Money versus Friends.


liionel

New Member
Jun 4, 2007
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#1
Hi all, hope you all can share some insight on my current situation here.

19 September 2010,

Friend called me on 18th Sept, and hooked me up to cover a DnD event. I would have to take photos of the event, and i would be paid $150. I would have to PP the photos and burn them into 2 DVDs after. The event would last from 630pm to 1030pm. I was told to come down at 545, 6pm. The event started at 630, and ended at about 1045/11pm.

So after the event, i took about 600+ photos, filtered and processed about 220 photos and burned them into the 2 DVDs.

My friend told me he would push for me to be paid $200. However he mentioned that i could have provided more photos.

(Till today, i've yet to receive payment.)

---------------------------------------------------------------------

4th October,

Friend called again, and asked if i was interested to cover a family day event at SDC (Singapore Discovery Centre).

I replied sure, why not? And okay, so he told me he would get the point of contact to contact me. So the event was from 9am-230pm latest. 600Pax event, with 5+ VIPS. I would be required to arrive at 830am.

So upon asking the POC what was my pay going to be, i was told "Your friend told me your rate is $150." Honestly i felt i was being short changed for a number of reasons.

  1. They said i would be paid from 9am to 230pm because that was the time i would start "snapping". 830am was an assurance for them because they had cases where the photographer was late. so my concern is : What if the event ends early? will i be paid lesser?
  2. for a 600Pax event, compared to the previous DnD which was about 200Pax, shouldn't i be paid slightly higher because of the wider coverage i have to make? FYI, this is a family day CARNIVAL.
  3. Post processing 600+ photos isnt going to be fun, let alone provide MORE photos for this event. Is this a good enough reason to justify higher costs?

Brothers, i feel very confused. I want to shoot, i want to gain exposure. But i feel that $150 for such a big event is really underpaying. Furthermore it was my friend who hooked me up. I don't know how to explain to him! :(

Any inputs..

greatly appreciated guys.
 

brapodam

New Member
Jun 12, 2009
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#2
It depends on what you see these jobs as. If it's for the money, then it's obviously not worth it. If you think of it as a way to gain exposure and experience in event shooting (and beefing up your portfolio), I think that in itself is worth a lot. So think about it, are you shooting to earn money, or are you shooting to gain exposure. That will decide how acceptable the pay is.
 

fooj

Senior Member
Oct 27, 2004
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#3
Well... it depends on how serious you treat your photography. You have to let your friend or future client to know your rates. And you need to have a good gauge how much your skill is worth. Probably your friend does not know you actually wanted more for subsequent event. Therefore he benchmark you as a $150 photographer... On the other hand, he probably is helping you to get as much exposure as possible for you to build up your portfolio. You never know...

I would suggest you advertise yourself service and your rates. Even if your friend come to you again in future, you should be proactive to ask about the amount you are getting for the doing the shoot... That is if you are serious doing it as a business. If you are shooting to gain experience and not thinking to venture into this area, then i would think $150 for a friend is ok.
 

limwhow

Senior Member
Jun 9, 2009
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Life revolves arOnd East Coast
#4
Hello Lionel.
May I ask if you have an established line of clients?
Reason is, if I am already an established shooter, I will not take up the second job.
But if I am still new, and I just need some more exposure, I might JUST give this second job a chance, even thought the pax to pay ratio is poor.
I am looking at it straight forwardly like this.
Reason being, in any profession there is always a starting point where one has to bite the bullet.

My humble opinion.
 

liionel

New Member
Jun 4, 2007
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Singapore, Singapore, Singapor
#5
Many thanks to all the response guys, i voiced out my opinions to my friend already, and he agrees and shares the same concern with me. He will negotiate with his boss and we'll have to see how the outcome is like.

