Category "Pricing & Negotiating"

Pricing & Negotiating: IEEE Spectrum Magazine Contract

by Bill Cramer

While I’ve shot my share of assignments for name-brand publications over the years, I’ve enjoyed working for niche magazines just as much. IEEE Spectrum is one that you won’t find on any magazine rack unless you happen to be standing in an engineering school library. Published monthly by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, they have 380,000 readers. My dad was one of those readers. He was an electrical engineer (you can’t spell geek without “E.E.”). He thought enough of the magazine that we transported stacks and stacks of them to California when we moved there in the 70′s (then back to PA four years later). So, I always have a little extra sense of purpose when I get to shoot for them.

I recently got a call from their photo editor, Randi Silberman Klett, to make some pictures for their annual “Dream Jobs” issue. She asked me to photograph a guy named Simon Hager, who runs a program for high school students in Philadelphia called The Sustainability Workshop. Most of his work focuses on teaching kids how to build electric cars. Even though I had shot assignments for Spectrum before, it was time for a new contract. Some magazines have contracts that last indefinitely. Others send out a new contract with each assignment. Spectrum prefers to renew their contract with their photographers each year.

Here’s a look at it:


Here are my comments:

1) Photographer Responsibilities. They set up a purchase order with a budget that you’ll never reach. It says $40k here, but I’ve never billed them for more than a few thousand dollars a year.

2) Rights Granted to IEEE.

a) First worldwide publication rights in any form. Theirs exclusively for 90 days from first publication, non-exclusive after that. This implies to me that they can use the pictures in subsequent editions of the magazine without additional fee. That’s not ideal, but it’s unlikely enough that I decided it wasn’t worth fighting for.

b) Use of the pictures in the context of the magazine, to promote Spectrum, as well as use of my likeness. If I was famous, I would probably want to get paid for that. But I’m not.

c) Use in article reprints only after agreeing on a separate fee. Many photographers underestimate the value of article reprints. But I’ve sold enough to know that they are generally worth more (sometimes much more) than the original assignment. Though some magazines try to bundle those rights into the shoot fee, it makes more sense to separate them.

d) Electronic use is included. Fine.

e) Photographer retains copyright. Naturally.

3) Compensation. 600.00/day vs. space. Historically, it’s been customary for magazines to structure their fees in terms of a day rate against space. This way, the photographer makes a nominal fee for one or two small pictures, and the fee automatically scales up when the magazine uses more or bigger pictures or if they use one on the cover. It’s an elegant system for magazines, who don’t always know in advance how they’re going to use the pictures. In this case, Spectrum is agreeing to pay 600.00/day at a minimum. If your picture appears a full-page or larger, you get an extra 200.00. And if it shows up on the cover, you get an additional 1200.00. I like that they’re paying for space, but the wording is a little vague. Do you get paid the same amount if your picture runs one full-page or two full-pages?

4) Expenses. You’re an independent contractor. You’re going to provide receipts to get reimbursed for expenses. Sure.

5) Timing and Form of Submission. You’re going to turn in your photos on time. Of course.

6) Warranties. You made the pictures and they aren’t obscene. Okay.

7) Indemnification. You agree to pay for Spectrum’s attorney’s fees if you do anything to get them sued. This sounds pretty scary, but then you read further and discover that the limit of your liability is the amount of the assignment fee. I think that’s very reasonable. In an ideal world, they would likewise indemnify the photographer in cases where they do something to get the photographer sued.

8) Termination. They can terminate an assignment at any time, though they’ll pay you some or all of your fee depending on how much work you have put in on the project. Fine.

9) IEEE is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Nice to know.

10) Entire Agreement. Okay.

Overall, I think it’s a pretty fair contract. I give it “two thumbs up!”

I shot the assignment. Simon and his students were super-cooperative and photogenic. Their workshop turnout out to be a big, old warehouse that provided a great backdrop for the photos and there were tons of props to work with. If only every assignment was this easy! Here’s the web gallery.

Randi loved the pictures. She used one for the opener, across nearly two full-pages (I didn’t make the cover – rats!) She also used a second picture about a half-page. Here’s how it looked in the magazine:



I was thrilled with the display, plus it was nice to know that there would be some extra space rate. But looking at the contract, I couldn’t figure out what it should be. I emailed Randi and she told me to bill her 800.00 for the big picture and 600.00 for the small one. I saw the logic that the big picture was “…used at a full page or greater ($200 additional).” Meaning that it was the 600.00 day rate plus an extra 200.00 for that first picture being big. But as far as I can tell, the 600.00 for the second picture was arbitrary. Not that I’m complaining, I think it’s fair. (After all, I’m the one who signed an ambiguous contract.) If we were counting space in a more typical fashion, thinking in terms of 600.00/day vs. 600.00/page, I would count about 1100.00 for the opener (nearly 2 pages at 600.00) and 400.00 for the additional picture (about 2/3 of 600.00), resulting in 1500.00 rather than 1400.00. But what’s 100.00 between friends? I was happy with the fee. (I probably would have asked for more clarification ahead of time if it wasn’t a client that I didn’t know and trust.)

My expenses were pretty typical. One assistant at 250.00. Web gallery at 300.00. Strobe rental at 300.00. Two file preps at 25.00, and mileage. I bought my assistant lunch, but I usually don’t bill meals unless it’s a full-day assignment. Here’s my invoice:


Please let us know what you think in the comments. And read more about our Pricing & Negotiating services on our new Consulting page.

Pricing & Negotiating: Shooting Real Patients For Regional Hospital Advertising

by Craig Oppenheimer Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Portraits of real patients against a seamless background in a studio and environmental portraits at a single location

Licensing: Advertising and Collateral use of eight images for one year, geographically limited to two states in the US

Location:  A studio and a house located in the Northeast

Shoot Days: Two

Photographer: Portraiture specialist based in the Midwest

Agency: Large NY-based agency

Client: Large hospital based in the Northeast

Here is the estimate:



The concept for the shoot was pretty straightforward. The agency wanted to photograph four former patients of the hospital in a studio against a seamless background with minimal props, and then photograph four additional patients, each with family members in a single residential environment. While each portrait and scenario would be unique, it was likely that there’d be one image from the studio shoot and one image from the location shoot that would ultimately end up in advertisements, and the rest would be used on the client’s website and in collateral pieces. Based on the geographic limitation of two states and the limited time frame of just one year’s use, I priced the first studio image and first environmental image at $4,000 each, and then priced the rest of the images at $2,000 each. These fees were also based on previous projects I’ve estimated for similar clients, and I had a good sense of what a client like this might be willing to pay. The agency asked us to provide a price for an option to extend the licensing to two years, and I felt that and additional 50% of our fee was appropriate for this extension option.

After coming up with these fees, I checked them against other pricing resources. Getty priced one image around $3,000 for use in a full page print ad for one year, and around $2,500 for use in brochures and in direct mail pieces for one year as well. This didn’t completely cover all of the possible uses that our licensing would cover, and it also didn’t take into account the limited distribution in just two states within the US. Blinkbid priced one image similarly to the combined Getty rate at up to $5,500 for use in advertising and collateral pieces for one year. Fotoquote offered a package for “all advertising and marketing”, and suggested a price of $4,000-$8,000 when the licensing was limited to just a few states (as opposed to around $20,000 for the entire US).

Assistants: The photographer would be traveling in to the location and bringing his first assistant with him. Five days for the first assistant accounted for one travel day there, one scout day, two shoot days, and one travel day home. The second assistant would be hired locally for the two shoot days.

Digital Tech: The tech would also be traveling in for the shoot, and we decided to only charge for their workstation on the shoot days, rather than for all of the travel and shoot days.

Photographer Travel/Pre-Production Days: The photographer would be driving in to the shoot, rather than flying, but the drive was long enough to constitute a full travel day on both ends of the shoot. We also estimated for a full scout day before the shoot.

Equipment: The photographer would be bringing all of his own equipment and we estimated $1,000 per shoot day. This covered his DSLR camera system, strobes and grip equipment  at standard rental rates.

Producer: This accounted for two prep days to wrangle the crew and organize all of the shoot details, two travel days, one scout day, and two shoot days.

Production Assistant: With all of the moving pieces to a shoot like this, we included a PA (who would travel out with the photographer) to be an extra set of hands during the scout and shoot days.

Lodging: We accounted for $200/night, and there would be five crew members traveling in and needing accommodations for four nights.

Studio Rental: We would just need the studio for one day, and I received this quote directly from a studio in the area.

Hair/Makeup Styling: We estimated to have a hair/makeup stylist for the studio shoot day since we’d just be photographing 4 people, and we anticipated them bringing an assistant for the location shoot day since some of those shots would likely be of more than one person, and would therefore require some extra styling.

Wardrobe Styling: We anticipated three shopping days, two shoot days and one return day to obtain wardrobe. The stylist would be bringing an assistant to the shoot days to help organize and prep the clothing.

Prop Styling: We estimated three shopping days to acquire props, two shoot days and one day to return the props, and their assistant would be present on the shoot days as well as one of the shopping days and return day.

Wardrobe and Props: The comps supplied to us were still a bit loose during the estimating process, but through a series of conversations about the project, we determined $350 per person would be adequate for wardrobe (up to 4 people on the first day, and possibly up to 12 people on the second day), and $3,500 would likely cover props in the studio (like chairs and minor environmental items) and at the house (which would already be furnished).

Prop/Wardrobe Van Rental: Since there would likely be a lot of clothing to transport, and since some of the props included furniture for the studio, we anticipated needing a rental van to transport these items. We anticipated needing the van for five days, and that it might cost around $125/day. We then rounded up a bit for fuel costs.

Talent Fees and Vendor Payment Processing/Bookkeeping: While the talent would be provided, they agency asked the photographer to handle their payment. We were told that they wanted to pay each patient $1,000, and that there might be 16 people. We charged $1,000 for the photographer’s time to handle payment and processing.

Catering: We anticipated that there would be 20 people on site during the studio shoot day, and 29 people on the location shoot day, and estimated $55 per person per day for catering. We then rounded up a bit just in case any unanticipated additional client/agency contacts decided to come to the shoot.

Miles, Parking, Meals, Misc.: Four people would be traveling in for the shoot, and we estimated a $50 per diem for each person for the five days they’d be traveling ($1,000). On top of this, I calculated that the mileage for all of these people driving in billed at $.565/mile would be about $900. I then added on $200 for both shoot days and the scout day to account for any additional unforeseen expenses that might come up.

Location Scout Days and Location Fee: The location would be a residential property, but since the requested shooting city was a bit off the beaten path, we anticipated four days for the location scout to find the perfect spot. After speaking with a scout in the area, we determined $2,000 would be more than enough for the type of residential property we hoped to find.

Production RV: In my experience, a production RV has proven to be well worth the money on shoots where a big crew is shooting in a small space. We estimated to have an RV on the one day on location to be used as a hair/makeup/wardrobe staging area and a space for the agency/client to relax and have Wi-Fi if needed.

Housekeeping: I noted that in addition to the talent and releases, the client/agency would also handle all post processing include a drive to transfer the images on at the end of the shoot.

Results: The photographer was awarded the job.

Hindsight: In determining the initial shoot/licensing fee, it is important to consider all of the factors impacting the value to the client and incorporate appropriate “discounts” based on those factors. That’s how you end up with an appropriate number. However, I don’t think duration and volume discounts should necessarily apply to options or extensions. First of all, most of our clients aren’t breaking down fees in the same way we are. Secondly, production expenses need to be factored into the equation to some degree. As we priced it here, exercising the usage extension would increase the bottom line by a mere 10% while increasing the duration of use by 100%. That doesn’t necessarily correlate to a 100% increase in value to the client, but it is almost certainly an increase in value greater than 10%. Whenever possible/appropriate, push for a straight prorate when it comes to usage extensions and options. In hindsight, I think we should have priced the extension at 20k.

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

Pricing & Negotiating: Album Cover and Collateral for Rock Band

By Craig Oppenheimer Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Environmental group shots and individual portraits of a well-known band.

Licensing: Advertising, Collateral and Publicity use of 12 images for 1 year. However, the images would primarily be for use on the album cover and in the album booklet.

Location: An outdoor scenic location in California.

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Lifestyle and Landscape Specialist.

Client: Grammy Award-winning alternative rock band represented by a mid-sized record label with offices in the US and UK.

Here is the estimate:

estimate_termsClick to enlarge 

Creative/Licensing: The record label originally approached the photographer with a request to create 12 images of the band. One of the images would be placed on the cover of the band’s upcoming album, and the other images would end up inside the album’s multi-page art booklet. It was also likely that the images would appear on the band’s website, iTunes page, various collateral pieces, merchandise and publicity materials.

