Posts by: A Photo Editor
The artist, photographer and director takes us inside his London studio — discussing death, beauty, and the works that mean most to him
Shoot Concept: Images of large advertising displays in an airport
Licensing: Internal collateral use of up to 16 images in perpetuity for the client and portfolio use for the agency
Location: An airport in the northeastern United States
Shoot Days: 2
Photographer: Corporate, portrait and architectural specialist
Agency: Medium sized, Midwest based
Client: Global Agricultural Company
Creative/Licensing: The client wanted to photograph publicly displayed advertisements in an airport that the agency recently helped them develop and place. We’ve estimated many projects like this before, and while they typically come with tight budgets, those budgets are often justified by a low level of production needed to capture the content. This one was a bit different in that it came with an elevated level of production and unique logistical challenges, but the licensing was comparable to other similar projects, and was limited to internal collateral use by the client, and use of the images on the agency’s website as part of their portfolio.
There were 16 displays that needed to be photographed, and I felt that image #1 was worth $2,000, image #2 was worth $1,000, images #3-#7 were worth $500 each, and images #8-#16 were worth $250 each. That brought me to $7,750, which I thought was appropriate for the licensing and one day of shooting, but I felt that the additional shoot day warranted a bump to the fee, so I added about $2,000 to account for this, and then rounded back down to an even $9,500 which I thought would be more palatable.
After calculating a fee, I put pen to paper on the expenses, which as I mentioned, were based on a high level of production. For this kind of shoot, it’s rare that a client would have a big budget, but at the same time, they wanted to shoot professional talent in a major airport before and after the security checkpoint…not a simple task. I assumed they’d want to do this project with a really small footprint, but upon speaking with the art buyer, I learned that they anticipated a crew inclusive of the photographer, multiple assistants, a producer and a groomer, on top of the talent and agency representatives being present. I anticipated we’d need to scale down after presenting these costs, but regardless, we had to show them what it would take to executive the project as requested.
Photographer Scout Day: Part of the logistical challenge for this project was that some of the displays were before the airport security checkpoint, others were beyond it, and the agency wasn’t quite sure exactly where each display was. We therefore included a scout day to help dial-in these details.
First Assistant/Digital Tech and Assistant Days: The photographer’s first assistant would be doubling as his tech, and he’d be shooting to a very mobile laptop workstation. We also included a second assistant to offer an additional set of hands to help move lighting and other gear around to the various locations throughout the airport.
Producer Days: The local pool of producers was bare, and the specific producer that the photographer and agency hoped to work with was actually based out of town and would be traveling in. In addition to the travel, scout and shoot days, I included adequate prep and wrap time for the producer to coordinate the project. Working with an airport can prove to be incredibly time consuming due to security measures, especially when you aren’t working on behalf of an airline or the airport itself who could otherwise provide access and connections to ease the process. I therefore wanted to make sure we included enough time to accommodate the potential headache.
Equipment: I anticipated that the photographer would need to bring along $1,500 worth of grip, lights and cameras/lenses per day, over the course of two days.
Location Fees/Permits and Airport Staff/Escort Fees: This particular airport actually happened to have a bit of information on its website regarding commercial filming and shooting, some of which was based on the time on site (with dictated hours of shooting), and some of which was based on the number of people involved. For a still photo shoot (rather than video) with more than five people on site, they listed a location fee of $1,000 per day. They also listed various personnel at hourly rates, including operations officers, police officers, fire marshals, engineers, electricians, and “other” support staff. Based on this information, I anticipated we’d need staff listed at the $75/hr mark for 8-10 hours over two shoot days, plus some time on the scout day. I felt $1,500 was an appropriate starting point, but noted that it was TBD and elaborated in our delivery that this would need to be dialed-in as the project progressed.
Catering: Based on previous experience shooting at airports, I knew our catering option would be limited to the airport’s internal food services company. I included $60 per day per person for up to 13 people (including the crew, talent, and agency representatives).
Mileage, Parking, Production Supplies, Misc.: I included $50/day for parking, and figured we’d need to cover at least three cars for the talent, and three cars for the crew (they’d likely carpool rather than each drive individually). On top of that, I included $300/day for tables, chairs, walkies and other supplies, as well as $100/day for general miscellaneous expenses that might come up.
