Impact of "Paying to shoot" on full-timers


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shinken

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#1
Well this is a sensitive topic. So if it's in the wrong forum, or the moderators feel uncomfortable about it, I wouldn't take it personally.

First of all, apologies to some of the fellow CSers who feel upset by this post. The post is made in good faith, for the good of the photographic community in Singapore - pros and non-pros alike.

And let my rant begin.

There was a time where photography services were sought after (still are), and people seeking these services are paying the photographers for the service they receive.

Photographers charge because of the massive amount of cash they invested in equipment, either the current set they own, or the sets they purchased in the past which were responsible for the current set of skills they possess. They charge, because of the level of expert knowledge the possess in photography. They charge because of their ability to deliver the desired results. The list goes on.

Recently, there is an influx of learners who are keen to learn photography. The learners are passionate about the hobby, and are keen to gain the learning experience. These experiences cannot be gained otherwise, such as model shoots, studio shoots, and most recently, even event shoots. Initially, they were willing to shoot for free. Some who seek photography services capitalise on the opportunity, and begin to use these services as an alternative to paid services.

More recently, some are willing to pay, in order to gain the experience. We see course sprouting up, model shoots organised. Lines began to grey. However, courses are justified, because of time spent, equipment loaned etc. Likewise, model shoots because of paying for the modelling services, make-up, transportation etc. Even then, we begin to see non-experienced models trying to exploit this group of willing-paying photographers, despite the fact that they do not have what it takes like full time/qualified models to charge. But that's another story. Nonetheless, the landscape is changing.

Even more recently, there are people who probe the market even further, offering learners the "opportunity" to shoot events, for a fee. This however, throws the line entirely into the grey area. The events were organised to fulfill other commercial purposes. Not for the sake of learner's gaining experience.

From what I can gather, this has made full time photographers very uncomfortable. If this were continue to happen, I see full-time, quality photography going down into the drains. For obvious reasons. People who seek photography services, can eventually get these services (which might be, or not be, of quality) for free, or even charge, to get these services. Those in the line who are sacrificing the potential income from another line, eventually have to move away, from photography. There will be a smaller pool of pros who are willing to handhold/mentor newbies, when the rest of the industry is charging newbies. Everything is moving towards dollars and cents, when it comes to development of newbies. We would begin to see the standard of published photography drop. The list goes on.

It's definitely not a cause for concern now, especially for the established pros who have the ready pool for high-profile clients. But the landscape is undeniably chaning. How responsible is each of us in shaping the landscape of photography in Singapore?
 

Astin

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#2
Well, in any business, if your target market segment disappear, u either sit there do nothing or go look for another target market segment, and reposition and restrategize yourself to your new target market segment.

No need to worry so much on "paying to shoot event". My sifu said, "if u cannot move the mountain, then move yourself to the mountain".
 

ortega

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Nov 2, 2004
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#5
Pay to work??!!

Wow, that's new to me.
Someone willing to pay me to do my work for me....
Sounds interesting...

But I would not bet my reputation on them
 

TMC

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Sep 4, 2004
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#6
Just my thoughts on this.

You pay to shoot the event. Do you keep the rights to the pics or the organizers do? I would think that since you paid to shoot, the rights are yours. But with SG corporate mentality, they prob added a clause in there to claim their rights to it. So would it still be worth it paying to shoot?

You pay to shoot the event, no rights to the pics. They use your pics to promote their company and you are prob not even given credit for it. I rather pay entrance fees for the Autoshow.
 

espn

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#7
ortega said:
Pay to work??!!

Wow, that's new to me.
Someone willing to pay me to do my work for me....
Sounds interesting...

But I would not bet my reputation on them
Yup, I've seen a few that actually offers a chance for photographers to shoot 1 event, submit the images, if they're good they'll be considered for future jobs. :thumbsup: Brilliant eh? ;)
 

V

vince123123

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#8
I doubt that any written agreement is involved in this kind of pay to shoot event cases.
TMC said:
Just my thoughts on this.

You pay to shoot the event. Do you keep the rights to the pics or the organizers do? I would think that since you paid to shoot, the rights are yours. But with SG corporate mentality, they prob added a clause in there to claim their rights to it. So would it still be worth it paying to shoot?

You pay to shoot the event, no rights to the pics. They use your pics to promote their company and you are prob not even given credit for it. I rather pay entrance fees for the Autoshow.
 

ellery

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#9
espn said:
Yup, I've seen a few that actually offers a chance for photographers to shoot 1 event, submit the images, if they're good they'll be considered for future jobs. :thumbsup: Brilliant eh? ;)
Espn this sounds like old wine in new bottles. I remember some coffee shop talk sessions with some old timer in the biz - these birds have been in market for 20+ year upwards. The old version was you want to shoot for my magazine - do this job for free as a trial, many jobs latters the magazine is still wanting it for free or at best norminal charges. When presented with a realistic say editorial rate, the phone calls to tell you there's work stop comming u check around and they are now using a new guy willing to do it for free. Some people have said that the bulk of the market here does not want to pay for talent if they can help it , unlike in the US where if you are what they want they will pay what is asked. It cannot be that we do not have talent here - some of our very own have made it big overseas. Until the market realises that when you pay peanuts you get monkeies - of course we are not talking golden peanuts and getting a DXXXX.
 

Zplus

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#10
TMC said:
You pay to shoot the event, no rights to the pics. They use your pics to promote their company and you are prob not even given credit for it. I rather pay entrance fees for the Autoshow.
Photoeconomics 102

When you spot an economic opportunity to make money, exploit it. When market information is imperfect, there will always be a few suckers.:bigeyes:

In other industries, you need to pay a person to outsource your work. But in today's trend, we see a reversal in Spore's photography industry. You get paid for outsourcing your work. And you pay to do someone else's work.