Before speaking with the record label about their budget, I had an idea of what we might be up against. The music industry is notorious for paying very little while obtaining a lot in the way of licensing. While larger budgets might be available for shoots with big name artists, those projects account for a very small percentage of the shoots that take place in the music industry. Based on a few other projects I’ve worked on in the past, my inclination was that the photographer could expect to get around $5,000-$6,000 for his creative/licensing fee plus expenses, and I was hoping to limit the licensing as much as possible.

When I spoke with the record label, I learned that they had a bottom line budget of $12,500 for the project, and they wanted this to not only cover all creative/licensing fees and production expenses for the shoot, but also to include the layout and design of the album booklet. The photographer and I decided to create an estimate that was appropriate for his photography work only, and leave the design services out of the conversation because it wasn’t a service he offered.

When compiling the estimate, I tried to keep as much of the budget in the creative/licensing fee while also factoring in payment for pre/post production (all of which adds to the photographer’s “effective fee”). In most cases, I approach the creative/licensing fee first to determine what I believe is appropriate without taking a budget into account. However, in this case, I laid out all of the expenses, and determined that the amount left over in the budget lined up with my expectations for what his creative/licensing fee should be.

Before submitting the estimate, I did check a few other pricing resources. Getty priced one image for “retail product and packaging” use on the cover of up to 500,000 products for 1 year at $2,300. Corbis had a specific pricing category for CD packaging, and priced 1 image just under $2,000 including use on the cover as well as inside of up to 500,000 albums for 1 year. FotoQuote priced a similar use at $2,700 and BlinkBid didn’t offer specific pricing guidelines for this use. While they would be obtaining licensing for 12 images above and beyond album cover use, extrapolating the prices suggested by Corbis and Getty would put us far outside of a range I felt was appropriate for a project and client like this.

Assistant: The photographer paid his assistant a bit higher than the rates I typically include, and we would only need him for the one shoot day.

Digital Tech Day Including Workstation: The digital tech would help to manage the flow of file intake and display for client approval on location, and I included $500 for their day plus $750 for the workstation.

Location Scout: The record label/band wanted to shoot at a “scenic” location, and suggested the possibility of photographing the band on a beach. This opened the door to a lot of possibilities in California, and we included two days for the photographer to scout locations in his hometown. If he wanted to outsource this task to a professional location scout, this would have also covered their time and expenses as well.

Location Fees/Permits: I spoke with a few scouts local to the area, and we determined that a few hundred dollars would cover a permit for a single location and the time it would take to acquire it.

Photographer Pre-Production Day: Before the shoot, the photographer planned to meet the band and the record label contacts to discuss his approach. He’d also be arranging transportation, hiring his crew, managing the scouting results and essentially acting as a producer to pull everything together, all of which we charged for his time to do.

Van/Prop Rental: The only prop that would be needed for the shoot was a vintage van that the band would be posing in front of. The photographer happened to have a friend who owned just the right vehicle they were looking for, and he negotiated this fee for the van to be used and driven to/from the location.

Equipment: This would cover 2 camera bodies (~$400), several lenses (~$100), a couple power packs and heads (~$200) as well as additional modifiers, reflectors and grip equipment (~$100)

Basic Color Correction and Delivery of All Images on Hard Drive: While the client would only be obtaining licensing to 12 images, they wanted all of the hi-res images delivered to them on a hard drive. This covered the photographer’s time to do a minor edit of the files and deliver them to the client.

Miles, Parking, Meals, Misc: I included a few hundred dollars just to cover any minor unforeseen additional expenses on the shoot day.

Feedback: While the client wanted their original budget to include the design work, they were willing to seek out a designer and come up with a separate budget for that. The only other feedback they provided was that the photographer had to sign a work made for hire agreement, which was not originally discussed despite clearly stating the requested usage in the estimate and defining the language in our terms and conditions agreement. After I explained the differences between the licensing in our estimate and their work made for hire contract, the label asked to see a revised estimate showing fees based on their requirements. Given the fact that we were already a bit over their budget (and the fact they’d still need to pay for the design work separately) I knew we probably couldn’t push the price up that much. After a series of phone calls and candid discussions about their budget, we ultimately presented this final estimate:

estimate_terms_wmfhClick to enlarge 

Results: The photographer was awarded the project, and the images will be featured on the band’s upcoming album. Here is the contract they presented:

WORK-FOR-HIRE-2013_original_Redacted-1Click to enlarge 

We were able to tweak the terms of this contract to be more in line with our terms/conditions, specifically in regards to turnaround time, payment, indemnification, and the fact that the fees were a good faith estimate and that actual time and expenses would ultimately be invoiced. Lastly, I revised their contract to say that they would need to register the images with the US copyright office, rather than the photographer doing this (which should be part of every photographer’s workflow).

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


Pricing & Negotiating: Portraits of Real Customers for Advertising Shoot

by Jess Dudley Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Environmental portraits of real customers/users on location.

Licensing: National Advertising (Print, Web and OOH) and Collateral use (in all media) of up to eight “hero” images for three years from shoot date. We used specific language requested by the agency: unlimited national print, in-store signage, OOH electronic media and online video use.

Location: Four homes/small businesses in Southern California.

Shoot Days: Three.

Photographer: Seasoned East Coast based lifestyle and portrait shooter.

Agency: Large, based in New York.

Client: Prominent electronics manufacturer with a household name.

Here’s the initial estimate:
Click to enlarge.Click to enlarge.

Here’s how I arrived at those numbers:

Concept/Licensing: The agency came to us with four distinct concepts/ads, each portraying a specific product in use at home or in a business. The client had already selected the talent (real customers), from a casting they did using social media, that considered the subject’s look, their space and their story. The photographer was charged with covering two situations with each person at their home or business; one portrait, posed with product, the other candid, product in use. Since two of the locations were relatively close to one another, we were asked to quote it assuming we could double up the talent and locations on one of the three shoot days.

When determining licensing fees, I usually value the first image higher than the rest. It is not uncommon for a client to build a campaign around a single hero image and then have several supporting images. For projects that feature only one concept/product but ask for alternate talent, wardrobe or slight compositional variations, I routinely set the value of the first image based on the licensing, concept and complexity, then determine a percentage value for each additional image, typically dropping down to 50-75% the value of the first image. The reason being that each of the slightly varied additional images doesn’t go that much farther to help the end client convey their message. In cases where the concepts vary to target different audiences, emphasize different product features, or promote different products made by the same client, I will assign a higher percentage to the additional images, 75-100% the value of the first. In this case, the client makes two different product lines, one for business, one for home. They also make a variety of products within each of those segments. For those reasons, I decided to set the fee for the four portraits at one rate, and the candid variation at 50% of that price.

Considering the use, size/prominence of the client & agency, number of images, various brand messages achieved, volume of work/shoot days, and the photographer’s experience, I set the fee at 8000.00 for each of the four portraits and 4000.00 for each of the candids. For the purposes of the estimate, I bundled it all together as an overall licensing/creative fee of 48000.00. Blinkbid’s bid consultant provided a range of 9450.00-13,500.00 per image, or 226,800.00-324,000.00 for all eight. Corbis quoted 17,500.00 per image for the first year and didn’t have a three year option for the quote pack I’d selected. Fotoquote suggested 30,976.00 per image for the use. None of these resources readily factor in any discount for additional images/variations or the prominence of the client, but they still offer great perspective.

Photographer Travel/Tech-Scout Days: The photographer would need two full travel days and a tech/scout day to get a sense of the locations and talent/subjects before the shoot.

Producer Days: The producer (me in this case) is responsible for coordinating travel, scheduling and crew. This takes the pressure off the photographer. It’s the producer’s job to plan and coordinate the logistics so the photographer can focus on the making great pictures. I estimated two prep days, two travel, one tech/scout, three shoot and one wrap day. When the photographer is traveling, it is not unusual to bring his/her local producer.

First Assistant Days: The photographer would be bringing his first assistant. It is standard for a photographer to travel with a first. Since the photographer shoots with minimal lighting, only one trusted photo assistant was necessary.

Digital Tech Days: The photographer would be shooting tethered to allow for immediate image review and layout composting. The rate included the tech’s fee, a supped up 27″ iMac and all the necessary accouterments.

Equipment Rental: The photographer would be shooting with Canon DLSRs and lenses, basic grip equipment and a few Profoto packs/heads for supplemental light (if needed).

Image Processing for Editing: This fee covers the time, equipment and costs to handle the basic color correction, edit and upload of all of the images to an FTP for client review. Depending on number of shoot days and estimated number of scenarios/images, this rate can vary.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: This per image processing fee for the photographer to handle basic processing (color correction and blemish removal) for the client selects. Anything over and above the basic processing would be considered retouching and be billed at 150.00/hr, which is covered in the terms and conditions.

Location Scout Day: Even though the casting process required submission of scouting shots of each subject’s space, we wanted to get a professional out get some quality shots of each of the selected spaces to make sure we weren’t walking into any unusually difficult scenarios. I also wanted him to check out orientation, windows, and parking options.

Wardrobe Styling: We’d need a stylist to source wardrobe for each of the talent. Two options for each, one for the posed, one for the candid. I estimated two days to shop, three days for the shoot and one day to return. We budgeted 200.00 in non-returnable items for each wardrobe change.

Prop Styling: The prop stylist would need to purchase supplemental props to augment or update each space. We estimated two days for shopping, three days of shooting and one day of return for the stylist, one day of prep and three shoot days for the assistant, 500.00 in non-returnable props per location, and five days of prop-truck/van rental.

Groomer: Since we would only be shooting one talent at a time, we could get away with one wardrobe stylist and one make-up stylist who can also handle light wardrobe adjustments on set (a groomer). We included the groomer for all three shoot days

Airfare, Lodging and Car Rentals: Using Kayak, I priced out airfare & baggage costs, lodging and car rentals for the photographer, assistant & producer. I was sure to also include any taxes, fees, insurance and gas necessary.

Catering: I estimated three days of catering for 12 people at 50.00pp/day.

RV Days: Even though we were being provided indoor locations, I wanted to make sure our crew had the space to handle wardrobe, HMU and gear. RV’s also give the client/agency a space to hang out while shots are being set up and catering a place to stage.

Miles, Parking, FTP, Misc: I included costs for traveling meals, dinners, parking (at the hotel and airport), mileage, FTP for file upload and a little bit to cover any miscellaneous expenses that may arise.

Housekeeping: I made sure to indicate that the client/agency would be responsible for providing all advance scouting, casting, talent, locations and releases. Since these are all elements that might normally be included in a production estimate, I wanted to make certain it was clear that, as discussed, we would not be providing any of them and that the client or agency would be responsible for each.  Lastly, I noted that a 50% advance would be required.

At first, the art buyer told me that our numbers looked good, but then she called back a little later to say that they had another photographer who was willing to give them unrestricted use of all the pictures – for $10k less than we were bidding. She asked what we could do to match that. I have to admit, it’s a little annoying when a client asked us to meet another bidder’s licensing terms. After all, you can find any photographer to bid any price and terms. And it’s not reasonable to expect to have the pictures from one photographer at the price of another. I had a good enough relationship with the art buyer that I was able to call her out on this, asking that she ask the other photographer to raise his rates to meet ours. But, she wouldn’t do that. She also told us that the client wanted to license “outtakes” from the shoot to use on their website. And even though the client only wanted to use them on their website, they wanted the licensing to match that of the hero shots. Not being comfortable just licensing some unlimited number of images, we settled on an additional 32 images. Now, just because a client asks for something doesn’t mean you have to do it. I was pretty confident that my photographer was competing on quality rather than price, so while I didn’t feel that we need to match the other photographer’s terms we did decide to bend, coming down 3000.00 on the fee and including use of 40 images. Adding in the additional processing fees for the “outtakes” actually brought us back up above our original quote.

Here’s the final estimate:
Click to enlarge.Click to enlarge.

After a few days, the job was officially awarded to us and I immediately set to work on the production. The shoot went well and the agency, client and photographer were all thrilled with the results.

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: Advertising and Collateral for a Prepared Foods Manufacturer

By Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Images of plated food (soups, entrees and sauces)

Licensing: Advertising and Collateral use of 42 images in perpetuity

Location: In a studio local to the photographer

Shoot Days: 5

Photographer: Midwestern Food and Portraiture Specialist

Agency: Small Ad Agency in the Northwest

Client: Prepared Foods Manufacturer in the Northwest

Here’s the estimate:


Creative/Licensing: The agency approached the photographer with a request to photograph 42 items for their client who primarily makes prepared soups. The client was branching out into manufacturing other items besides soup, and they needed images to showcase 8 sauces, 8 entrees, 10 soups and 16 holiday food items. We received one comp of a close up of a bowl of soup, and we were told that they didn’t have any other specific information on the complexity of the dishes that needed to be captured. The agency mentioned that they were anticipating 5 days of shooting, and this meant that the photographer would need to shoot at least 8 dishes a day, plus one day where he would photograph 10 dishes…no small task.