Insurance: I anticipated that the airport would require a certificate of insurance, and that their requirements would likely eclipse what a typical photographer’s policy would cover. I therefore included $1,000 for the photographer to increase their policy as needed.
Producer Travel: As I mentioned, the producer would be traveling in, and I grouped their expenses into one line item. They’d require three nights of lodging (around $200/night in this market), and I included a $50/day per diem and about $100 for their mileage.
Shoot Processing for Client Review and Selects Processed for Reproduction: The first assistant/tech would be handling the major leg work of organizing the files, but I included a few hundred dollars for the photographer to do an initial edit and provide a gallery to the agency. On top of that, I included $150/image for the photographer to process their 16 selects.
Casting from Cards and Adult Talent Days: As opposed to a live casting, the agency was interested in casting talent based on their headshots, which made sense since the talent would likely be unrecognizable anyway. This fee included the time (likely spent by either a producer or a local casting agency) to request headshots from multiple talent agencies based on certain demographics, organize and deliver the results, and then correspond with individual talent agencies to book and confirm the talent. Since they’d be unrecognizable, I figured $400-$500/day plus a 20% agency fee would be appropriate per talent, and noted that this cost would be billed directly to the agency.
Groomer Days and Wardrobe: The talent would be bringing their own wardrobe based on specs provided by the agency, but they requested for a stylist to be present to make sure they looked presentable. I included a rate that would allow us to bring in a stylist from another city if the limited pool of local stylists happened to be unavailable.
Feedback: Overall, I knew this estimate would be too high for them, and while I anticipated a discussion regarding a decreased level of production, they specifically asked to see what it would take to execute a project in this way. Not surprisingly, that’s exactly what happened. We were basically asked to take a scalpel to the expenses, and see what we could do with a reduced level of production (they were willing to concede to 2 talent on one of the days, were ok without a groomer, mentioned that they might be able to pre-scout the location, and said they could handle the retouching). After discussing some options with the photographer, we decided that he could handle the pre-production (for a fee) if it just meant hiring one assistant, doing a simple casting from cards, and corresponding with the airport (no second assistant, groomer, catering, scouting, producer). On top of removing all of those items, we reduced the equipment, came down on the location fees (since it would be much fewer people on-site), noted that the escorts would be TBD, came down on the insurance and casting, reduced the expense for the shoot processing for client review, and adjusted the misc. expenses appropriately. These were certainly big cuts across the board, and here was the revised estimate:
Feedback: Despite the cuts, the agency hoped to trim the budget even further, by about half the amount. Fortunately, they were willing to concede a bit more on their end as well. Rather than 16 displays, they were hoping to capture just 6, which would help to make the project a 1 day shoot. On top of that, the agency was also willing to do away with talent, and just hoped to shoot unrecognizable real people as they walked by the displays.
We justified the decrease by dropping the creative/licensing fee from $9,500 to $5,000. I felt that the reduction of the additional day was worth a decrease of $2,000, and that the reduction of 10 shots was worth a decrease of $2,500. We also removed the casting and talent fees, and reduced the expenses across the board to account for one less day. Here was the revised estimate:
Results: The photographer was awarded the project, and given the light production footprint and the fact that the displays all ended up being before the security checkpoint, the coordination with the airport wasn’t too much of a headache.
If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at (610) 260-0200. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to big ad campaigns.
