charging for physical items at a realistic price, inclusive of the creative process, transport etc is fair. That way if you only sell 1 photo @S$5 to a gathering of 100 people, you know you need some work. S$0.40 copies can be made from the one guy who buys a set, so you need to get the business on the day.

(Used to be a gofer for a pro in Scotland...)
 

Hi synapseman,
A fair thought and points to note from you. However, I still feel there should be some degree of control in this industry. Singaporeans being what we know they are infamous for, should not be led into believing that there are Free Lunches to be had. The integritry of this trade, Freelance or any otherwise, is hence jeopardized by such FOC desperados.
I frankly don't see the point in regulating the industry. The emphasis in ANY industry should be quality. Nothing more, nothing less. If the customer is willing to compromise on these things then that is the customers choice! The regulation of what photographers "should" be charging is a shallow practice. If a guy is good and wants to charge less than everybody else to get more business then why the hell not?! Good for him and good for the customer. Win-win. Regulation implies that there is an intrinsic value to a given service/product and that is simply not the case. Eventually competition drives the price down to a point where nobody is willing to go lower. If demand then increases over time the price will gradually come up again until such a point where it peaks and somebody undercuts the market again. That is the way it is, and it is the only way to make sure that the customer always wins. The bottom line is that "for-hire" photography is not about the photographer. It is about the customer. The customer is always right, the customer should always win. That's all there is to it.
 

OldFlower

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Mar 19, 2008
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I frankly don't see the point in regulating the industry. The emphasis in ANY industry should be quality. Nothing more, nothing less. If the customer is willing to compromise on these things then that is the customers choice! The regulation of what photographers "should" be charging is a shallow practice. If a guy is good and wants to charge less than everybody else to get more business then why the hell not?! Good for him and good for the customer. Win-win. Regulation implies that there is an intrinsic value to a given service/product and that is simply not the case. Eventually competition drives the price down to a point where nobody is willing to go lower. If demand then increases over time the price will gradually come up again until such a point where it peaks and somebody undercuts the market again. That is the way it is, and it is the only way to make sure that the customer always wins. The bottom line is that "for-hire" photography is not about the photographer. It is about the customer. The customer is always right, the customer should always win. That's all there is to it.
I think you missed my point; Regulation in terms of curbing FOC Service Ads by overly enthusiastic newbies. I'm not talking about Price Wars. So if the Customer is always Right, then one day they will be always right to choose FREE photographers which will never be short in supply as newbies are spawned every day.

From a customer's point of view; why should I pay to shoot my occasion when there are plenty offering to do it for free? And customers mostly don't understand the quality of an image, a composition, a portraiture, and so on.

Regulating this industry then, will be too little too late.
 

Sep 24, 2008
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its a free market. prices are determined by demand and supply. photographers who are really good should not have to worry about newbies nipping at their heels because the quality of their works should speak for themselves.

instead of complaining about people undercharging, save your effort for improving your skills.
i get the sense that there are photographers here who have been shooting for many years and feel that their 'experience' merit them higher fees. quantity doesn't equate quality. you can be shooting for 30 years but if you make no effort to improve yourself and keep your skills and techniques relevant to the times, you don't deserve anything.

change is the only constant, and adaptation keeps one relevant.

Agreed. I once read on another forum about photogs "resting on their superstar status and experience". Photogs provide a service while on the job, and service is an ongoing competition between all competing parties. This is quite a universal law.


For the small events i think most of us don't exactly wish to fork out money to hire a photog either. Some of us don't even need a professional camera body present at the event, we just need someone with a fairly quick shooting PnS camera who is attentive to possible shots & candids throughout the entire event to cover what "normal unempowered mortals" might not see.

And there's the after-event processing where many normal PnS people might not have the time or knowledge to effectively PS the satisfying photos for presentation to the employer. "Exposure" meant "showing skin" to me when i was among the normal PnS bunch.

Same concept like the budget airlines vs high end flying (like SQ?).
The companies can hate all they want on each other but when we stand on the side of the consumers area it all seems insignificant to us what their price wars are about. :rolleyes:
Humans were born to be selfish, even if not to a large extent. It would be unfair to discriminate free-photogs for small jobs out there while we are busy lapping up discounts and taking the most budget-friendly route possible. In fact, i think half of this forum's topics are all about equipment and putting as much bang for buck equipment in your arsenal.


And i'd also like to add on that some of the "pros" here or anywhere for that matter, started photography digitally. For many years, digital has been the more cost-friendly route to take, with a lower learning curve as compared to film. Some of us may not be where we are today if the learning curve was higher - we might never have started. So are we going to hate on others for making decisions we may have once made too?


On a sidenote, theres someone hiring a photog for a small kindergarten graduation ceremony for both taking on-stage photos and candids of the event. Seriously, i'm not really into the money they pay, i would consider doing it for free if i was not already booked on that day. I like kids with their bright smiles, many of us do, and they make great subjects in photography. Instead of having to be sneaky-sneaky going around playgrounds photographing kids we have a place to photograph them without worry of being questioned by moms or dads. We have our reasons for offering a "free service" as well as the risks involved. We are just backups :)cry:) not the real pro-deal. There is no substitute for quality.

