Category "Pricing & Negotiating"

Pricing and Negotiating: Real Employees for Trade Ads

Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Environmental lifestyle images and portraits of client employees

Licensing: Unlimited use of 36 images for 1 year

Location: Client facilites on the West Coast

Shoot Days: 3

Photographer: Lifestyle and portrait specialist

Agency: Mid-sized agency based in the Midwest

Client: One of the largest manufacturers you’ve probably never heard of

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: Late last year we worked with one of our West Coast-based photographers to estimate and produce a project for one of the largest brands you’ve never heard of, but probably crossed paths with at some point. This is partially due to the nature of their product and the fact that they are trade oriented and don’t deal with consumers directly. The agency was developing a new web presence for the client, along with a number of trade print ads, all of which humanized the brand by highlighting the employees who manage the day to day operations. The concept was relatively straightforward; the photographer would need to capture environmental portraits of client employees at client facilities on the West Coast. Although the locations and talent would be provided, there was still a lengthy shot list, operational locations, and a fair amount of production involved.

This was a somewhat challenging fee to pin down because of the scale/reach of the client, the agency’s requirement of “unlimited” use in spite of the limited intended use, and a shot list that seemed to split the difference between an image-based approach and a library approach. Though the client was expecting to walk away with 36 selects, the shot list only consisted of 12 hero shots (four scenarios/shoot day). The additional 24 images were described as “pickup” variations of the 12 principal images. Because of the straightforward concept and relatively static scenarios, it was difficult to imagine these variations creating much value for the client.

Much as I try to avoid this thinking, I established a ceiling in the back of my mind, due to the “typical” library rate range of 7,500-15,000/day (which generally wouldn’t include a limit on the image count or duration of use). Additionally, we determined the value for the 12 principal images was considerably higher than the 24 variations. Weighted in this manner, we set the fee at 26,500.00 for the first 12 images (1 @ 5000.00, 2-6 @ 2500.00 each, 7-12 @ 1500.00 each) and 15,000.00 for the 24 variations (13-24 @ 750.00 each, 25-36 @ 500.00 each), bringing us to a total of 41,500.00 for the creative and licensing fee for this project. This falls on the higher end of the library ceiling I’d set (particularly considering the limitations), but the photographer has a unique approach and aesthetic favored by the client and agency, so we felt we could start with healthier fees. We were confident that the agency would come back to us to negotiate if our numbers didn’t align with theirs because of the photographer’s preferred position. We must have hit the mark, because the agency approved the bid without a single question or requested revision (which is exceedingly rare).

Client Provisions: We made sure to indicate that the agency and/or client would provide locations, casting and talent, requisite releases and any major set or product props.

Tech/Scout Days: We included a tech/scout day to walk through the three locations the day before the shoot.

Assistants and Tech: We included two killer assistants and a top-notch digital tech. The lighting kit would be minimal, but we’d be moving a lot and wanted to make sure we had enough hands on deck. The tech included a small mobile workstation in her fee.

Producer: We included a producer (including travel fees and expenses) to manage the crew, employee talent, locations, stylists, catering, parking, scheduling, local transportation, and just about any other logistical concerns that may come up throughout pre-production and the shoot.

Equipment: We estimated 1,500.00/day for a pair of DSLR bodies, a number of lenses, portable strobes, walkies and a one-ton grip truck.

Styling: We brought on two stylists (and one stylist assistant) to manage HMU, supplemental wardrobe (the subjects would provide a few of their own outfits and the client would provide necessary uniforms) and supplement personal props like handbags, folios, phones, etc. Major set props would be provided by the client – basically, we would work with existing spaces as is.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: This fee covered time, equipment and costs for the initial import, edit, batch color correction and upload of the images via FTP (or similar) for client review and selection. A digital tech will handle most of this on set, but often the photographer will want to fine tune and finesse the edit a bit before sharing with the client/agency.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: We included basic select processing (color correction and minor cleanup/touchups) as a lump sum (based on 125.00/image in this case), giving us a bit more ground to stand on if the client ultimately selected fewer than 36 images, as they would still be responsible for the full post processing amount.

Travel Expenses: The producer would be travelling in for the shoot so I used Kayak.com to determine reasonable airfare, lodging and car rental costs.

Catering, Insurance and Misc.: We included catering for 23 crew, agency, employee talent and client for each of the three shoot days, insurance to cover necessary workers comp/general liability premiums and a healthy “misc.” line to cover client dinners, local transportation and any other unexpected miscellaneous expenses that may pop up throughout the shoot.

Results: As I mentioned above, the initial estimate was accepted without any revisions. The shoot went as smoothly as it could have and everyone was stoked with the final product.

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 large ad campaigns.

Pricing and Negotiating: Internal Use for Global Manufacturer

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

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.

Pricing and Negotiating: Lifestyle Shoot for a Pharmaceutical Company

by Wonderful Machine

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.

Pricing and Negotiating: Native Advertising for Major Lifestyle Magazine

Alex Rudinski, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Fashion portraits of two models in an urban setting

Licensing: Native Advertising use of six images in perpetuity

Location: Exterior locations throughout Manhattan

Shoot Days: 2

Photographer: Fashion and beauty photographer based in New York

Agency: Regional lifestyle magazine

Client: National hair care brand

Budget: $8000.00

Licensing: As many struggle to find new streams of revenue and monetize consumers accustomed to getting their content for free, we’ve been receiving more and more requests from photographers working on advertorial or native advertising projects. Many media companies have taken on the challenge, with varying degrees of success. Much derided and often ignored, advertorials and native content are hard to pull off right. Some are overlooked completely, some annoy consumers, but the absolute best provide useful content that promotes the associated brand subtly and contextually, leaving a positive brand impression.

We were approached by a fashion and beauty photographer to help draft an estimate after she was contacted by a major lifestyle magazine based in the New York City area. The magazine was working with a national hair care brand, and was looking to produce some photos of professional talent styled with their client’s products for use on the magazine’s website as a web-only advertorial. The photos would show the fully-styled models in urban street scenes alongside videos explaining how to achieve the styles the models were showcasing with the brand’s products. Apart from being hosted on the magazine’s primary website, the photos and videos (shot by a separate crew) would also be featured on a fashion-centric blog owned by the magazine as well as a microsite that would host all the content indefinitely.

Because of the nature of this use, it might seem it doesn’t fit cleanly within the normal terms we use to describe licensing (which are Advertising, Collateral, Editorial and Publicity). However, we consider the use to be more along the lines of what we might normally call advertising use, due to the value the client is getting from the images, and the final use of those images, being similar. Of course, the client views this as a more editorial use, and wants to pay accordingly. Beyond the client’s ecpectations, due to the limited distribution (the magazine and its websites only) and the one-and-done nature of the project, we can’t charge as much as we might for what we typically call advertising use.

While this modern use of native advertising is still fairly new, the advertorial has been around for a while – think of all the “Special Advertising Sections” you’ve seen in magazines. As such, some of the tools we consult when calculating licensing fees do contain a print advertorial option. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite hit the mark in this case. Fotoquote, which includes a print advertorial option only, calculated $687 per image per year, while Getty Images quoted $2,230 for the same. Blinkbid’s Bid Consultant (which doesn’t really have enough options to appropriatly price this scenario) came in at $3,600 on the low end, and Corbis arrived at $1,080 for print advertorial use. Searching for web advertising use, Fotoquote gave me $671, Getty (which calls Web Advertising “Digital Advertisement”) returned $1,205, Corbis provided a range of $305 to $763 and Blinkbid offered information of the same accuracy as earlier.

As you can see, these numbers are all over the place, without a clear consensus. You might land on $1,000 for the first image for one year, which would be a sensible place to start. But perhaps the most salient consideration for this job was the client’s specific budget. The photographer was eager to get the job, and inclined to try and work within their parameters. As hard as we might work to divine the “objective” value of the image, if the client isn’t willing to pay that amount, we won’t get very far.

Client Provisions: The magazine had picked out the six locations, hired the talent, arranged transportation and designed the looks. The brand provided their own stylist, well versed in using only the brand’s products to achieve a variety of looks. Lighting was naturalistic, requiring minimal gear, and the on-the-move nature of the shoot prohibited much catering or wardrobe. The photographer, stylists, client and talent would drive around New York in a Sprinter, jumping from location to location. Overall, the magazine would be providing a lot of what photographers are normally asked to provide and what we normally include. This helped us keep our costs down, and also made pre-production a relative breeze. To avoid any miscommunication about what the client would provide and what the photographer would be responsible for, I included a list of client provisions in the estimate’s job description, listing everything that the client would provide clearly and completely.

Many of the provisions would be supplied by a video team that would be following along, capturing some BTS shots and creating how-to videos showing how the models were styled. In different ways, the photographs and the videos would be equally as important to the overall campaign, and just as prominent in the execution of the advertorials.

Tech/Scout Day: Even though the locations would be chosen and vetted by the magazine’s creative team, the photographer would need to visit each location to plan how she might shoot there. With six locations to get through in the day and an unknown amount of travel between, working quickly would be crucial to a successful shoot.

Assistant: Considering the lighting requirements (little) and the additional bodies (several) we opted for only one assistant here. We might have included a second assistant if not for the client-managed video crew, if only to make sure that the area of the shoot is secure. That aspect would be handled by the client and their video team, so in this case our photographer only needed her trusted first assistant. The client was fine with the idea of reviewing images on the back of the camera, so we opted not to include a digital tech.

Equipment: Even though the client was looking for natural light, we wanted to make sure there was enough money available for the photographer to rent additional lenses, or provide subtle lighting to supplement the existing scene. This money would also cover the photographer’s owned equipment, rented to the production at market rates.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: After the shoot, the photographer would need to upload all the images, cull the unusable frames, lightly batch process the images and upload them to a web gallery for the client to review and make their selects from. This takes at least a couple hours, so we want to make sure the photographer (or her retoucher) is compensated for the time, skill and equipment required to produce the previews.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: Once selects are chosen, the photographer will need to process the images for use in the final product. Some photographers might call this retouching, but in order to avoid confusion about how much or what kind of digital work a photographer is doing, we use the word “processing” to describe the work the photographer does to the images without specific client requests, and we use the word “retouching” to describe requests that the client makes after that.

Miles, Parking, Tolls, Misc. Expenses: During the scout day, the photographer and her assistant will need to travel and eat—this fee allows us to get reimbursed for that expense. This also gives us a little wiggle room if a line item turns out to be more expensive than we expected. We include this sort of line item on every shoot as a safety net to catch either small, unforeseen expenses or lump several minor expenses into one category.

Result: We were able to get a budget from the client before-hand, and we knew this was a bit above what they were hoping for. However, we were able to negotiate an increase to cover the additional cost, and the shoot was executed smoothly. The photographer delivered images quickly, and the client loved them. The images complemented the text and video well, helping to create social engagement and drive traffic to the client’s website.

Hindsight: As great as it is when a client accepts an estimate immediately, it always makes me wonder if we underbid the project. I’d much prefer to negotiate to reduce the costs for a shoot to a specific amount than submit an estimate that’s accepted without any negotiation. In this scenario, we were able to do just that – come in slightly over budget and negotiate approval, thereby getting as much money for the photographer as we could. We could have come in at or under the budget, but in the end we would have forfeited money on what was already a slimmer shoot.

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.

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.

Pricing and Negotiating: Real People Lifestyle Library

Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Real People Lifestyle Library

Licensing: Unlimited use of all images for 2.5 years

Location: Client locations and subject workspaces

Shoot Days: Four

Photographer: Established mid-western portrait, youth culture and fashion specialist

Agency: N/A–Client Direct

Client: National For-Profit College

Creative/Licensing: Every now and then, we encounter a client with a budget that commensurates with their requirements and expectations. As much as we would like it to be, this isn’t the norm, but we lucked out in this case.