Thanks for all the useful advice guys. :)
 

junliang78

New Member
May 6, 2008
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#6
Hello Lionel.
May I ask if you have an established line of clients?
Reason is, if I am already an established shooter, I will not take up the second job.
But if I am still new, and I just need some more exposure, I might JUST give this second job a chance, even thought the pax to pay ratio is poor.
I am looking at it straight forwardly like this.
Reason being, in any profession there is always a starting point where one has to bite the bullet.

My humble opinion.

I agree ..
 

#7
My thoughts are if you're doing it for the exposure, and not getting paid much in the process, you need to ensure the following

1. a quantifiable means of measuring the exposure you will be receiving.
2. a written contract from the organizers to assure your means of exposure ie, all your images will only be delivered with watermark, displayed on xyz site for certina duration, links to your site etc
3. co-operation from the organizers to access your target market to capitalize on the exposure

without these systems in place, it's real hit or miss, and most of the time you'll just be wasting time.
 

2100

Senior Member
Mar 3, 2004
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#8
Actually is there really a need to PP the pix? Most of the time they don't care but that's assuming you really know how to shoot and produce good pix (correct exposure/framing is the bare minimum, nearly 1 shot 1 kill type). I don't really do events nowadays coz they are usually underpaying mostly due to undercharging by newbie photographers, but last time I was getting like $600 for 4-5 hrs, or $350 for 2hrs. And usually its on the spot burn into DVD + thumbdrive then issue invoice/receipt and collect cheque (preferably cash, some can do that as they do staff reimbursement from company later). Clean and fast money. And seriously not all the time you will be working and tiring yourself out, there are techniques to produce the deliverables and yet not slog, as you know the most tiring is not via shooting but by standing and carrying heavy equipment straining the fingers/back etc. Anyway I absolutely do not deal with the small event companies (waste of time).

You have to remember that not many guys earn > $200 a day 8.30 - 6pm (assuming no OT) below the age of 30. $200 for 20 working days = 4k.
 

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limwhow

Senior Member
Jun 9, 2009
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Life revolves arOnd East Coast
#9
Actually is there really a need to PP the pix? Most of the time they don't care but that's assuming you really know how to shoot and produce good pix (correct exposure/framing is the bare minimum, nearly 1 shot 1 kill type). I don't really do events nowadays coz they are usually underpaying mostly due to undercharging by newbie photographers, but last time I was getting like $600 for 4-5 hrs, or $350 for 2hrs. And usually its on the spot burn into DVD + thumbdrive then issue invoice/receipt and collect cheque (preferably cash, some can do that as they do staff reimbursement from company later). Clean and fast money. And seriously not all the time you will be working and tiring yourself out, there are techniques to produce the deliverables and yet not slog, as you know the most tiring is not via shooting but by standing and carrying heavy equipment straining the fingers/back etc. Anyway I absolutely do not deal with the small event companies (waste of time).

You have to remember that not many guys earn > $200 a day 8.30 - 6pm (assuming no OT) below the age of 30. $200 for 20 working days = 4k.
Wow... $600.
With all due respect to the profession, this is certainly a sizeable, respectable income.
But as with all industries, one will need to slog and make a name for oneself before being able to reach such an asking price, I am sure.
 

2100

Senior Member
Mar 3, 2004
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#11
you must also take into consideration that photographers do not get to work 20 hrs a month
In 2006 I remember that was a very good year at least for me, I was shooting in volume 14 ADs/ROM and IIRC 2 or 3 events for Dec. Shot until i went into hospital (food poisoning). Got a Mon-Fri job as well. I guess if price is competitive enough and you are willing to undercut/slog, no issue. For eg, you are charging 1k now averaging 80 ADs / year, but suddenly you can do it for $800 averaging 120 ADs / year. But will not last for long above 30 years of age.... ;p

$200 per day not that bad for part-timers lah... Wanna do, do. Else can relax...

You can check out how much vol imagesofwisdom do.... My knowledge is that they are one of the higher vol ones. Or magicalshots (MY) if you are aiming for higher-end range, still got the vol.
 

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Agetan

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2004
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www.tomato.sg
#12
OT a bit,

I am still don't know how to do 80 ADs/Year.... the figure scares me....