The quality and flexibility of the camera you shoot with can make a considerable difference in the finished quality and editing options for your video. Are you shooting on a $ 500 DV camera, a $2,500 DSLR, a $10,000 Full feature HD camera, a $25,000 RED, a $60,000 ARRI or are you shooting on Film? The pace of technological advancement in film and video is breathtaking and the features and capabilities of cameras are changing weekly. Bottom Line: You should be able to see the difference in the final output quality in more expensive cameras. If you can’t, then it’s not worth paying for. Your final delivery channel will also determine the need for specific cameras. Streamed video on the internet (where the vast majority of corporate videos are seen) doesn’t require high-end camera’s to capture your content because a lot of that quality will be lost in optimization for the web.Costs: You will spend between $25/hour and $400/hour or more depending on which digital camera package is used. Film cameras, lenses and stock will take you well over $1,000 /hour.Equipment. The more experienced video production companies tend to have a wide variety of tools and equipment on hand for each shoot. Do you need a track dolly or a jib-arm to create a shot with movement? Do you have a high quality field monitor to know exactly what you are getting (or not getting) as you shoot? Do you have all the necessary audio equipment (lav’s, direction mics, booms etc) to capture the audio you need? Lighting and framing are everything in video. Do you have lights – lots of different lights to accommodate a wide variety of shooting scenarios? Do you have a variety of lenses to create the specific feel you are after – wide angle, fixed focal length or Cine lenses for narrow depth of field, etc?Costs. Equipment cost can run anywhere from $25/hour to $100’s/hour or more depending on what specific equipment is required
You’ve probably seen and possibly heard the story of Eric Pickersgill’s body of work: REMOVED. How Eric noticed a family in a coffee shop all staring at their personal devices and simultaneously feeling disgusted dejected and realizing that he was that same family. So he created a series of images with the phones removed, “to show just how weird that can be”.
What you probably haven’t heard is what happens to a photographer when a series of images goes viral. And what can be done to harness some of that viral-ity to money and attention to the photographer whose images have been co-opted by the internet.
“It happened so fast. It still seems a little unreal,” Pickersgill chuckles. 2015 was already shaping up to be a great year for him as an emerging photographer, even before a friend at Business Insider asked to feature his work. Business Insider was the start. Views of Pickersgill’s feature quickly went from a few hundred to tens of thousands. A day later the work started popping up on other blog’s and online publications. How is a little hazy, as some of these early posts were used without an e-mail to him. This additional coverage helped push the work further; this is when sensible inquiries started. USE USE USE, WANT WANT WANT, e-mail after e-mail requesting images for publications we view every day.
The emails quickly ramped up to over 300 a day and Eric says, “money floated into my mind as an afterthought, but I soon realized I was going to need some help.” Almost without exception, the expectation was that images would be given for publication for free. He did not get too many “it will be great exposure for you” insults, but the sense was he would be eager to be published. And Eric was very eager to be published and a number of websites and blogs benefitted.
On the third day of this Eric called photo professional Julie Grahame, who he was introduced to by a mutual business friend. “I wasn’t sure the first time we spoke. I thought the work might just fizzle,” Grahame said. It’s funny to note that both Pickersgill and Grahame shared this thought upon first interactions before they agreed on working together. Pickersgill quickly came back around to Grahame after a day or so attempting the Internet solo. “Other countries started calling for the work. The Netherlands, South Africa, on and on.”
With so many inquiries on the table, Julie set out with Eric to prioritize those likely to have a budget. They agreed to just not get back to a bunch of people until they had managed the more practical clients. That was hard for Eric, he had to understand he wasn’t being rude, he was just staying sane. A couple of things likely slipped through the cracks, because it was so overwhelming, but they soon had several invoices out to various countries, and as each publication came out, they perpetuated the interest.
“Some clients I expected to have a budget said no, and when we refused to play, managed to find a little bit of cash”, says Julie of their interactions with clients. One German journalist said “I’m sure they do have a budget, I’ve just never seen it used” and then found them $200. They had to be creative and flexible – one client who Eric did an interview with had to process the fee as an equipment expense. With all the best intentions and efforts it is difficult to get a publisher to pay up-front but they did manage it on a few occasions.
Lots of people wanted interviews as well, but they still insisted on license fees for the majority of them. They also let go a bunch of websites who used images without permission that they felt it would be impractical to pursue.
“Collecting the money is the usual ongoing effort but we’ve done really well!”, says Julie, “I would like to add we have negotiated licenses that include an ad campaign, and a music video.” (As an aside, managing tax issues and incoming wire transfers from all over the world is a bit of a pain.)
There were also several requests for prints but Eric decided that “instead of jumping to make quick sales, he waited until he found a gallery who was interested in the work and who would then fulfill the print requests for him.” This manifested in an enthusiastic agreement with Rick Wester Fine Art, in New York within a month of going viral.