We recently put together an estimate to shoot a variety of environmental-lifestyle portraits alongside a video production for one of the country’s largest for-profit colleges. Unlike most higher education clients, for-profit colleges generally have a bit more to spend on promotion as their business model depends on brand awareness and expansive reach more than a “traditional” college or university, with few exceptions.

For this project, the photographer would be shooting available light environmental lifestyle images and portraits of current students at the college’s local campus/facilities and successful alumni in and around their places of work. We’d be shooting all of this in conjunction with a video production, which was responsible for coordinating all of the production elements. The stills team would mostly be trailing the video production (stepping in to shoot as soon as the video team wrapped up), and at times, shooting alongside/over-the-shoulder of the video team. With this configuration, there would be limited production support needed on the stills side. However, at times, the stills team may need to touch up wardrobe, props, and/or HMU after the video team had left the scene, so we would need to include a small styling team.

Based on our recent experience estimating “shoot alongside video” productions, and factoring in the limited two-year duration, complexity of the production (or lack thereof), the number of processed images, the photographer’s level of experience and number of shoot days, we set the library day rate at $10,000.00 ($40,000 for all four days). As much as we try to avoid simply pricing based on the day, unfortunately it’s a trend we occasionally embrace, to a degree. Even when tolerating the day rate fee structure, we try to take every opportunity to limit the scope of what is included in that rate. In this case, we were able to limit the duration of use to two and a half years. We also implicitly limited the number of images available to the client by only delivering 75 processed files. Technically, they were granted the license to use all of the images from the shoot, but our hope was that the deliverable limitation, and an inherent limitation on how many scenarios/unique images could be captured on a given day, would prevent the client from exercising their license to any additional images. Compared to other client direct library shoots, this was a pretty healthy fee.

After a handful of minor revisions, we presented the final estimate, which was approved:

Client Provisions: We made sure to indicate that the client/video production would provide all necessary scouting, locations, casting, talent, releases, props, wardrobe and production coordination. We also noted that we expected the subjects would arrive “camera ready.”

Tech/Scout Days: We included two tech/scout days to walk through the many locations scattered about the city.

Producer: Among the initial revisions was the removal of a producer. The client wanted to limit the foot print of our crew and agreed to provide a production coordinator/liaison to interface with the talent and video production. This can be risky, but so long as expectations are aligned, it can be managed without too much trouble.

First Assistants: The concept, along with restrictions associated with shooting alongside a motion production meant we wouldn’t be firing strobes (in most scenarios). The first assistant would attend the tech/scout days and would manage a small, nimble grip and reflector kit during the shoot.

Digital Tech: $500.00 covered the tech’s day rate, and since we’d need to be as mobile as possible, the photographer would be shooting to their own laptop/tripod rig – which meant we didn’t need to include a kit for for the tech.

Equipment: The photographer wouldn’t need much in the way of grip or lighting equipment, and the required file size didn’t necessitate a medium format system, so we estimated $1000.00/day for two DSLR bodies, a number of fast lenses, the photographer’s laptop, some miscellaneous grip equipment/reflectors and two portable strobe units (just in case).

Styling: Though most of the heavy lifting would be handled by the video production, we didn’t want to rely on their styling team – particularly because some of the scenarios would be shot after the the video team had moved on to the next location. We included a prop stylist to help finesse available props at a given location and a groomer to handle basic hair, makeup and wardrobe adjustments.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: On most library shoots, you may have to batch process all images captured, which we estimate on a daily basis (1 shoot day = 1 day of batch processing). In this case, we limited the initial deliverables to 75 images, meaning that the client would need to review a gallery to make their selections. Under normal circumstances we wouldn’t include a digital tech and “shoot processing for client review”, as we would expect the tech to handle the lion’s share of this process throughout the shoot day/s. However, because the tech would only be working on a laptop and moving frequently, we didn’t expect them to handle that process, and charged separately for the photographer to handle the processing for client review, after the shoot.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: We quoted basic image processing as a lump sum (based on 75/image) and noted the fee included color correction, touchup and delivery. This way, if the client order less than 75 images, they would still be on the hook for the full amount. If they ordered more, we were positioned to generate additional processing fees.

Catering: Since we wouldn’t necessarily be with the video production all day, we made sure to include a line item to cover crew meals throughout the four shoot days.

Miles, parking, meals, tolls, FTP, Misc.: We included about 350.00/day to cover a van rental and local travel costs, parking and miscellaneous costs.

Results and Hindsight: The photographer was awarded the project which went so well that the client hired him to do a second round not long after.

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.

Pricing and Negotiating: Splitting the Cost of an Architectural Shoot

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Architectural photography of an event venue and city park

Licensing: Collateral and Publicity use of 50 images in perpetuity

Location: A prominent city in the South.

Shoot Days: Four

Photographer: Architectural specialist

Client: A landscape design company plus four other partners

Here is the estimate:

 

Creative/Licensing: A landscape design company contacted the photographer to discuss a project that they hoped to split the cost of between themselves and four other parties who were partners in the development of the new venue. At first, they wouldn’t reveal exactly who the other parties would be (or perhaps it wasn’t finalized at that point), but from conversations with the photographer and client, it was likely that they were collaborating with the architectural firm that designed the venue, the company that would promote the events at the venue, a local design firm and potentially the local tourism board.

When discussing the project with the photographer, I told him that this is actually quite common in the world of commercial architectural photography. It typically takes many parties to plan, build, decorate and manage a property (whether it’s a residential house or a commercial building), and it therefore makes sense that all of these companies might want images of the final product to help promote their particular product or service. Most of the time, architecture firms, landscape designers, interior designers or general contractors will want to put the images in their online portfolios or submit them to industry publications and contests, and other times they’ll want to use the images for collateral pieces and to have them on hand for other publicity purposes.

Despite their intended use, it’s common for such clients to request unlimited use (including advertising), which was the original request from this client. However, I felt that such usage should be negotiated separately for each client (especially in this case since there were a few companies involved that could take full advantage of unlimited use), and we were able to convince them to limit the initial licensing to Collateral and Publicity use only.

Additionally, the commercial architectural photography segment of the industry has established rates that have more or less become standard. That’s mostly due to the same type of projects arising again and again for the same types of clients with similar expecations for the scope of the project and licensing. Oftentimes, architectural photographers are charging up to a few thousand dollars a day, plus expenses and a per image processing fee. In some cases, architectural photographers are even making more money on the processing than they are on the shoot. Given the time it takes for an experienced architectural photographer to process an image, they can earn a substantial amount of money by charging accordingly.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with these “standard” rates, as long as the photographer recognizes projects that fall outside of the typical project for an architecture firm or an interior design company. For instance, there are plenty of major brands that need architectural images to promote and sell products (like paint companies, home/garden products, appliance manufactures), and the typical rates that architectural photographers are charging their real-estate or architecture firm clients are most definitely not appropriate for these other companies.

In this case, we knew the parties were all interested in having the photographer capture 30 exterior images (20 during the day and 10 at night), and 20 interior images. Also, based on the shot list, time of day required for each shot and the photographer’s experience, we determined that the shoot would require four shoot days. Given the intended use, and having a grasp on what the local competition might be charging, we came up with a modest creative/licensing fee of $10,000. However, that fee did not account for multiple parties, and I felt it was only appropriate for a single client. So, that begs the question of how to charge for multiple parties licensing the same images.

A common tactic used by architectural photographers in these situations is to add a 33% surcharge to the fee for each additional party involved, and have all of the clients split the overall fee and all expenses. This tactic and approach can vary, especially if each client wants different images, but based on this concept and the fact that everyone was planning to share all of the images, we decided that each additional party joining in would increase the fee by $3,300 (33% of the $10,000 fee). Since those parties were still being lined up while we compiled the estimate, we included this rate as a “licensing option”.

Photographer Travel/Scout Days: The photographer would fly to the location on one day, scout the following day, and then fly home the day after the final shoot day.

First Assistant: The photographer would bring his first assistant with him, and this accounted for two travel days, one scout day and four shoot days.

Second Assistant: We included a local second assistant for each shoot day since the venue was quite large, and the photographer would need an extra set of hands to carry and set up equipment.

Equipment: The photographer owned all of his own gear, and decided to charge a rate of $1,000/day for wear and tear on his camera, lenses, lighting and grip, and based the total rate on a “3 days same as a week” discount that most rental houses apply.

Airfare, Lodging, Car Rental: I used kayak.com to estimate these rates based on the production schedule. Flights were a few hundred dollars round trip, which I rounded up to $500 per person (for the photographer and his assistant) to include baggage fees and fluctuation. Lodging was in the neighborhood of $200/night and I factored in six nights for two rooms. The car rental rate included $20/day insurance and fuel.

Parking, Meals, Misc.: I included a $75/day per diem for the photographer and his assistant for 7 days each, and included $25/day for lunch for the second assistant each day. Additionally, I included $100 for each shoot day to account for miscellaneous unpredictable expenses that may have come up during the trip. That totaled $1,550, which I rounded down to an even $1,500.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: This covered the time it would take the photographer to transfer and review all of the images in order to compile a web gallery for the client to choose from. Since most architectural images require a descent amount of post production and layering, I included this rate to account for some basic compositing the photographer would need to do prior to showing the images to his client. It would basically get the images headed in the right direction before really diving in and performing the more time consuming processing.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: As I mentioned earlier, it’s common to separate image processing fees and charge them to each party involved based on the images they want. However, since we felt we were already at the limits of the budgetary threshold, we included all 50 images for a single lump fee of $10,000. This broke down to $200/image, which would account for an additional 1-2 hours of retouching for each image.

Results: The project was awarded to the photographer, although he did end up making a few concessions by waiving his travel days, reducing the post processing fee a bit, and coming down on his equipment expenses. However, the four other clients did jump on board, which increased his fee by $13,200 ($3,300 each).

Pricing & Negotiating: Environmental Portraits for a Regional Insurer

Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Environmental portraits of two small business owners/customers
Licensing: Regional Advertising (Print and Web) and Collateral use of four images for three years from shoot date
Location: Subjects’ businesses
Shoot Days: Two
Photographer: Established environmental portrait photographer, based in the Mid-West
Agency: Mid-sized, based on the West Coast
Client: Regional healthcare insurer

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: We’ve noticed the trend toward campaigns that highlight small business owners and entrepreneurs as of late. It’s not a new concept by any means, it’s just that we’ve estimated a flurry of projects leaning in that direction recently. Most of these projects seem to be geared towards highlighting business owners who are reaping the benefit of some valuable service or product that helps them manage the daily challenges of running their own business—products and services like software, banking, staffing, logistics and, as in this case, healthcare insurance.

For this one, the photographer was contacted by a smaller West Coast agency to estimate a more conceptual, stylized version of the typical small business owner/customer testimonial campaign, although we’d still be working with real people in/around their own businesses. The client wanted to walk away with two images of each of the two business owners: one shot would be stylized, and the other would be more authentic. The stylized version would be used for a specific ad campaign, while the authentic version would be used within the client’s various collateral channels. Even so, the agency was unwilling to negotiate different usage parameters for the different versions because of the remote possibility that either version could end up serving needs on both fronts.