When I spoke with the account director at the agency, she told me that they were planning to use the images in web ads, on product packaging, on their website and potentially in other printed collateral pieces (although she couldn’t think of any likely examples), and they intended on using these images for 5-10 years. I learned that not only is it rare for this client to manufacture new items, but also that the client has never done a shoot of this scale before and didn’t set a specific budget. This told me that while the shelf life was lengthy for these photos, the client might be easily scared away by an exorbitant bottom line.

Based on their licensing needs, and due to the inexperienced client and the small size of the agency, I chose to price the first four images in the main categories (sauces, soups, entrées and holiday items) at $3,000 each. I figured that the images of their best selling items in each category would be the ones featured in advertisements, and that all of the other images were worth a bit less due to a decreased level of exposure. So, for the second and third image in each category, I dropped the fee for each one to a quarter of the full price (8 images at $750 each totaling $6,000), and then lowered it to a sixth of the full price for the fourth and fifth items in each category (8 images at $500 each totaling $4,000) and then priced the remaining 22 images at one-tenth the full price ($300 each totaling $6,600). This all tallied up to $28,600. This felt a bit high based on other projects I’ve estimated for food clients, so I ultimately decided to drop it down a bit to $25,000 which also helped to keep the bottom line under $70,000.

After coming up with my own fee, I checked it against other resources. Getty would price that first image in each group at $2,530 ($735 for the web ads, $1,225 for the packaging, and $570 for the website use) for 3 years. This was in line with the $3,000/image I originally came up with. Blinkbid priced 1 image at $4,500 for “website” and “collateral” use for 1 year, and FotoQuote also priced 1 image at $4,500 for their “web pack” which includes web advertising and use on a client’s website, however this didn’t include packaging use.

Assistants: In order to stay on pace with the schedule each day, we’d need the first assistant available for a prep day before the shoot to set up everything, and then both assistants would be there for all of the shoot days

Digital Tech: We’d also need the tech for the prep day and each shoot day, and we included his workstation equipment in the equipment line.

Producer: The photographer had a producer he worked with at $600/day (a bit lower than I might include typically) and he’d be a crucial part of the shoot to make sure each day stayed on schedule.

Photographer Prep Day: This was for his time to set up in the studio the day before the shoot

Prop Stylist and Props: We didn’t actually need a prop stylist on set, but we did need someone to gather all of the necessary items and drop them off at the studio. The food stylists would be able to collaborate with the photographer for prop placement in each shot. While a handful of the items would be reused, the prop budget included items such as bowls, plates, cutlery, and tabletops. After speaking with a prop stylist, we decided it could take between $50-$100 per shot in props, which would be between $2,100-$4,200. Also, since we didn’t know how many items could be reused, the prop stylist needed ample time to source unique items, come to the prep day to drop them off and sort them, and then return any unused items after the shoot. The veteran stylist I spoke to recommended that I include 6-7 days for her, but I felt that this was too high, so I included 5 days…which I still felt was on the high side.

Food Stylists and Assistants: I included 5 shoot days for two teams of stylists with their assistants, and also included an extra day for the primary food stylist to shop for supplemental food before the shoot. In order to shoot 42 dishes in 5 days, there would need to be 2 teams of food stylists with their assistants, and they would also need to follow a very strict schedule to complete the project on time. To help us think through how this would work, we created the following chart:


The chart details the schedule for each team over a 10-hour day. The numbers and letters in each slot correspond to the dish number and team. For example, 1a means the first dish for team A, and 3b means the third dish for team B. This schedule would allow the food stylist’s assistant to prepare a dish for 2 straight hours, one hour of which the food stylist would be lending a hand. After the hour when the stylist and their assistant prep the dish together, the food stylist will then spend one hour with the photographer shooting that dish while the food stylist’s assistant begins to prep the next dish. The photographer would switch back and forth between the two different teams with their own sets.

Supplemental Food: The client would be providing the majority of food, but the stylists would need supplemental items (like garnishes) to make the prepared foods look their best.

Studio Rental: The studio we had in mind had a weekly rate of $2,500. I included an additional $300 that the studio would charge for the few hours of prep time before the shoot days.

Equipment Rental: We always recommend that photographers charge for their own equipment. However, this photographer decided that he didn’t want to. The fee here represents $500 per shoot day for the tech’s workstation rental. The tech would be using a laptop on the prep day.

Image Processing for Editing: This covers the time, equipment and costs to handle the initial import, edit and upload of images for client review.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: 42 final images would be further processed and delivered.

Catering: I included catering for 12 people at $35 each for the 5 shoot days, plus and additional $600 for dinner on the day that there would be overtime.

OT Hours: On one of the shoot days the crew would need to stay an extra 4 hours in order obtain images of 2 additional shots needed in order to capture 42 dishes. I arrived at this number by calculating each crew member’s hourly rate (based on an 8 hour day) and multiplying by 4.

Miles, Parking, FTP, Insurance, Misc: I included an additional $100 per shoot day to cover these miscellaneous expenses.

Housekeeping: I made sure to note that the all of the manufacturer’s food products would be provided to the photographer, and noted the advance requirements.

Results: The account director told us that this estimate was competitive and definitely in line with the other bids they received, but they ultimately decided to hire a photographer located in the same city as the agency and client. The decision was also a creative one, as the client preferred the style of the other photographer.

Hindsight: If I had known that we were bidding against photographers local to the client and agency, and I was also told beforehand that our bottom line was comparable, I would have tried to adjust our estimate appropriately to offset any travel costs potentially incurred by agency/client representatives to fly out to our photographer’s city.


Pricing and Negotiating: In-Store Display for National Retailer

By Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Beauty shots of professional talent in a studio

Licensing:  Use of three images in any media (excluding Outdoor and Broadcast) in North America for 2 years. Although we avoid vague language whenever possible, the client insisted on using this language, effectively conveying Advertising, Collateral and Publicity use of the images as defined in our T&C.

Location: A studio in New York

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Up-and-coming beauty and fashion specialist

Agency: Mid-sized, based in the Midwest.

Client: Prominent retailer with approximately 2,000 stores in North America.

Here is the initial estimate:



When the project was first presented to us, the scope was to capture individual close-up portraits of three female talent. We were presented with a creative deck that included these three shots along with details for additional projects featuring product and lifestyle images, which told us that our shoot would just be one part of a larger overall project. The creative deck also made it clear that the primary use of the images was for in-store displays, but this didn’t quite match up to the broader use that the client requested.

Upon speaking with the art buyer I learned that their intended use was limited to in-store display and use on their website (no additional advertising or printed collateral) and would likely be up in the stores for less than a year (rather than 2 years which they’d requested). It’s often the case that a client’s requested use doesn’t correspond with their intended use. In cases like this, we do our best to structure the licensing language to be more in line with the intended use. In this instance, however, I was told that limiting the licensing would not be an option.

The fact that this shoot was part of a larger project and that the photographer was eager to land his first assignment of this scale put downward pressure on how I approached his creative/licensing fee. However, the size and prominence of the client as well as the exposure level of the images put upward pressure on the fee. Another factor to consider was the value of each image in proportion to one another. Typically a shot list can inform you as to which shot might end up being the “hero” image and likely used in a much broader way than the others. Many times I will price the “hero” image (or scenario) at full price, and then discount additional images of the same nature. However, in this case, each of the three images were unique and would be promoting a different line of products for the retailer, and therefore I thought they should all be priced at their full value, which after weighing all of the factors, I determined was $5,000 each.

I checked my fee for the intended use against a few other pricing resources to see how they compared. Getty suggested $3,200 for in-store display use with a circulation of up to 5,000 for 2 years, and Corbis recommended $2,350 for this same use. FotoQuote suggested $2,700 for this use (although they didn’t offer an option to limit the timeframe) and BlinkBid didn’t have a breakdown for this specific use.  While I took these rates into account, they however did not include all of the additional licensing the client would actually be obtaining (even though they were unlikely to take advantage of it) above and beyond their intended use.

Assistants: I included two assistants to lend a hand with the lighting, grip and equipment.

Digital Tech: I included $500 for the digital tech, and then added on $750 for the workstation. The digital tech would help to manage the flow of file intake and display for client approval on set.

Stylists: For a beauty shoot, the hair and make-up styling is much more important than it would be on most other types of campaigns, so the client is typically involved in the stylist selection process. I secured quotes from experienced and represented hair stylists and makeup stylists. These rates include a typical 20% that a talent agency will add on to the stylist’s day rate. For many shoots I’d hire someone to handle both hair and makeup, but for a beauty shoot, it’s more appropriate to hire stylists with specific skills.  Sometimes stylists will bring their own assistants if many people need to be styled, but since we were only planning to shoot three talent, they did not need any extra support.

Producer: I included three days for a producer to handle the pre/post production (hiring the crew, booking the studio, arranging catering, facilitating the invoicing) as well as to be on set to make sure the day went according to plan.

Studio Rental: There are a ton of options for studios in NY ranging from small loft style shooting spaces to large soundstages. We didn’t need a giant space, so I aimed for a medium size studio at a convenient mid-town location.

Casting Days: When I started to speak with casting agents, I learned that many of them had previous experience working on shoots for this client, and they recommended that we account for 2 days of casting since the client may be quite picky. This fee covered the casting agent’s time, shooting space and booking of the talent.

Adult Talent: I settled on this rate after speaking with a few casting agents and obtaining their opinions on the fee for a shoot/usage of this nature. This was tricky since the requested usage was quite broad, but the intended use of the talent’s likeness was rather restricted (hmmm…this sounds familiar). We determined that a rate of $6,000.00/talent would bring in a decent pool to choose from.

Equipment: This would cover 2 camera bodies (~$400) a few lenses (~$100), a couple power packs and heads (~$350) as well as additional modifiers, reflectors and grip equipment (~$150)

Image Processing for Editing: This covered the time, equipment and costs to handle the basic color correction, edit and upload of all of the images to an FTP for client review.

Selects Processed for Reproduction: I worked with the photographer to determine an average of three hours to retouch each photo. Though the photographer would be handling the retouching in house, we priced it at $150/hr to ensure all costs would be covered should we have to farm it out unexpectedly.

Catering: I’ll often include $35/person for light breakfast and lunch catering, but things tend to get pricey in NYC, so I bumped it up to $50/person.

Miles, Parking, FTP, Misc: This was to cover any additional minor miscellaneous expenses during the shoot day.

Feedback: After reviewing our initial estimate, the client decided to trim the concept down from three images to two. They also told us that they weren’t interested in a live casting, and preferred to hire talent based on images in their online portfolios. This was surprising to hear because casting from cards/portfolio is a somewhat risky maneuver since there’s no way of knowing whether or not the images are current. With the caliber of agency we were working with, it wasn’t a serious concern, but it was definitely worth reiterating to the client. They also capped their talent budget at $5,000 per talent for five hours of their time on set and the usage. Their last piece of feedback was that the client rarely spends more than $8000-9000 on “beauty shoots”, however, they couldn’t tell me how the requested licensing for this project compared to that of their previous similar shoots.

On top of those changes, they were willing to limit the licensing duration (although they initially said this wasn’t an option) to six months. It still included broader usage than they needed, but the reduced duration and number of images was a justification for dropping the fee to work with their budget. Here is the final estimate:


Results: The photographer was awarded the project, and I produced the shoot. The images will be in stores later this year.

Hindsight: While we were able to stay within the overall budget for the shoot, equipment costs ended up being higher than anticipated. The photographer required more equipment than initially discussed and the studio we booked insisted that they provide any rented equipment, and their equipment rented at a premium. If I had to estimate a project like this again, I’d probably include close to $1,000 for the digital tech’s gear and $1,300 for the photographer’s equipment.

After the estimate was approved and pre-production was progressing, I was discussing usage terminology listed on a talent contract provided by the client with the art buyer. The contract listed “unlimited” usage in addition to “in-store marketing” and “digital”. I try to refrain from using the word “unlimited” (and even “digital”) in general, and from my point of view it seemed redundant to list “unlimited” use and then specify a specific media. However, upon clarification, the agency/client understood “unlimited” to essentially mean “unlimited insertions” rather than “unlimited media”. For instance, they did not want to put a limitation on the number of printed posters they could hang in the store. While I tried to obtain clarification on this at the beginning of the estimating process, if I knew from the start that their request for “unlimited” use was really about unlimited use within in-store display and web collateral, I may have approached the fees differently.

