Pricing and Negotiating: In-Store Lifestyle Shoot for a Retailer

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Lifestyle images of families shopping and interacting

Licensing: Unlimited use of 20 images for 3 years

Location: A retail store on the West Coast

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Southern-based lifestyle specialist.

Agency: None. Client direct.

Client: A Midwestern-based retailer specializing in children’s products

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: The client proposed a very ambitious shot list describing various scenarios featuring parents and children interacting with products in their store. After a conversation on what was accomplishable in one day and determining which shots were just “nice to have” as time allowed, we settled on 20 images to initially be licensed for three years of unlimited use.

As in most instances with this type of licensing, their requested use wasn’t 100% in line with their intended use and it was clear that although they may have taken advantage of the full licensing for one or two images, most of the images would primarily be used for collateral purposes only. With that in mind, I decided to first determine a price for one year of licensing and then extrapolate to determine what I thought was appropriate for three years. I initially priced the first image at $3,000, images two through five at $1,500 each, images six through ten at $750 each and images eleven through twenty at $500 each. I doubled the total to account for the requested three-year licensing duration and then took a look at how that broke out on a per-image basis. It prorated to $1,775/image, which I then reduced to just over $1,000/image given the probability of their intended use. While I would have liked to increase the creative/licensing fee, I felt that it may have been pushing the limit of what was appropriate for a one-day shoot for this type of project/client based on similar projects I’ve worked on previously and I also had my eye on the overall bottom line, which I felt was reaching the client’s threshold.

Based on the pro-rated per image fee I calculated, I noted the cost of additional images if they wanted to license any of the “nice to have” shots captured throughout the day. I also provided an option to increase the licensing from three years to five years for an additional 50% of the fee and from three years to perpetual use for 100% of the fee. While we provided these options as requested by the client, I felt that the shelf life of the images was actually likely to be less than three years given the fact that many of the products featured in the images would ultimately be replaced within that time frame.

Photographer Travel/Scout Days: In a previous version of the estimate, I suggested to the photographer that we include one scout day and two travel days at $1,000 each since she was coming in from out of town and it would be advantageous to take a look around the store and meet with the client prior to the shoot day. The photographer opted to waive her travel day fees since she frequently visited friends/family in the area and decided to also waive her scout day fee in an effort to reduce the bottom line. Rather than removing the lines altogether, we decided to keep them in and simply include a “fee waived” note so the client would know that the photographer was willing to offer a discount.

B-Roll Videographer and Audio Tech: The client was originally hoping for the photographer to capture video and audio content throughout the day in addition to the still images. While she had a bit of experience shooting video, the shot list was so ambitious that we felt the production would be jeopardized if she had to switch back and forth from stills to video throughout the day. We therefore included a separate videographer along with an audio tech for the day and specifically noted that they’d be a “B-Roll” videographer to set the client’s expectations regarding the type of content they’d be capturing throughout the day. We also noted that any and all video editing would be provided by the client in the “Job Description” section of the estimate.

Assistants and Digital Tech: We anticipated that the photographer’s first assistant would attend the scout day and that they’d be joined by a second assistant and a digital tech on the shoot day. I typically anticipate a $500 day rate for a digital tech and I added in an extra $500 for them to bring a laptop and/or a workstation for the photographer to tether to.

Producer and Production Assistant: The photographer had a local producer lined-up for this project and we anticipated three prep days, one scout day, one shoot day and one day to wrap everything up. We also included a PA for the shoot day as well as an additional day for either the scouting or for other prep time to help the producer.

Hair/Makeup/Wardrobe/Prop Styling: We included a hair/makeup stylist along with an assistant to help prep the talent on the shoot day, as well as a wardrobe stylist (also with an assistant) to shop for and prep the clothing. I anticipated that the wardrobe stylist would need three shopping days and one shoot day and that their assistant would help shop for two of those days, attend the shoot and then return the wardrobe afterwards. I figured that $300/person would be a good starting point for four adults and ten children and I rounded the total up a bit for some buffer. As for prop styling, we were told that while the client would be able to provide nearly all of the props and products, that one or two scenarios might call for some supplemental shopping items like boxes, gift bags and purses/wallets. I had originally anticipated two prep days for the stylist, but the photographer had corresponded with a stylist who was comfortable with just a half-day to pick up some of these items and suggested a budget of $500. It seemed light at first glance, but the client emphasized that these items would be supplemental and hoped to keep this part of the estimate/production as light as possible.

Live Casting and Talent: The photographer used to live in the city where the shoot was taking place and had really strong connections with local talent and agents. We included one day for the talent options to come to a studio and have their headshots taken for consideration and wrapped up all of the prep time, equipment and expenses into one line item. While the usage was extensive, the shoot was in a market where $1,000/day for an adult and $750/day for a child could bring in a decent talent pool. These rates were also based on the local producer’s previous experience on similar projects and we were therefore confident that the rates would suffice.

Equipment: I anticipated that the photographer would be traveling with her gear and included $1,500/day (and figured that most rental houses offer a “three days same as a week” discount). This was to cover wear and tear on her camera bodies, lenses, grip and lighting. If she ended up needing to actually rent gear, we previously included an extra day for a production assistant to help pick up equipment as needed and figured this rate would cover those items as well.

Airfare, Lodging and Car Rental: As noted earlier, while the photographer would incur these expenses, she was willing to work as a local and absorb the cost.

Shoot Processing for Client Review, Color Correction, File Cleanup and Delivery: While a digital tech would be on site to help manage the workflow, we included $500 to account for the photographer’s time to do an initial edit and provide a web gallery of the entire shoot. The client was willing to handle any necessary retouching, but asked that the photographer at least clean up the final selects a bit and apply a color correction treatment for which we charged $75/image.

Catering: We anticipated nine people on the scout day and up to 41 people on the shoot day (including crew, client, adult talent and child talent along with their parents) and based the rate on $50 per person.

Mileage, Parking, Meals, Misc.: We included $350 to cover shopping meals/expenses for the stylists and $400 for miscellaneous expenses on the shoot and scout days.

Results: The photographer was awarded the job.

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