When assessing licensing value, we typically start by setting the value of the first image for the first year of licensing, based on our previous experience pricing comparable concepts/clients/usage. In this case, we set the value of the first year of use for the stylized, campaign image at $3000-$4000, and the first year of use for the authentic, collateral version at $1000-$2000, or $4000-$6000 combined. Based on one of our many rules of thumb (that increasing usage duration from one year to three years doubles the licensing value – presuming a slowly diminishing value to the client) the licensing fee for three years of use would fall in the $8,000-$12,000 range for the first subject’s imagery. We also recognize that in some instances the first iteration of a campaign can often stand alone, meaning that the second version/subject/etc. of the campaign will add value, but not as much value as the first. Usually, subject variations will be helpful and can extend the life and reach of the campaign, but is it unlikely to double the life/reach, so we will often assess these secondary versions at a lower value. In this case, because of the nature of the client, relatively low level of production required (on our part) and all of the above mentioned factors, we decided to price this on the lowest end of the value range, $16,000. After pricing out the rest of the production and weighing the overall effective fee (including travel, prep, processing and equipment) we decided to tweak the number down just a bit further to $15,000, which allowed us to bring the bottom line into the $35,000 range.

Client Provisions: We made sure to indicate that the client/agency/subject would provide all necessary locations, casting, subjects, catering, staging areas, wardrobe, props and necessary releases.

Travel Days: The way that the locations and travel itinerary worked out, the photographer would be able to comfortably travel in and tech/scout a given location/subject on the same day. This helped minimize travel fees and expenses for the production.

Digital Tech: $500 covered the tech’s day rate, and she was willing to travel for half-rate. There was a few hundred bucks in the equipment budget to cover a laptop rental as well.

Assistants: Since the photographer would be bringing his trusted digital tech (who also jumps in as a photo assistant when needed) along with him, he was comfortable with hiring local assistants in each of the two cities.

Preproduction Days: Although a producer is usually necessary for a shoot like this, the client and agency would be facilitating/providing the lion’s share of the production elements, so we were able to forgo the on-site producer. We did include two days of preproduction time to cover either a freelance producer or the photographer’s time to hire the local crew and make travel arrangements.

Equipment: The photographer routinely travels to shoot editorial location portraits and has a lean but comprehensive kit of gear he flies with. However, because we could conceivably rent that same gear in each of the locations, we estimated as if we were renting gear locally, which would technically save a day of rental costs. He felt that $2000 for local rentals in each location would cover all necessary camera, grip and lighting gear he would need.

Styling: For the stylized shots, the agency was considering props to help exaggerate the concept. Because the specifics were still being determined, and the incorporation of props was up in the air in general, we didn’t want to unnecessarily inflate the bottom line (particularly after we decided to tweak our fees to keep the bottom line around $35,000). We opted instead to mark the props and styling as TBD. As for HMU and Wardrobe, we would be working with local stylists to ensure a genuine look with the real customers. We usually like to include some shop time and wardrobe budget to cover our bases, but the client was adamant about using the subjects’ own clothes for authenticity and promised to adequately prepare them and communicate our needs and expectations.

Processing: This covered the photographer’s time, equipment and costs for the initial import, edit, batch color correction and upload of the images to an FTP for client review and selection/editing, along with the final processing and delivery for each of four client selects. Retouching would be billed separately as requested.

Travel Expenses: We used kayak.com to determine suitable airfare and itinerary, lodging and car rental costs. We also included $60 per day per traveling crew member to cover meals and miscellaneous costs and added on $400 in buffer to help cover at least some of a big agency/client dinner and any other unforeseen expenses.

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.

Pricing and Negotiating: Business Lifestyle Shoot for Technology Company

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Environmental lifestyle images of professional talent working and interacting in various business scenarios alongside a video production.

Licensing: Worldwide Advertising, Collateral and Publicity use of up to seven images for one year.

Location: Multiple business and retail locations in the South.

Shoot Days: 2

Photographer: Lifestyle and portraiture specialist based on the West Coast.

Agency: Medium-sized, based in the Midwest.

Client: Large, multinational technology company

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: The art producer at the agency sent a very rough shot list with limited visual references describing situations in which people were interacting and using apps on a phone to conduct business. There were seven images they hoped to capture, many of which were in different environments with unique talent. The photographer and I originally assumed the shoot would take three to four days given the uniqueness of each environment, but we found out that a video production team was arranging all of the logistics to capture video prior to shooting stills in each environment, and that they would be dictating the pace of the project.

The art producer asked us to submit an estimate reflecting a two-day shoot (which is what the video production company estimated), and since we would truly be piggy-backing our portion of the project to the video, our estimate needed to reflect this. It was possible that the information provided and discussed with the video production company was a bit different than what we were presented with, but given that they’d be responsible for the majority of the logistics and details (and since it was their responsibility to cram it all into two days), we were comfortable presenting an estimate for the photographer and his crew to tag along to capture still images of their setups.

Even though most of the images were unique, I felt it was appropriate to determine a fee for the first image, and apply a discount for the subsequent images since it was most likely that the client would only take advantage of the full licensing for just a handful of images throughout the year. I decided that the first image was worth $7,000, images 2-3 were worth $4,000 each, images 4-5 were worth $3,000 each, and images 6-7 were worth $1,500 each, totaling $24,000. The agency asked us to give them an idea of what additional images would cost, and I decided that a pro-rated fee based on 7 images and $24,000 would be most appropriate. I rounded up the pro-rated fee a bit to an even $3,500 for each additional image.

On one hand, I initially felt the fee was low since this was for a major brand capable of taking advantage of the international advertising licensing that the photographer would be granting. For instance, Getty prices international advertising use for one year closer to $13,000 per image, and Corbis prices their “All Marketing Pack” for one year closer to $17,500 for one image (although this includes broadcast use and a handful of other uses that were unlikely for this project). On the other hand, I’ve compiled many “shooting alongside video” estimates recently, and due to the stills oftentimes being an afterthought, fees have frequently landed closer to $7,000-$10,000 per day including unlimited use of the images. I felt our pricing was appropriately calculated by the image, but if you were to look at our fee by the day, $12,000 per day for two days seemed pretty healthy considering that the licensing was limited to one year.

Photographer Travel/Scout Days: This accounted for the photographer’s time to travel in, scout the following day, and then travel back after the shoot.

Assistants: Even though the video production would be providing the majority of the production elements, we wanted to make sure there were enough hands dedicated to setting up, moving and breaking down the still photo gear, so we included three assistants. The first assistant would travel to the shoot with the photographer, and both the second assistant and third assistant would be hired locally.

Digital Tech: The digital tech would also be flying in with the photographer, and we broke out the fees for their travel/scout days from their shoot days, while also lumping in a fee of $750 for a workstation on each shoot day.

Producer: Even though the video team would be wrangling most items for the project, we still included fees for a local producer to get involved and offer support for the photographer to find crew, arrange travel accommodations and be the main point of contact between the video production company, agency and the still photography team regarding logistics. I included three prep/wrap days on top of the two shoot days for the producer.

Equipment: We were a bit in the dark about what types of environments the photographer would need to light, but to be on the safe side, we estimated needing at least $2,000 worth of camera bodies, lenses, grip and other gear per day, and figured most rental houses would offer a “three days same as a week” discount to account for the shoot days and the scout day.

Airfare, Lodging, Van Rental: I used kayak.com to acquire costs for the photographer, his first assistant and digital tech to fly in, spend four nights and then fly back home after the shoot while having a large van with them for the length of the trip.

Miles, Parking, Meals, Hard Drive, Misc: I included $50 per person per day for the photographer, his assistant and digital tech to cover each day they’d be out of town. I also included $100 for each shoot day and the scout day to cover miscellaneous expenses, $200 to cover a hard drive and shipping costs and $250 to cover parking and to add a bit of a buffer for any unforeseen expenses that might arise.

After submitting our estimate, the art producer told us there was a chance the video portion of the project might be removed. This meant that all of the production elements would then be the responsibility of the still photography team, and we were asked to draft an estimate detailing all of the fees and expenses for such a scenario. As I noted earlier, a two-day shoot seemed very optimistic at the onset of the project, and after a discussion with the photographer, we decided to estimate a three-day shoot which seemed much more comfortable based on the scope of the project.

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: The licensing stayed the same, but we added a day to the shoot. In order to keep the fees palatable to the agency, we just increased the rate by $2,000 to account for the photographer’s time on the additional day. Also, they asked if we could offer a discount on the additional images and provide a pricing structure that was more affordable in case they wanted to license up to 30 total shots, rather than seven. We decided to offer five additional images at $2,500 each, and then included a discount for images 13-22 at $750 per image and images 23-30 at $350 per image.

Photographer Travel/Scout Days: Based on a discussion regarding the potential schedule, we included one day to travel in and attend a talent fit day, followed by two scout days before the shoot and a travel day after the last shoot day.

Assistants: Just as before, the photographer planned to bring his first assistant for the entire length of the trip (including the fit day and scouting) and hire two local assistants to lend a hand on each of the three shoot days.

Digital Tech: Again, the tech would also travel in with the photographer and his first assistant, and similar to the previous estimate, we broke out his travel/scout days from his shoot days.

Producer and Production Assistant: Since the scope of the logistics that would need to be coordinated drastically increased, the local producer’s workload needed to be accounted for. We included eleven days (four pre-production days, one fit day, two scout days, three shoot days and one wrap day) and also added a production assistant to lend a hand throughout the shoot and help with pre-production and scouting as needed.

Hair/Makeup Stylist and Assistant: This included the three shoot days, and we included the cost for them to bring along an assistant since there could potentially be a handful of talent that needed to quickly get prepped in the morning and touched up throughout each day. This rate was on the higher end for a stylist in this market (I figured $1,000 per day plus a 20 percent agency fee), but there was some discussion about moving the shoot to a more expensive market, and I wanted to lean on the higher end just to be safe.

Wardrobe Stylist, Assistant and Wardrobe: This included three shopping days, one fit day, three shoot days and one day to return the wardrobe, all of which would be accompanied by their assistant. Similar to the hair/makeup stylist, I leaned on the high end for their day rates and included an agency fee. Based on the rough shot list, I estimated that ten talent would be shot over the course of three days, and figured that $500 per talent would be plenty to cover the wardrobe. I leaned on the high end for wardrobe since a few of the comps mentioned branded employee wardrobe that could possibly have required custom fabrication.

Prop Stylist, Assistants, Props and Prop Van: Since we weren’t exactly sure what sort of locations the agency hoped to shoot in, and since part of our discussion with the agency was about outfitting a bare loft-type space, we had to factor in the possibility of needing to heavily prop out an environment. I therefore included nine days for the prop stylist and their first assistant (five prep/shop, three shoot, one return) and added on a second assistant for the three shoot days and one day on both ends to help with pickup and transportation of the props to/from the shoot. Based on the rough comps, it looked like there were four main scenarios that would need to be outfitted, and I estimated $2,000 per scenario as a starting point. We noted in the delivery memo that this was subject to change based on additional creative direction. Since some of the props could have possibly included large furniture, I included the cost for a van to transport everything. The rental could have potentially spanned over ten days, and I estimated $150 per day and then rounded up to include the cost of gas and to give a bit of a buffer.

Location Scout and Locations/Permits: I figured that many of the local scouts would likely already have the types of locations required in their library, but just to be safe I included four days to cover their time to dig through their database of files and also go out and scout for a few days if more options were needed.  A few of the locations would simply require a permit like an outdoor location might, and I figured $4,000 per shoot day would cover up to two locations within each shoot day. I noted that this cost was TBD and elaborated in our delivery memo that it was subject to change based on additional creative direction.

Casting, Talent and Payroll Processing: As noted in the estimate, the $4,000 fee for casting included a handful of items associated with one live casting day, and we anticipated outsourcing this to a local casting agent given the accelerated schedule. I don’t typically break out talent fees as I did in this estimate, but the agency specifically requested to see the costs broken out in this manner. There would be five unique talent attending some, but not all, of the shoot days. The first day would require five talent, the second day would have two talent and the third day would have three talent, totaling 10 “talent days” represented in the estimate as “session fees” which accounted only for their time. I included $2,000 per talent to account for using their likeness based on the same licensing being conveyed to the client by the photographer, and I based this rate purely on previous experience hiring talent in that market. On top of the session fees and usage, the talent would also expect to be paid to attend the fit day, and I included $500 per person, which is a rate I’ve negotiated with talent agents for similar half-day fit fees in the past. Talent agents would add on 20 percent to the session, usage and fit fees, and as I mentioned, I was asked to break this fee out on a separate line item. Lastly, I anticipated outsourcing the payment processing to a payroll service company so the photographer wouldn’t have to worry about managing that process and it’s complexities. The fee for such a service can range from company to company, but often times 20 percent of the amount they need to process is adequate, and I included that as a separate line item.

Equipment: We left this the same as the previous estimate, again basing it on a “three days same as a week” discount.

Production RV: With this many crew members on set, a production RV would serve as a staging and styling area away from the shooting space. The $2,000 fee included $1,500 per day plus an additional $500 per day to account for mileage and any miscellaneous dumping/cleaning/generator/wifi fees the RV company might charge.

Catering: I added all of the crew, talent, agency and client representatives that would be present on the fit days, scout days and shoot days, and I anticipated that $60 per person per day would afford breakfast and lunch catering for everyone. I then rounded up by a few hundred dollars to cover a client/agency dinner with the photographer.

Miles, Parking, Meals, Misc: Similar to the previous estimate, this covered $50 per person per day for the photographer, his assistant and digital tech for each day they’d be out of town. Additionally, I included an extra $1,000 per shoot day for unforeseen expenses since the scope of the project was still a bit vague at this point. I thought it would be advantageous to pad the estimate a bit and accommodate some reasonable creative scope changes without having to request an overage, rather than seeking an overage for every minor change of plan.

Insurance: It was possible that the photographer’s insurance coverage would be adequate, but the unidentified locations, RV rental and equipment rental reinforced a decision to add this in just in case he had to increase his coverage limits.

Airfare, Lodging and Van Rental: As I mentioned previously, I used kayak.com to determing costs for the photographer, his first assistant and digital tech to fly in, spend six nights and then fly back home after the shoot while having a large van with them for the length of the trip.

Feedback: After a day or so of back and forth creative development, the art producer let us know that they wanted to move forward with the project, but the video was back in the picture again. However, they decided that three days was more appropriate for the project, and therefore needed a three-day version of our initial estimate where the video team would provide the major production elements. With a bit more insight on the creative scope and potential budget, we drafted a new estimate with a few changes.

-We increased the photographer’s fee to $28,000. Even though we previously estimated three days and seven images at $26,000, it became clear that the shoot days would be very long (we noted crew overtime separately) and they’d be cramming in more scenarios within the timeframe, and we felt that was worth a slight increase to the fee.

-The travel and scouting schedule also changed a bit, and we anticipated that the photographer, his assistant and tech would fly in and do a bit of scouting, followed by a full scout day, shoot for three days and try to fly out the evening of the last shoot day.

-We added on a fourth assistant since there would be a lot of moving around on each day and another set of hands would be advantageous.

-We adjusted the producer’s fees to account for one prep day, two scout days and three shoot days. I was planning to add in another prep day for him, but after speaking with our local producer, he was confident that he wouldn’t need it.

-The photographer reached out to a local equipment rental house, and based on some new creative insight, he decided that he’d need much more in the way of equipment as previously anticipated. The rental house’s quote came in over double than what we original estimated for gear, but it also included the digital tech’s workstation as well as a van rental for all of the gear.

Results: The photographer was awarded the job. Here was the final estimate:

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.

Licensing Images In Perpetuity Is A Huge Mistake

A reader sent me the following email:

I don’t mean to sound critical of your efforts to inform young photographers of proper business practices by publishing estimates like this one: http://aphotoeditor.com/2015/04/22/pricing-negotiating-studio-portraits-for-a-pharmaceutical-manufacturer/. It’s an important and useful service but, for the sake of myself and my fellow photographers who have to fight the tendency of clients to want more and more rights for less and less money, I have to point out that the licensing of these images in perpetuity without additional fees is a huge mistake and a terrible precedent to set. I have photographed numerous jobs very similar to the one you describe below. My terms, which I have negotiated without the benefit of a rep usually include significant fees to for re-use after one or two years. I am often able to double my fees this way and have not received resistance to that from pharma agencies despite the supposedly humble nature of a very profitable area of business.

This estimate, which gives a lot of rights away for nothing, may well make your photographers popular. Unfortunately, they will probably never own a home, send their kids to college, have decent medical care, or be able to ever retire – some pretty basic expectations, I think. Most responsible reps would agree that one has to make an concerted effort not to give away too much too easily, even in this ultra competitive environment. We have no union to protect us, just common business sense. Giving rights in perpetuity away for free is sort of like “feeding the animals” – they come to expect it.

Here’s an estimate from a similar type of shoot that was three day video and still shoot with a pre-light day.My producer and I planned the shoot out very carefully, provided the client with a lot of great still and video images, and we all worked our asses off for four long days. Most importantly you will also see that I made an additional $14,600 two years after that shoot. That was for another two years of usage and I am eligible to be paid again at the end of those two years. I think that the Wonderful Machine estimate is doing a real disservice to photographers by suggesting that it is fair and necessary to give such broad usage rights away for so little.

I hope this is helpful to you and our fellow photographers. I don’t consider myself a tough negotiator but I estimated this without the benefit of a rep. Any rep will tell you that a certain amount of intelligently applied resistance to client’s pricing pressure is the only way to stay in business. I realize that the photographer described by Wonderful Machine is “up and coming” but that degree of lowballing is terribly shortsighted and even desperate feeling. His fees are way too low when you consider the amount of time and talent required, the associated expenses and responsibilities, and the amount of usage by the pharma industry.

Neat Receipt-$3,400.00 Cash Transportation

Neat Receipt-$14.60 Cash Utilities

Pricing & Negotiating: Studio Portraits for a Pharmaceutical Manufacturer

Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Studio portraits of 6 professional talent

Licensing: Advertising and Collateral use of all images captured, in perpetuity

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Up-and-coming portrait photographer

Agency: Mid-sized, based in NYC

Client: Pharmaceutical manufacturer

Here’s the estimate:

Budget: Usually when I’m quoting on a job, I ask the art buyer if they’ve established a budget for the project. Not that I don’t know what things should cost, but if a client already knows how much money they have to spend, it allows me to concentrate on figuring out how to make the shoot work for that price rather than also trying to figure out what level of production they’re looking for. While the creative fee for the photographer will largely be determined by the usage, the production costs could be any amount of money. In this case, the client told me upfront that they had budgeted $40k for photography. My initial impression was that it would be a little tight, but workable. They wanted to do eight individual portraits of professional talent on a simple background in a studio. After talking with the photographer and considering hair, makeup and wardrobe, and how much time we’d want with each subject, we decided we’d need two shoot days. But when I ran the numbers in my head, I was having trouble meeting that budget. So I proposed to the art buyer that we trim the number of subjects to six so we could do it in one day, which would save a lot on licensing fees, model fees and the other production costs. Luckily, since were we dealing with an experienced art buyer and an educated client, they recognized that as a reasonable trade-off. However, just a few days prior to the shoot, the client asked us to also quote the cost of adding back the two additional models and the second shoot day. After running the numbers on paper, It turned out that it would have increased the cost by about 50 percent, so they decided not to go that route.

Creative/Licensing: The pictures were intended for use on the company’s website, not to promote a specific drug, but rather to promote awareness of a particular illness, to educate the public and to encourage healthy living as a form of treatment. As altruistic as that sounds, ultimately, if a “patient” required medical treatment, the idea was that they would choose the pharmaceutical manufactured by the client. There’s no question that the usage was advertising, but the nature of that use was somewhat of a mitigating factor (in other words, mild downward pressure on the value). The client type (big pharma company) and their need for perpetual use of all images captured definitely pushed the value up. Sometimes clients want a license to use all the pictures captured rather than a limited number of selects. I’m always going to assign a premium to that compared to if the client just needed licensing for one image of each person (which was what they were likely to actually use). But since all the other pictures would be subtle variations on the first six, I was basically quoting on six images and only assigned a small premium for that additional licensing.

After “value engineering” the quote as much as possible, we landed on a creative/licensing fee of $12k and about $30k in production expenses. This exceeded the budget slightly, but because the agency wanted to include a second casting day and talent payroll service, which were both “luxuries” as far as we were concerned, and could have been eliminated, they agreed to cover those additional costs, and the estimate was approved.

Assistants: We only needed two assistants since there wasn’t much variation in lighting setups from one talent to the next.

Digital Tech: $500.00 covered the tech’s day rate. The photographer and tech were both OK working with the photographer’s laptop as opposed to renting a workstation/cart. That saved us quite a bit on the rentals side, since the typical cost for a workstation is about $700.00 – $1000.00.

Equipment: We discussed necessary file size with the agency and since they had no intention of producing big transit ads, we agreed that a medium format camera system would be overkill, which helped keep out equipment budget down. We ended up quoting for a few Profoto 7b kits, modifiers, soft boxes and stands, a DSLR camera system (the photographer would use their own as a backup), a handful of lenses and miscellaneous grip.

Producer: A producer is necessary on just about any advertising job. Whenever a photographer needs to manage more than their immediate crew, it’s a good idea to have a producer on hand. A photographer should focus on the creative and leave the talent, location, client, stylist, catering, parking and schedule concerns to the producer.

Studio Rental: This shoot was in a smaller market so there weren’t that many options available on the studio front. Luckily, the pick of the litter was open on the desired shoot date, so we quoted it at cost in our estimate and put a hold on the day.

Photographer Production Day, Casting and Talent:  Since we needed talent capable of conveying very subtle emotion, rather than simply looking good on camera, it was important to hold a live casting (as opposed to simply casting from comp cards or online galleries). We included two pre-production days for the photographer to attend the casting to get a better sense for how each potential subject took direction. The agency set the talent rates, which were a bit leaner than we are usually comfortable with, so we were sure to let them know that the lesser rate would almost certainly limit the talent pool. We also mitigated it by putting together a schedule that minimized talent time on site. As it turned out, the pool seemed a bit light, but it was chock full of great options for us. It’s not unusual to use a separate payroll service to pay talent (and sometimes even crew). They also asked us to include an additional fee to cover the costs of paying the talent through a payroll service. Different states have different laws about when and how different types of workers get paid and what taxes and insurance are added to or deducted from those payments. So sometimes a client just wants the peace of mind of knowing that those obligations are being met and they won’t be hit with any unpleasant surprises later. So in addition to the 20% model agency fee, we paid a 25% premium to the payroll service.

Styling: The agency wanted a natural look. We brought on a sizable team to help keep us on schedule and included $250.00/talent for wardrobe.

Post Processing and Transfer: The agency would be handling all retouching, so we included a day for the photographer to do a quick pass on each select and adjust color, contrast, etc. Anything beyond raw adjustments would be the responsibility of the agency.

Catering and Misc: Even though we were running a pretty lean production, the catering budget was healthy, since catering really impacts the perception of a production. We also included $300.00 to cover parking, mileage and any other miscellaneous expenses that might pop up on the shoot or casting days.

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.

Pricing & Negotiating: Stock Contract For A Record Label

by Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

A photographer recently asked me to review a contract governing the license of his stock photographs to a record company. The record label (one of the largest in the country) was initially interested in using four of the photographer’s images of a musician performing live on the cover and interior of a vinyl record edition of the musician’s upcoming album. We were told that they planned to press and release 25,000 copies of the vinyl record, and that they had a firm budget of $2000.00. The fee didn’t seem to quite match the value of the images, but we asked if they could send over a contract to take a look at. That’s when things got interesting.

Here was the original contract:

Not surprisingly, the contract stated that the photographer would grant the copyright of his images to the record label. We quickly responded and pointed out that the contract didn’t match their requested use of the images, and they sent back another version of the contract removing the line about the copyright, while retaining the language about granting them “all rights.” It was clear that we weren’t on the same page, so it was time to bust out my red pen (aka Adobe Acrobat Pro PDF editing tools) and make some changes. Here is a revised version of the second contract they sent us:

I rewrote the entire first paragraph for a number of reasons. First, I didn’t like their language stating that the contract would “confirm” that they “purchased the rights” to the images. It was more appropriate to state that a specific licensing would be conveyed to them for a specific fee, and that was all dependent upon payment of that fee to the photographer in full. Second, none of the language regarding the “rights” to the images was accurate, so I drafted a new paragraph summarizing the fee and licensing that we had been discussing up until that point ($2,000 for four images on the cover and inside the vinyl record with a print run of up to 25,000 copies). I also stated that a credit in the name of the photographer would be required, which made the photographer more comfortable in justifying the less-than-favorable fee since he would be able to get some nice publicity out of the deal.

In addition to revising the first paragraph, I wanted to make it very clear that the record label would need to pay for any usage above and beyond what was described, so I clarified their language at the end of the second paragraph. Additionally, the label included an indemnification clause protecting them against any breach of the agreement by the photographer, and I added language stating that the label would similarly identify the photographer if they used the images in any way that got them into any legal trouble not at the fault of the photographer. Lastly, I struck out a portion of the third paragraph regarding amendments to the agreement because I felt it was a bit too vague. I wanted to make it clear that this document, once signed by both parties, would be the only document that solidified the agreement between both parties.

We sent the revised contract back and waited for a response. I should note that at this point, we were receiving pressure from the art administrator that we were working with as well as numerous other staff members at the record label who stated that we would need to sign the contract “by the end of the day” and that this negotiation was going to delay the release of the album while threatening to take the deal off the table if we weren’t willing to sign the contract as it was originally presented to us.

Wouldn’t you know, the next day they came back with some new information and wanted to negotiate a new price. I learned that they couldn’t limit the print run of the vinyl record to 25,000 copies, but they were however willing to pay more to lift any limitations on the quantity. They also insisted on being able to use the images to promote the album in various ways (although they didn’t want to define such use as advertising or collateral). We decided to ask for $4,000 (double their original budget) for use of the images on/in the first edition of the vinyl record (however many copies that may be), while also granting them the right to promote the record by using the images in their original context on/in the album. I didn’t feel that this fee was enough to include rights to use the images on merchandise such as t-shirts and posters, so we specifically excluded that from the contract. The record label verbally agreed to this on the phone, and then sent over a revised contract. Unfortunately (and again, not surprisingly) they failed to include many of the points we discussed in the new contract, and here is a revised version of what they sent us, which I returned to them:

Again, we received more disgruntled feedback from the record label, and they once again threatened to pull the deal off the table if we wouldn’t sign their contract by the end of the day. Standing firm on our revisions, we let them sleep on it.

We heard back from the label the next morning, and this time they let us know that they weren’t willing to limit the use of the images to just the vinyl record, as they were planning to release the album with the photographer’s images in CD and digital format as well. Additionally, they were concerned with our language regarding merchandising rights. As a negotiation point, the label asked for us to state that if their licensing was to exclude merchandising rights, then they also wanted to limit the photographer from using the images on merchandising in perpetuity as well. The photographer had no plan to create merchandise independently, however, we didn’t feel it was fare to limit the photographer’s ability to license his images for merchandising in the future, perhaps to another record label if the musician happened to jump ship. We decided to include language that limited the merchandising “embargo” to the length of the contractual relationship between the musician and the record label.

We also took these changes as another opportunity to renegotiate the fee. At this point, we had gone from $2,000 for use of the images on a limited number of vinyl albums, to $4,000 for use of the images on an unlimited number of vinyl record albums within the first edition plus promotional rights. Now we were jumping up to use of the images on all vinyl, cd and digital editions of the album plus promotional rights with the merchandising caveat I mentioned previously. Based on a few previous projects I’ve worked on (one of which you can read here), I knew the threshold for unlimited use for an album cover in many cases is around $6-10k plus expenses (sometimes) for a commissioned shoot, regardless of the number of images. Also those projects are frequently presented as a “take it or leave it” work made for hire. We decided to revise their contract once again with a fee of $6,000 (triple their original budget). Here is that version of the contract:

At this point, I was working directly with the Senior Vice President for Business and Legal Affairs at the record label. We actually had a very nice conversation (as opposed to the demanding correspondence from the other employees of the record label), and I think this was because at this point I was talking to the person governing the creation of the contract and development of the language included. Previously, I didn’t think our counterparts at the record label were doing a good job communicating the revisions we were requesting down the line, which is likely why they kept coming back to us with new contracts that didn’t correspond to our negotiations. Fortunately, after my conversation with this new contact, he provided a new, clean version integrating the changes, which was ultimately signed by both parties.

Here is the final version:

Hindsight: It’s ok to push back and negotiate rates, as long as you do it in a professional and cordial manner. Many times projects are presented to photographers as works made for hire, or with a “take it or leave it” mentality (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if the rate is appropriate), but while sometimes the clients are firm, there should always be a conversation about possible ways to negotiate better rates or terms. Record labels are perhaps the most notorious clients for less-than-favorable rates and contractual terms, but I’ve successfully amended and negotiated multiple contracts to make them more favorable to the photographer.

A few months later while walking back to my hotel after a shoot in New York City, I saw one of the images on a flyposting stuck on a wall near Times Square. The image was used in its original context on the cover of the album as agreed to in the contract (which I was happy to see compliance of), and while it’s hard to say whether these postings are advertising in its true meaning or not (paid placement), it made me wish the record label paid even more for the licensing given the exposure.

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.

Pricing & Negotiating: International Hospitality Shoot For A Luxury Hotel Chain

by Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Environmental lifestyle and landscape images as well as b-roll video of cityscapes and hotel properties

Licensing: Advertising, collateral and publicity use of all images and video captured in perpetuity

Location: Three hotel properties in three different countries

Shoot Days: 13

Photographer: Lifestyle and travel specialist

Agency: Large international ad agency

Client: Luxury hotel chain with 70+ properties worldwide

Here is the estimate:

Blinkbid  Blinkbid  Blinkbid

Creative/Licensing: As with many projects, the agency presented a creative brief that included a great deal of inspirational vocabulary while being quite vague on what they wanted to specifically capture. We knew they wanted to create content at three hotel properties in three different countries, and generally speaking, they wanted images featuring people interacting and enjoying the hotels, landscapes of the properties and cityscapes of the surrounding areas. Without a specific shot list or more dialed-in ideas regarding the scenarios they hoped to capture, we knew that we’d have to make a lot of assumptions for the first round of the estimate, and then later revise it based on additional information regarding creative direction and budgetary constraints.

Typically, I’d determine the creative/licensing fee by analyzing the total number of shots/scenarios, and then take into account the usage and duration. Since the total number of shots and scenarios were unknown, I based the fee on my experience with similar productions in the past. Based on our correspondence with the agency, it was clear that they wanted to take their time throughout the shoot and didn’t want to rush anything. As a starting point, we planned to shoot three scenarios in and around each property per day, which would allow the photographer to generate about three final hero images per day, plus variations. This was a fairly conservative estimate, and depending on the final creative concept, the photographer would likely be able to capture much more on a given shoot day.

Using this as a starting point, I figured that the first hero image created on a given day would be worth about $5,000 and the second and third would be worth $2,500 each ($10,000 total) for one-year usage. In this case, the client’s requesteduse was for an unlimited duration, despite the fact that the creative brief made it very clear that their intended use was for a campaign that would most likely be used for one year. Given this information, I used $10,000/day as a starting point, which was in line with what we have previously estimated on similar projects, and was justified based on the idea that they’d be hiring the photographer for 13 shoot days. As for the b-roll video, based on my conversation with the agency, it was clearly an afterthought of the creative brief, and the responsibility would essentially be put on an additional camera operator who the photographer would bring along. I therefore didn’t put much value on it in the photographer’s creative/licensing fee, but rather in the day rate included for the camera operator listed in the expenses.

Photographer Tech/Scout/Production/Travel Days: Over the course of our correspondence, we were provided a tentative schedule that the client and agency hoped to use as a starting point to shoot three properties in three countries back-to-back-to-back. While we discussed how preliminary scouting and preparation would take place before the photographer’s arrival (which I’ll note later), the agency requested a significant amount of time on the ground in each location to scout the property and surrounding area and prep prior to the shoot (mostly due to an undefined shot list). This included five prep days on the ground before five shoot days at the first location, four prep days prior to five shoot days at the second location, and four prep days prior to three shoot days at the third location. On the front, back and in between those days we included six travel days (some of the international flights required two days worth of travel), and three additional prep days for the photographer prior to heading out for the project. The travel days are billed at a lower rate since they are typically less intense and require less focus and dedicated than the tech/scout/production days on the ground.

Primary Expenses: Rather than provide a laundry list of expenses that may seem unorganized and confusing, I decided to break out the expenses into four sections. The first set of primary expenses included all of the items related to traveling crewmembers and expenses like equipment and processing. The other three expense categories correspond to items that relate to a particular location.

First Assistant: This included two prep days prior to departure, 13 tech/scout days on location and 13 shoot days. We broke out the first assistant’s travel days separately and charged half their day rate for each of the six travel days. I don’t typically break out an assistant’s travel days and charge reduced rates, but given the total days they’d be booked for, the photographer’s assistant was willing to offer up the discount.

Producer: The photographer had a producer he worked closely with, who also planned to travel along for the length of the project. We included 10 prep days, 13 tech/scout days on location and 13 shoot days. Separately we included six travel days at half the daily rate.

Camera Operator: While labeled as “camera operator”, this person would really be the videographer in charge of capturing the b-roll video of cityscapes throughout the shoot. We included 13 tech/scout days on location and 13 shoot days in addition to breaking out their 6 travel days separately.

Airfare: I used Kayak.com to find estimated one-way flight rates from the photographer’s home city to each consecutive location and then back. Not surprisingly, flights ranged from a few hundred dollars for the short flights to a few thousand dollars for the longer flights including baggage fees. I multiplied the total cost by four to account for each person traveling and rounded up.

Meals, Per Diems, Carnets, Communications, Misc.: This covered all traveling meals, laundry services, international transaction fees, currency conversion fees, carnets, necessary visas, international cell phone plans and any other unforeseen travel related expenses.

Equipment: I included $1,000/day and used a loose rule of thumb that most equipment rental houses charge three days for a weekly rental, and I knew the shoot would span over about five weeks. The photographer would actually be bringing his own gear, but this rule of thumb was helpful to determine an appropriate rate. While he would likely bring more than $1,000 worth of gear, the photographer was satisfied with the overall $15,000 fee to cover the wear and tear on his gear throughout the trip.

Shoot Processing for Client Review and Delivery of Images/Video by Hard Drive: I included $500 for each of the 13 shoot days for the photographer to color correct and provide web galleries for each day of shooting, and an additional $1,000 to cover the cost of a high-capacity hard drive (and a backup) and the shipping costs to deliver it to the agency.

Insurance: Since the locations, scenarios and general scope of the project were still a bit unknown, it was hard to determine exactly the amount of insurance the photographer would need. It was possible that his current international policy would cover the production, but just to be cautious, we included an extra $5,000 in case he needed to increase his policy and add additional coverages. We noted in the delivery memo that this could fluctuate based on the agencies potential requirements.

Expenses for locations one, two and three: For a project like this with a lot of unknowns in multiple international locations, it’s always a good idea to get some hard numbers from local people in each location. I reached out to multiple production companies in each city, and while each line item and overall quotes fluctuated from production company to production company and from city to city, there were a lot of common threads that helped me calculate estimated expenses. I cautiously leaned towards the higher end of the numbers I received, while including some additional items that made me confident that the overall budget would afford us any production company in each city, even if the funds for each estimated line were allocated differently than how I presented them.

Production Coordinator: While a producer would help to manage the entire project, we included a production coordinator in each city that could help with location-specific tasks, and who, perhaps most importantly, was fluent in the local language. The production coordinator days included the shoot days in each city plus the prep days the traveling team would be on the ground beforehand to prep in each city.

Second Assistant: We included a local second assistant to lend an additional set of hands on each shoot day in each city, and included a day before and after each shoot to help pick up and return any necessary additional gear or help with pre-production tasks.

Location Scout and Location Fees: The first two properties would be photographed along with the surrounding cityscapes, but the last location would exclusively be shot on the hotel property. In the cities requiring locations outside of the hotel property, we included four days for a local scout to find and secure permits for public spaces, street scenes and perhaps local shops/businesses. Since all of these locations were a bit undefined when we were estimating the project, we included a placeholder of $3,000 to cover the permits that might be needed. On one hand, this could have been much more than what would be required if the locations were all public spaces, but on the other hand, $3,000 offered flexibility in case a more robust or private property was needed.

Hair/Makeup/Wardrobe Styling: I’d typically separate the responsibilities of hair/makeup styling and wardrobe styling to two different people, but the agency and photographer were hoping to keep the crew footprint as light as possible (easier said than done for a project like this). So, we put these tasks on to one stylist who would have an assistant. In addition to the shoot days, their total days included shopping and return time as well as a talent fit day. The wardrobe costs were calculated by assuming $300 per talent in non-returnable wardrobe for up to four adult/child talent per shoot day.

Casting and Talent: Each shoot would require a casting day arranged by the local production company, and as noted in the estimate, the casting days included a studio, crew, equipment, talent booking and miscellaneous expenses. We anticipated needing a family of four (two adults, two children) for each shoot day and for each location/property. Additionally, each of the talent would come to a day where they’d be fitted for wardrobe, for which we estimated $1,500 per talent. I relied on the local production companies to quote appropriate talent rates, and I noted that the usage would be limited to five years rather than perpetual use. I did so because we’ve received pushback lately from talent agents who won’t convey perpetual use due to potential talent exclusivity conflicts down the road.

Drivers and Transportation: I figured on a driver at $200/day (for each day the traveling crew would be on the ground) plus a $700 fee for a rental van.

Miles, Parking, Meals, Misc.: While I accounted for per diems and meals for the traveling crew previously, I also wanted to include similar expenses for the local crew, even though the client would be providing catering throughout the shoot. As I did previously, I included $50 per person per day for the local production coordinator, scout, stylist, stylist assistant and talent. Additionally, I included and additional $100 per shoot day for miscellaneous expenses. These rates varied between the first two locations and the third location due to the number of days and crew involved.

Production RV: The hotel would offer up staging areas for the shoot days on its property, and I included a production RV as a TBD line item as an option for each location since I thought it may be valuable for some of our cityscape shooting. I also wanted the agency to know we were thinking about such items as an option.

Production Management Fees: Most production companies include a percentage of the overall expenses as a management fee to take on the responsibility of the project including managing the payment process for all subcontractors booked for the job. These percentages varied between the production companies in each city, but 15 percent of the city specific expenses was an appropriate fee based on various quotes I received.

Tax: Interestingly, the first city did not require tax to be added (which I did look further into after the local production company mentioned this). The second two production companies included their required tax percentages on their quotes, which I then included in our estimate. Tax requirements vary greatly from project to project and location to location, and it’s best to check with an accountant and/or local tax authorities.

Feedback: Not surprisingly, our estimate reached a bit too far over the client’s budget. I anticipated that this would be the case, but it was important for us to first show the agency the potential costs for what they were asking for in order for them to help their client determine a budget and dial in the scope of the project. Not too long after submitting our first estimate, the agency came back with a budget of $200,000, and their client was willing to make a few sacrifices. First, the third location was scrapped from the project and they wanted to limit the second location to three shoot days (this meant there would be 7 shoot days rather than 13). Second, they were willing to do without the b-roll video. Third, they were willing to reduce the licensing to three years. Those were great starting points, but after some quick calculations, we realized that some of the travel expenses, talent fees and a few other items were still putting us over that budget. Here is how we further reduced the estimate:

– One strategy was to have the photographer’s producer lay out the logistics of the shoot remotely, and to actually not travel while relying on the local production companies to execute the shoot on site. After taking the producer’s travel expenses out, we adjusted accordingly to reduce their overall days, while still including an appropriate amount of time for them to coordinate everything remotely.

– The most significant way we were able to reduce the cost was by removing the talent fees. Since the shot list wasn’t determined, the agency agreed for us to simply note what the fee per talent might be, and then they’d decide how many talent they’d ultimately need (or not need) in each city as the project progressed. It was possible that they’d rely on hotel staff and actual hotel residents to be unrecognizable talent, and while it was a big TBD cost that would ultimately be added back on later, it helped us bring the estimate under 200k and ultimately helped the agency sell the project to their client.

– For the photographer’s fee, I felt that a reduction to $4,000 for the first image per day and $2,000 for each additional image was appropriate given the licensing duration restriction.

– We reduced the shoot processing for client review to $250 per shoot day, and dropped the hard drive including delivery to $500 since they wouldn’t need as high of a capacity drive without the video.

– The client agreed that the talent would provide their own primary wardrobe, and the stylist would only be responsible to supplemental wardrobe options. This helped to reduce the number of shopping days and bring down the wardrobe budget.

– We reduced each casting day to $3,000, which would still be adequate based on the quotes I received from production companies. As I mentioned, I originally leaned on the higher end of the quotes I received to be safe.

-We slightly reduced the drivers and transportation in each city.

Here was the final estimate:

Blinkbid  Blinkbid  Blinkbid

Results: The photographer was awarded the job.

Hindsight: While we hope every estimate should be the start of a healthy negotiation, sometimes clients seem to assume that an estimate represents the only approach, and one that can’t be finessed or reduced. However, maintaining a thorough correspondence during the estimating process and working closely with agency counterparts to help calculate a budget can go a long way. I knew that our first estimate would be much more than they hoped to spend, but that document helped the agency put a number on what their client was requesting, even though the agency also probably knew it would be too high. With all of the documentation and correspondence with local production companies in our back pocket, it was easy to have an educated conversation with the art buyer about the potential fluctuations in the estimate, and help them understand that there were many ways to reconfigure the project once a certain budget was determined…and thankfully the art buyer was able to explain to their client that they’d have to offer up some flexibility on their end to make it work as well.

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.

Pricing & Negotiating: Motion For Small Business Service Company

by Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Testimonials, man-on-the-street interviews and b-roll video of an annual corporate conference

Licensing: Web Collateral use of one 2:00 minute edited video

Location: Hotel conference center

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Portrait, Lifestyle and Motion Specialist

Agency: N/A – Client Direct

Client: A Small Business Services Company

A few months ago, one of our California-based photographers asked me to help her pull together an estimate for a motion shoot. Although the photographer had a long-standing relationship with this particular client, they’d never asked her to provide motion coverage. The client asked her to shoot four testimonial interviews of the executive team, man-on-the-street interviews of the other attendees and b-roll footage of the event in general. Ultimately, the client wanted to put together a 2:00 introduction/about video for their corporate website to loop on a flat screen at trade shows (within the context of the website). The client would be providing the shooting space, interviewers and scheduling the executives. The client also reserved a room for the testimonials so that the photographer could work in a mostly controlled environment with plenty of available light.

Since we were working directly with the client and providing the editing services, this presented a great opportunity to limit the licensing to their very specific needs (it is not uncommon in the motion world to work under a work for hire agreement or grant unrestricted usage). We seized the opportunity and put together an estimate including limited usage of the final piece.

Based on the needs of the client, we decided to price this out as a two-camera shoot including the photographer/director who would run camera 1, and a DP to manage the minimal lighting and run camera 2. In this case, the DP would be working under the instruction of the photographer/director and sign a work for hire agreement (much like a second photographer on a still shoot), to streamline the licensing process for the client (and photographer).

To arrive at the licensing fee, I took into account the intended audience (trade), limited use (collateral only), shelf-life (this event takes place every year, and the finished piece would likely include footage of current clients, who may not be clients next year) and level production (the team really only needed to show up and shoot). I also considered how much a comparable day of still shooting would yield and what a comparable licensing fee would be for those stills. After weighing all of the factors, we landed at $5,500 for the photographer/director’s creative and licensing fee. Since the client understood relative licensing values on the still side, they were comfortable negotiating limited licensing terms on the motion side as well. Not all clients are as flexible with regard to motion, but it’s always worth the attempt.

Here’s the approved estimate:

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 2.50.28 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 2.50.59 PM

Grip: A grip is the motion world equivalent of a first assistant, though they are typically more specialized. They set up all the grip equipment and manage basic lighting under the direction of the director or the DP. Complex lighting or electrical work may require a gaffer. In this case, the photographer planned to shoot mostly available light and would only need a couple of florescent light banks for the testimonials, so a single grip would suffice.

Director of Photography: As I mentioned above, the DP would be running camera 2 and helping to manage the lighting. A DP is generally more experienced and has the expertise and wherewithal to operate independently of the director. Their rates vary based on the nature of the project and level of involvement required. In this case, we got a quote from a colleague experienced in corporate motion work.

Audio Engineer: Like location scouts, audio engineers have pretty standard rates, regardless of where they’re based or the details of the shoot. $800 covers their day rate and basic recording equipment.

Equipment: $2200 covered costs for two DSLR camera systems, lenses, mounting and grip equipment and two florescent light banks. The photographer and DP owned all of the equipment and would be renting to the production at the market rate.

Editing and Color Grading: We got an editing quote from an editor who the photographer had worked with in the past. $1000/minute is a good rule of thumb for editing costs, but that can fluctuate with the content available, number of revisions, quality of footage and graphic elements required.

File Transfer: This covered the FTP and hard drive costs to share the content with the client for review throughout editing and delivery.

Groomer: We included a groomer to make sure the testimonial subjects (executives), who were supposed to arrive camera ready, looked their best. The groomer would handle basic hair and make up styling and wardrobe finessing.

Miles, Parking, Shipping, etc: This covered out of pocket expenses the photographer and crew would accrue between mileage, parking, crew meals, shipping costs and any other miscellaneous expenses that may be incurred.

Housekeeping (see the project description): I noted all of the production elements the client would be providing. In this case, we were relying on the client to provide the locations, subject scheduling and necessary releases. The client also planned to guide the subjects through their interviews, which under normal circumstances could fall under the responsibility of the director.

The client reviewed our first estimate and asked for a revision excluding the man-on-the street component. Although the team would be generating less content overall, the time on site wouldn’t change significantly (it would still be about a full day) and the deliverable, a 2:00 finished piece, wouldn’t be impacted, which meant the value of the licensing wouldn’t really be impacted either. If it were entirely up to me, I wouldn’t have adjusted the fees at all, however the photographer felt a small decrease was reasonable. We presented an option with a $1000 lower bottom line, all of which came out of the creative/licensing fee. Seeing that the decrease was marginal, the client opted for the original approach.

Results, Hindsight and Feedback: The photographer/director shot the project and the client has since come back asking to set up another shoot to capture similar content at their corporate headquarters.

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.

Pricing & Negotiating: Studio Portraits Of Spokesmen For Social Media

by Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Portraits of two spokesmen previously featured in television commercials in various lifestyle scenarios

 Licensing: Web Collateral use of up to 13 images for 3 months

 Location: A studio in California

Shoot Days: Two

Photographer: Portraiture and lifestyle specialist

Agency: Mid-sized, based on the East Coast

Client: Large food company

Here is the estimate:

estimate_terms

Creative/Licensing: The agency had recently produced a series of television commercials introducing two spokesmen for the brand, and they were now interested in extending the concept into their social media marketing. Specifically, they wanted to promote a contest on the brand’s Facebook page, and they hoped to capture a series of images of the spokesmen in different environmental settings with various props. We initially discussed shooting the project in multiple locations, but the potential costs and necessary prep time required to take the shoot on the road warranted a shift in the creative scope. In the end they decided to do the shoot in a studio on a white background, and planned to retouch various background settings into the shots.

The agency planned to release about one image per week on the brand’s Facebook page over the course of three months. Rather than breaking up the licensing and integrating language limiting a one-week duration per image, we included use of up to 13 images on their page for the entire length of the 3 months. Taking the intended use and limited licensing duration into account, I decided to price each image at $700. I’ll typically reduce the cost of additional images, but I felt that each image was unique, and therefore each one carried the same amount of value. Also, in many cases when negotiating much more substantial usage, I feel that the value of the licensing can outweigh the photographer’s creative fee. However, in this case I felt that it was appropriate to also include an increase to the rate to account for the photographer’s time, so I included an additional $1,500/day. This “creative fee” is on the lower end of what we typically estimate for a creative fee per day, but I felt it was appropriate given the experience level of the photographer and the scope of the project. The licensing and creative fee I calculated added up to $12,100, and I decided to round down to an even $12,000 to simplify the proposal.

The agency asked for a price to license additional images as well as options to extend the licensing duration to include 6 months and one year. I felt $1,000/image was appropriate for additional images based on the prorated cost of the fee and the number of images already being conveyed. Additionally, I felt that doubling the licensing duration was worth 50% of the fee, and extending the duration to include one year was worth 100% of the fee.

After compiling a creative/licensing fee that I felt was appropriate, I checked to see what other pricing resources suggested. While Blinkbid and FotoQuote don’t offer a price specifically for social media use, they do suggest a price between $300-$750 per image for use on a client’s website for 3 months. Getty and Corbis both suggested a price of about $300 per image for use on multiple social media platforms for 3 months. As for the licensing duration options, Getty and Corbis added about 30%-40% to go from 3 months to 6 months, and about 80%-90% to go from 3 months to 1 year, and this was pretty similar to my calculations. FotoQuote suggested just about half of these rate increases (15% to go from 3 months to 6 months, and a 40% increase to go from 3 months to 1 year). Taking all of this into account as well as the upward pressure being placed on the photographer to create 13 completely unique images (as well as the size of the client), I felt that I was in a good starting place with the fee.

Photographer Pre-Light Day: Since the 13 scenarios would require a significant amount of time to set up (especially due to prop styling), we wanted to account for a prep day in the studio for everyone to get on the same page in order to hit the ground running on the first shoot day. Also, these concepts would actually require arranging and shooting in two different sets in the same studio throughout the day. One set would be staged and then broken down while the other set was being shot, and this process would continue over the course of two days with all 13 scenarios. This made the pre-light day even more valuable, and the photographer would have time to work with her team and plan how they’d move back and forth between each set and arrange the lighting setups the day prior to the shoot.

Assistants: We planned for the first and second assistants to attend the pre-light day, and we included additional days on the front and back ends of the shoot for the first assistant to pick up equipment and prepare for the shoot with the photographer. The first and second assistants would each lend a hand on their individual sets in the studio, while the third assistant would bounce back and forth between sets for additional support.

Digital Tech: We included the cost for a tech ($500/day) plus their workstation and equipment ($1,000/day) for each of the two shoot days. The photographer planned to set the tech up in an area between both sets, so they wouldn’t need to keep moving back and forth.

Producer and Production Assistants: The producer would help wrangle the crew and make arrangements for all of the logistics, and we planned on three prep/wrap days, one pre-light day and two shoot days. Given the scale of the shoot, we accounted for the producer to have two assistants on each shoot day to help manage each set and lend a helping hand for miscellaneous tasks throughout each day.

Hair/Makeup Stylist: With only two talent, we were confident that one hair/makeup stylist could prep them in the morning and monitor the talent throughout each shoot day.

Wardrobe and Prop Styling: The talent had a signature wardrobe look from the commercials that the client had been sticking to for the most part, but each scenario would still require a slight wardrobe change (mostly accessories) and a complete refresh in the way of props. We included two shopping days for the wardrobe stylist, and accounted for the fact that they’d attend the pre-light day and each shoot day prior to spending a day returning the wardrobe. We also included four assistant days for the wardrobe stylist to account for two days on set and two days helping out with procurement and returns. The prop styling would be more robust than the wardrobe styling, and we accounted for three shopping days for the prop stylist prior to the pre-light day, shoot days and return day. We also included two assistants for the prop stylist, both of which would attend the pre-light day, and one of which would also lend a hand with shopping and returning. At the time of estimating, the agency was still developing the exact scenarios they hoped to capture, but we figured on $600 per setup based on some of the ideas initially presented. Some scenarios would likely require less than this, but others would require more, and we felt this was an appropriate budget as a starting point.

Van Rental: In order to bring all of the props and wardrobe to the studio, we included the cost of a van rental for the week, including insurance and gas.

Studio Rental: We’d need the studio for three days to account for the pre-light day and both shoot days.

Equipment: Since the photographer would be working on two different sets, we needed to account for double the amount of equipment. We figured on $2,400/day for two sets ($1,200 each), and figured most rental houses would offer a “3 days same as a week” deal. While the shoot would be three days, we’d actually be picking up and returning the equipment before and after the shoot.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: This covered the time, equipment and costs for the initial edit, as well as the upload of the images to an FTP for the client to review and ultimately select the images they wanted to license. 

Selects Processed for Reproduction and Delivery by Hard Drive: While the agency would be compositing in the backgrounds, the photographer was still responsible for color correcting each image and processing the portraits, and we anticipated it would take about an hour per image to bring the quality level of the images to a place that would satisfy the agency. We also included the cost to purchase a hard drive and deliver it to the agency.

Catering: We anticipated that there would be about 20 people on set including the crew, talent and agency/client representatives each shoot day, and anticipated that $50 per person would cover light breakfast and lunch each day.

Miles, Parking, Meals, Production Books, Expendables, Misc.: This was to account for additional meals on the pre-light day ($300), the cost to professionally print/bind production books ($200), mileage/parking/misc. expenses on the shoot days and pre-light day, as well as shopping/return days for the stylists ($900), and miscellaneous expendables and expenses that might arise on the shoot days ($650).

Results: The photographer was awarded the job. Additionally, the client added on 3 more shots/scenarios, which justified a fee increase of $1,000 per shot. However, the shots didn’t require much in the way of additional props/wardrobe, so the expenses weren’t impacted.

Hindsight: It can be a bit tricky pricing various durations of social media use since so often the exposure of an image on Facebook seems to just last for a day or two (at least for images posted in the “photos” section of a Facebook page as opposed to the “cover” images at the top of the page). While it was great that we could limit the duration on these images, many agencies assume that social media use should be perpetual since the images live “forever” in follower’s feeds and in the “photos” section of the brand’s page. However, it’s most certainly possible for a client to pull down images from their Facebook page, and it can be regulated the same way as any other advertising or collateral 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.

Pricing And Negotiating: Forbes Magazine Contract

by Bill Cramer, Wonderful Machine

Over the years, I’ve shot for lots of business magazines, but my favorite was always Forbes. The photo editors were experienced, smart, and nice. They appreciated good photography and they used it well. Not only did they have a reasonable contract, and decent budgets for assignments, but I was often able to generate additional revenue from those assignments by licensing the pictures to other publications or by selling article reprints to the subjects or their companies. However, with Forbes experiencing the same financial pressures that most print publications are facing, their contract has changed dramatically. (After several years on the market, Forbes Media announced recently that a group of investors has acquired a majority stake in the company.)

In an effort to save money on assignment photography (or even make money on it), Forbes has created The Forbes Photography Collection to license pictures generated from their assignments through Corbis Images. They hired Robyn Selman, formerly of Corbis, to guide that process as their Director of Photography. Forbes Media isn’t the first publisher to syndicate their photographers’ pictures (Condé Nast comes to mind), but still, it’s a dramatic shift from the way most magazines and photographers have historically done business with each other.

In a nutshell, here’s how their new contract differs from their old one:

Instead of photographers getting compensated separately for residual use of their photos (including space, foreign Forbes editions, and article reprints), those rights are bundled into a flat shoot fee, and the photographer gets a maximum of 12.5% of third party sales through The Forbes Photography Collection. (The contract specifies that the photographer gets 25% of Forbes’ half of the gross fee when Corbis is the only agent involved in the sale. If another agent gets involved in the sale, the share to the photographer could be less than 12.5%.) From what I gather, the shoot fees are 1000.00 or more (plus expenses) now, as opposed to 700.00/day (plus expenses) against space with their previous contract. It’s hard to compare flat fees to day rate vs. space, but my own experience was that my Forbes assignments frequently generated space rate payments. So while the fees and expenses for the initial shoot may be about the same, photographers are giving up significant money (not to mention control), on foreign editions, article reprints (which are often worth more than the original assignment), and stock sales to the subject and to other magazines.

The flat shoot fee is negotiated for each assignment. In the past, photographers and the magazine would renegotiate day rates and space rates every couple of years (as a practical matter, the magazine would simply have standard day and space rates that they would pay). With this contract, Forbes no longer ties the fees directly to the amount of time it takes to shoot the job or the size/number of photos that appear in the magazine. That’s problematic in several important ways. First, if the value of the assignment isn’t tied to the amount of time it takes to shoot the job or the space the pictures occupy in the magazine, then what will be the basis of that negotiation? Second, putting the photographer and the photo editor in the awkward position of renegotiating the fee for every assignment wastes valuable time and energy at exactly the moment when you need to get a job done fast, and it sets up a regular source of conflict that will have the effect of eroding rather than building and streamlining the relationship between contributor and editor. Third, it creates a conflict of interest between the photographer and the client. It’s natural and sustainable to put the photographer’s economic interests in line with the client’s. Lastly, anyone growing a business (even a freelance photographer), needs to build equity along with revenue. For photographers, the rights to their photographs are their main source of equity.

I can understand Forbes Media’s impulse to capture this additional revenue in the short-term. But is it in their long-term interest?

I’m not sure it’s sensible for Forbes to enter into the business of syndicating photographs. For starters, it’s clearly outside their area of expertise. Though there is a modest amount of residual value to the photos for Forbes, I wonder how much of it is negated by the administrative costs of starting up and maintaining the infrastructure required to support those sales, and the additional up-front fees they have to pay the photographers. Also, the minuscule back-end split they’re offering photographers not only removes any incentive for them to produce lots of excellent photos (which would otherwise earn those photographers space rates and other residual fees), but they’re also making it less attractive for good photographers to work with Forbes in the first place. So the photos they’ll end up with won’t look as good in the magazine and they won’t have as much residual value as they otherwise would. A smarter approach would be to maintain the day vs. space fee structure, and simply lower or raise the fees as their ability to afford high-quality photography shrinks and grows. (Another approach might be to maintain a higher fee structure, and increase or decrease the number of hand-out and stock photos that they use, as their budgets ebb and flow.) Either way, it’s naive to think that you can reduce the compensation to photographers without adversely affecting the quality of their photos.

Here’s the contract. It’s separated into an Artists’ Agreement (which gets signed once), and a Schedule A (which gets signed for each assignment):

1_forbes_contract_four_up

If you are a photographer (or a magazine), and need help building an estimate or reviewing a contract, please feel free to contact any of our producers. If you’d like to read more of our Pricing & Negotiating articles, you can find them here.

Pricing And Negotiating: Directing Video For A TV Commercial

by Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Video of a restaurant interior

Licensing: Use of all video content captured in multiple broadcast television commercials

Location: A single restaurant location

Shoot Days: One

Director: Architectural and portraiture specialist

Agency: Medium-sized, based in the Northeast

Client: Large restaurant chain

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: A few months ago I worked with a photographer to successfully estimate an exterior architectural shoot that you can read about here. Within a week of delivering those files, the agency wanted to add on an extension to the project, and this time they needed video content to integrate into their commercial along with the stills. The concept was to capture video of the interior of one of their restaurants and stage a scene of professional talent interacting within the environment in the evening after the restaurant closed to the public. The final video would ultimately be edited down to just a few seconds, and the agency/client would be providing the location, casting, talent, wardrobe, styling and all of the video editing.

The photographer did not specialize in video, but based on his previous successful execution of the stills and the scope of this portion of the project, the client and agency were very comfortable with him taking on a directorial role, as opposed to being the man behind the camera. Therefore, rather than including a combined creative/licensing fee for the photographer, we simply labeled it as a “Director Fee” (hereafter I’ll refer to the photographer as “director”).

My first approach to determine the director fee was based on the previous estimate for the still photography. You can read how we arrived at a $50,000 fee in my previous article, but when analyzed in a pro-rated manner (which is how many agencies view estimates), it broke down to $2,500 per location or around $10,000 per day for 5 days of shooting (which is ultimately how long it took). Based on this information I felt that $6,000 was appropriate for a director fee, taking into account what the director had ultimately made as an effective fee on the previous shoot. I did, however, want to double-check this rate against other resources, and found that Getty charges around $4,200 for a 15-second clip for national broadcast TV use. Similarly, Corbis charges $4,500 for a clip with these specs. Based on my research I was confident that we were in the right ballpark.

I should also note that the format of our estimate in which we present the creative/licensing fee and the following expenses may be atypical for a video project. Since this was an extension of a still photo shoot, and since we were working with a print producer at the agency, the presentation and formatting of our document was appropriate. However, much larger video productions may warrant different formatting, and there are even industry standard documents (like theAICP bid form) that video production companies are accustomed to working with and are well received on the agency/client end.

Test Shoots: Prior to the actual shoot date, the agency and director agreed that a day was needed to not only scout the location, but to do a very rough test shoot using minimal gear to capture naturally lit video of the restaurant interior. It was an opportunity to give the agency a feel for the how the location actually looked, while also allowing the director to test out gear with the camera operator that would be working on the actual shoot. The fee included $1,500 for the director, $1,000 for the producer, $300 for an assistant and $750 for the camera operator, along with mileage, parking, meals and equipment expenses.

Director of Photography: The director was very proficient in lighting still images, but the level of production the agency required for the video meant bringing in an expert to help guide the grip and gaffer to set up the lights. We were shooting at night, but the interior needed to look like daylight was flowing in through the windows, and the DP would help to accomplish this while the director could primarily focus his attention on the overall concept and execution.

Camera Operator: While the director would be managing the talent and determining the primary camera settings, we accounted for the camera operator to be the one who would actually manipulate the camera while capturing the content. The rate we included accounted for a very experienced camera operator who would also be able to provide monitors/feeds for live client review.

Producer: The producer would be responsible for wrangling the crew, compiling a production book and handling pre-production arrangements. Additionally, the producer would make sure the shoot day goes according to schedule while ensuring the project stayed within budget.

First and Second Assistants: I accounted for two extra sets of hands to help out with gear on the shoot day, and to support the producer and all of the crew members throughout the day with miscellaneous tasks.

Digital Tech: While the camera operator would be providing equipment for the client to see the video on monitors in real time, the digital tech would be able to quickly process the video content for the client/agency to watch repeatedly in order to approve the content. This included $500 for their day, and $750 for a workstation. On a larger scale video shoot, this role might be labeled as DIT (digital image technician), but as I mentioned earlier, we were integrating formatting and terminology more in line with a still photo shoot.

Grip, Gaffer and Grip Truck: The DP would give lighting direction to the grip and gaffer who would then be responsible for setting up and adjusting all of the lights. Both the grip and gaffer that I corresponded with about the project worked for an equipment rental company, and they would be bringing the gear with them in a truck. Given the last minute nature of the project, we weren’t quite sure what exact equipment would be needed, so I included the cost for a very well stocked grip truck. In addition to the truck rental (which would cost $675), this included a long list of HMI lights and generators, as well as an even longer list of stands, modifiers and grip equipment.

Additional Equipment Rental: This accounted for all equipment other than lights/grip, including two 5D Mark III camera bodies, multiple lenses, extra large memory cards and a buffer for any other last minute gear the photographer would need once he scouted the location. Some of the gear he owned, and some he would need to rent or buy.

Delivery of Video by Hard Drive: The digital tech would dump all of the video onto a drive after the shoot, and this included the cost of purchasing a drive large enough to hold the video content and the shipping fees to send it to the agency.

Catering: There would be about 20 people on set including the crew, talent and client/agency representatives, and I included $50 per person for dinner and snacks throughout the evening. Typically, I’d figure a client like this would provide meals, but since the shoot was happening after business hours, the restaurant wouldn’t be able to provide food.

Miles, Misc: The restaurant wasn’t located in a very convenient place, and I expected to pay the crew mileage to get out and back. I included $200 for mileage, and then added $300 to help cover any additional unexpected expenses that might arise.

Results: After submitting our estimate, the art buyer told us they had a budget of $20,000, and asked us to see what we could do to reduce the price. I knew we wouldn’t be able to come down by that much, but revised the estimate by removing the tech’s workstation (she’d just be providing a laptop which the client was ok with), reducing the assistant rates to $250/day (the director had a few assistants that were willing to work for this rate) reducing the fee for the grip and gaffer (which they confirmed they’d be able to be flexible on) and reducing the catering to $35 per person (and noted that it wouldn’t be quite as an elaborate spread). Those changes reduced our bottom line by $1,500. Even though we weren’t able to get under $20k, our estimate was approved and I produced the shoot a few days later. Here was the final estimate:

Blinkbid

Hindsight: As the still photography and video worlds merge, it’s inevitable that clients will soon expect all photographers to offer video services (or at least expect to get stills and video from a single production). However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a photographer has to have experience shooting video. As in this case, photographers can take on the role of a director without actually being the one to light the scene or operate the camera. The director role still comes with great responsibility and pressure, but it’s ok for photographers to rely on lighting experts and experienced video crews to collectively get the job done.

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.

Pricing And Negotiating: Executive Portraits For A Large Agency

Jess Dudley

Shoot Concept: Create executive portraits and corporate lifestyle images of employees at work in their corporate headquarters and on-site at one client location

Licensing: Digital collateral and digital advertising use of up to 40 images

Location: Corporate headquarters and one retailer location

Shoot Days: Three

Photographer: Corporate lifestyle specialist

Agency: Large agency in the Mid-Atlantic

Client: Business consultant

A well-known ad agency recently commissioned one of our East Coast photographers to shoot a library of images for their client’s rebranding effort. The agency’s B2B client provides consulting services to mid-large sized national brands. The goal of the shoot was to capture a range of corporate lifestyle images of real employees at work in their company offices and on-site at one of their client’s locations. The images were created for, and would be primarily used on, the client’s newly redesigned website, so while the production machine was in motion, the agency wanted to create 10 executive portraits to round out the website about page. On top of the web use, the agency also requested digital/web advertising use to cover their trade advertising needs.

Although all of the images would be used on the site, it was likely that only a handful would be used for any of the somewhat limited advertising use granted. However, as is often the case, the agency was unwilling to carve up the usage into different components, making it impossible to impose more than one licensing agreement on different sets within the library. Additionally, the agency was unwilling to bend on the duration of use. Just as with the extent of the usage, we determined that the likelihood of the client taking full advantage of perpetual use was low enough that we were willing to be flexible on that point. The images have a shelf life, and we assume that the value to the client degrades considerably after three to five years — executives change, services change, and imagery needs to be refreshed. After careful consideration and discussion with the art buyer, we decided to price the usage closer to the value of the intended use.

To determine the licensing fee, I considered the caliber of the photographer (in-demand), reputation of the agency (solid), size of the client (niche), intended audience (non-consumer), limited use (web/digital only), assumed shelf-life, number of shot days (2.5, but we priced as 3 — half days are a myth) and intensity of the production (pretty low). I also considered that 1/4 of the images would consist of executive portraits. After weighing all of the factors, we landed at $20,000. Other pricing sources like Fotoquote, Blinkbid’s Bid Consultant and the various stock sites would have us quote the usage fee in the six-figure range, but those pricing resources don’t account for the nuance and just keep multiplying, regardless of the influencing factors and/or diminishing value to the client, and photographer, over time.

From a production standpoint, this project was relatively low impact. The photographer would need to show up to the provided locations with his or her crew, and make pictures of the provided resources. That being said, because we were working through a fairly large agency, their expectations would be slightly more intensive than you may initially expect.

Here’s the approved estimate:

P and N July

Tech/Scout Day: I included a tech/scout day for the photographer and agency to walk through the offices and client locations to make sure everyone was on the same page creatively, and allow the photographer to consider lighting and equipment needs.

1st Assistant Days: I included four days for the first assistant — one to prep gear (and/or attend the scout) and three to shoot.

2nd Assistant Days: The second assistant would be on hand for all three shoot days.

Digital Tech Days: The tech would only be needed on the corporate lifestyle days. The agency wouldn’t need to review the executive portraits on set, so we were able to forgo that expense on the portrait day.

Equipment: $4500 covered costs for a DSLR, a backup, lenses, grip equipment and portable strobe kit, some of which the photographer’s production company owned and would be renting at market rate for the shoot and some that would need to be rented from a local rental house.

Producer: Even though a great deal of the production elements would be provided by the client and agency, we felt that a producer would still be beneficial during the shoot. Since there wasn’t much in the way of pre-production I only included one day for prep (arrange catering, book/confirm the five crew members and pull together a call sheet), one day for the tech/scout and three days for the shoot.

Production RV: The client couldn’t guarantee the availability of convenient staging area so I included a production RV for the two lifestyle days. Since we would be stationary for the executive portraits, it wasn’t necessary on the third day.

Groomer: The subjects would be instructed to arrive camera-ready. The groomer would be on hand to make sure they were finessed a bit and looked their best when on camera.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: Covers time, equipment and costs for the initial import, edit, batch color correction and upload of the images to an FTP for client review and selection.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: Color correction, basic touch-up and specialized processing of the 40 selects. As the result of considerable post-processing, all of photographer’s images all have a distinct feel, which increases the cost for standard file prep.

File Transfer: This covers the cost to deliver the 40 selects via FTP.

Catering: I estimated to provide lunch on the two corporate lifestyle days. Because the third day was a “half day” we didn’t need to cover catering.

Miles, Expendables, FTP, and Misc: This covered out-of-pocket expenses the photographer and crew would accrue between mileage, FTP costs and any other miscellaneous expenses that may arise.

Housekeeping (see the project description): I noted all of the production elements the client would be providing.

Results, Hindsight and Feedback: The photographer shot the project and the client came back to licensing 10 additional images. We set the rate for those at $750 each, including processing.

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.