Why charge 1k and do 80 AD, while if you charge at 3k but doing 30 ADs, aren't they the same? Of course, you will need the work that sell for 3k but I am just amaze with the volume when people tell me that they shoot 80 ADs..... regardless on how much they charge.

Where is the fun then?

Regards,

Hart
 

2100

Senior Member
Mar 3, 2004
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#13
My skills cannot charge 3K. Guess its the same for the 6k, can the 3k PGs charge 6k and do 15 ADs (most probably more is possible - due to less hot dates being booked). I also presume 1k -> 3k jump is more difficult than 3k-6k jump.
Volume shooters grp have the issue of hot-dates being booked. If not I can cheong 150 ADs. :devil: (aiming to semi retire by age 45). PGs taking from BS can have massive volume but pay is really low, but it is also a niche which some are comfortable to be occupying esp the VGs as PGs are paid too low.

There's another similar tread about how to charge (always comes out every now and then), there's talk on charging 1K for newbies so that its a challenge and hence "the good shots will come through". Can always try.... :)

No fun, but I've got quite a bit of other hobbies. :bsmilie: But hey I've got a fun project (other than MBS ballroom, finally). I'm going for a 4-hr cruise wedding assignment! Better than nothing.... last time were all very short 15 min type of "eating wind".

There are probably many corporate professionals out there raking up > 10hrs a day (excluding commute and Sat/Sun emails & calls), its 2580hrs/year basing on 20 working days for 6 mths and 23 working days for the other 6 mths. These pros in their early 30s earn 5k/mth with 3 mths bonus = $75000 pa. Stress of getting fired, stress of not meeting KPI so no bonus, if boss is not goodie type then really its hell. Those middle management (eg deputy directors) can earn 100K - 150 Kpa, but probably doing 3000hrs / year possibly much more.

80 ADs, take it to be 10hrs + 2hrs PP = 12hrs. 960hrs, about 80% of it which is extremely tiring and odd hrs. $80k @ 1k per AD, you are your own boss and don't take any s***. Stress of screwing it up and messing your repu, stress of drop in business.
I'm excluding extras like ang-pow, additional hrs, early/late surcharge, PH or split-day surcharge, montage or express, value-added services (you know what, sensitive to name).

Neither are iron-rice bowls. :bsmilie:

Sorry for the OT, anyway the forum is quiet. LOL! :)
 

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catchlights

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 27, 2004
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www.foto-u.com
#14
do you know what so many season event shooters can take in so many shoots? straight away burn CD/DVD and deliver, right after the shoot?

cause they nail the exposure, cause they shoot everything with flash.



shooting with available light, pp every shots is belong to $1500 job class.
$150 just don't justify the workload, newbie or not, is not an issue.
 

daredevil123

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 25, 2005
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lil red dot
#15
I would suggest TS makes sure money is handed over before photos in CD/DVD are released to the client. That is one of the most important things to take note.

Another thing, if you want to use the pictures in your portfolio, you need to make sure the contract includes a clause that lets you retain the copyrights to the pictures. And yes, for the contract to be legally binding, you need to register a company, easiest way is to declare yourself as sole-proprietor. As long as money is exchanged, even if it is $1, the copyrights to the images will automatically be owned by the commissioner of the work (your client), unless you specifically stated otherwise in your contract.

Remember to do your taxes!
 

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Agetan

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2004
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www.tomato.sg
#16
do you know what so many season event shooters can take in so many shoots? straight away burn CD/DVD and deliver, right after the shoot?

cause they nail the exposure, cause they shoot everything with flash.



shooting with available light, pp every shots is belong to $1500 job class.
$150 just don't justify the workload, newbie or not, is not an issue.
I am aware if that... But guess different people would prefer different model of business and there is nothing wrong about it.

Just extremely tiring to even think about it. Guess it is time for excersise.

Hart
 

catchlights

Moderator
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Sep 27, 2004
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#17
I am aware if that... But guess different people would prefer different model of business and there is nothing wrong about it.

