photographer's trade


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Apr 7, 2002
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#1
Hi pals,

I was told by one of my fellow classmate whom I studied photography with, that the market for photographer has been very bad nowadays. She works as an assistant photographer and earning a meagre $80 a day. There were days where she only works 2 days in a week.

Due to the economic crisis, more and more people are not willing to pay. Worst till, photographers are plunging their prices unbelivably low, free and even professionals are working for free just to hold on to the small market. Alot of new and young talents gone wasted.

It's a sad truth and I'm seeing alot of friends go hay-wired. people whom are good but can't survive doing what they are good at. It's somthing which many all of us should be aware of. I hope this mail I'm writing can gather support from people like you, be it sunday photographer, hobbists, professionals to do something for our community, our rice bowl.
 

#2
Like you said, it's indeed unfortunate that a lot of people are "spoiling the market". Freelance wedding rates are also dropping with people willing to do it for $200 including film + processing....

At the end of the day, we all have to make a choice between:

1. Charge damned low, lots of customers, work like hell.
2. Charge normal rate, not so many customers, don't need to work like hell and still make the same amount as [1].

Regards
CK
 

Apr 7, 2002
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#3
Originally posted by ckiang
Like you said, it's indeed unfortunate that a lot of people are "spoiling the market". Freelance wedding rates are also dropping with people willing to do it for $200 including film + processing....
Regards
CK

I think they are not only killing others but themselves. But again there are many part-timers who does photography to kill time. I urge those guys not to charge so low. The film processing and printing will take up aleast $100+++ over dollars. Think about the hardwork, sweat under the sun, intergrity of photography, beautiful works of other artists which you might not see again, the cost and maintainance of your equipments....
 

StreetShooter

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#4
I think (speaking naively as someone NOT in the trade) that the career options in photography are much wider than just wedding and graduation portraiture (although these probably used to be the more lucrative and relatively easier options, as compared to, say, wartime photojournalism).

To blame "market spoilers" is natural but unfair. Everyone's got to eat, especially the young and hungry. It applies to every profession, including medical and legal.

The real "enemy" is technology. With each advance, it becomes easier and easier to take better pictures. Now, if I can do it myself without having to pay someone to do it, why shouldn't I? And if the expert advice (eg zuganet) is accessible there on the internet, why should I pay for it? The "easy money" in any profession is in "expert knowledge", which the general population is not privy to. Those days are gone.

But if you widen your horizons and welcome competition, the world is your oyster. Yes, you have to constantly become better and continuously upgrade yourself. But the market for fashion photographers, product photographers, photojournalists, sports photographers etc is booming, I'm sure. You need to be able to sell yourself (not your soul, hor?), market your strengths. Go into niche photography, like B&W baby photos (have you seen www.photosbykathryn.com?).

I remember paying $800++ for my wedding shoot 9 years ago. I thought it was an obscene sum of money for a couple of days' work. But I paid it anyway. I'm not sure I'd do the same today.

The last two Sundays I spent shooting graduation photos for someone. For free. I did it for fun, and I think my efforts are pretty acceptable. My "client's" wife liked it so much she bought some delicious durian puffs for me.

What do you think?

 

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#5
Ohh... Yep, niche is one way to go but also quite tough too nowadays. I was shooting for a saloon the other time and my friend whom was the art director insisted using me as the photographer at his own expense. There were professional photographer oblighting to shoot for the saloon for free. If not for my friend, they probably won't even give me a chance. Well, it a good learning experience I think but I can see the struggle if I'm going full time. :what:
 

StreetShooter

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#6
If you're looking for a job without a struggle, get behind me in the queue.

Poor Jed camps out in the cold, snaps his shots, then has to download them to the laptop, tweak them and zap them to the news agency as fast as he can, to earn his keep. You know how many skills he has to learn to be able to do all that (and how much money he has to spend on updated equipment to beat the photographer next to him)?

Did you see those photographers during the recent World Cup? All lined up at the sidelines with their white "L" bazookas (wonder where all the Nikon professionals were? :devil: )? And the way they mobbed the Brazilian team like their lives depended on it? Siong, OK?
 

#7
Originally posted by StreetShooter
If you're looking for a job without a struggle, get behind me in the queue.

Poor Jed camps out in the cold, snaps his shots, then has to download them to the laptop, tweak them and zap them to the news agency as fast as he can, to earn his keep. You know how many skills he has to learn to be able to do all that (and how much money he has to spend on updated equipment to beat the photographer next to him)?