Just my $0.02, hope my post doesnt raise too many issues. I just thought that most of us here are experienced enough in life issues to get the point that every trade comes with competition (be it current past or future) and it's your choice to delve into the trade or not. In my honest opinion, i don't ever see myself going as a full time photog, i would really rather do a 9-5. :dunno: Cover events only for an extra income.
Or at least pick up another skill as a backup plan in the case where the market gets really bad. Nobody to blame if you put all your eggs in one basket.

"Regulating this industry" is somewhat a harsh way to put things. It feels like then any and every photog has to join the "cartel" in order to provide their services at rates which are closely monitored. Clubsnap is certainly a place where cheap help is easier to find, but it also helps the professional freelancers who aren't willing to let agencies take a cut from their pay.
 

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zoossh

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Nov 29, 2005
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I think you missed my point; Regulation in terms of curbing FOC Service Ads by overly enthusiastic newbies. I'm not talking about Price Wars. So if the Customer is always Right, then one day they will be always right to choose FREE photographers which will never be short in supply as newbies are spawned every day.

From a customer's point of view; why should I pay to shoot my occasion when there are plenty offering to do it for free? And customers mostly don't understand the quality of an image, a composition, a portraiture, and so on.

Regulating this industry then, will be too little too late.
but you can only regulate the industry within the industry. these regulations comes either that when a wedding photographer need a license to perform certain duties and subjectable to certain law and penal code, just as the other relevant professionals are subjected to, or that there is an internal committee that set a guideline and promote certain regulations but without legal binding. or unless one day professional photography becomes a life necessity that requires regulation like rice and oil, but that would create a maximum limit more than a minimum limit.

it is obviously out of question that a free forum that serves the whole communities sets rules to protect the professionals against the other users of the forums. moreover it is not a question of ethics but a issue of commerical interest. you cannot enforce regulation on members on opposite parties of different interest, simply becos you dun have the rights to do so. the forum may enforce regulation based on their commerical interest within the authorities of the forum too, but that would be their commerical interest and not yours too.

the only way that can be done in best interest for all is education of the customers and the other photographers of what should they expect and what do they deserve. then they will in their own capacity and preference decide on what they want to do.
 

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OldFlower

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but you can only regulate the industry within the industry. these regulations comes either that when a wedding photographer need a license to perform certain duties and subjectable to certain law and penal code, just as the other relevant professionals are subjected to, or that there is an internal committee that set a guideline and promote certain regulations but without legal binding. or unless one day professional photography becomes a life necessity that requires regulation like rice and oil, but that would create a maximum limit more than a minimum limit.

it is obviously out of question that a free forum that serves the whole communities sets rules to protect the professionals against the other users of the forums. moreover it is not a question of ethics but a issue of commerical interest. you cannot enforce regulation on members on opposite parties of different interest, simply becos you dun have the rights to do so. the forum may enforce regulation based on their commerical interest within the authorities of the forum too, but that would be their commerical interest and not yours too.

the only way that can be done in best interest for all is education of the customers and the other photographers of what should they expect and what do they deserve. then they will in their own capacity and preference decide on what they want to do.
I feel that it may eventually take a royally pissed off client of some stature, to actually legislate by law that Wedding Photographers be Licensed. And this, may likely be the case especially in Singapore - where it often takes crap to hit the fan for measures to be put in place. It can potentially play itself out exactly like in the Property industry; property agents are licensed so that they really know their onions and clients can feel assured.

In this case, a divide will be created in the photography industry. And this cannot be avoided simply because of human nature - especially in SG, wherein almost everything has to be eventually REGULATED.
 

V

vince123123

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I do recall that even for property agents, there is no real licensing mechanism involved, despite all the cries for it to be. If I'm wrong, do correct me.
 

datan

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May 30, 2007
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I feel that it may eventually take a royally pissed off client of some stature, to actually legislate by law that Wedding Photographers be Licensed. And this, may likely be the case especially in Singapore - where it often takes crap to hit the fan for measures to be put in place. It can potentially play itself out exactly like in the Property industry; property agents are licensed so that they really know their onions and clients can feel assured.

In this case, a divide will be created in the photography industry. And this cannot be avoided simply because of human nature - especially in SG, wherein almost everything has to be eventually REGULATED.
why should wedding photographers ever need to be licensed? I have shot weddings (second photographer) for free before (only get ang poh) for my friends...why should I need to get a license just because I enjoy taking photographs and doing my friends a favour?
 

Jan 25, 2009
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why should wedding photographers ever need to be licensed? I have shot weddings (second photographer) for free before (only get ang poh) for my friends...why should I need to get a license just because I enjoy taking photographs and doing my friends a favour?
How about launching a ClubSnap Certified photographer program? Something like trustsg web certification? Implement in a certification process and a renewal process to ensure quality of the photographer from time to time, in this way ClubSnap certification could then be a benchmark people can turst.
 

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