Family sitting next to me at Illium café in Troy, NY is so disconnected from one another. Not much talking. Father and two daughters have their own phones out. Mom doesn’t have one or chooses to leave it put away. She stares out the window, sad and alone in the company of her closest family. Dad looks up every so often to announce some obscure piece of info he found online. Twice he goes on about a large fish that was caught. No one replies. Eric is saddened by the use of technology for interaction in exchange for not interacting. This has never happened before and he doubts we have scratched the surface of the social impact of this new experience. Mom has her phone out now. This is Pickersgill’s story, this is how it all began.
The photos are deeper, they delve into a history of portraiture, and they are as sculptural as they are narrative. Pickersgill’s images bridge a gap between fine art and editorial. They are full of repose and gesture and curiously, the hands of the subjects with their devices removed, create a nebulous sense of vacuum. Composition informs the subject’s relation; tonality and print quality capture awkward moments of estranged intimacy. In Pickersgill’s own words, “I have a strong connection to the body and photographing people.”
REMOVED incites a certain sense of joy hidden in the images’ absurdity. That’s not to say they’re a joke, laughter ensues because the photos allow a viewer to realize just how complicated they’ve made themselves. There’s a freedom in that.
Eric’s future isn’t clear, but there’s a whole lot of potential. The work will continue, and so too will the obsession with REMOVED. As long as people need reminding it seems pretty clear Pickersgill will have subjects to photograph. The body goes on adapting and relying, submitting itself. And maybe that’s the ultimate realization the work can impart. I don’t get the feeling that his photos are trying to say put down the technology, but to grow with each other and to raise the platform. The blinking lights and fun little gadgets will catch up.
Shoot Concept: Lifestyle images of two friends interacting
Licensing: Trade Advertising and Trade Collateral use of two images in the US for two years.
Location: A residential property
Shoot Days: 1
Photographer: Portraiture specialist in the Northeast.
Agency: Medium sized, based in the Midwest.
Client: A pharmaceutical company
Here is the estimate:
Creative/Licensing: While the creative brief called for one scenario and a single hero shot, the client hoped to acquire rights to two final images of the talent photographed in the same scenario, but with slight changes to their expressions, props and camera angle. I felt the second image would be a bit less valuable, but different enough that they’d be able to use in unique ways or to present a different message. Taking that and my previous experience pricing similar projects into consideration, I priced the first image at $7,000 and the second image at $5,000. I typically try to determine the licensing value for a single year first, and then extrapolate to account for additional years. However, while I might typically add 50% to jump from one year to two years, I felt that based on the simplicity of the concept and the likelihood of a limited shelf life to these images, that the price increase wasn’t justified. I also found out during conversation with the art buyer that their budget was around 50k, and I wanted to present appropriate fees while still keeping this in mind.
After determining what I felt was an appropriate fee, I checked other pricing resources to see what they suggested as well. While Blinkbid calculated a fee around $15,000, FotoQuote didn’t have a rate that included all advertising and collateral use while also taking into account trade and/or consumer usage. Getty suggests a price of $4,800 per image for print advertising, but didn’t have a catch-all collateral pricing rate or the option for specific trade usage. Corbis offers a “Print Ad, Collateral and Web Pack”, which seemed to fit the requested licensing nicely, and suggested a price close to $15,000 per image per year, but also didn’t include an option for trade usage.
The agency asked for an option to expand the licensing from trade to consumer use within a concurrent time frame, and I felt that this increase should fall somewhere in between an additional 50% to 100% of the fee, or at least be as valuable as 100% of the first hero shot. I settled on $7,500 to make it a palatable option, while also realizing the agency would have to take into account increased talent rates (which I developed with our casting director).
Photographer Scout Day: We planned to do a walkthrough of the location before the shoot, so I made sure to include pre-production time for the photographer to attend.
B-Roll Videographer and Video Equipment: While photography was definitely the main objective, the agency hoped to acquire video content as well during the shoot. The video was to mirror the photography but capture very subtle movement of the talent. Given the limited creative responsibilities, I felt $1,500 would cover a camera operator who could also offer grip and lighting expertise. I anticipated that the $1,000 would cover his camera, a basic slider and video monitors for the client to view the content they would be capturing.
