Category "Pricing & Negotiating"

Pricing & Negotiating: Stills and Video for a Pharmaceutical Company

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Individual portraits of three women against a white background

Licensing: Unlimited use (excluding OOH) of up to three images for two years

Location: A studio in the Northeast

Shoot Days: One

Photographer: Portraiture specialist

Agency: Small, based in the Northeast

Client: Large pharmaceutical company

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: 

The concept was straightforward: the agency/client hoped to photograph three women of a specific demographic individually against a white background. The agency was redesigning a website for a new drug the pharmaceutical company was manufacturing, and while this would be the main use for the images, they also had plans to run a few consumer-facing print ads over the course of two years. Additionally, they were considering the possibility of creating cinemagraphs of each woman, however, the exact creative concept for this was still being developed.

While the simple concept put strong downward pressure on the fee, their requested usage drove it up. I decided to price the first image at $6,000 and the second and third images at $2,000 each as it was clear based on the creative brief that one of the women would be the “hero” talent and her portrait would be used much more heavily than the others. $10,000 felt a bit low at first, but considering the client’s intended use, the straightforward nature of the project, and the fact that there were a handful of other known local photographers in the mix for the project, I felt it was in the right spot.

As for the cinemagraphs, the agency asked to see ballpark costs to add them later if desired, so we noted an optional creative/licensing fee of $2,000 in the job description section of the estimate (we also noted the expenses, which I’ll detail later). I based this on $1,000 for the first, and $500 each for the second and third cinemagraphs, which would live on their website if they chose to move forward with this option.

Assistant and Digital Tech: The photographer was comfortable with just one assistant, and we included a digital tech for $500 while including another $500 for their workstation.

Producer and Production Assistant: This included two prep days, one shoot day, and one wrap day for a producer, and they’d bring along an assistant for the shoot day to be an extra set of hands throughout the production.

Hair/Makeup and Wardrobe Stylists: We just needed one hair/makeup stylist since there were only three women, and we’d have plenty of time to get each one ready on the shoot day. As for wardrobe, I included two prep days and one shoot day for the wardrobe stylist, and two prep days, one shoot day and one wrap/return day for their assistant. The agency anticipated that we’d shoot each of the three women in two different outfits, so I included $250 per outfit for six total non-returnable outfits.

Casting and Talent: This particular market had relatively affordable casting and talent rates, and we included one live casting day and a talent rate that would easily attract a wide pool of talent to choose from. The rate was a bit higher than I’d typically include for this market/usage, however, we wanted to provide the talent with an incentive for their likeness to be used to promote a drug while portraying them as a person who may be afflicted with a certain sensitive illness. Additionally, the client requested an optional rate if they were to acquire exclusivity on the talent for this within the pharmaceutical industry, and we noted the appropriate increase in the rate, which was based on a conversation I had with our casting director.

Studio Rental and Equipment: We included one day for a local studio, and added an equipment fee to either use the photographer’s personal equipment or cover rentals from the studio or local rental houses if needed. We also detailed that if they wanted to create cinemagraphs, that it would likely require an increase in the studio expense to afford a better-equipped space for capturing video (mainly appropriate power/electric access). Additionally, if video for the cinemagraphs were to be captured, we would need to light the entire set with continuous lights as opposed to strobes, so we detailed a price increase to include a grip, gaffer, grip truck and plenty of lighting in order to achieve this.

Catering: There would be 17 people on the set, and I included $65 per person for breakfast and lunch.

Parking, Production Supplies, Misc.: This just covered $100 in parking, $100 in supplies such as tables/chairs, and $100 for any unforeseeable expenses that might have presented themselves during the shoot.

Shoot Processing for Client Review and Retouching: We included $250 for the photographer to go through all of the shots and do a basic once-over in order to present a web gallery of options to the agency. Additionally, we included $375 per image to cover the time it would take a retoucher to process the images and swap background colors, which is something the agency mentioned would be a possibility as they developed new brand colors for the client.

Feedback: The estimate was well received, however, the agency had a few updates they wanted us to include. Primarily, they wanted to include four women, instead of three. Additionally, they wanted to include the fees/expenses for both still images and cinemagraphs within the estimate, and they asked for us to include the talent rates with exclusivity as well.

For the creative/licensing fee, we already quoted an optional rate of an additional $2,000 to include the cinemagraphs in the first estimate, so now we needed to figure out what one additional image and one additional cinemagraph was worth for the fourth talent. I determined the image was worth $2,000 (the same as images 2 and 3), the cinemagraph was worth about $500, so I rounded this up to an additional $3,000, totaling a $15,000 fee.

This of course also impacted our expenses. We added additional wardrobe along with the talent rates requested, adjusted for catering, misc. expenses, and retouching while adding a hair/makeup stylist assistant to help move the shoot along since we had one extra talent to prep. We increased the studio as well to accommodate the equipment, crew size, and electrical access needed for the video, and we incorporated the grip, gaffer, and additional lighting equipment into a single line item. We also noted a TBD overtime rate, as we were now proposing to shoot four talent, each in two different outfits, with stills and video for each. While that would take a while, I was still confident we could make that work in a 10-hour shoot day, but I wanted to note the rate ahead of time.

Here was the revised estimate:

Feedback: Again, the estimate was well received, however, they decided to revert back to three talent, instead of four. Also, at this point, the cinemagraphs became better defined as we started to inquire more about the creative concept. The success of a cinemagraph typically relies on some sort of environmental element moving or changing in some way, but since we were just capturing a few women in front of a white background, our options were pretty limited. After a creative call with the agency, it turned out that they just hoped to capture short videos of the women making subtle changes to their expression and slightly moving their bodies (often referred to as “video portraits”), and we were told that the agency would handle the video editing.

We made a few tweaks to our estimate, and submitted the following:

Results: The photographer was awarded the job, and we coordinated the production.

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 & Negotiating: Stock Licensing

Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Licensing: Web Collateral use of up to three images for two years

Photographer: Southeast-based portrait specialist

Agency: N/A – Client Direct

Client: The philanthropic arm of a recognizable consumer brand

Here is the estimate:

A seasoned portrait photographer came to us looking for assistance pricing a stock licensing agreement for a large corporation interested in using three existing images on the “.org” website of their philanthropic division. The shoot had originally been commissioned by an editorial client for a piece about the subject’s philanthropic endeavors and organizations, so before determining the value, we first had to review the original commissioning agreement to ensure the photographer had the ability/permission to license the images to a third party. Even the most favorable editorial agreements typically include an embargo period which may prevent one from licensing content for a reasonable period of time after publishing and some of the least favorable editorial agreements restrict licensing in more substantial ways. As it happened, these images were available to license, so on we went.

The difficulty with determining the value of any licensing, as it is all so subjective and project specific, is figuring out an anchor price from which to adjust, based on the various contributing factors. At Wonderful Machine, we use a tried-and-true benchmark that sets the baseline cost for collateral use (“Collateral” use is when the work appears in or on a platform that the client wholly controls and produces, such as a company website, annual report, brochure, or social media profile, and is intended to promote a commercial product, service, personality or brand) of one image, for one year, at around $1000, and additional images licensed for concurrent use should be worth about 50% as much as the first image. We also use a pricing model that assumes a doubling of the duration of use should increase the worth by about 50% more than the initial duration value. These “rules” can break down really quickly, as general rules tend to do when you move too far from the baseline. In this case, however, we were still very much within the tolerances.

Pricing this project out based on these guidelines would set the value of the first image at $1500, and each additional image at $750, for a total licensing fee of $3000. With this anchor in mind, I began factoring in all of the variables that apply upward or downward pressure on the value. Much like estimating licensing fees for a commissioned shoot, valuing stock requires you to consider the prominence of the client, scope & duration of the requested use, and the importance of the content to a given “campaign.” But you also have to consider the uniqueness of the subject matter, availability of similar images in the marketplace and the prospects & costs of recreating the content (or very similar content).

These images didn’t depict the client’s products or services in any way and the subject matter wasn’t terribly unique – the images were lovely, straightforward, environmental portraits of the subject in her workspace. Although the content didn’t make these images unique, the availability of similar images, or lack thereof, did. There were very few stock images available in the marketplace. This applied upward pressure on the value of the images. Also, reshooting was pretty much off the table because of the subject’s scheduling constraints and general aversion to being photographed. This, combined with the general inconvenience and uncertainty of commissioning a new shoot, meant that we could push past any reshoot “price ceiling” that may typically apply. So not only are existing images rare, but creating new photos would be a tall order. Again, this pushed the value up. The license was limited to web collateral use which tugged the baseline number down (our guideline is based on both print and web). But since the client is an arm of a name-brand multinational mega-company, the value jumped, even though the particular arm of the organization is 100% philanthropic in nature.

The intended use of the pictures was informational, almost editorial. The client was interested in the images because the subject ran an organization that relied on the client’s products and services to further the organization’s core mission of doing some form of good in the world. The client was basically writing a case study about how they’d partnered with the subject to help her to do good. Additionally, this was one of many such case studies on the client’s website, meaning it was valuable to the client, but not mission critical, exerting downward pressure on the value. Finally, the case study could be effective with one image, but three would be slightly more impactful by offering a touch of variety. If the client had been requesting images that each featured a different founder, we’d be less likely to drop the additional image rate quite so much, if at all. All this to say that our usual price breaks for additional images would be appropriate.

Taken together, I felt the upward pressures were more significant than the downward pressures. Accordingly, I added 50% premium to the baseline rate ($3000) to account for the additional value, setting the quote at $4500.

RESULTS/HINDSIGHT:

There’s an opportunity to push the envelope a bit when pricing stock because, in most instances, the photographer has more leverage and is dealing with a captive audience. In this case, I may not have pushed the envelope enough, as the client quickly accepted and returned the signed quote. Even though the photographer was happy with the fee, I still wondered if perhaps there was a little dough left on the table.

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 & Negotiating: Lifestyle Images for Retailer

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Architectural images and environmental lifestyle images of customers and sales representatives interacting in a retail location

Licensing: Unlimited use of 12 images for one year

Location: A retail location in the northeast

Shoot Days: One

Photographer: Architectural and portraiture specialist

Agency: N/A, client direct

Client: A retail chain

Here is the estimate: 

Creative/Licensing: This was the third time in as many years that the client approached the photographer to create images of newly opened retail locations. The first two projects had a similar initial scope in terms of creative requirements and licensing, and a precedent had been set regarding the client’s budget and what the photographer had agreed to regarding creative/licensing fees. In this case, I found out that while the client requested unlimited use of 12 images for one year, their intended use mainly included one image for local advertising use that would likely be minimal, while the other images would end up on the client’s website to showcase the new retail location. I also found out that they had a $40,000 budget they were trying to hit for this particular project.

I’d typically anticipate that for one year of local advertising, an appropriate fee for the first image is in the neighborhood of $3,000. Then I’d apply a discount for the additional images given their likely intended web collateral use, likely pricing the second image at $1,500, images number three to five at $500, and images number six to twelve at $250 each. That totals to $6,250, however, based on the current budget and the previous precedent of the other projects, $5,000 was more appropriate.

Photographer Travel/Scout Days: The photographer would travel in and scout the location the afternoon prior to the shoot day, and then fly back home the day after the shoot. I, therefore, included two travel/scout days.

First Assistant/Digital Tech and Second Assistant: The photographer had a first assistant who could double as his digital tech, and I included $500 for their day with an additional $500 for a small workstation. Additionally, I included a second assistant to help with grip/lighting.

Producer and Production Assistant: I included three prep days (including the time to go scout the location), one shoot day and one wrap day for the producer to line up a crew and coordinate the project from start to finish. Additionally, I included two days for a production assistant; one day to help either the producer or photographer prior to the shoot and one day for the shoot.

Hair/Makeup and Wardrobe Styling: The initial scope of the project called for 15 talent, and the shot list made for a rather ambitious shoot day schedule. Given these factors, I included two hair/makeup stylists, rather than a stylist with an assistant, as we needed an experienced team to help move the styling process along as fast as possible. As for the wardrobe, only the principle talent would need to have clothing sourced for them, while the secondary/extra talent would provide their own wardrobe. I included three prep/shop days and one shoot day for the wardrobe stylist while anticipating that their assistant would be on-site for the shoot, and then handle wardrobe returns after the shoot. I included $3,000 for the wardrobe, anticipating about $375 per principle talent.

Casting and Talent: Rather than doing a live casting, we included $1,000 to cover an additional day for the producer to handle a digital casting process. This included reaching out to multiple local talent agencies, organizing headshots and web galleries of talent for the client to consider, negotiating rates and booking the chosen talent. We included $1,800 for each principle talent, which was appropriate for the usage in this market, and $450 for each extra secondary talent.

Production RV: While the location would offer enough space for all of the crew/talent/client to stay within the building comfortably, I anticipated that the hair/makeup stylists would need a space to prep the talent, and the wardrobe stylists would need an area to spread out the clothing. Also, I anticipated that an RV would be a nice area to get as many cooks out of the kitchen as possible, and if needed, it would serve as a private space with wifi where the client could escape from the production. $1,500 included gas/mileage, travel time, generator run time, dumping fees, and other misc. expenses that RV’s typically charge for.

Equipment: The photographer planned to capture most of the content with available light, and in an effort to keep the bottom line down, we did not include any expense to use the equipment he planned to bring.

Travel Expenses: Round trip tickets to/from the location were about $300, and I included $50 in baggage fees for the outgoing and return trips. Lodging in the area was about $150/night for two nights, and I included $200 for a car rental, a $50/day per diem for the three days the photographer would be traveling.

Craft/Catering: I included roughly $35 per person for a light, quick lunch and snacks, anticipating nine crew members, 15 talent and six client/agency representatives.

Mileage, Parking, Additional Meals: This included $200 in mileage for crew members to travel to/from the location. $200 in meals and expenses that the wardrobe stylist and their assistant would incur while shopping for clothing. $150 for miscellaneous expenses and $250 in additional meals for a client/agency pre-production meeting and a client dinner after the shoot.

Production Supplies: This included $200 for table and chair rentals, $100 in tent rentals, $100 in floor protection and cleaning supplies, and $50 for miscellaneous supplies.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: This covered the photographer’s time to organize all of the assets and create an initial gallery of images for the client to review.

Post Processing: I included $50/image for basic color correction, file cleanup and delivery of the images. For architectural images, I’d typically include at least $150/image, however, we had already surpassed the client’s budget, and the photographer was willing to give a discount on the post processing.

Results: The client signed the estimate, and the photographer was awarded the assignment. Just as quickly, the client mentioned that they planned to bring in their ad agency to provide further creative direction and help move the project along. While it was surprising, we welcomed the additional clarification. However, we quickly realized that the agency had different expectations for the production that weren’t originally prescribed by the client.

Generally speaking, they wanted a much higher level of production, and the biggest change was that they hoped to shoot throughout the night while the store was closed, rather than shooting throughout the afternoon and into the early evening hours as originally anticipated. The agency also wanted the store to appear as if it were daytime, and have sun coming in through the windows. This meant that we’d need to bring on a grip and a gaffer with a grip truck to rig up large continuous lights outside of the windows, and I added $5,500 to accomplish this ($650 for the gaffer, $450 for the grip and $4,000 in grip/lighting equipment, trucking, generators and misc. expenses). Additionally, this meant that we’d need to feed everyone in a more robust way and ensure the coffee was fresh all night, so we added catering throughout the night.

The agency hoped to see a lot of the wardrobe that was to be procured prior to the shoot, so I added an extra day for our wardrobe stylist to provide pictures of everything and spend a bit of extra time shopping after receiving feedback. Additionally, the agency had insurance requirements that the photographer did not anticipate originally, so we included $1,500 to help increase his policy to meet their standards. Also, as we worked through these updates, the shoot date changed a few times, so we included a bit more in our travel expense line to account for airline change fees. Actually, the ever-changing schedule, increased production level and the re-negotiation of the project across the board meant the producer would be incurring additional time, so we included an extra day and a half for them to handle the workload.

The agency was able to make two concessions that helped bring the bottom line back down a bit. First, they were willing to limit the talent to seven principles and three extras, and second, they were willing to handle all of the post processing in-house.

As for the photographer’s fee, while the agency agreed to decrease the number of images licensed from 12 to eight, the shots they removed were mostly variations of similar secondary shots. Overall, I felt the additional shooting time coupled with increased creative requirements was worth an increase to the photographer’s fee, and we added an extra $1,500.

Here was the final estimate for the agency, which was approved:

Hindsight: In the end, an estimate that was $15,000 more than the client originally told us they budgeted was approved. The agency let us know that our final estimate was in-line with what they had anticipated for a production like this, and I feel they did a good job explaining to their client why all of these expenses were necessary. It’s highly unusual for a client to approve a project and then have their agency propose different project specs to bid on, but I think this was a result of the project occurring during a time when the client was transitioning from one ad agency to another. Other than the added stress during pre-production, the shoot went off without a hitch, and the images were quickly put to use a few weeks later.

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 & Negotiating: Pharmaceutical Portraits

Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Portraits and photojournalistic manufacturing lifestyle images

Licensing: Unlimited use of all images captured in perpetuity

Location: On location at a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in the Northwest

Shoot Days: One

Photographer: Northwest-based portrait and lifestyle specialist

Agency: A Small Northwest-based agency

Client: A mid-sized pharmaceutical company

Here is the estimate:

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Creative/Licensing: One of our Northwest-based photographers reached out looking for help pulling together an estimate for a library shoot for a local mid-sized pharmaceutical manufacturer. The agency had contacted the photographer requesting a quote for a one day shoot on location at one of their client’s manufacturing facilities. The project called for 12 setups: four environmental shots of the facility/labs, seven photojournalistic lifestyle images of employees “at work” and one lit/staged portrait. The client required unlimited usage of the library of images. We see a lot of projects along these lines, but this project was a bit unusual because the 12 setups were relatively specific. They didn’t seem to offer a lot of opportunity for variations (as opposed to more dynamic scenarios that may allow for a greater degree of variety in the space, subjects and available actions/activities). Shot one, in particular, was much more carefully composed and art directed because it would be used in trade ads, while the other 11 shots would only appear in collateral pieces. After speaking with the photographer about the hefty shot list, we wanted to make sure the client was aware that it was doable, but perhaps a bit ambitious, and that the day may require some prioritization if we were unable to move around as freely and quickly as expected.

Library fees can start around $7500 a day and will often include unlimited or perpetual usage of all images captured. It should be noted, however, that “library” does not necessarily mean unrestricted use (although it did in this case), and may be used to refer just to the volume of imagery. Accordingly, it is important to make the initial assumption that the client is willing to limit the use in some way. Often, clients are willing to limit either the duration of use or quantity of images for a library shoot, so it is best to begin the conversation with that assumption in mind to avoid inadvertently “giving away” more than necessary. Unfortunately, this was not one of those instances, and the client did, in fact, require unlimited, perpetual use of all images captured. Interestingly, the ambitious shot list helped to minimize the value of the library because the photographer would have to move so quickly from one shot to the next that the variety captured would be severely limited. Additionally, five of the 12 shots were very specific and didn’t allow for variations of any substance. Factoring the volume of shots, limited production footprint, type of client, intended use (including the very specific trade ad shot) and otherwise straight forward nature of the shoot, I set the rate at $10,000 for this shoot.

Client Provisions: I was sure to note exactly what the client and agency would provide: locations, staff “talent,” staging area(s), wardrobe, props, releases and necessary technical and safety advisors. The advisor was important to highlight since we wanted a client rep to be on set to ensure the facility and staff were up to snuff from a technical and safety standpoint. There’s nothing worse than wrapping up a shot and finding out that the subject was supposed to have been wearing safety goggles, so we were sure to put that responsibility on client’s shoulders.

*Tech/Scout Day: Due to the challenges associated with accessing this particular facility, the client was unable to allow for a tech/scout day. It’s generally a very important part of a production such as this, but unfortunately, our hands were tied.

Assistants & Tech: I estimated for a first assistant and a digital tech for the shoot. All but one shot would be captured using available light, and mobility within the facility was a concern, so the smaller the crew footprint, the better. The photographer wanted to tether a laptop on a tripod, so we didn’t need a full workstation rental from the tech, hence the lower rate.

Equipment: I estimated one day of gear rental from a local rental house including a DSLR system, a backup body, a handful of fast lenses, a small lighting and grip kit and a laptop to tether.

Styling: I included one stylist to manage basic hair, makeup, and wardrobe needs for the staff and talent. The talent would be wearing a branded uniform which the client provided, so we didn’t need to do any wardrobe shopping.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: This covered the photographer’s time for the initial import, edit, color correction and upload of the entire shoot to an FTP for client review and final image selection.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: I included basic select processing as a lump sum based on 150/image in this case. This protects the fee in the event the client ultimately selects more or less than 12 images.

Casting and Talent: Since the portrait concept called for a relatively tight shoulder up shot of the talent, they agency was comfortable with a digital casting and reviewing recent comp cards to make their selection. The casting fee covered the photographer’s time to reach out to a couple of local talent agents to request current head shots and share them with the agency for review and selection. The talent fees, in this case, were quoted by the local talent agency. Though this is a very reasonable fee for the usage, we’re often able to negotiate slightly lower fees. The fact that this was for a pharmaceutical client put a little bit of a premium on the talent cost.

Mileage, Meals, and Miscellaneous: Finally, we estimated for miles, meals for the production at the on-site cafeteria, and a bit extra to cover any unanticipated miscellaneous costs.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project and luckily, both the client and agency were very easy to work with, and the facilities proved to be as manageable as we had hoped, all of which allowed the photographer to crank out the entire shot list in a normal 10-hour day.

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 & Negotiating: Trade Ad Environmental Portraits

Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Environmental portraits for trade ads

Licensing: Unlimited use of up to two images for two years

Location: On location in Denver

Shoot Days: One

Photographer: Portrait specialist based in the Southeast

Agency: N/A – Client direct

Client: A large hotel group

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: Earlier this year I helped to estimate a campaign for a large hotel group for one of our Southeast-based photographers. The concept was to highlight the client’s business services and corporate rewards programs by shooting an environmental portrait of an executive from another well-known brand that utilized the programs. The client secured the subject, and the subject secured the location (one of their very recognizable retail-storefronts). The client hoped to walk away with two portraits of the subject captured in slightly different setups within the location. One shot was an eyes-to-camera “hero” shot. The other was a secondary, more candid-feeling portrait (think captured moment while the subject assesses inventory or interacts with store staff).

Although the client required unlimited use of the two final selects, there was an inherent “trade advertising” limitation in the use. While I was mindful of the possibility that the ad could potentially be used in consumer-facing publications/platforms, the campaign was directed toward corporate travel departments & executives and, accordingly, would most likely be placed in trade publications. Though the intent was made clear, the client wasn’t willing to limit the licensing agreement to trade use only.

Additionally, the client requested two years of use for the images. Lately, I’ve tried to avoid anchoring licensing duration with the term “from first use” because it can be a bit too vague. It puts the onus on the photographer to chase down the client to determine when exactly the first insertion occurred (though some clients are good about sharing that info, others are trickier to pin down). Additionally, without more specific language, some clients may take a liberal interpretation of “first use” to mean first use of a given image, as opposed to the image set, effectively extending a given campaign (e.g. image one is used 6/16-6/18 and image two is used 1/17-1/19). To avoid these issues altogether, we’ve been using specific expiration dates, which will often include a bit of lead time for print production and insertion deadlines. So a shoot scheduled in early May, such as this, allowed for as many as six weeks of post and print production work (i.e a start date of June 30, 2016 and expiration date of June 30, 2018). It is possible the client could immediately insert one of the images in a web ad or elsewhere, but when pricing out durations in the 12+ month range, we feel the extent of the usage and clarity of the termination date outweigh the concern over early use.

After factoring in the intended use, duration of use, inherent limitations, the complexity of the shoot, nature of the campaign, variety of the imagery and the scale & reach of the client, we set the value for these images at 8,000 for the first, and 4,000 for the second. The value of the second image drops so significantly because it is a true variation of the first image that doesn’t drastically impact the core message or design on the campaign but still provides value.

Client Provisions: I was sure to note exactly what the client had committed to providing, including sourcing the location and subject, and securing the necessary releases.

Tech/Scout and Travel Days: I included one tech/scout day to walk through the storefront location with the creative team to determine compositions and block out the schedule. It was also particularly important in this case to determine appropriate staging areas, assess the availability of power options, overhead lighting control and store readiness as the product and store would feature prominently in the shots. Based on the flight schedules, we were able to fly in and scout on the same day, enabling us to estimate for one Tech/Scout day (including travel to the location) the day before the shoot and one return travel day the day following the shoot.

Producer and Production Assistant: I included a producer to manage all aspects of the production, from sourcing crew to booking travel to correspondence between the client and subject. I also added a PA to help with odds and ends throughout the production.

Assistants & Techs: I estimated for a first assistant to travel with the photographer and included a digital tech (with a workstation) & second assistant for the shoot day.

Equipment: I estimated one day of gear rental from a local rental house at 2000.00 for a medium format system, backup DSLR system, a handful of lenses, lighting and grip equipment. Our proposed itinerary would allow for our first assistant to pick up gear the afternoon of the tech/scout day and return it on the way to the airport the morning after the shoot.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: This covered the photographer’s time for the initial import, edit, color correction and upload of the entire shoot to an FTP for client review and final image selection.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: I included basic processing of “up to” two final selects as a lump sum (based on 150/image in this case), which protects the fee in the event the client ultimately selects fewer than two images (or more than two images, for that matter).

Styling: The subject would need stylists to manage wardrobe and hair & makeup needs for the shoot so I factored in a wardrobe stylist (including shopping and return days for the wardrobe stylist) and a budget for un-returnable wardrobe and small props like handbags, etc. (which would ultimately be offered up to the client, subject, or donated) as well as a hair and makeup stylist for the shoot day only.

Travel Expenses: I budgeted for airfare, lodging and car rentals for the traveling crew (Photographer, Producer and First Assistant). I was sure to consider parking, internet, baggage and car insurance costs as well.

Catering, Insurance, Miles, Meals, and Miscellaneous: To wrap everything up, I estimated for craft, breakfast and lunch catering at about 60.00/person, insurance costs to cover worker’s comp premiums (and a small portion of general liability, meals and miscellaneous costs for the traveling crew.

Results/Hindsight: The photographer was awarded the project, without negotiation, which meant we hit the budget on the nose, or that we left money on the table. Wonderful Machine managed the production and the client has since come back to the photographer and WM to produce and shoot additional versions of the same campaign.

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 & Negotiating: Athlete Portraits for a Beer Brand

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Portraits of a professional athlete against a solid background captured on location alongside a video production

Licensing: Advertising and Collateral use (excluding out-of-home and broadcast) of up to two images for one year

Location: A stadium in Los Angeles

Shoot Days: One

Photographer: Portraiture and active lifestyle specialist

Agency: Medium in size, based in the Midwest

Client: A beer brand

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: The agency was in pre-production for a video shoot featuring a professional athlete and they hoped to capture portraits of the athlete alongside that project on the same shoot day. Given the availability of the athlete and the busy shoot day, the agency anticipated that the photographer would have about 30-45 minutes to capture two types of portraits; one posed shot of the athlete holding the product, and another shot of the athlete in action with various equipment. Other than the time constraint, the portraits were rather straightforward, especially considering the agency planned to provide the location, styling and general production coordination through the video team.

Based on the layouts/comps we received, it was clear that they intended to use the images primarily for in-store displays and other collateral pieces, however the requested licensing included use for all advertising and collateral purposes for a year. Based on this, I valued the first image at $8,000 and the second image at $4,000, totaling $12,000. They also asked for an option to extend the licensing to include an additional year, which I priced at 50% of the 1-year rate.

Pre-Production Day: I included one day for the photographer to line up his crew and correspond with the agency and video team to prepare for the shoot day. It’s often expected that a photograhper will bring on a producer when shooting alongside a video team to handle correspondence with the client, agency and video production team, but for this project it was clear that the art buyer from the agency would be filling this role.

Assistants: I included two assistants for the shoot day, both of which would help with lighting and grip equipment while also lending a hand with any last minute needs during the short window of shooting time.

Digital Tech: The digital tech the photographer works with charges $500/day plus $350 for a mobile laptop workstation, which would help the agency/client see the results as they were being shot. We also anticipated the athlete’s publicist would be on site as well, since we knew they’d want to approve the images being captured.

Equipment: This included about $800 for camera bodies and lenses, and $700 for grip, lighting and expendables.

Van Rental: One of the shots required the athlete to jump in the air and land on a large pad. The photographer needed a van to transport this pad (which he already owned) to the shoot, along with his equipment.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: This accounts for the photographer’s time to edit the images and deliver a web gallery for the agency to choose from, as well as the delivery of their two selects. The agency was to provide any retouching, so we didn’t include any additional post processing fees.

Mileage, Parking, and Miscellaneous: This covered parking at the stadium and miscellaneous expenses throughout the shoot day.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project, and the client came back a few months later with another similar project featuring a different athlete.

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 & Negotiating: Shooting Abroad for a Custom Publication

by,Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Images showcasing a product manufacturing process, as well as portraits and cityscape images.

Licensing: Use of up to 15 images in a custom publication as well as perpetual collateral use.

Location: A retail store and manufacturing facility in East Asia

Shoot Days: 2

Photographer: Portrait and fashion specialist

Agency: Large, based in the Northeast

Client: Large automotive company

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: The agency/client hoped to document the manufacturing process of a product associated with their brand, as well as a few portraits of the fabricators and cityscapes in and around the area where the facility was located. One day would focus on capturing images within the facility and portraits of the employees, and the other day would be dedicated to capturing still life images of the products, as well as photojournalistic images of the area around the facility. The primary use of the images would be for a custom publication with a circulation of up to 500,000. In addition to the custom publication (which would also have a digital version available online), they also anticipated using the images in direct mail pieces and emailers while using them on their website and social media outlets. These other collateral uses would feature the images within their final layout to promote the publication, rather than being used independently and out of context. Additionally, while the use within the publication would be limited to a single edition, the collateral use would be perpetual.

Based on previous experience with similar projects for custom publications and the information I was able to acquire from the agency, I came up with a tiered pricing structure. I determined the first image was worth $2,500, images #2-5 were worth $1,000, images #6-10 were worth $500 and images #11-15 were worth $100, which landed me at $9,750. Prorated, that broke down to $650/image and just under $5,000/day if the client were to look at it that way, which I was comfortable with.

Photographer Travel Day(s): The photographer actually split her time between New York City and the location in East Asia. This was one of the reasons the agency was interested in working with her, as she was fluent in the language and already familiar with the area. While she could have worked as a local if it really came to it, we wanted to include a fee to account for the time it would take to get there and back before and after the shoot. Given the location and flight durations, it would actually take two days to get there and one to get back, however we wanted to keep the travel expenses palatable to the client so we left it at two days total.

Assistant Day(s): We included two shoot days for one local assistant.

Airfare and Lodging: While the photographer wouldn’t need a hotel since she had local connections, the airfare was around $700 for the dates the client had in mind, and we added about $100 each way for oversized baggage. I’d typically include business class fares for flights like this which would have been pricier, but as I mentioned, I wanted to keep the travel expenses to a minimum so we estimated for economy seats.

Ground Transportation, Parking, Meals, Misc.: I included $60/day for the photographer’s meals over four days, and added an extra $30/day for her assistant’s meals over the two shoot days. On top of that, we included $200 for taxis and miscellaneous expenses.

Equipment: I included $500/day for two shoot days to account for the minimal grip/lighting that the photographer would be bringing with her each day. Again, to keep apparent travel related expenses to a minimum, we included equipment expenses as if she was working as a local, rather than charging for the rentals over the entire course of the trip.

Color Correction, File Cleanup and Delivery: I included $100/image for basic processing and delivery of 15 selects. I’d typically charge a few hundred dollars to do an initial edit and provide a web gallery to the client, but I felt we were already pushing the limit on what their budget might be, so we left it out.

Feedback: A few days later, we heard back from the agency, and we found out that their budget was $15,000 (we weren’t far off). However, based on availability of the facility and subjects, they hoped to stretch the project and add another shoot day while also adding on five more images. After a conversation with the client, they knew they wouldn’t be able to keep the $15k budget while adding this, and were willing to increase the budget to make it work.

I looked at this a few different ways in order to determine an appropriate price increase. First, I considered the tiered pricing structure, figuring that these five additional images would probably be worth the same amount as the bottom end of the range I calculated, perhaps as low as $100 each. If I went this route, I wanted to make sure we accounted for the photographer’s time, which would be more valuable than the additional licensing in this scenario. Ideally, I would have added $2,500-$3,000 to account for the additional day on top of the $500 licensing fee. The other way I could have approached this would have been to prorate the cost based on the original fee and number of images, and multiplied that times five more images. Both of those approaches brought the total creative/licensing fee to around the $13,000 mark.

We also adjusted the expenses to account for the additional day, which quickly pushed the bottom line up over $20k, and I felt it was worth another phone call to the agency just to double check how far they thought we might be able to increase the budget. I found out that they anticipated their client would be willing to go up to a max of $19,500, and asked to see what we could do to make that happen.

With that budget in mind, we made a few concessions while keeping an eye on the photographer’s true out of pocket expenses. We brought the travel days down to $750/day, added just $200 for equipment, and cut the processing to what broke down to $60/image. We also increased the assistant by a day and increased the transportation and meals by $200 as well. This brought us $100 under their budget, and we sent it off to the agency. Here is the estimate:

Results: The client opted to move forward with the three-day version, and the photographer was awarded the project.

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 & Negotiating: Brand Imagery for a Premium Liquor Brand

Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Environmental product shots

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

Location: On location in Southern California

Shoot Days: 2

Photographer: Food and beverage specialist based in Southern California

Agency: N/A – Client direct

Client: A premium liquor brand

Here is the estimate:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pricing & Negotiating: Still Life for Print and Out of Home Advertising

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Images of a single product against a white background

Licensing: Advertising use (including Out of Home) of all images captured for 1 year

Location: A studio in the Northeast

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Food and product still life specialist

Agency: Large, based in the Northeast

Client: Large Food/Beverage Company

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: The concept for the shoot was straightforward. The agency/client hoped to photograph their new product against a white background with minor props alongside of it. The agency planned to composite the final image on a different background, and they had plans to use the images for print ads in magazines, as well as placement on bus shelters and other out-of-home applications. While the agency requested for the licensing to include all images captured, we’d be photographing one product and the usage would incorporate one final image, so I therefore priced the creative/licensing fee to be more in line with their intended use of one image. Based on previous experience with similar projects and clients, I knew that creative/licensing fees for this type of usage and straightforward nature of the project typically fell between $10,000 to $15,000, and I ended up landing roughly in the middle at $13,000.

Assistants: The photographer preferred to manage a workstation for client review rather than hiring a digital tech, and we included two assistants to help manage grip and lighting throughout the day.

Producer: While the concept was straightforward, there would still be a decent amount of pre-production work to coordinate crew, styling, scheduling and catering, and the agency specifically asked for a producer to be on site to manage the day and make sure everything stayed on track.

Food/Prop Styling: I included one prep day and one shoot day for a food/prop stylist, as well as one shoot day for their assistant. While I’d typically include an additional day for a stylist to return the unused items, it was not a cost efficient option given the limited budget needed for the food/props (which included the cost to buy a few versions of the product to be shot, along with a few minor food items). The stylist we wanted to work with charged $1,200/day plus 20% for their agent, and their assistant worked for $300/day.

Studio Rental and Equipment: A studio in this market could range from $1,500-$3,000 depending on availability, plus equipment charges of an equal amount for lighting, grip, a workstation and a medium format camera rental.  A few specialty studios charge flat fees and wrap everything up in one fee, and I felt $4,000 total would cover any of these options for studio and equipment depending on space availability.

Catering: I included $70 per person for a nice breakfast, lunch and craft services throughout the day for up to ten people (6 crew and 4 agency/client).

Parking, Expendables, Misc.: I included $100 for general unanticipated expenses throughout the day, plus $100 for meals/transportation during our stylist’s shopping day, plus $100 for transportation to/from the shoot for the crew.

Insurance: We included $500 to cover a general liability insurance policy, which the studio would need proof of, as would any equipment rental house we used.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: This covered the time to do an initial edit of all the images, back them up, and provide a gallery for the client to choose from.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: While the agency would handle the final compositing, we were warned that the image of the product would likely require a substantial amount of work to remove/add certain labels. We therefore included 6 hours of retouching (including one round of revisions after the initial processing took place) based on a rate of $150/hr, and then rounded up to an even $1,000.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project, and the ads are due to roll out in the coming months.

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 & Negotiating: Staged Reportage for Activation

Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Reportage images of people interacting within an experiential event activation.

Licensing: Unlimited use (excluding broadcast, OOH and packaging) of all images captured in perpetuity.

Location: An outdoor event in the Northeast

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Portraiture and lifestyle specialist

Agency: Medium in size, based in the Midwest

Client: A tobacco brand

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing:

The first thing to note about this project is that the client was a tobacco brand. That fact alone is a deal breaker for a lot of photographers, and in fact, before we knew anything about the scope of the project, the agency wanted to know if the photographer would even consider taking on a project for this type of client. Fortunately for them, it was something the photographer was okay with, pending the budget.

We learned that the agency was tasked with developing an experiential activation which would be set up and the general public would be encouraged to visit their large footprint over the course of a few days throughout the larger event. While their initial consideration was to hire a photographer to capture event coverage images of real people interacting within the staged environments, the potential issues regarding model releases for a brand like this, and their need to have a bit more control over the production and timing led them to casting talent and staging the event before it opened to the public.

While they requested unlimited use (excluding Broadcast, OOH and Packaging), it was very clear that their intended use was primarily for a small section of their website, and to simply document the activation for internal use or collateral purposes. That being said, the images could have potentially been used for print advertising given the licensing terms they requested, but again, based on the advertising this brand has previously done, none of the images resulting from this shoot would be on-brand for advertising initiatives, and that was very unlikely. Additionally, we knew that they had started the project by reaching out to event photographers who might charge hourly rates as opposed to taking into account licensing fees.

All of those factors put heavy downward pressure on the fee, but given the client and the photographer’s experience, we decided to price this more in line with a lifestyle library shoot, rather than event coverage, and landed on 15k as a combined creative/licensing fee.

Photographer Scout Day: While we received detailed renderings of the activation footprint, we wanted to make sure the photographer had a sense of the various environments within the area beforehand, and they hoped to get a sense as to what potential staging areas might exist on location.

Assistants: In addition to the photographer’s assistant, who would help with grip and equipment, we included a production assistant to help obtain releases from the talent and generally be an extra set of hands and a runner if any items needed to be procured on the shoot day.

Casting and Talent: We reached out to a local casting director who would help us find “real people” talent (as opposed to casting professional talent). They needed to identify with the brand and be a smoker, and the casting director specialized in finding just the right type of people, and had done so previously on similar projects. The quote we received and integrated into the estimate included 3 prep/research days and 1 live casting day plus potential travel and bookings. For “real people,” our casting director suggested that $1,000/day plus access to the event would get the job done, and since the event would happen over a weekend, that made it even more palatable for potential talent who wouldn’t even need to take off work.

Equipment: We included a very basic rate for a camera body and lenses, as the shots would primarily be captured using available light.

Mileage, Parking, Meals, Misc.: We included $300 to cover parking and meals for the three crew members, $100 to cover mileage and $300 for miscellaneous expenses that might arise.

Shoot Processing for Client Review and Delivery: While the agency would handle the majority of the post processing, we included $500 for the photographer to do an initial edit/color correction, and then we included $300 for the purchase and shipment of a hard drive.

Results: The photographer was not awarded the job, but we found out that they ultimately went with a photographer whose bottom line was a few thousand dollars higher.

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 & Negotiating: Environmental Portraits of Client Employees

Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Individual and small group environmental portraits of client employees

Licensing: Collateral and Publicity use of up to 34 images for three years

Location: Client offices

Shoot Days: Three

Photographer: Portrait specialist

Agency: N/A—Client direct

Client: A mid-sized regional financial services company

Here is the estimate:

Creative/Licensing: We recently helped a photographer bid on a project for which he was the only photographer being considered. He’d shot a similar project for the same client, a mid-sized financial services company, years earlier, so we had some sense of the budget and production expectations (you can’t ask for a better bidding situation!). Though the concept was straightforward, environmental employee portraits at the client’s headquarters, the photographer’s stylized approach would elevate the portraits from a corporate feel to more of an ad campaign feel. This is something that the client was interested in, and it would ultimately drive the value up toward the top end of the range for this kind of project and usage.

Though we generally try to avoid pricing on a day-rate basis, we’ve noticed a trend in corporate collateral budgets. Depending on the deliverables and specific licensing, we’re often negotiating corporate collateral shoots in the neighborhood of 3,500.00/day plus expenses. For the average deliverables (10-15 images per day) and time-limited collateral usage, this is a middle of the road rate for corporate portraits/lifestyle work. We’re occasionally, if not often, seeing budgets around 3,500.00 flat, inclusive of usage, expenses and processing, which is on the lower end of reasonable. Try as we might to push back in those cases, it will often boil down to a take it or leave it situation. Thankfully, we had a bit more leeway in this case.

For this project, we were able to push the creative and licensing fee up to 18,150.00. Having insight into previous budgets for this client, knowing that this photographer was the only one being considered and factoring in the value of his unique, stylized approach, we felt comfortable pushing the envelope. Additionally, the client’s request for advertising usage options (which we set at 2,000.00 per image due to the limited duration and geography) indicated that the photographer’s stylized approach would be all the more important—and valuable—to the client. Pricing this out on a per-image basis, we would set the value for the first image at 2,000.00, 1,000.00/image for images 2-4, 500.00/image for images 5-24 and 350.00/image for images 26+.

Client Provisions: We made sure to indicate that the client would provide locations, subjects, requisite releases and catering (from their cafeteria). This client also happened to have a video production team on staff and a small production studio. To save on the production costs, they offered to provide grip equipment, their usual groomer and a second assistant for the project.

Tech/Scout Days: We included a tech/scout day to walk through the office and determine the best locations to shoot the various individual and group portraits the day before the shoot.

First Assistant: We included a first assistant to attend the tech scout day and all three shoot days.

Equipment: We estimated 1,200.00/day for two DSLR bodies, a handful of lenses, enough portable strobes for two sets and a few odds and ends that the client’s internal video team couldn’t supply.

Shoot Processing for Client Review: This covers the time, equipment and costs for the initial import, edit, batch color correction and upload of the images via FTP (or similar) for client review.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: We included basic color correction and file cleanup as a lump sum (based on 75.00/image in this case), which protects the processing fee in the event the client ultimately selects fewer than 34 images.

File Transfer: This covers the cost of two hard drives and the shipping of one of those drives (containing all hi-res processed selects) to the client.

Miles, Meals, Misc.: We included a healthy miscellaneous line to cover breakfasts for the crew, local transportation and any other unexpected expenses that may pop up throughout the shoot.

Results: The photographer was awarded the project and shot it a few weeks later. The client has not yet decided to exercise any of the additional usage options.

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: 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).