Reminds me of Tom Sawyer painting his fence! Hardly new, but classic.

:bsmilie:
 

jsbn

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Jul 24, 2002
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#11
Unfortunately, some of us (especially very nice ppl here), have the very bad habit of 'softening' ur heart if u hear some pitiful words like...

"Aiyah... no money how?"
"Sigh... I'd put all my money elsewhere."
"Times are hard."

Wad u'll do? U'll offer out of pure kindness (or sympathy for plight. Whatever's heavier) and u get eaten up, head to toe. U'll be lucky if there's a fingernail left on u. :(

How do u pros harden your heart to actually ask for such a sensitive stuff (like money)?
 

Ah Pao

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#12
Astin said:
Well, in any business, if your target market segment disappear, u either sit there do nothing or go look for another target market segment, and reposition and restrategize yourself to your new target market segment.

No need to worry so much on "paying to shoot event". My sifu said, "if u cannot move the mountain, then move yourself to the mountain".
I think Astin's post summerises most of my thoughts.
If a photographer is good enough, he will be able to command a premium, and there are people willing to pay.

Those who pay to have a chance to shoot...well, it's quite a lose-lose situation. The photographer empties his pocket, while the organiser/company get sub-standard photos.

As for those novice models offering their services, well, take it that the photographer is paying a fee the same way people pay to go zoo or bird park...:bsmilie: Pay for recreation.
 

espn

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#13
ellery said:
Espn this sounds like old wine in new bottles. I remember some coffee shop talk sessions with some old timer in the biz - these birds have been in market for 20+ year upwards. The old version was you want to shoot for my magazine - do this job for free as a trial, many jobs latters the magazine is still wanting it for free or at best norminal charges. When presented with a realistic say editorial rate, the phone calls to tell you there's work stop comming u check around and they are now using a new guy willing to do it for free. Some people have said that the bulk of the market here does not want to pay for talent if they can help it , unlike in the US where if you are what they want they will pay what is asked. It cannot be that we do not have talent here - some of our very own have made it big overseas. Until the market realises that when you pay peanuts you get monkeies - of course we are not talking golden peanuts and getting a DXXXX.
I bear grudges, so I remember all these things :sticktong.

Well, most of the people/editorials (in SG) don't really care, they just want photos. Monkies to them is as good as anything. Some monkies does it real well swinging across trees with 1 finger. :bsmilie: The peanut is saved and bronzed into a plaque for display at the end of the day.
 

espn

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#14
jsbn said:
How do u pros harden your heart to actually ask for such a sensitive stuff (like money)?
I'm not a pro, but ricebowl is ricebowl. If they can even bother to look at my portfolio means they can afford but just want cheaper pricings. So stick with your pricing.

The moment you sway in pricings people will think you are desperate and will do anything for everything. This will tbe the image potrayed.
 

Deadpoet

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Oct 18, 2004
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#15
I think I am going to join the fray and rant a little, surprise surprises -
As most of you already know, if not, you will, I only shoot for myself, I don't accept any assignment, photography is a passion for me.

Often, I read, ran into, talked to and come across "photographers" in Singapore, that lacks the passion. They got into taking pictures, and I am not using the word photography deliberately, because it's the in thing to own the D70, the 20D or whatever camera is in vogue at the time. All too often, they cannot afford the constant upgrading or changing of gears, and hence, freelance to cover the credit card payments.

I fully understand shooting portraits, well I better, landscape, macro, still lifes, travel, architecture, and the list goes on, but events!!! Gets me every time when I hear some newbies said I like to shoot events, weddings etc etc.

Many of the photographers, whom I know personally or by reputation, are passionate about photography, and loves to shoot, and happens to shoot professionally full time or part time, this rant does not apply to you guys. I admire you, especially those on it full time, what guts!
 

espn

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#16
Same... I shoot for passion, that's why I use CoolPix 4600 :) camera doesn't matter. Most people are just trying to cover their costs for the their equipment by charging. Shoot 10000 shots, sure got some can use ones ma. :)
 

idor

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#17
IMHO.... i think its a matter of culture.... Over here in US, people tend to look at things in dollars and cents.... even when I was in school, I volunteer to help my classmate with his homework, he ask me how much do I charge.... even when pple help you, they expect to be paid.... whereas for us in sg, from going to wet market and buying things in orchard road, we can always see pple asking got free gift a not... even SAF is asking soldiers to to give free stuff back to the army camp.... what am I trying to drive at..... Its the culture..... if ihave an even that needs photographer... If i can find someone willing to do it for free.... or even better pay me to help me... of course i take it....:cool:
 

shinken

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#19
I'm also a subscriber to the philosophy behind "Who moved my cheese", or according to some pros in this case, moved the mountain. That wasn't my contention actually.

Now that paying to shoot event seem possible, it seems entirely possible for someone to start a thread that says "Full Day Wedding Photoshoot. Cost: $200 a day"
It's the industry in entirety that I'm ranting on, and the morality behind its move. But well... glad I'm not alone in this world of dollars and cents.
 

espn

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#20
shinken said:
I'm also a subscriber to the philosophy behind "Who moved my cheese", or according to some pros in this case, moved the mountain. That wasn't my contention actually.

Now that paying to shoot event seem possible, it seems entirely possible for someone to start a thread that says "Full Day Wedding Photoshoot. Cost: $200 a day"
It's the industry in entirety that I'm ranting on, and the morality behind its move. But well... glad I'm not alone in this world of dollars and cents.
I can find you several that would do the $200 a day wedding shoot. :) You want? :)
 

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