Did you see those photographers during the recent World Cup? All lined up at the sidelines with their white "L" bazookas (wonder where all the Nikon professionals were? :devil: )? And the way they mobbed the Brazilian team like their lives depended on it? Siong, OK?
Don't be fooled, some of the white lenses might be Nikons, Minoltas and Pentaxes. :) Now, white lens != Canon liao. ;p :devil:

I do agree with what you said - that begin a pro is no easy job. But at least on the freelance level, I sincerely hope the wannabes and all will not 'spoil market' and undercut everyone just to "get the job".

Regards
CK
 

rueyloon

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#8
the reason after going into this business is that to most people, "photography" isn't important... images on a piece of paper is more. Hence as long as someone can get those images on a piece of paper for them, that is good enough. They don't care what is good photography.....
 

Ian

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#9
Originally posted by StreetShooter
Did you see those photographers during the recent World Cup? All lined up at the sidelines with their white "L" bazookas (wonder where all the Nikon professionals were? :devil: )? And the way they mobbed the Brazilian team like their lives depended on it? Siong, OK?
Hehe could be that the WC like many other major sports events (PGA Golf USA, J League, ) is a Canon sponsored event, so the photographer gets his/her/its choice of loan gear if they require it ... that's why the plethora of White lenses. :devil:

However Nikon was seen more at the last Olympics, at the British Open a couple of weeks back, at NASCAR events etc and of course at the just launched Commonwealth Games .. because they are Nikon Sponsored events :devil:
 

mpenza

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#10
it's not just photography. in accounting too, there're lots of freelance accountants offering very low rates for their services.
 

Ian

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#11
After a couple of decades in the game, here's a bit of wisdom for those who are thinking about trying their hand at making a living out of photography.

Firstly, get your abilities right up to speed, both artistic and technical, be versatile and flexible in your style and vision.

Secondly, do a few business courses, these are actually more valuable than a degree with a major in photography in the long run.

A couple of dozen paid jobs doesn't make you a professional photographer! It merley means you've sold some work.

There are two types of professional photographer, the successful one and the starving artist.

The difference? One approaches his photography with a business mindset, punctual, rapid delivery, accurate quotes and a high degree of professionalism, the artist method tends to be ad hoc, disorganised and poverty stricken.

There are NO really lean times if you're good at your business.


One final thought :)

Low rent photographers are great for my business, as it removes the rubbish clients from my door :devil:
 

Apr 7, 2002
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#12
Originally posted by Ian
One final thought :)

Low rent photographers are great for my business, as it removes the rubbish clients from my door :devil:

Hahaa....That's a very good one. Finally guru Ian have spoken of some wise verse. Thanks man.. Well looks like no pain no gain.
:light:
 

M

Midnight

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#13
I'm not a professional photographer, but I fully concur about the critical importance of getting one's artistic and technical photography skills up to speed if one intends to make a mark as a pro.

A teacher friend of mine used to hold a post in one of the more famous secondary schools in Singapore, and this particular school made it a point to always hire one particular photographer to do all the portrait shoots for all the new as well as graduating students each year. When my friend was subsequently posted as a Head of Department to another school, he specifically remembered the consistently high aesthetic quality of that photographer's work, and recommended to the management of his new school that they also engage him for the same purpose. The result? This photographer (unfortunately, I don't know his name or company) is now the de facto official portrait photographer for at least two major secondary schools in Singapore, and I wouldn't be surprised if other clients have also spread the word about his excellent skills.

When it comes to shooting important photos, most people will gladly pay more for a high quality product--so it is vital for a pro to ensure that this is what he or she is best known for.
 

Almond

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#14
Originally posted by Ian
One final thought :)

Low rent photographers are great for my business, as it removes the rubbish clients from my door :devil:
that's very mean of you.......... but i like it!!!!
:bsmilie: :bsmilie: :bsmilie:
 

Ian

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#15
Originally posted by Almond


that's very mean of you.......... but i like it!!!!
:bsmilie: :bsmilie: :bsmilie:
Noting mean about it at all, it's the plain truth.
 

sbs99

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#16
I would probably do something else like graphic design or advertising....

Nowadays anybody can shoot......but not everyone can shoot something someone else hasnt. :)
 

Klause

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#17
It's like buying durian...

If you spend more $$, u get better quality.. but also.. u cannot deny 3 for 10dollars also yield some good ones once in a while.

heh.. dun flame me. :devil:
 

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