First and Second Assistants: We’d need extra hands on site, not only to help set up and break down, but to also assist with moving furniture around and putting it back in place alongside the styling team.
Digital Tech: I anticipated a tech to charge $500/day and added $750 for a computer workstation and monitors for the client to review the images being captured.
Producer: This included three prep days, one scout day, one shoot day and one wrap day. With a crew this size and lengthy list of logistics to monitor, a producer would be a key role to take on those responsibilities.
Location Scout, Location Fee: Upon initial discussion regarding the creative direction, the client was looking for a pretty straightforward and simple residential property. Since most location scouts have plenty of residential properties that would fit this bill in their database, I included one day to account for a file pull, and one day to account for extra time they might need to spend shooting new pictures of the location we chose or to find additional options. In the area where the shoot would take place, and based on prior experience, I felt a location fee of $2,000 would return a solid list of options to choose from.
Production RV: When possible, I always try to include a production RV for shoots like this to keep as many cooks out of the kitchen as possible. An RV would afford a place for the stylists to set up, space for talent to wait, an area to arrange catering, and a private area with wifi for the client if needed. Many RVs charge $800-$900/day, but then mileage, dumping fees, generator run time and other charges are often added on which add up quickly. I included a buffer and bumped the rate to $1,200 to be safe.
Live Casting and Talent: The agency requested a live casting (rather than casting from cards) and wanted to capture video of each talent to see how they presented themselves and interacted with others. I contacted a local casting agency who quoted $950 to cover their prep time, a half day for the casting, delivery of the results and booking of two talent (the rate felt quite cheap from a print production perspective, but similar to rates I’ve seen other casting agencies quote that primarily cater to the video industry). I also discussed talent rates with the casting agent and determined that a fee of $3,000 per person would return a decent talent pool to choose from.
Hair/Makeup Stylist: Since the talent count was minimal, we included a hair/makeup stylist without an assistant for the day.
Wardrobe/Prop Styling: The wardrobe requested was rather straightforward, and after a conversation with a local stylist, we were confident that they needed just one assistant to accomplish the project. We included two prep days, one shoot day and one return day for both the stylist and their assistant. We anticipated that $350 per talent would be more than enough to cover non-returnable wardrobe, and that $1,650 would be a good starting point for extra props to fill out a room in a residential property (tables, chairs, other small pieces of furniture, flowers, picture frames, vases, etc). Since some of these items would be rather large, we included the cost of a van to help transport everything.
Equipment: At the time of estimating, we were debating whether it would make sense to shoot with strobes and then set up continuous lights for the video, or if we should just use the lighting setup for video and have the photographer just shoot without his strobes. Either way, I was confident that $1,500 would cover the photographer’s gear should he choose to use it, or it could be added to the $1,000 already included for the videographers gear to help supplement that to include a lighting setup.
Shoot Processing for Client Review and Selects Processed for Reproduction: We included $250 for the photographer to do a quick edit and provide a web gallery, while adding $100 per image to touch up the chosen files and deliver them to the agency. I’d typically increase the rate for the gallery to $500, but we’d have a digital tech on site to help organize the assets and accomplish some of this work as it was being captured.
Catering: I anticipated catering to cost $50-$60 per person for the shoot day (including six agency/client attendees), and bumped it up a bit to account for potential meals during the scout day.
Mileage, Parking, Meals, Misc.: I included $100 for production books, $200 for miscellaneous expenses and mileage, and $300 for additional meals and parking for the wardrobe/prop stylist while shopping and returning everything.
Feedback: While we knew that our estimate fell within their budget, we also sensed that they might be interested in increasing the scope of the project. Sure enough, the agency came back and told us that they were interested in shooting another scenario with two additional talent during the same shoot day, and they asked for a revised estimate. This of course impacted many items across the board, and we put pen to paper and submitted the following revised estimate:
Creative/Licensing: In addition to capturing another concept, they asked for licensing to six images (three per concept), as opposed to just two. My first inclination was to double the price, but upon further consideration, I felt that the first image of the second scenario might be equally if not less valuable than the second image from the first concept. I had considered adding an extra $3,750 for image number three and $1,500 for image number four, and felt that the third image in each scenario didn’t bring enough value to increase the fee much further. While we wanted to bump the price to this amount, the photographer was eager to close the deal and wanted to offer a bit of a discount by capping it at $15,000 (we did however increase the licensing option to jump from trade to consumer use). Given the nature of the project, we agreed that this was still good for a one-day shoot, and I’ve seen similar projects land on similar rates while granting more licensing.
