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Author Topic: Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls (photo labs)  (Read 2923 times)

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Offline rockolobster

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Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls (photo labs)
« on: February 22, 2006, 11:31:59 AM »
Apart from photography services (which a good number of the folks here offer), who would be engaged or somehow familiar (as a business) in the other aspects of photography such as consumer labs (1hr developing/printing), studio rentals, ID booths (ala foto-me), camera shops, etc?  Particularly, i'd like to hear how those 1hr labs are as a business.  Has the advent of digital decreased the demand for printing (bec people tend to just email or post pics on the web)?  How soon would you recover your investment for those types of operations?   ???

Just curious if these are viable business options or if the market's too saturated already



***Added photo labs in the title
« Last Edit: February 24, 2006, 10:34:12 AM by tekgik »

Offline joachim

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Re: Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2006, 11:04:01 AM »
i never had the chance to get into the business of photo labs but a good friend of mine did about 7 years ago.  he had 3 shops then but lately had to close down one of his outlets. yes digital has pressed on a major impact in the business.  it just isn't what it used to be.  but don't take me wrong, it is not impossible to make decent money from it.  i heard the provincial market is a better place to invest...

Offline kentamayo

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Re: Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2006, 11:12:27 AM »
For me the 1hr labs have really evolved already, now offering direct digital printing as well. Pinoys will always want hard copies of their photos, we're just like that, lalo na mga high school and college girls, their vanity supercedes that of practicality sometimes. They're the barkadas I usually see having their photos taken and printed at Digtal and 1 hr photo labs. These shops will be around for quite a while as there will always be a need for them, remember not all of us have email you know!

As for studios, it's really hard to break out especially with the big name studios. But one success story (although backed by a big name owner) is Greater Image, the one owned by Boy Abunda, is really doing well for a small studio setup. But like the 1hr and digital labs, the qualtiy of the photographers seem to be deteriorating as well.

Who knows what the future holds for these businesses.
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Offline misterkodaker

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Re: Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2006, 12:20:04 AM »
Greater Image or Great Image?

Boy Abunda isn't the owner of Great Image AFAIK.

Cheers!

K

For me the 1hr labs have really evolved already, now offering direct digital printing as well. Pinoys will always want hard copies of their photos, we're just like that, lalo na mga high school and college girls, their vanity supercedes that of practicality sometimes. They're the barkadas I usually see having their photos taken and printed at Digtal and 1 hr photo labs. These shops will be around for quite a while as there will always be a need for them, remember not all of us have email you know!

As for studios, it's really hard to break out especially with the big name studios. But one success story (although backed by a big name owner) is Greater Image, the one owned by Boy Abunda, is really doing well for a small studio setup. But like the 1hr and digital labs, the qualtiy of the photographers seem to be deteriorating as well.

Who knows what the future holds for these businesses.

Offline cleober

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Re: Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2006, 02:14:16 AM »
Lately i've seen changes to those 1 hour colored ID booths that you see on public places like mall entrance. They have evolved from those bulky image printing machines that is hidden in front of the both to a hollow tabletop area where the clerk will just shoot the customer using his/her kodak digital camera and plug it in the dock provided and print a 1x1 or 2x2 sized picture. Seems like their initial investment is lower than before, and now it's up to them to look for a good location. I wonder how long they could get their investments back?

Offline alanc

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Re: Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2006, 07:43:00 AM »
Canon promotes their Selphy printers for those who want to start in the ID-picture business.  All you need is a digicam which can print directly to the printer.  These printers are pretty small, i.e. portable.

On the business-side, location is a pretty big factor.  You'll want somewhere with lots of traffic.  So most probably malls or commercial areas.  How about bus stops or vacation spots?
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Offline tekgik

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Re: Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls (photo labs)
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2006, 10:45:08 AM »
Lately i've seen changes to those 1 hour colored ID booths that you see on public places like mall entrance. They have evolved from those bulky image printing machines that is hidden in front of the both to a hollow tabletop area where the clerk will just shoot the customer using his/her kodak digital camera and plug it in the dock provided and print a 1x1 or 2x2 sized picture. Seems like their initial investment is lower than before, and now it's up to them to look for a good location. I wonder how long they could get their investments back?

I think it depends on the location, the ROI will be as fast or as loooong.. Business nowadays is not that "good" anymore including food. If you are trying to rent out a booth or space at the mall, you have to be sure that it will click or youll end up giving business to the lessor. A small kiosk booth inside malls ranges from 15k to 30k depends on the location. There will be CUSA et all.