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


Pricing & Negotiating: Regional Fashion Magazine

By Bill Cramer, Wonderful Machine

I recently was approached by a regional fashion magazine needing some advice on their photographer and photo director contracts. They had encountered some push-back on them and they wanted to know what they could do to make the agreements a little more palatable. The documents have three parts, an Independent Contractor Agreement (which would be for all vendors, like photographers, illustrators, stylists, etc.), Schedule A which spells out details specific to each individual contributor, and a Photography Director section explaining the expectations of that job. Here’s what I had to say:


I hope you had a nice holiday season. I had a chance to sit down with your contributor contract today, and here are my thoughts (in bold). My main recommendation would be for you to license more limited use of the photos. I can understand why you would want to own all of the photographs outright. However, this provision is so far out of the mainstream that you will have trouble finding a decent photographer to agree to it. Or put another way, a more reasonable contract will afford you the opportunity to work with better photographers.

I think it would be reasonable to ask for first editorial print use in your main magazine and use in your other publications for a period of three months (which matches up with the compensation terms). New uses after that could be compensated with a renewal of the 2% commission for that new period or with a simple rate structure for the different uses you commonly need and then negotiate for anything unusual that might come up.

My other concern is that the language is unnecessarily complex. You’re not really paying photographers enough for them to hire an attorney to review your contract. The stakes are pretty low for you and the photographer/photo director. It would be better to find an attorney who understands the magazine business well enough to simplify the language sufficiently for the average person to understand it while still protecting your interests (and the contractor’s).

I hope that’s helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions.




This Agreement is entered into as of the _____ day of __________, ______, between Xxxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx, LLC d.b.a. Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxx Magazine (“the Company”) and ______________________ (“the Contractor”).

WHEREAS, the Company is in need of assistance in the area of __Photography________; and WHEREAS, Consultant has agreed to perform consulting work for the Company in ____Photography_________________ services and other related activities for the Company;

NOW, THEREFORE, the parties hereby agree as follows:

1. Independent Contractor. Subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement, the Company hereby engages the Contractor as an independent contractor to perform the services set forth herein, and the Contractor hereby accepts such engagement.

This paragraph should be combined with paragraph 11 and 24 which cover the same ground.

2. Duties, Term, and Compensation. The Contractor’s duties, term of engagement, compensation and provisions for payment thereof shall be as set forth in the estimate previously provided to the Company by the Contractor and which is attached as Exhibit A, which may be amended in writing from time to time, or supplemented with subsequent estimates for services to be rendered by the Contractor and agreed to by the Company, and which collectively are hereby incorporated by reference.

This is vague. Do you mean to say Schedule A (as it’s written below)? It sounds like you’re saying that Exhibit A (Schedule A) constitutes an estimate (it doesn’t appear that way to me.) Do you mean to say that the Contractor is providing the Company with Exhibit A or that the Company is providing it to the Contractor (it is your form)?

3. Expenses. During the term of this Agreement, expenses for the time spent by Contractor in traveling to and from Company assignments shall not be reimbursable unless otherwise pre-approved in writing by the Company.

What about expenses like models, locations, hair & make-up, props, wardrobe, studios, equipment, catering?

4. Written Reports. The Company may request that project plans, progress reports and a final results report be provided by Contractor on a monthly basis. A final results report shall be due at the conclusion of the project and shall be submitted to the Company in a confidential written report at such time. The results report shall be in such form and setting forth such information and data as is reasonably requested by the Company.

This could be simplified and combined with the 3. Expenses paragraph.

5. Inventions. Any and all inventions, discoveries, developments, contacts and innovations conceived by the Contractor during this engagement relative to the duties under this Agreement shall be the exclusive property of the Company; and the Contractor hereby assigns all right, title, and interest in the same to the Company. Any and all inventions, discoveries, developments and innovations conceived by the Contractor prior to the term of this Agreement and utilized by [him or her] in rendering duties to the Company are hereby licensed to the Company for use in its operations and for an infinite duration. This license is non-exclusive, and may be assigned without the Contractor’s prior written approval by the Company to a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company.

This is not reasonable. Photographers (and writers) aren’t in the business of creating inventions for magazines and Xxxxxxxx is not in the business of buying inventions from its contributors. It appears that your attorney is using a standard legal form and didn’t customize it for your purposes. It would be better for both parties to have an agreement specifically edited for photographers in order to minimize confusion.

6. Confidentiality. The Contractor acknowledges that during the engagement [he or she] will have access to and become acquainted with various trade secrets, inventions, innovations, processes, information, records and specifications owned or licensed by the Company and/or used by the Company in connection with the operation of its business including, without limitation, the Company’s business and product processes, methods, customer lists, accounts and procedures. The Contractor agrees that [he or she] will not disclose any of the aforesaid, directly or indirectly, or use any of them in any manner, either during the term of this Agreement or at any time thereafter, except as required in the course of this engagement with the Company. All files, records, contacts, documents, blueprints, specifications, information, letters, notes, media lists, original artwork/creative, notebooks, and similar items relating to the business of the Company, whether prepared by the Contractor or otherwise coming into [his or her] possession, shall remain the exclusive property of the Company. The Contractor shall not retain any copies of the foregoing without the Company’s prior written permission. Upon the expiration or earlier termination of this Agreement, or whenever requested by the Company, the Contractor shall immediately deliver to the Company all such files, records, documents, specifications, information, and other items in [his or her] possession or under [his or her] control.

The confidentiality is fine, but it’s not logical to combine that provision with the ownership of the images. This paragraph says that photographs created by the photographer are the property of the magazine. That’s unnecessarily antagonistic and not reasonable for your modest budget. You’re going to be able to work with a wider pool of talented photographers if you simply license the usage you actually need to produce your magazine and then negotiate additional usages separately.

7. Conflicts of Interest; Non-hire Provision. The Contractor represents that [he or she] is free to enter into this Agreement, and that this engagement does not violate the terms of any agreement between the Contractor and any third party. Further, the Contractor, in rendering [his or her] duties shall not utilize any invention, discovery, development, improvement, innovation, or trade secret in which [he or she] does not have a proprietary interest. During the term of this agreement, the Contractor shall devote as much of [his or her] productive time, energy and abilities to the performance of [his or her] duties hereunder as is necessary to perform the required duties in a timely and productive manner. The Contractor is expressly free to perform services for other parties while performing services for the Company with the exception of services within the same scope of work and responsibility as work performed for the Company (i.e. Fashion Editor for the Company and Fashion Editor for another company). For a period of six months following any termination, the Contractor shall not, directly or indirectly hire, solicit, or encourage to leave the Company’s employment, any employee, consultant, or contractor of the Company or hire any such employee, consultant, or contractor who has left the Company’s employment or contractual engagement within one year of such employment or engagement.

The Non-Hire Provision is reasonable, but it seems to say that a photographer signing this agreement would not be permitted to work as a photographer in a similar capacity for other similar publications. The very nature of being a freelancer is that you have to work for a variety of publications. That part of this paragraph is unreasonable.

8. Right to Injunction. The parties hereto acknowledge that the services to be rendered by the Contractor under this Agreement and the rights and privileges granted to the Company under the Agreement are of a special, unique, unusual, and extraordinary character which gives them a peculiar value, the loss of which cannot be reasonably or adequately compensated by damages in any action at law, and the breach by the Contractor of any of the provisions of this Agreement will cause the Company irreparable injury and damage. The Contractor expressly agrees that the Company shall be entitled to injunctive and other equitable relief in the event of, or to prevent, a breach of any provision of this Agreement by the Contractor. Resort to such equitable relief, however, shall not be construed to be a waiver of any other rights or remedies that the Company may have for damages or otherwise. The various rights and remedies of the Company under this Agreement or otherwise shall be construed to be cumulative, and no one of the them shall be exclusive of any other or of any right or remedy allowed by law.

I’d have to hire an attorney to understand this one better. It would be helpful if you could be more specific about what sort of injunctive relief you would want to exert. This paragraph seems out of proportion to the services you’re requiring and the compensation you’re offering. You’re not really paying the photographer enough for them to agree to this. Why are the laws of North Carolina insufficient to protect you in a case where a photographer does some damage to you?

9. Merger. This Agreement shall not be terminated by the merger or consolidation of the Company into or with any other entity.


10. Termination. Either the Contractor or the Company may terminate this Agreement at any time by 10 working days’ written notice to the Contractor. In addition, if the Contractor is convicted of any crime or offense, fails or refuses to comply with the written policies or reasonable directive of the Company, is guilty of serious misconduct in connection with performance hereunder, or materially breaches provisions of this Agreement, the Company at any time may terminate the engagement of the Contractor immediately and without prior written notice to the Contractor.

Okay, but you should add that if anyone at the Company is similarly convicted of a crime or offense that the photographer can get out right away.

11. Independent Contractor. This Agreement shall not render the Contractor an employee, partner, agent of, or joint venturer with the Company for any purpose. The Contractor is and will remain an independent contractor in [his or her] relationship to the Company. The Company shall not be responsible for withholding taxes with respect to the Contractor’s compensation hereunder. The Contractor shall have no claim against the Company hereunder or otherwise for vacation pay, sick leave, retirement benefits, social security, worker’s compensation, health or disability benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, or employee benefits of any kind.  Consultant will not represent to be or hold itself out as an employee of the Company and Consultant acknowledges that he/she shall not have the right or entitlement in or to any of the pension, retirement or other benefit programs now or hereafter available to the Company’s regular employees.

Okay, but for clarity and brevity, this paragraph should be merged with paragraph 1. and 24.

12. Insurance and Mutual Indemnification. The Contractor will carry liability insurance if necessary (including malpractice insurance, if warranted) relative to any service that [he or she] performs for the Company.  Each Party agrees to indemnify and hold the other harmless from and against any and all claims, damages and liabilities whatsoever, asserted by any person or entity, arising from any action of infringement in relation to any trade mark, patent, copyright or action for passing off resulting directly or indirectly from any breach by the first Party or any of its respective employees or agents, of this Agreement or of any warranty, representation or covenant contained in this Agreement. Such indemnification shall include the payment of all reasonable attorneys’ fees and other costs incurred by the indemnified party in defending any such claim. The Indemnified Party shall promptly inform the indemnifying Party in writing of any such claim, demand or suit and shall fully cooperate in the defense thereof. The Indemnified Party will not agree to the settlement of any such claim, demand or suit prior to the final judgment thereon without the consent of the indemnifying Party, whose consent will not be unreasonably withheld. The indemnified party shall not by any act or omission admit liability or otherwise prejudice or jeopardize the indemnifying party’s actual or potential defense to any claim. The said indemnity is subject to the indemnified party’s duty to mitigate all of its said costs, expenses, damages or liabilities.


13. Successors and Assigns. All of the provisions of this Agreement shall be binding upon and inure to the benefit of the parties hereto and their respective heirs, if any, successors, and assigns.


14. Choice of Law. The laws of the state of Xxxxxxxxxxxx shall govern the validity of this Agreement, the construction of its terms and the interpretation of the rights and duties of the parties hereto.


15. Arbitration. Any controversies arising out of the terms of this Agreement or its interpretation shall be settled inXxxxxxxxxx in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association, and the judgment upon award may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof.

Arbitration is not a reasonable solution for most disputes involving photographers. The cost can be much more than litigation:

16. Headings. Section headings are not to be considered a part of this Agreement and are not intended to be a full and accurate description of the contents hereof.


17. Waiver. Waiver by one party hereto of breach of any provision of this Agreement by the other shall not operate or be construed as a continuing waiver.


18. Assignment. The Contractor shall not assign any of [his or her] rights under this Agreement, or delegate the performance of any of [his or her] duties hereunder, without the prior written consent of the Company.


19. Notices. Any and all notices, demands, or other communications required or desired to be given hereunder by any party shall be in writing and shall be validly given or made to another party if personally served, or if deposited in the United States mail, certified or registered, postage prepaid, return receipt requested. If such notice or demand is served personally, notice shall be deemed constructively made at the time of such personal service. If such notice, demand or other communication is given by mail, such notice shall be conclusively deemed given five days after deposit thereof in the United States mail addressed to the party to whom such notice, demand or other communication is to be given as follows:

If to the Contractor:




If to the Company:

Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx, LLC / Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxx Magazine


Any party hereto may change its address for purposes of this paragraph by written notice given in the manner provided above.


20. Modification or Amendment. No amendment, change or modification of this Agreement shall be valid unless in writing signed by the parties hereto.

Okay, but this could be added to paragraph 21.

21. Entire Understanding. This document and any exhibit attached constitute the entire understanding and agreement of the parties, and any and all prior agreements, understandings, and representations are hereby terminated and canceled in their entirety and are of no further force and effect.


22. Unenforceability of Provisions. If any provision of this Agreement, or any portion thereof, is held to be invalid and unenforceable, then the remainder of this Agreement shall nevertheless remain in full force and effect.