Live Casting and Talent: Since we’d be casting four talent instead of two, we increased the casting fee to account for more time to prep, shoot and book talent, and we increased the talent fees to account for two additional people.
Wardrobe: This also increased, but didn’t double since the outfits that were requested could easily accommodate more than one talent. So, instead of shopping for four unique outfits, many of the same items would be appropriate for multiple talent which I anticipated would result in cost savings. Interestingly, while I would have anticipated an increase to the prop budget since we’d be shooting in two scenarios, we felt that after analyzing some location options, that we’d be able to use many of the items already in the houses to set up a simple second scenario.
Selects Processed for Reproduction: This was a quick change to jump from two to six images, and to cover the time it would take to process more images.
Catering: I added an extra $60 per person to account for the two additional talent.
Production Insurance: Throughout the negotiation process, we learned that the agency had insurance requirements that the photographer’s policy didn’t specifically cover. The photographer would need to increase his policy and pay an additional fee to his insurance company in order to do so, and hoped to pass this cost along to the agency.
Results: The project was awarded, and the client opted to expand the licensing to include consumer use.
If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing a project, please give us a call at (610) 260-0200. We’re available to help with any and all pricing and negotiating needs—from small stock sales to big ad campaigns.
This is how a promo is supposed to work. You open one and you are intrigued by the image so you go visit the photographers website. You really like what you see, so you file the promo away or tack it to your board, but then you head off to a meeting or go home for the day and immediately forget about the photographer.
Then the promos keep coming in (every month or two or three) and each time you are reminded how much you liked their work and each time you are enjoying the new image and then you begin to look forward to seeing the next one and then you start recognizing the envelopes when they come in. Eventually, you will hire them. This is how it is supposed to work and that why Sarah Wilmer deserves a special mention for sending promos in 2015.
The humble postcard is the ultimate promo. I believe it can carry as much weight as a book full of images and a poster that can block out the sun. It is a testament to your ability to produce a single (sometimes two) arresting image. For me the ultimate postcard image is beyond arresting. It has more questions than answers. It makes you want to dig a little deeper and figure out what this photographer is all about. See what’s really going on in that image that caught your attention. Here are the postcards that caught my eye in 2015:
Many of the postcard promos are actually postcards you could send out and sometimes you run across a set that you would actually send out. Here’s a set I just loved and kept.
I love zines. There really is an art to doing them well. The best seem to come from zine makers who happen to be photographers. Regardless, if you have a killer story to tell you can easily and cheaply make a zine about it, and those of us who have a passion for stories told through pictures will love it. Here are the zines that stood out in 2015:
Adam Jason Cohen
Newsprint is back! Of the 7 most common promo types I receive, newsprint promos are the most creative and exciting. I just love the feel and look of it, plus the enormous space creative photographers have available to work with. Here are the memorable newsprint promos from 2015:
Not only are the pictures great in this promo the photographer doesn’t live in NY or LA and is proud of it. Love the map because many times you have to do research to figure out where they actually live.
Kenneth M. Ruggiano
A promo in the mail showing motion?! Yeah, I was pretty blown away when I got this promo in 2015:
The pack of single image promos is probably the most useful and accessible promo there is for photographers. You don’t need a great designer, you can stick to your best images, there are plenty of printers available who do a great job with this and it’s fairly inexpensive compared to other promo types. Best of all, the recipient has a variety of images to choose from to save and remember you by. Here are the best I saw in 2015:
My mail lady delivers a lot of promos and she told me this one was passed around the post office in Durango as a favorite. Way to go Andy!
The foldout promo is a new one for me because it wasn’t popular many years ago when I was a photo editor and I have to say I think it’s awesome. It’s not entirely practical for tacking to the bulletin board or saving, but it has a great impact with the ability to show a poster size image along with a collection of smaller ones. Here are the foldout promos that stood out to me in 2015: