Friday, April 21, 2006

Musings in Chicago

1. As an intern, you get to do the most menial work in a studio. I guess if it is not the intern doing it, it will be the assistant. So its natural the intern does it.

2. People assist established photographers for years before starting their own photographic careers.

3. If you just graduated from a photographic course, the stupidest thing you can do is ring up a studio and ask to be a second photographer. Don't even try asking to be the assistant, ask to intern for free. Be humble.

4. Royalty free stock images has really killed the photographic market for most photographers. People are now willing to accept bad photographs because it is free. They are not willing to pay photographers as much money as they used to. I guess as a photographer you really have to be much better than royalty free work and educate clients why you are worth it.

5. Commercial work at the highest level is so much about production work, logistics and solving marketing issues. A good producer is vital.

6. Photographers don't factor in time needed for processing digital files. It is inevitable that timing of digital file processing will become a crisis point.

7. Photographers don't factor in physical space for accumulating equipment, props, prints etc in their lifetime. It is inevitable that physical space will become a crisis point.

8. Photographers don't factor the disk space needed to keep the digital files they are shooting nowadays. It is inevitable that disk space will become a crisis point.

9. Photographers are not considering how to catalog their digital images. It is inevitable that someone is going to ask for some obscure image shot years ago and it will become a crisis point.

10. As professional as anyone is, life happens. Relatives fall sick, someone crashes into your car or your house, something majorly screws up your life right before a major shoot. There must be time and space to deal with life's crisis.

11. All clients nowadays want hi-resolution files. What exactly are high-resolution files? Your guess is as good as mine.

12. Whatever wizzbang camera you just bought, there will be a new better one six months down the road. Paying for new digital camera equipment will inevitably be a crisis point. If you want to make money, don't be a photographer, sell digital cameras.

13. Its just photography.


ead said...

"sell digital cameras"

good point!!.... why not do both? *hee

jcyrhs said...


been following ur postings for sometime and your internship in chicago has actually inspired me... to be an intern!? hAha Only this is...i've yet to graduate from any photography courses.

Looking forward to your next adventurous encounter as an intern and your inspiring speeches about chasing dreams.

ShutterBug said...

hahah... waiting for you to be back to s'pore so I can ask if you will take me as an intern... :)

meantime I will sell digital cameras... hahaah

Anonymous said...

I love that last picture of a printwork. Who did that?

Anyway, a few years ago, I came home from the States for summer vacation wanting to do internship in Singapore. I sent a few emails, but NOBODY replied... Not even a "regrets email"!

Shame, cos I love photography and right now, I'm starting my career in architecture. If I'd found your site earlier back then, I'd have worked for you for free doing menial jobs anytime.

Anyway, on selling cameras: why sell cameras, when you can sell other more readily consumable products and services that generate more money? Like, I dunno... mobile services, beer, oil, water....

There is no end.
I just believe that you do what you love doing (within given opportunities) and the rest (divine providence?) will follow.

Services and goods that enhance life usually creates value. When people see the value, surely they will pay money for it.
On the other hand, sometimes, there's also a need for us to decipher what these people define "value" as as opposed to what *we* define it as.

"Make my business grow", "give me confidence", "make me attractive to the opposite sex", "give me a peace of mind", "give me an equipment that can do this", etc etc


Heng said...

Hi Guys,

Thanks for your comments. My comment on selling cameras is simply to highlight the fact that selling cameras is more lucrative than owning one to make money. I think selling consumer stuff like handphones and ipods are more lucrative than selling higher end dlsrs. :)

jcyrhs: I am actually a self-taught photographer. The last 6 years working was my photographic education.

Dan: I am sorry I don't know who did the print. It is just something I found pasted on a door that I walked by. I loved it and had to take a photo of it.

I have been shy about taking on interns. I think that I will have to rethink that and let people into my studio. I think I need models too. :)

jcyrhs said...

hAha, i'm actually an undergrad now. As you've said, intern is a perfect chance for us to learn. Holidays are then the next best time for me to get some learning experience. =)

Anonymous said...


just a note, if you email and get no response, call in person. that will help loads.


Anonymous said...

Hi anonymous,
ya, I thought about that.

But I figured that the lack of reply showed the person's lack of interest to teach (and courtesy/professionalism). I just thought it probably wasn't worth my time working for them, since I probably won't enjoy the experience.
If they can't find the time to reply an email, I doubt they'll have the time to teach me anything or even communicate with me while at the studio. My time at the studio would probably be extremely boring. I'd rather work at Starbucks where I can meet chicks. :-)

Anyway, that was a few years ago. I wasn't dying for a summer job then, I just had time on my hands, and wanted to pass it in a meaningful and productive way.

Nonetheless, I appreciate your kind advice, I will keep that in mind.