23. Competent Work/Ownership of Imagery. All work will be done in a competent fashion in accordance with applicable standards of the profession and all services are subject to final approval by a representative of the Company prior to payment.   All work, graphics, images, photography captured during this agreement for assignments, or once permission of use is given- The Consultant relinquishes full ownership and rights of imagery to the Company.

It doesn’t make sense to combine the Competent Work provision with the Ownership of Imagery, they’re unrelated (even aside from the fact that it’s not reasonable to expect ownership of the images.)

24. Representations and Warranties. The Consultant will make no representations, warranties, or commitments binding the Company without the Company’s prior consent. The Contractor will not use the Company’s name, image, brand or likeness without the express written consent of the Company.

This should logically be combined with 11. Independent Contractor and 1. Independent Contractor.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned have executed this Agreement as of the day and year first written above. The parties hereto agree that facsimile signatures shall be as effective as if originals.

Xxxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxxx, LLC d.b.a. Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx Magazine



Its:_President/CEO___________________ [title or position]



Its:________________________________ [title or position]




DUTIES: The Contractor will perform duties as listed in the Photography Director position description. She will report directly to Xxxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx, and to any other party designated by Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxx in connection with the performance of the duties under this Agreement and shall fulfill any other duties reasonably requested by the Company and agreed to by the Contractor.

It seems unnecessarily convoluted to have three separate documents for one agreement. You could simplify things by merging Schedule A into the Independent Contractor Agreement.

TERM: This engagement shall commence upon execution of this Agreement and shall continue in full force and effect through the 90 day probationary period, ending ___________ or earlier upon completion of the Contractor’s duties under this Agreement. The Agreement may only be extended thereafter by mutual agreement, unless terminated earlier by operation of and in accordance with this Agreement.



A. As full compensation for the services rendered pursuant to this Agreement, the Company shall pay the Contractor __two (2%)____ percent of all advertising sales revenues generated and earned by Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxx Magazine betweenNovember 4th, 2012 and February 4th, 2013 . Such compensation shall be payable within 30 days of receipt of advertising sales.

The compensation doesn’t seem to match what the photographer is providing. The photographer is providing use of the pictures forever, while the compensation is limited to three months. In order for this to be meaningful, you have to allow the photographer the option of auditing your records. The compensation seems disingenuous. What are the chances the magazine will continue to cut the photographer in for a piece of the action if it becomes successful? The Photography Director job description may require that you treat that person as an employee rather than an independent contractor. You can read more about this at

B. Contractor will also be paid twenty percent (20%) of all advertising sales to which he personally recruits (solicits, follow up, closes, collection payment).Such compensation shall be payable within 30 days of receipt of advertising sales.



Photography Director

Xxxxxxx Xxxxxx Magazine

Job Title: Photography Director Division/Department Photography
Supervises: Contributing Photographers Reports to: Executive Editor
Last Revision Date: January 10, 2013

The Photography Director of Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxxx Magazine manages a magazine’s photography department. The Director supervises and determines assignments for staff and freelance photographers; negotiates with agencies regarding freelance photographers. Screens contact sheets and makes preliminary selections.

The Photography Director primarily oversees the photography for three major publications, The the quarterly Magazine and the weekly electronic newsletter, The Xxxxx Statement. The Director also manages the social media accounts for Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxxx including Instagram and Tumblr.

The Photography Director sets the publication standards for performance, and motivates and develops the staff. The Photography Director is also responsible for developing and maintaining the publication budget.

The Photography Director will focus on a variety of activities geared towards building the Xxxxxx local presence including:

1. Editorial – Build Xxxxxx audience through photography.  Source premium, relevant content ideas and manage editorial calendar. Create independent content including articles across a variety of editorial  (Fashion, Beauty, Lifestyle, Arts & Entertainment, Mens)

·        Establishes direction of photographic content of the website, e-newsletter and digital magazine.

·        Recruits photography staff as needed.

·        Responsible for the training and development of staff in which he directly supervises.

·        Provide support and direction to the department Editors and Art Director.

·        Schedules photographers for events and story assignments as necessary

1. Social Media – Use technology and modern marketing techniques to assist in managing the brand’s social media presence primarily using Instagram and Tumblr and sharing a portion of these photos to Twitter and Facebook.

Education & Experience

1. Two – three years experience in the media industry developing content, producing professional capacity photography and working within an editorial organization to deliver high-quality content on deadline

2. Demonstrated awareness, aptitude and capabilities with web platforms and web technology including Twitter, Facebook, blogging platforms, etc.

3. A person of the utmost integrity and character

Compensation & Time Commitment

The Photography Director should plan 10-15 hours per week to fulfill his fantastic role.  The Photography Director will receive two (2)% of advertising revenues generated from the website and the bi-annual digital publication.

Thousands of fashion & style-conscious readers throughout the Xxxxxxxx area rely on Xxxxxxxx to keep them in the know while on-the-go. The online media platform for stylish socialites features a bi-annual digital publication (also available in print), a weekly editorial e- subscription service (The STYLE Statement) and accompanying website, providing highly curated local content. The Xxxxxx reader trust Xxxxxxxx as her go-to resource for  what’s hip and new in local cuisine, fashion, beauty, culture, events and stylish living. The Photography Director of Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxxx Magazine wants readers to live, love, shop, dine and discover in his city as he does.

Most of Xxxxxx’s editorial content is selected locally in addition to various regional, national and international fashion and travel features.  A well-connected  Photography Director and his team of photographers has a finger on the city’s pulse and is responsible for selecting content, along with networking within his community to grow the Xxxxxx brand.

Pricing & Negotiating: DITLO Contract

by Bill Cramer, Wonderful Machine

Ditlo is an innovative stock photography company that collaborates with photographers and up-and-coming celebrities to create content that they then license to commercial and editorial clients. It may be too soon to say whether this is a viable business model, but I admire them for trying it. Ditlo (which stands for Day In The Life Of) is the brain child of Bruce Kramer of Kramer Creative Group, which owns Artmix CreativeArtmix BeautyGlue, as well as Ditlo.

The way it works is that Ditlo finds interesting people who are trending in the news (whether they’re athletes, actors, musicians or chefs) who are willing to do a photo shoot specifically for stock. Ditlo matches up the celebrity with a photographer. Ditlo fronts a portion of the production costs and they provide art direction for the shoot. When the pictures sell, Ditlo pays a royalty to the subject (that’s the innovative part), they pay any other out-of-pocket costs, then they split the remainder 50/50 with the photographer.

My first impression was that it was a little weird that we’re now paying B-List celebrities to give them publicity. After all, the pictures will either be used editorially or commercially. If they get used commercially, the subject is going to get paid for use of their likeness anyway. And if they’re used editorially, isn’t that that something they normally pay a publicist to get for them? I guess it’s possible that when I wasn’t looking, the balance of power in our celebrity-crazed culture has changed the rules on me. Alrighty then, maybe this is just the new normal.

But if you’re going to go down this road (or any other), you’ll want to understand the agreements you’ll be signing. I’m sure that Mr. Kramer is an honorable man, but he’s a businessman none the less. Here’s the Ditlo contract (in italics) and my comments:

This agreement (“Agreement”) is entered into as of this ____ day of _______, 2012 by and between The Ditlo, LLC, having an address c/o 2332 South Centinela, Suite C, Los Angeles, California 90064 (hereinafter “Company”) and _______________, having an address of ___________________ (hereinafter “Contractor”) in connection with Contractor’s provision of services and grant of rights as set forth herein.

1. Services: Contractor shall perform services as a photographer in connection with the photography shoots produced, arranged or in which Contractor is engaged by Company during the Term which are set forth on Schedule A, and as updated from time to time by Company (each a “Shoot”). Contractor shall additionally be responsible for editing, re-touching (upon request by Company) and delivering to Company the photographic images from the Shoots (each an “Image”) within four (4) days after each Shoot. Contractor’s services shall be performed with diligence consistent with industry standards. Additionally, after Company has posted Image(s) from, or information related to the Shoot on Contractor shall use commercially reasonable efforts to promote Company and the Project in all of Contractor’s social media networks including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

2. Term: This Agreement shall be in full force and effect from the date set forth above until terminated by either party upon thirty (30) days written notice to the address first set forth above. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the terms and conditions of Sections 3, 4, and 5 shall survive the expiration or termination of this Agreement.

3. Contractor Compensation: Provided that Contractor is not in breach of this Agreement and has fully performed Contractor’s services, as full and complete compensation thereof and grant of rights contained herein, Company shall additionally pay Contractor a royalty equal to fifty percent (50%) of the Net Revenue received from the sale, use, licensing or syndication of the Images by Company including sales of the Images to the talent in such Images. Company shall provide a statement and pay any amounts due at the address listed above on or about thirty (30) days after the conclusion of each calendar quarter in which sums are received by Company. For the purposes of this section, Net Revenue shall mean the gross amounts actually received by Company from third parties from the sale, license, or exploitation of the Images after deduction of (i) any amounts paid to talent in such Images; (ii) refunds, returns or allowances; (iii) any VAT, duty, levy or other fee or tax withheld, deducted or paid to Company; (iv) shipping charges, insurance charges, services fees or any other out of pocket costs associated with the delivery or access to any Images including but not limited to printing and framing costs; and (v) commissions or other payments made to third parties in connection with the production, sale and exploitation of such Images including but not limited to amounts paid to agents, third party sites, or the subject of such Image. Except as expressly set forth herein, Contractor shall not be entitled to any additional sums in connection with the Shoot, the Project or the Images.

It concerns me that if Ditlo decides that the photographer is in breach of the agreement, they don’t have to pay the commission. Does that mean that if the photographer promotes the project on their Facebook page, but not on Twitter, they might not get paid? The commission should not be contingent on anything. Certainly, if the photographer takes the advance and doesn’t produce useable pictures, they should have to pay the advance back. But if Ditlo makes a profit, the photographer should share in that profit. I would be inclined to cross out the words “Provided that Contractor is not in breach of this Agreement and has fully performed Contractor’s services,”

The contract is vague about what the statement will say. I would insert the clause, “the company shall provide a statement detailing the gross fee and each individual expense item deducted from it.” This should be no extra trouble for Ditlo since they have to keep track of all of those costs anyway in order to arrive at the net fee.

It doesn’t specifically say that the photographer will get an advance and whether the advance will count against the commission.

4. Grant of Rights: For the compensation to be provided herein and other good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged, Contractor hereby grants Company the worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, exclusive, sub-licensable and unencumbered right in any and all media now known or hereafter developed to print, sell, license, transmit, and syndicate the Images to third parties including the l right to display, publish or include the Images in advertisements or promotions of the Company, on the Company’s website(s), social media pages, inclusion in future book(s) and gallery show(s). Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is acknowledged and agreed, that any sale or license of an Image to the subject of the Image shall require Contractor’s agreement on the 2 terms of such sale or license. Further, Contractor acknowledges and agrees that the talent featured in such Images shall have the right to use, display and publish the Images in which they are featured solely for their own promotional purposes on their personal websites and social media sites only, but not in any way for commercial or advertising unless Contractor and Company agree in writing.

Exclusive license forever concerns me. I think that it would be reasonable for the license to be exclusive while Ditlo is actively promoting the photos. But after a while, if the photos drop off of Ditlo’s website, the photographer should be able to market them on their own without paying a commission to Ditlo.

5. Miscellaneous: Contractor acknowledges that Contractor is an independent contractor and not an employee of Company and that as an independent contractor, Contractor has no authority to, and shall not in any way attempt to, obligate, or create any liability on behalf of Company. Contractor acknowledges that Company is not your employer, Company will not provide worker’s compensation, unemployment compensation, state disability or employment benefits to Contractor. Contractor further acknowledges that Contractor is responsible to pay social security, income or other taxes and agree to indemnify Company and hold Company harmless therefrom, and from any claims or liability for worker’s compensation, unemployment compensation or state disability coverage related to Contractor. Company, its successors, assignees, and licensees, shall have the right, but not the obligation, to use the Works and the results of the services provided under this Agreement, your name, and biography, for any and all purposes and uses in connection with the exploitation of the Images or the Works, in any and all media, now known or hereafter devised, throughout the world, in perpetuity. In the event of any question of Company’s performance of its obligations hereunder or other claims related hereunder, Contractor agrees that Contractor will not seek injunctive relief against us and/or our affiliated companies or any of their agents, licensees, distributors, assigns or partners, and that your relief, if any, will be limited to a claim for monetary damages and you do not have the right to terminate or rescind this Agreement. All remedies, rights and undertakings, obligations and agreements contained in this Agreement shall be cumulative and none of them shall be in limitation of any other remedy, right undertaking, obligation or agreement of either party, except as expressly provided herein. This Agreement is governed by the internal laws of California and each party hereto irrevocably and unconditionally consents to the sole and exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the courts located in Los Angeles County, California for any action to enforce, interpret or construe any provision of this Agreement, or other claim or controversy related to this agreement or otherwise between the parties. The parties additionally hereby irrevocably waive and defenses of improper venue or forum non conveniens for any actions brought in those courts. The execution of this Agreement has not been induced by any representations, statements, warranties, or agreements other than those expressed herein. This Agreement embodies the entire understanding of the parties, and there are no further agreements or understanding, written or oral, in effect between the parties relating to the subject matter hereof. If any portion of this Agreement is held to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable by a court of competent jurisdiction, such finding shall not affect the remainder of this Agreement, and such affected provision shall be enforced to the furthest extent permitted by law. Except for updates to Schedule A by Company, this Agreement cannot be modified, except in a writing signed by both parties. This Agreement can be executed in any number of counterparts and by facsimile or pdf, which when taken together shall be construed as one original document.

The contract specifies that the photographer will indemnify Ditlo. This is reasonable. If the photographer does something wrong, and Ditlo gets sued, the photographer should (have insurance to) cover those costs. However, by the same token, if Ditlo does something wrong that gets the photographer sued, they should indemnify the photographer.

It doesn’t specifically say that you can use the pictures in your portfolio, website and for other self-promotion (including gallery shows), which it should.

Here’s the contract:

Click to enlarge.


Pricing & Negotiating: Low-Budget Annual Report Shoot

By Bill Cramer, Wonderful Machine

The following is actual email correspondence between a U.K.-based graphic designer (whom I’ll call Dennis) and an experienced Florida-based photographer (whom I’ll call Phil), concerning an annual report shoot in Orlando for a Connecticut-based medium-sized corporation. My comments are in italics.

Hi there Phil,

I found you on Google. I wonder if you could confirm your availability and day rate for a photo shoot on the following days. The <hotel in Orlando> on January 24 & 25. <Client> based in CT are holding a conference at this time and I have been asked to find a local photographer and liked the work you have online.

We will only need 1 day of photography in total – over the 2 days or on 1 of the days – TBA. I work for <graphic design firm> and we are their design consultancy, I am based in the UK. I look forward to hearing from you just as soon as.

Kind regards, Dennis

That’s not much to go on. The following questions come to mind. Can I see a shot list (or at least a description of the pictures)? Who are the subjects (what level are they in the company)? How will the photos be used? How many final pictures do you expect to use?

This initial inquiry doesn’t give me high hopes for the budget. The fact that he’s looking for a local photographer means that travel expenses (however modest) would break the bank. The fact that he’s looking for a photographer who’s willing to quote a “day rate” without knowing the details of the shoot doesn’t bode well either. That he’s looking for a photographer who can do “one day’s work” over a period of two shoot days tells me that he’s looking for a low price. Either the designer has never worked with a professional photographer before or he only works with low-end photographers or he may be testing the photographer to see what kind of questions he’ll ask.

There’s also a bit of a disconnect in that we’ve got a Connecticut client hosting a conference in Florida; they’re discerning enough to hire a designer in the United Kingdom, but they’re apparently looking for a cheap photographer to create the actual content. It doesn’t quite add up.

Hi there Dennis,

just need to know are you looking to document the event, or do you need portraits of people as well? If yes to the portraits, would they be simple grip and grins or real portraits…


It’s a start that Phil wants to know more about what he has to do, but he also needs to know more about how the pictures are going to be used. This is a classic mistake that photographers make. They see their value as a function of their time and effort and they ignore the value that they’re providing for the client, which is a much bigger driver of the price.


I am looking for what we call fly on the wall documentary shots of the event – nothing posed or to camera, rather just natural interactions and scenarios as they emerge. Does that answer your question Phil?


Yes, it does, Dennis.

My typical day rate for corporate events like you describe is $2,000 for a single day, $3600 for two days plus an overnight stay usually at the event hotel.

Regards, Phil

Is that 2000.00/day plus expenses or including expenses? How many pictures does the client get, for what purpose and for how long? What about assistants, file processing, mileage, parking, meals, sales tax? Will you be delivering raw files or processed files? If they’re processed, can the client order any number of processed files or is there a limit? Will you convey the licensing to the design firm or the client? Who will pay the bill – the design firm or the client? If a UK design firm pays the bill, who pays for the wire transfer fee? How long do they have to pay? What’s your turnaround time on the pictures? What’s your cancellation policy?


And you are available yes? Are your fees negotiable – you are a bit more per day than I was envisaging!

Let me know, Dennis

Yikes! Dennis doesn’t seem to mind that he doesn’t have answers to any of the above questions and all he wants to know is if it could be even cheaper.


I have to check with a client to be sure. We are working on a campaign next week and need to talk to them.

Regarding the fees, I am blessed with a very robust business so I really hold the line on the fees. However, what was your budget and i will let you know for sure.


It sounds like Phil is saying, “My fees are firm, unless your budget is less.”

Hi there Phil – thanks for your help with this. I now have a bit more information re the shoot from <client>.

<email apparently from client to design firm:> “We would like business headshots for our Directors and Managers (total of 25 – 30 people).  We would also like to have a few “meeting in progress” type candid shots taken – these should be all about business (nothing Disneyesque!). The photos will be used for the purpose of our Annual Report, website, meeting books, etc. We would therefore need to get outright usage on the shots from the photog from the get-go so that they can be used randomly thereafter without renegotiation with them.”

We are trying to arrange a separate room by the meeting area where we can have the photographer set up for the head shots. The shoot day would be 24 Jan only and I have £1700 so we are not so far apart on price so hopefully not a barrier to trade! Good to hear that you are busy.

Kind regards

, Dennis

Now that Phil has committed to a price, it’s safe for Dennis to tell him more about the shoot. It turns out that it’s not just fly-on-the wall, but 30 head shots too. It’s a director-level meeting and the pictures are for the annual report (plus other uses). That’s all significant because the stakes are higher for the design firm and the communications people at the corporation. That makes the pictures more valuable than a routine sales meeting which Phil is more accustomed to. These pictures aren’t just to document the event, they’re for the most important publication that corporation will produce that year. We now see that Dennis has a budget of 1700 British Pounds, which is about 2700 dollars. That’s more than the 2000.00 Phil was asking for.

Ahhh, that’s what I suspected, Dennis.

These meetings usually have portraits involved because it’s a rare occasion to get everyone together….25-30 portraits plus the meeting shots is a good amount of work, I usually tack on a little more with the portraits. So then what’s then the US dollar value of the fee?

I would need a dedicated space 20×30′ foot is a good size to set up a location studio. I need to know what kind of background they want. Do we need to match up an existing look? No problem with the unlimited usage.


Again, Phil is focused on the fact that the head shots are a bit more work rather than the fact that it’s an important project for the client. If Phil is as busy as he says he is, why is he ignoring usage when he has the leverage to charge for it? And why is he offering such a deep discount for a second shoot day? Instead of offering a one-size-fits-all approach to his pricing (and his production values), he would do better to recognize that different projects may require different levels of service and different pricing. Phil is accustomed to working without an assistant (he just finds someone to sit in for a test shot) and he just does basic tweaks to the files, converts them all to jpgs and sends them off to the designer. That may be what everyone does for event photography. But when I hear annual report, I think of a higher level of production. I would be inclined to bring an assistant to help carry the lights, set up, break down, sit in for test shots, run errands in an emergency. For the small additional cost, it’s a valuable insurance policy to make sure things go well when you’re photographing the CEO and the board of directors. I’d also be inclined to process the files individually once the client has chosen their favorites, rather than batch process a thousand pictures most-of-the-way.

Sorry Phil, I meant dollars!

Can you still do it for $2000 Phil?
 We do want to match an existing look – I will send you a reference for that and talk you through it too for clarity. Good news re usage. And I am assuming you can now confirm you are available all day on the 24th?


Hard to say whether Dennis’s budget really was in dollars or pounds. But it doesn’t really matter. No experienced photographer should let a client arbitrarily dictate their fee (especially a busy photographer).

The fact that the designer wants to “match an existing look” makes the assignment more valuable than if the photographer was being asked to do the shoot in their own style. First, it’s more difficult to satisfy a client when you’re being asked to match some other photographer’s picture and you don’t know exactly how they did it and you might not even like the way they handled it. Second, the pictures aren’t going to be as useful in the photographer’s portfolio since they’re in someone else’s style.


Yes, the 24th is fine, give me times when you can, and yes I will do it for $2000.00 if I don’t need to rent/buy a special background to match what you have. Send reference to me when you can.


I think Phil is selling himself a little short here. Backgrounds cost money (and time to get them and a place to store them). Even if he already has one that he could bring, if it’s providing additional value to the client, he should charge for it. Same with studio strobes. Strobes cost money to purchase, insure, repair. Why not charge for them?

Good morning Phil – me again!

<Client> is now confirmed BUT they have asked if you could shoot on Wed 23 and Thurs 24 January at the same venue. I hope you can! Can you let me know when you get a moment please?

Thank you, Dennis

Good morning Dennis…no worries, I have to move something, I can work on that this morning, but just confirm…back to the original, 2 days = $3600 including all the portraits. Can they get me a room at the venue for the overnight? I am 90 minutes away. I would love to see a schedule so I know the hours, and if they provided you with a shot list.

Thank you. Phil

Hi there Phil.

$3600 for 2 days is good. Yes to room at venue – I have asked for this already. Now that we have agreed dates and cost together I am going to put you in direct contact with <client> re schedule, shoot room, accommodation and shot list – I think that will be easier for you.

Two important bits to get right:

1) I will need you to bill me direct and I will then re-invoice the client as part of their complete Annual Report project – please can I ask you to have all cost conversations with me and not <client> as I will take a modest margin for organising this on their behalf.

2) Jane my colleague here at <design firm> will make contact with you re photo style that she is looking for from a design perspective. <Client> will provide all other direction for your venue etc.

All good – looking forward to working with you on this. I approached 3 photographers in the FL area after looking at work online – you were by far the most responsive and easy to work with so I am really pleased you can do the new date.

Kind regards, Dennis

It’s not unusual for a designer to have the photographer bill him rather than the client. But the fact that he’s concerned about what the photographer might say indicates to me that he’s not telling the client what the photographer is charging him (which would be the case if he were actually charging a mark-up). In fact, I suspect he’s not really doing a modest mark-up, but rather I think the designer is charging a reasonable amount to the client, paying as little as possible to the photographer and pocketing the difference. All perfectly legitimate, but just evidence of how often photographers sell themselves short, oblivious to the fact that everyone else around them is making money.

Morning Phil,

Please find the notes from <design firm>  that describe how we envisage the different shot types to look.

If you have any queries on this, please do not hesitate to get in touch by return.

Kind regards, Dennis



This additional direction tells me that the designer has thought a lot about the project and they’re looking for a very specific result. Call me cynical, but I can’t help thinking that Dennis intentionally pulled a bait-and-switch on our hapless photographer. I think that Dennis intentionally underplayed the significance of the project and once he locked in the price, he revealed the true details and expectations of the job. But Phil’s very casual estimate has enabled this to happen. Even if Dennis is merely disorganized and not malevolent, the mission creep has left Phil shooting an annual report at event coverage prices. If Phil had spelled out what he was actually delivering for his 2000.00 fee in the first place, he would be able to rework the estimate as the project “evolved.”

Good morning Dennis, thank you for the additional information….

Reviewing this document shows me that the client wants a little more then what was original described. So the photos of the executives are not typical business head-shots, which usually take 5-10 minutes each. What the team is asking for is definitely more creative, staged and time consuming.

The photography assignment was originally described as “fly on the wall” documentary type photography, nothing posed, just natural. The document describes otherwise, setting up scenarios to create group interactions. All the above is fine, and I am perfectly comfortable doing this, but not what I originally envisioned. The creativity level is definitely higher, which I am all for by the way.

It’s really important for me to have a clear understanding of the work at the bidding process so I can price accordingly.  I don’t think you nor I had this on Wednesday. Now that we both have the shot list from the creative team, I think we need to re-address the creative fee which at this point should be at least $4,500.00. Since we are 5 working days out, I really really don’t like to upset the citrus cart, but the job is up a few notches.

Please see what you can do regarding the creative fee with your client now that we know what is required and then I can make a few more simple requests to be sure we all have what we need and move forward.

Thank you, Phil

This is an awkward way to negotiate. It’s bad form to ask a client if you can charge them more. The answer will generally be “no.” The photographer should simply say, “Thank you for letting me know about the changes. I’ll send over a revised estimate right away.”