Like here in SM Valenzuela, i think there are 5 photolabs/studio. Good business for them i think not (IMHO) how much they are renting, plus electricity, and salaries. And to think that they have a small number of clients / customers magahahati pa silang lima. Eto namang SM walang proteksyon sa tenants. Kuha nalang ng kuha ng rent. :(

SM's project of launching malls in every corner is not really admirable.. And theres a loophole on what they are doing :(

Offline rockolobster

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Re: Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls (photo labs)
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2006, 11:27:07 AM »
oo nga, location talaga is very important (as with any business).  it doesn't help also that generally, business has slowed down.  even my bro-in-law who had some drug store outlets has had to close down 2 of his branches.  people today are willing to sacrifice their health or use alternative medicines just to make ends meet.  but, i digress...

going back... my perception also was that the printing business (for general consumers) has declined or plateaued, at best.  so, unless one finds a good enough location (most likely out of the city), then looks like it's going to be tough nga. 

Offline Dave_D

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Re: Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls (photo labs)
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2006, 11:32:42 AM »
My 2 cents,

If you have to ask in a forum, your already too late. This is the lechon manok mentality all over again.

The only successful enterpreneurs are those who made a NEW product/service that isn't available.

If your gonna compete head on with entrenched players, best to go the franchise route and join them. Sure your startup Capitalization as well as Opex will be higher, but you are buying into their 'system' which has been market tested, and proven.

Offline mckytm

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Re: Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls (photo labs)
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2006, 02:57:26 PM »
I agree with Dave_D. Of course, there's also a possibility of saturation if the franchise owners just keep selling and selling. But assuming you've done your homework, a franchise can be very profitable, and you'll also get experience with a business system, in case you want to start your own.

Bawal na daw yung 2 cent opinions, dapat P50 each :P
It is part of the photographer's job to see more intensely than most people do. -Bill Brandt

Offline rockolobster

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Re: Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls (photo labs)
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2006, 03:37:56 PM »
yeah, the reason i asked is precisely bec i saw some franchisers and i had some serious doubts about their viability given current market conditions and changing consumer behaviour.  me thinks that even if you do get a franchise, it's only the franchiser that will make money and not the franchisee.  the only chance you have (it seems) is if you're able to tap into a market (i.e., location) that's largely been unserved.  if such a location exists, i would still have reservations, esp within metro manila.  perhaps, elsewhere, pwede pa as joachim pointed out.

if one were to go on his own (i.e., not to franchise), then i would also agree that the only way to enter the market is to offer something innovative. create a need or provide for unserved needs. 

best case would be to tap an unserved market with unserved needs (conceptually speaking, of course). ;)


Offline mckytm

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Re: Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls (photo labs)
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2006, 01:31:03 PM »
Make sure you've done your homework if you're hesitant about putting up a franchise. I actually want to put up a "sideline" business (while still working), and started looking through different franchisers' offers. Didn't get very far though since umangat naman ako sa trabaho, and correspondingly umangat ang working hours ko :)

However, if you're afraid of failure, just remember this: "You always fail 100% of the things you don't start." :)

Good luck!
It is part of the photographer's job to see more intensely than most people do. -Bill Brandt

Offline oldblue

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Re: Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls (photo labs)
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2006, 04:44:25 AM »
 true but if you did start a business  on a lona that is doomed to fail, for example,  a market saturated business.

 you'll lose more than 100% hehehe
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Offline lehboy

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Re: Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls (photo labs)
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2006, 09:36:32 AM »
A tip on franchises pala - not everything works.  I own a franchise, but sadly had to develop my own system to survive the market.

I have already heard a lot of different franchisees (across industries), close down.  If you're interested in a particular franchise like let's say a photo studio franchise, go around and ask the different franchisees of their experiences. If majority tell you that business is doing well, go ahead and take the leap.

         

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Offline oldblue

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Re: Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls (photo labs)
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2006, 11:40:13 PM »

  strongly agree bro.   imagine a photolab machine costing 3M-5M, then ROI of what 3 years?  tagal nun ...    nowadays,  a small business doing well in 3 months- 5 months  does not mean  ok na, lalo na kung 3M up ang invested. 
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Offline itgbkj

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Re: Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls (photo labs)
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2006, 05:52:16 PM »

  strongly agree bro.   imagine a photolab machine costing 3M-5M, then ROI of what 3 years?  tagal nun ...    nowadays,  a small business doing well in 3 months- 5 months  does not mean  ok na, lalo na kung 3M up ang invested. 

3M pala ang investment on a photolab... I thought mabilis ang ROI kasi pag kinompara natin ang pricing ng 4R sa Hidalgo vs 4R sa malls, malaki ang difference.  I have my negatives developed at Agfa Hidalgo for only 3.75 per copy (4R), but that would be 7 Pesos at the mall.

Offline adobo-element

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Re: Photography as a business - experience/opinions pls (photo labs)
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2007, 06:47:05 AM »

the best way to enter the photolab market is to engage in the business of buying and selling companies first.

the major player owners of photolabs nowadays open a photolab franchise so that they can put their extra money to good use.   just like jollibee franchises,  hindi naman kelangan chef lang puwede mag-mayari.  these franchises are best managed by corporations with money.   and the head honchos of such corporation are investors or players in the market. although they may have a hobby in photography as past-time, I highly doubt na lahat eh ganyan. 





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