Pricing & Negotiating: Brand Imagery for a Premium Liquor Brand

Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Environmental product shots

Licensing: Unlimited use of up to 25 images for three years from first use

Location: On location in Southern California

Shoot Days: 2

Photographer: Food and beverage specialist based in Southern California

Agency: N/A – Client direct

Client: A premium liquor brand

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing:  A premium liquor brand recently requested a bid from one of our Southern California-based food/beverage specialists. They were looking to produce a shoot supporting an upcoming rebranding effort to update product photography for one of their premium lines. The concept was fairly straight-forward—shoot a variety of environmental still life images of the line of products accompanied by various cocktails. Most of the shots would also incorporate the brand’s in-house mixologist as a background element, mixing or serving the cocktails. To maintain continuity, they hoped all of the shots would be captured at the same location, one that offered a handful of compositional options to allow for variety while maintaining a consistent look/tone. The shot list called for 25 images, which was really only 4 setups, and included 6-7 variations in each. Some shots were product only; others included cocktails and/or the mixologist element. The detailed shot list, limited setups, relatively simple recipes and relatively fast-paced photographer allowed us to estimate this as a two day shoot.

Although the licensing wasn’t/couldn’t be restricted in any way in the language of the agreement, it was made clear that these images weren’t intended for campaign use (the client’s ad agency produced those images/campaigns separately). The images would be used mostly for trade purposes—ads in trade journals, trade show materials, and the occasional web ad. Also, the shot list broke down into two categories—universal product shots (heroes) and variations of each of those with different cocktails (variations). The value was clearly weighted in favor of the hero shots so we priced the licensing accordingly. We set the fee for the first four images (heroes) at 2500.00 each and the variations at approximately 750.00 each. Since each of the first four images was unique to a product line, we couldn’t justify any real decrease in fees from image 1 to image 4, and since the variations were variations in the truest sense, but each independent from the next, the value dropped, and plateaued, quickly.

Client Provisions: We were sure to note exactly what we expected the client to provide: the mixologist, product, recipes and product/technical advisors.

Tech/Scout Days: We included one tech/scout day to walk through the selected location with the creative team to determine compositions and block out the schedule.

Producer and Production Assistant: With as many production elements as this project had, a producer was necessary. We included a producer to manage the production, start to finish, so the photographer and client could focus on the creative during the shoot. We added a PA as well to help out with odds and ends and coffee runs throughout the production.

Assistants & Techs: We estimated for a first assistant to sort gear, attend the tech/scout and manage lighting/gear during the shoot. We also included a digital tech (with a workstation) and a second assistant on the shoot days as well.

Equipment: We estimated 2000.00/day for a medium format system, backup DSLR system, a handful of lenses, lighting and grip equipment. This enabled our first assistant to pick up and test gear prior to the tech/scout day and allowed the photographer to tech/scout with the camera system she intended to shoot with.

Location Scout/Fees: We allotted for three days of scouting to find our bar location and one day for the tech/scout. We budgeted 2500.00/day for location fees which would allow us a pretty deep pool of options to choose from, particularly since we were shooting early in the day during off/closed hours (mostly).

Styling: We included a full styling team: a prop stylist to style the location, manage product and source/manage glassware & barware; a wardrobe and hair & makeup stylist to style our mixologist talent; and a beverage stylist and assistant to manage the cocktails. We estimated the props and wardrobe stylists would each need two days to shop and one day to return.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: This covered the time of the initial edit, color correction and upload of the first edit to an FTP for client review and final image selection.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: We included basic color correction and touchups as a lump sum (based on 75.00/image in this case), which protects the fee in the event the client ultimately selects fewer than 25 images.

Retouching and File Transfer: Product photography almost always calls for retouching over and above basic file processing. We included 25 hours of retouching to manage more detailed processing and client requests. We also included the cost to purchase two hard drives and the shipping of one of those drives (containing all hi-res processed selects) to the client.

Catering, Insurance, Miles, Meals, Misc.: Catering covered hot breakfast, lunch, coffee, drinks and craft/snacks for up to 20 people for both shoot days. We also included an insurance line to cover workman’s comp. premiums and a prorated portion of the annual production insurance premium (which often scales based on total annual production costs). Finally, we estimated a healthy miscellaneous line to cover local transportation and any other unexpected expenses that may pop up throughout the production.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project, and after a series of small overage approvals (due to a change in scope), we added additional prop stylist days, a prop assistant and bumped up the prop budget which pushed the bottom line on the final invoice up close to 95k.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at (610) 260-0200, or shoot me an email. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to large ad campaigns.

Wonderful Machine

There Are 5 Comments On This Article.

  1. I just want to tell you, I have been freelancing as a photographer for three years and I would be dead or starving if it weren’t for A Photo Editor. Thank you, for all you do.

  2. For some of your variable line items, such as “ingredients” and “hours” (such as for the retouching), do you end up adjusting the final bill to meet the actual expenses? Or, if , for example it takes 20 or 30 hours of retouching, or ingredients cost less, do you account for that on the client bill?

    Thanks!