I think we are nearly there. I understood that I was buying your time over two days based on what I can see from your online creds. I think you are signalling that you are up to the task which is great – what I don’t understand is why that should now suddenly cost me more. That is certainly not how I buy photography in the UK.

A few clarifications on your feedback:

We don’t want you to set anything up – in fact our preferred way forward is for fly on the wall type shots that are candid and unposed. I am confident that the event itself will provide those scenarios as a matter of course.

The b&w example headshots shared were taken in 30 minutes – there were 10 execs. I would ask you to work with the time you will get allocated for this task and do your best possible work mindful of what we are looking for – if you can only deliver ‘typical business head-shots’ in the time allocated then we will have to go with those.

Having now seen Jane’s shot list you have a busy day on the Thursday and then a shorter day on the Friday which doesn’t look too onerous. As a gesture I am pleased to provide you with $3800 as the total fee but I will not go higher – hopefully you feel you can agree to work on this basis so we can move on. I am not available for the rest of the day as traveling so will not be able to respond to you until Monday am UK time.

Kind regards, Dennis

Dennis is now contradicting himself. The photo direction clearly states that, “…the subjects should be directed…” Now he’s saying that he wants to go back to fly-on-the-wall. Which is it? From the beginning, Phil positioned himself as a hired-hand, working by the day. So that makes it difficult for him to change the price when the project changes but the time doesn’t. He has also let the client dictate all the terms from the start, which makes him appear inexperience and/or desperate. In the end, the photographer agreed to a 4000.00 flat fee without any conditions on the usage or payment schedule.

Here’s what I would have proposed:


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


Pricing & Negotiating: TV Network Work Made For Hire

By Craig Oppenheimer of Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Environmental portraits of cast members from a television show, including landscape images of the town featured in the show

Licensing: Work Made for Hire

Location: A small city in the Southwest

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Up-and-coming conceptual portrait specialist

Agency: None (in-house creative team for TV channel)

Client: Specialty Television channel

Here’s the estimate:

estimate_terms_redacted_v2Click to enlarge.

Concept, Licensing:

The client was in the process of filming the first season of a new reality show, and they wanted to capture individual portraits and a group shot of the 5 main cast members, as well as landscape images of the town in which the show is filmed. The shoot would take place on a single day during the actual filming, so many of the production elements (like hair/makeup styling, props and wardrobe) would be provided by the film production crew.

After discussing the project with the production manager, I learned that the images would mainly be used to promote the show on the channel’s website and possibly in on-air advertisements for the station. However, we were told that the channel has a non-negotiable work-made-for-hire contract that they require all photographers to sign. In fact, we were made aware of this about a month earlier when the same channel asked this photographer to bid on a separate local studio portraiture shoot for a different show. That project didn’t move forward, but through a series of conversations we found that their bottom line budget for similar projects is in the ballpark of $10,000.

The vast majority of the projects we estimate allow us the ability to limit licensing in some way. Sometimes we’re able to have a tight hold on the licensing (for example, Collateral use for 3 months), and other times we need to include a much broader licensing (for example, Advertising, Collateral and Publicity use for 5 years). While these both include a range of usage, the copyright is retained by the photographer. The main difference between “exclusive use in all media forever” and a “transfer of copyright” is 3rd party use. By agreeing to a work-made-for-hire contract, the photographer would concede copyright ownership and the ability for the client to authorize 3rd party use. These contracts are common when working with clients in the television/film industry, and it stems from agreements between these clients and video production teams where transfer of copyright for video footage is standard.

We’ve worked on a handful of projects for photographers and TV channels and have been presented with similar contracts. In fact, we recently worked with the photographer featured in this project to obtain a portfolio meeting at another TV channel in NY, and before confirming a meeting, their photo editor sent over their contract in an effort to be as up front as possible in regards to their copyright requirements. Here is what that contract looked like:

Click to enlarge.

Now, typically I’d be inclined to integrate a hefty fee for a work-made-for-hire project since there is tremendous value for the client to own the copyright of the photos. However, since I knew their budget from that previous local studio shoot, I was able to extrapolate what their budget might be for a shoot with a bit more production and travel involved. Also, I knew their likely usage limitations from my discussion with the client, and I also took into consideration that the shelf life of the images would likely only be a year or two. Cast members could change, the show could be cancelled, and the promotions done by the channel could potentially change over the course of the following seasons. By integrating pricing more in line with their intended use (rather than requested use) and taking into account the likely budget, straightforwardness of the project and the eagerness of the photographer to get in the door with this client, I settled on a fee of $8,000.

After determining a fee, I like to also refer to pricing resources like BlinkBid and FotoQuote to see what they might recommend. In many instances the licensing options from these pricing resources don’t match up to the exact usage requested from the client, and they especially didn’t correlate in this case. For example, BlinkBid outputs a fee between $20,000 and $30,000 for international use of 1 image in all the categories listed for 1 year. FotoQuote also averages $20,000 for their most extensive “all advertising and marketing” pack for 1 image for 1 year. While it would have been great to charge 30k+ (and even appropriate in rare cases), I knew that in this instance, rates that high would blow the client’s budget and didn’t match up to the value of the client’s intended use.

Assistant: The photographer would be flying in with his assistant, and this accounted for the shoot day and travel days there and back.

Local Digital Tech: In order to save on travel, we planned on hiring a local tech. I’d typically include additional fees for a workstation (around $750 for a monitor, computer and cart) but the tech would be using a laptop and simply be dumping cards while reorganizing files.

Equipment Rental: The photographer would be bringing his own gear, so we included rental fees for 2 camera bodies (~$200.00 per camera per day), a few lenses (~50.00 per lens per day) as well as strobes, power packs and stands (~$250.00 per day). We feel that it’s important to charge for this because it’s not expected that he would own this gear, and it covers the cost to maintain and update his equipment.

Photographer Travel Days: This covered his travel time for one day there and one day back.

Airfare, Lodging, Car Rental: I used to research and determine travel costs for the photographer and his assistant.

Meals, Misc: The film production team would provide catering, but I included $100 per day for the 3 days (travel, shoot, travel) for snacks and miscellaneous expenses.

Housekeeping: I made sure to note the items that the client would be providing along with the advance requirements. While the client would handle all retouching internally, they asked that we provide the photographer’s rate in case they needed to farm out the work to him.

Results: The estimate was approved and the first season of the show is now being aired. The images landed in print ads as well as on the client’s website.

Hindsight: This project was particularly interesting due to the work-made-for-hire agreement. This estimate isn’t a representation of rates for all instances of copyright transfer, but it’s an example of what we’ve seen from a few other clients in the television industry. Another photo editor for a separate TV client/project informed us that they also require a work-made-for-hire agreement, and in order to stay competitive she suggested a pretty healthy work-for-hire rate of $10K-$20K per 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 big ad campaigns.


Pricing & Negotiating: Hotel Lifestyle Shoot

by Jess Dudley Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Lifestyle, chef portraits and plated food images to promote a resort

Licensing: Three years of regional Advertising, Collateral and Publicity use of 20 images, in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee only

Location: Resort in Georgia

Shoot Days: Two

Photographer: Southeastern hospitality and lifestyle specialist

Agency: Client Direct

Client: Independent Resort Property

Here’s the estimate:

I thought it would be interesting to share this particular hotel lifestyle estimate on the heels of our previous Pricing & Negotiating post so I could highlight the difference in value between two nearly identical projects. Both were two-day lifestyle hospitality shoots at a single hotel property. The major differences are the size and reach of the clients and the breadth of the licensing. In the previous post, we were working through an ad agency for an international hotel chain to shoot 17 images for national use, with much higher expectations and production requirements. In this case, we were dealing directly with a single high-end hotel client interested in licensing 20 images for regional use.

Concept: The client wanted to highlight the property through a variety of available-light lifestyle images featuring talent enjoying the grounds, restaurants, services and amenities. The client compiled a shot list of 10 scenarios from which they hoped to license 20 images (2 per scenario). The scenarios would feature resort staff and anywhere from 1-4 non-professional talent (friends/family of the marketing team) and range from plated dining room scenes, to guests checking in, to talent strolling around the property’s more photogenic landscape and architectural elements. From our perspective, the production would be pretty minimal. The photographer would simply need to book his assistants, pick up gear, show up and start shooting. The client would source the talent, handle wardrobe, props, food, catering, all styling, and of course, the location. This told us a lot about the client’s production expectations and hinted at budget.

Licensing: The 3 year licensing duration, 10 scenarios and the fact that we were working with a high-end client all applied upward pressure on the value. Exerting downward pressure was the the lack of an ad agency (which could indicate smaller ad buy/less extensive use), the fact that the client was single, somewhat remote property and finally the geographical limitation of the licensing. As it turns out, the client planned to primarily advertise on the web, only running 2-3 print ad insertions/year in a few local magazines, solidifying our assumption of a smaller ad buy. Weighing all of these factors, I priced this out  at 1500.00 for the first two scenarios, 750.00/scenario for 3-6 and 500.00/scenario for 7-10, bringing the fee to a total of 8000.00. I checked my rates against a couple pricing sources. Corbis doesn’t display regional or state by state rates. BlinkBid’s bid consultant recommended 621.25-887.50 per image per year for a regional Local Small Business to purchase comparable licensing, which was in the ballpark. Photoshelter’s stock pricing interface suggests a rate of 15,000/image for one year or 22,000.00/image for three years for regional collateral and advertising use, but its pricing criteria didn’t allow me to hone the use as much as I needed to in this case.

As a side note, we use a few general rules of thumb when it comes to increasing or decreasing fees based on volume or duration. In general, doubling the duration does not necessarily double the value to the client—campaigns/images get tired, people/property/styles/trends change. Also, doubling the number of images licensed does not necessarily double the value to the client. Accordingly, I’ll add 50% to increase duration from one to two years and 100% to increase duration from one year to three years. With respect to increasing the number of images, the second is typically valued at 50% of the first, unless the image represents an additional unique concept, in which case we would value the image/licensing closer to 100% of the first image. At a certain point, I may introduce additional price breaks if we get into larger quantities.

Photographer Production Day:  The resort property was about 2 hours from the photographer’s home so I included one full “photographer production day” to cover the half day of round trip travel and half day of walk-through at the resort the day before the shoot.

First Assistant/Digital Tech, Local Assistant: I estimated for three full days for first assistant/digital tech, which covered two full shoot days, four hours of round trip travel time and four hours of walk-through time. 500.00/day is a normal rate for a tech but wouldn’t typically include necessary equipment, and certainly not a full-blown workstation cart which normally rents for 750-1000.00 depending on the setup. In this case, the photographer would shoot with a DSLR tethered to his own laptop running Capture One. We opted in this case not to charge for the laptop rental. As for the local assistant, we included one for both shoot days.

Equipment Rental: The photographer planned to rent two DSLR bodies (300.00/day), 2 fast lenses (65.00/day), two strobe kits for supplemental light if needed (300.00/day), and a variety of silks, scrims, frames and stands (~235.00/day). All of the gear would have to be rented for three days since the photographer and tech would have to pick it up before the walk-through.

Lodging Nights: The resort was fully booked during the shoot window so the client could not offer to provide lodging. We estimated for rooms for the photographer and digital tech for 2 nights at a nearby commuter hotel.

Images processed for editing & Selects Processed for Reproduction: This covered the time, equipment and costs to handle the initial import, edit and upload for client review and basic processing (color correction and blemish removal) for the 20 selects. Anything over and above the basic processing would be considered retouching and be billed at 150.00/hr, which is covered in the terms and conditions.

Miles, FTP, COI, Parking, Meals, Tolls, FTP, Misc: I estimated 200.00 for mileage, 50.00 per person per day for meal costs to cover breakfasts and dinners, 50.00 for the COI, 100.00 for the FTP and 150.00 for parking, tolls and miscellaneous expenses.

Results: The photographer shot the job and has already begun discussing the next project with the client.

Marketing note: This project came about because the photographer had managed to set up a meeting with a marketing manager at the resort. Within a few weeks the photographer received a request for an estimate. It just goes to show marketing is all about putting yourself out there and occasionally being in the right place at the right time.

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


Pricing & Negotiating: Hotel Lifestyle & Advertising Shoot

by Jess Dudley Wonderful Machine

Concept: Lifestyle images of guests enjoying a new hotel concept and Architectural images 0f the property itself

Licensing: Advertising, Collateral and Publicity Use of 17 images, US Only

Location: Hotel property in Northern California

Shoot Days: Two

Photographer: Up-and-coming architectural, hospitality and lifestyle specialist

Agency: Mid-Size Chicago-Based Agency

Client: International Hotel chain

Here’s the estimate:

Click to enlarge

Concept, Licensing: The goal of the project was to promote the new hotel chain in a series of three web and print ads featured in a variety of  business and travel publications. The client also wanted to capture additional shots to populate the hotel’s website. The shoot would take place over two shoot days at a newly renovated hotel property in Northern California. The photographer would need to create lifestyle images of professional talent enjoying the various amenities (spa, business center, restaurant, gym, etc.) and architectural images of the property (with and without talent). The “hero” shots for the ad campaign would consist of two lifestyle images and one architectural image highlighting the new hotel vibe. The 14 other images would consist of  a mix of lifestyle and architectural images and be used only on the web, although the client requested the same licensing to be granted across the board.

