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Thread: Career as a full time photographer in Australia?

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    Career as a full time photographer in Australia?

    Hello fellow Ap'ers!

    Let's begin with my background, I grew up in China and am currently studying in a local high school in Melbourne. I'm looking forward to study photography in college and I wish to become a full time photographer in Australia.

    First things first, I know little of Australia's photography culture and people's attitude towards it, I wish to become a wedding photographer but I am unsure of its demand and whether or not it will provide enough income to support my family.

    Ok, I understand it relies solely on your skills and abilities, but knowing an "average" would greatly aid me in understanding the situation, for example the amount of weddings undertaken within a year and pricing, and whether or not it would be a wise career choice.

    Thanks in advance!

    ~Will

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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Zhao View Post
    Hello fellow Ap'ers!

    Let's begin with my background, I grew up in China and am currently studying in a local high school in Melbourne. I'm looking forward to study photography in college and I wish to become a full time photographer in Australia.

    First things first, I know little of Australia's photography culture and people's attitude towards it, I wish to become a wedding photographer but I am unsure of its demand and whether or not it will provide enough income to support my family.

    Ok, I understand it relies solely on your skills and abilities, but knowing an "average" would greatly aid me in understanding the situation, for example the amount of weddings undertaken within a year and pricing, and whether or not it would be a wise career choice.

    Thanks in advance!

    ~Will
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    average is $750.56 incl gst, excuding costs, tax, or dinner.
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    some stats

    • 117,000 Australian couples get married annually
    • Wedding costs
      • According to truebride.com.au, the average Australian wedding costs $28,146.
      • Photography: $3320
      • Rings: $450
      • Reception: $11,219
      • Beauty: $828
      • Gifts: $326
      • Flowers: $1041
      • Honeymoon: $5600
      • Cars: $675
      • Ceremony: $950
      • Bride's attire: $2330
      • Groom's attire: $282
      • Stationery: $675
      • Miscellaneous: $450


    so based on my estimation, $750.56 is a bit too little ?

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    G'Day Will, Welcome to AP

    Take some time to read the many threads in this forum on this subject.

    The fact is that due to easily accessed technology the professional photography market is being devalued.

    If you have a driven passion for photography then go for it (and don't expect to be rich), otherwise find a good money earning career and keep photography as a hobby that might earn a few bucks on the side.
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    Been a few of this type of thread recently, do a search for some idea of respondents views.

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    The number of weddings in Australia since 2000 has decreased every year. At the same time, the number of wedding photographers has increased. You will be seeking to find work in a decreasing market, with increasing competition.

    I would suggest you re-evaluate your goal of being a wedding photographer and simply look at being a people photographer, and more. Defining your goal to a single genre is limiting your opportunities to become a full time professional photographer.

    Good luck with your goals and good to see you doing some research before getting into it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    some stats

    • 117,000 Australian couples get married annually
    • Wedding costs
      • According to truebride.com.au, the average Australian wedding costs $28,146.
      • Photography: $3320
      • Rings: $450
      • Reception: $11,219
      • Beauty: $828
      • Gifts: $326
      • Flowers: $1041
      • Honeymoon: $5600
      • Cars: $675
      • Ceremony: $950
      • Bride's attire: $2330
      • Groom's attire: $282
      • Stationery: $675
      • Miscellaneous: $450


    so based on my estimation, $750.56 is a bit too little ?
    Maybe too little - but not $3320 - truebride splits this into a photographers fee ($1688), a videographers fee ($1238) and "extra prints & video copy" ($394).

    Their figures seem plausible - especially when broken down like above - and I am not disputing them for an individual marriage. However, I am disturbed by the use of "average". Are they suggesting that wedding expediture in Australia is $3.3 Billion/year (117,000 x $28,146). Although the ABS has considerable statistics on numbers of marriages, a cursory search does not reveal any expenditure details on the abs site. I think a better descriptor would be "the average 'full-blown' marriage" or similar, and it would be interesting to see some figures on the number of marriages that spend this sort of money.
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    After a good many years of working at this and showing unique style and some serious quality you may be able to charge much higher but I suspect the number of people that get to this stage is quite small.

    I know I paid $5500 for my wedding photography but that was the photographers top package (included some prints, full album etc etc) and the only one that included all the high res files also.

    Good luck with this and I think Ricks comment regarding diversifying to being a 'people' photographer is excellent advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmer_rob View Post
    Maybe too little - but not $3320 - truebride splits this into a photographers fee ($1688), a videographers fee ($1238) and "extra prints & video copy" ($394).

    Their figures seem plausible - especially when broken down like above - and I am not disputing them for an individual marriage. However, I am disturbed by the use of "average". Are they suggesting that wedding expediture in Australia is $3.3 Billion/year (117,000 x $28,146). Although the ABS has considerable statistics on numbers of marriages, a cursory search does not reveal any expenditure details on the abs site. I think a better descriptor would be "the average 'full-blown' marriage" or similar, and it would be interesting to see some figures on the number of marriages that spend this sort of money.
    Indeed, Ive seen another figure quoting the size of the industry at $2B which brings the average down to $17K per wedding and therefore pro-rata the wedding photography component based on your figures down to $1000 roughly. Getting closer to my predicted average (which i still think's about right)

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    But what we do not know are the numbers of photographers actually doing weddings

    So, take 117,000 weddings and lets guess that 17000 dont have any photographers at all
    Then take the number of wedding photographers (Uncle Bob, weekend man, or FT Pro) - so let's conservatively estimate this at 10,000 nationally
    So, 10 weddings per annum per photographer @ average of $1000 per wedding = FT income of $10,000

    awesome maths @!@@@!@@

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    My wedding 'tog cost me nix Family friend (of my dad's).

    The whole wedding cost only a few hundred.

    I must be the mortal enemy of the wedding industry that seems to promote the idea that the only measure of love is the size of the bill.

    Back to the point... with so many new entrants coming into the market, it will be only the few (skilled with their camera and, more importantly, skilled in marketing) who will find a career in this. As it gets tighter and tighter, consumers will get more power to play 'togs off against each other. Quality will suffer as corners are cut and style (marketing) trumps substance (quality).

    I'm sure others have seen some pretty low end gear being used: equally some high end gear used to yield some pretty crappy results.

    So, I think the whole wedding tog scene is in for some turmoil... I'm glad to not be apart of it

    Scotty

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    I totally agree with Ricks comments of being a people photographer for more than weddings even like portrait stuff having a studio at home will be a start provided you have space and time a lot of people like to have studio pictures taken. Good luck


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    More good analysis

    "
    Professional photographers in Australia have weathered the twin storms of a declining industry and an economy-wide slowdown, and IBISWorld figures reveal 2011 will not be any better.
    “Nearly half of the industry’s revenue is derived from wedding photography and competition is intense with more than 9000 professionals competing for a share of the nuptial pie," Mr Bryant says.
    Lower costs have forced prices down and professional photographers are feeling the impact of the growing popularity of digital SLR cameras which make it easier for amateur enthusiasts to take professional quality pictures,” he says.
    IBISWorld estimates a decline of 1.2 per cent ($10.25 million) for this sector in 2011."

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    Not far off the 10,000 photographers there kiwi, I'll concede $750.56 as pretty close!

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    Well, sort of, that's 9000 pros and doesnt include say me, or uncle bob

    One can only assume that maybe only 1/4 of these weddings actually employ a ft pro, if that. Otherwise I can't see how the numbers add up if I make another assumption that a ft pro will charge an average of $4k

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    Thanks to all who commented!

    I will surely do something else on the side, I've done a few studio and children shots back in China(although weddings are still my favourite), what would again be the situation here in Australia?

    After numerous searches on Seek.com.au, MyCareer.com.au and such and it seems impossible to find a photography job, so say if you want to earn around $60,000 per annum as a freelancer, where would be a good starting point?


    Thanks in advance!

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    Worse I suggest

  19. #19
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    I agree with Kiwi. The fact you can't find anything on Seek etc. is a big clue as to the current job market.

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    Hey Guys
    I know a pro wedding photographer (not me) who does 28 weddings a year (don't get many in winter out here) which is about capacity at a minimum of $3500 a wedding which is $98K a yr + he does other jobs and he takes about 6 weeks off every winter.
    So maybe it depends on who you are - where you are - how good you are -and how good you market yourself.
    Re Stats
    I read a survey once where they asked a goup of people if they thought surveys were an accurate refelction of peoples thoughts:
    50% said yes
    40% said no

    and

    10% said he didn't think 10 was enough to ask....

    I'm always wary of "stats"
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