Just extremely tiring to even think about it. Guess it is time for excersise.

Hart
I know some places sell cha kway teow with abalone for $8 a plate, even tho the abalone just a few small slices. but it selling like hot cake.

if someone decided to sell cha kway teow with a whole abalone for $5, in order to gain a market share, that is also their business model...... ;)
 

Lumiere

Senior Member
Sep 15, 2006
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#18
I know some places sell cha kway teow with abalone for $8 a plate, even tho the abalone just a few small slices. but it selling like hot cake.

if someone decided to sell cha kway teow with a whole abalone for $5, in order to gain a market share, that is also their business model...... ;)
well its true and sad that such attempts at getting a piece of the market share is even considered a business model.

Although its not helping at all in the industry by undercutting but it still beats shooting for free.
 

chngpe01

Moderator
Staff member
#19
There are probably many corporate professionals out there raking up > 10hrs a day (excluding commute and Sat/Sun emails & calls), its 2580hrs/year basing on 20 working days for 6 mths and 23 working days for the other 6 mths. These pros in their early 30s earn 5k/mth with 3 mths bonus = $75000 pa. Stress of getting fired, stress of not meeting KPI so no bonus, if boss is not goodie type then really its hell. Those middle management (eg deputy directors) can earn 100K - 150 Kpa, but probably doing 3000hrs / year possibly much more.

It must be noted that these corporate professional beside the salary stated, there are actually earning more.

eg.

1. employees CPF contribution - comes in very handy when you get older or when repaying housing loan - (for a photog you really have to be discipline to set aside $ for CPF/savings that you cannot touch, if not you will regret when you get older.

2. Medical benefit - medical/sick leave apart from full or partly subsidies medical or insurance. - (as a photog you have to pay for your own medical or insurance)

3. 14 - 21 days fully paid annual leave (as a photog you can have go for a long leave but you will not be paid and yet have to spend $ - you cannot really plan you leave - your clients and business dictate your leave schedule)

4. Being in the mainstream workforce, one can be promoted, upgrade professionally or even switch career/profession to advance in the career and command higher pay - (Can a $2k wedding photog who cannnot penetrate the $3-5k market find ways to increase his/her pay?)

5. No need to pay office rental, computer, paper, pen stationary. (as a business owner photog - you have to pay for your equipment and spend $ to upgrade them periodically- again it comes from the $100-150k you earned )

6. Good times or bad there is still pay, it is either more or less. Even if retrenched, still can find another job, it is a matter of whether more pay or good or bad job. (for a photog everyday you have to market and find assignment, good times more job - bad times also less job or even on certain months can be zero. One have to constantly find ways and means to bring food to the table)


What I am saying here is that it is not that Rosy for a photog - if one do the calculation and have the discipline to plan for retirement(if there is even one and old age) one can get by. And every years as you grow older there will be younger ppl and part timers, moonlighters, armed with a camera and hopes will enter and undercut the market - one have to live with it.

I have been on both side and I always tell my ex-colleagues to stick to their job unless they are prepared to slogged it out with no guarantee of success even after many years. Yes even to those who assisted me in my assignment or ask for advice as to be a pro photog.

For me, many a times I am tempted to give up and go back to a steady job.
 

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expro

New Member
Apr 4, 2007
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#20
I would suggest TS makes sure money is handed over before photos in CD/DVD are released to the client. That is one of the most important things to take note.

Another thing, if you want to use the pictures in your portfolio, you need to make sure the contract includes a clause that lets you retain the copyrights to the pictures. And yes, for the contract to be legally binding, you need to register a company, easiest way is to declare yourself as sole-proprietor. As long as money is exchanged, even if it is $1, the copyrights to the images will automatically be owned by the commissioner of the work (your client), unless you specifically stated otherwise in your contract.

Remember to do your taxes!
I think it is the other way round. The copyright belong to the photographer, unless stated.
 

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