Based on the number of hero shots, the number of secondary images, the photographer’s experience, the straight forward concept and the licensing restrictions (1 year, US only), along with my experience with similar projects, I set the pricing for the hero shots at $10k for the first and $5k each for the second and third for a total of 20,000. Since the usage was primarily in those first three images, I set the 4th and 5th at 2000.00 each, and 6-13 at 1000.00 each and 14-17 at 500.00 each. This brought the total licensing fee for all 17 images to 34,000 (which only coincidentally pro-rates out to 2000.00/image). I then checked my rates against a handful of previous estimates and outside pricing resources. For an “up-and-comer” Blinkbid suggests 6900.00-12,075.00/image/year. Corbis prices the “All Marketing Pack” at 17,500.00 for one year (or 14,356.00 for 1 month). Photoshelter‘s stock pricing calculator prices the “All Advertising and Marketing Pack” at 9,654.00/image for 1 year or 15,761.00/image for five years. Though the time ranges are different, you can see that the stock pricing calculators heavily front load the value of licensing, just as we do.

Photographer Travel/Tech Scout Days:  I estimated two days for the photographer to travel to and from the location and to scout. Since the Photographer would be flying west, it was possible to travel in and do the tech scout on the same day.

Equipment Rental: We priced out the cost to rent two camera bodies (600.00/day), two power packs (150.00/day), and lenses (150.00/day). The photographer would be bringing her own grip and decided not to charge for it to keep the budget down a bit.

Basic File Prep, including upload: This covered the cost to handle basic color correction and blemish removal and the upload of the images to the agency’s FTP. Anything over and above the basic processing would be considered retouching and billed at 150.00/hr.

Retouching Hours: The agency requested we include retouching for the three hero images. We estimated 2 hours per image at a standard retouching rate (not only to compensate her for that time and expertise, but to cover her if she got busy and had to farm it out to a freelance retoucher).

Producer Days: I included 6 producer days. 2 prep, 1 travel/scout, 2 shoot and 1 travel home. Since the photographer would be flying in for the shoot, it would be OK to fly her usual producer in for the project.

Production Books: We budgeted for the time and cost to produce a printed production book. Since we would be shooting a fairly extensive shot list in a sprawling location with a sizable cast and crew, it was important to create a comprehensive production book to keep everything on track. A production book typically consists of 5-10 pages of pertinent contact info, location info, directions, calendars, schedules and concepts, basically a summary of the production for quick reference throughout the shoot.

First Assistant, Digital Tech, Production Assistant: The photographer typically travels for most of her shoots and doesn’t have a regular 1st assistant, so we budgeted for a local first assistant. We included a digital tech and a production assistant (PA) to use as a runner and extra set of hands.

Casting & Talent: We estimated for a local casting agent to hold a live casting to source the 6 talent we needed (3/shoot day). The model rates were dictated by the agency. I would have preferred to push the rates higher to ensure we drew the best talent.

Stylists & Wardrobe/Props: We budgeted for a four person styling crew to handle hair/make-up, wardrobe and minor props like suitcases, briefcases and electronics. Had the prop requests been more substantial, we would have brought in a dedicated prop stylist. Our wardrobe stylist estimated and average of 400.00/talent for non-returnable purchases and rentals.

Catering: I budgeted 40.00 per person for up to 20 people on set each day. The cast, crew, agency, client and location contact list added up to 18. As is the case on most shoots, the client or agency will inevitably bring more bodies to set, so I accounted for 20 per day.

Travel Expenses: Using, I estimated the cost for airfare (including baggage fees), car rentals (including insurance and gas) and lodging (the hotel we were shooting at was fully booked) for the photographer and producer.

Miles, Parking, Meals, Tolls, Shipping, Certificate of Insurance, Misc.: I estimated 150.00/day on site to cover non-catered meals and expendables, 100.00 to secure a certificate of insurance (COI), and 250.00 in meals, mileage and parking for the return travel day.

Housekeeping: Some of the shots would feature hotel staff and/or food prepared by the hotel so I made sure to indicate those would be provided by the hotel. And of course, the location would be provided as well. I also noted advance requirements and that the client/agency would be responsible for any applicable sales tax.

Results: The photographer was awarded the job.

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

Pricing & Negotiating: Sports Apparel Advertising Shoot

by Jess Dudley Wonderful Machine

Shoot Concept: Individual environmental portraits/lifestyle images of two sponsored athletes

Licensing: 3 images for North American Point of Purchase, Online, Out of Home, Print Advertising and Print Collateral

Location: One residential location and a practice facility (both provided by the client)

Shoot Days: 2

Photographer: Established portrait and lifestyle specialist

Agency: None. Client direct through a freelance art buyer

Client: National niche sports apparel brand

Here’s the estimate:

Licensing: There were a number of factors influencing the fee. Though the usage was pretty extensive, it was limited to three images. The client’s apparel is widely available, but it’s not a prominent brand outside of its very specific customer base. The client needed three years of use, but since their product line changes every year, the value of the pictures will likely drop significantly after that first year. The fact that the shoot would feature somewhat well-known athletes made the shoot more valuable than it might otherwise be, but if the client decides not to renew the sponsorship agreement because the athlete gets injured, falls from grace, retires, etc. the images would lose value fast. Lastly, the first two images were unique, but the third image was just a variation of the second – making it worth somewhat less in my mind.

All that considered, I initially figured on 10,000 for the first image, 10,000 for the second and 2500 for the third, for a total fee of 22,500 (and about 27,200 in production expenses). Getty suggested 12,000/image/year for their Print, Web and OOH pack. Blinkbid quoted 11,550-16,500/image/year. After some back and forth, the client decided they wanted the project to come in under 40k, so we had to figure out what to cut if our photographer wanted the job. When it became clear that they were unwilling to make do with less usage, I looked at which production expenses I could trim. But even after eliminating 5000 for the on-site producer, I still couldn’t get down to 40k. At that point, the photographer and I discussed trimming the photography fee. She was willing to be flexible because the photography fee was reasonable to begin with, and the additional production fees (travel days, post-processing and editing) were healthy. So I dropped the fee down to 19,250.

Photographer Travel/Tech Scout Days: I estimated two days for the photographer travel to and from the location and to scout.

Production Days: Initially, I budgeted for an on-site producer (me). But when the client came back asking us to hit 40k, that was the first thing to go. Since the schedule was somewhat relaxed, and talent, catering, wardrobe and locations would be provided by the client, it made it possible (though not ideal) to ax that from the budget. Together with airfare and expenses, removing my on-site production time would account for a 5000.00 swing. I did still handle all of the pre-producton (sourcing, booking and coordinating crew, making travel arrangements, scheduling, production books etc.).

First Assistant Days: The photographer would be flying her first assistant in, so I included two travel days and two shoot days. The days would be short, so I wouldn’t need to factor in overtime.

Local Assistant and Digital tech: We initially estimated for a full workstation and digital tech, but when we were forced to trim the budget, we pulled out the workstation rental, saving 1500.00 (750.00/shoot day), the trade-off being that the client would have to review images on the photographer’s laptop. We also included a local assistant to help with gear and run last minute errands if necessary.

Wardrobe Stylist/Groomer Days and Supplemental Wardrobe/Props: We would only be shooting one subject per day and wardrobe and hair & make-up would be pretty low-impact. Accordingly, we felt it would be sufficient to use a single stylist capable of doing both. Also, that stylist would only need to be on-set for one of the two shoot days. One of the athletes would be providing all of her own stylists and supplemental wardrobe. The client would be providing primary wardrobe for the other athlete but still wanted a stylist to purchase a few supplemental items to round out their branded wardrobe. We normally account for a day of prop/wardrobe returns, but since I expected it to be pretty minimal, I decided it would be cheaper to just keep the stuff than pay someone to return it.

Images Processed for Editing: Lately instead of “digital capture fee,” I’ve been saying “Images processed for editing” which is a little more clear. It covers the time and equipment necessary to organize, edit and rename the files and to create and deliver a web gallery for the client to edit from.

Retouching Hours and delivery of reproduction files by FTP: The client requested fairly extensive retouching and post-processing treatment of all three images. The photographer was skilled enough to handle that on her own and estimated 3 hours per image at a standard retouching rate (not only to compensate her for that time and expertise, but to cover her if she got busy and had to farm it out to a freelance retoucher).

Equipment Rental: We priced out the cost to rent two camera bodies (600.00/day), three lenses (150.00/day), two power packs (140.00/day), four heads, stands, soft-boxes (120.00/day), misc. grip and expendables (240.00/day) at a rental house local to the shoot.

Lodging, Airfare, Baggage, Car Rentals: Using, I priced out the costs for all travel expenses. I usually round up to the nearest $100.00 to give myself a little cushion and always included the costs for checked bags and gas/insurance for the rental car.

Miles, Parking, Meals, Misc: For this one, I figured on 150.00/day for miles, parking, and miscellaneous expenses and 50.00/person/day for meals for the photographer and first assistant (the client was providing the catering).

Housekeeping: Finally, I noted the items the client would provide, the possible travel cost variance, the advance requirements and that they would pay any applicable sales tax.

Results: The photographer was awarded the job and the clients were very happy with the pictures.

Hindsight: Although the photographer delivered great value for that budget, we both ended up feeling that an on-site producer would have allowed things to run more smoothly. Even though the client promised to handle the catering, the photographer still ended up managing that on the shoot day. And there were plenty of little questions and interruptions that could have been avoided if an experienced producer had been there to handle them, freeing the photographer up to concentrate more fully on creating great images.

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

Pricing & Negotiating: Editorial Assignment for The American Lawyer Magazine

by Bill Cramer, Wonderful Machine

I got a call a little while back from Maggie Soladay, photo editor at The American Lawyer magazine. She had an assignment to photograph a pair of attorneys who were trying to keep the city of Harrisburg, PA out of bankruptcy. She needed a portrait of them in a setting that would give the viewer a sense of the city. She expected to use one photo with the article.

Maggie said she could offer a fee of 500.00 plus up to 900.00 in expenses. I asked her if she paid for space and she said no, but if she used a picture on the cover, she would pay an additional 500.00. I asked her if she had a contract or if she’d like to use mine. She said she’d send one over. I told her that it sounded like it could work and that I’d take a look at the contract.

Here’s the contract she sent:

It’s pretty short and to the point. It could be a lot worse, coming from a magazine about lawyers. Here’s the breakdown:

1) The pictures are original and not defamatory. Fine.

2) Included in the fee, they get exclusive first use of the pictures and non-exclusive reuse “in context” for editorial or promotion use. “In context” means that they have to show it in the layout as it originally appeared. I don’t mind this because it’s rare that this would happen, and the fact that it’s in context generally means that it’s more about the article or the publication than the photo. I’m more concerned that they can use any number of pictures any size for 500.00. There was a time when I might drive a harder bargain than that. An additional 500.00 for the cover would be quite low if it was a consumer magazine that sold on the newsstand, but for a trade magazine I think it’s (on the low end of) reasonable.

3) They can use the photos for article reprints and for “out of context” use for a predetermined fee (see schedule A). The prices for the article reprints are a little on the low side in my experience, but not unreasonable. The prices for out of context print and web re-use are less generous. 25% of the 500.00 fee is only 125.00, which is what I’d normally charge for use of one image smaller than 1/4-page. Here, they can use the picture any size for that fee. I’d normally expect 100.00 for web use and they’re offering 55.00 (seems like an odd number).

4) In the past, a three month embargo period would be considered a little excessive for a monthly publication, but it’s not unusual these days. And given the subject matter, embargo time is not a big issue here. Additionally, I’ve found that if an opportunity arises to re-license an image to a third party during an embargo period, you just have to clear it with the assigning photo editor. Typically, as long as the issue has hit the news stands, most publications are pretty flexible regarding the embargo period.

5) Even after reading about personal jurisdiction, I still don’t understand it. Here’s how Maggie explained it, “Paragraph 5 of the contract says that, ‘Each party consents to the personal jurisdiction of the federal or state courts located in the State of New York.’ What does that mean? Our artists and photographers are all over the world. England for instance has very different media laws than we do.” I’m not sure why it’s not sufficient to say, “Should a dispute arise, it shall be governed by the laws of the State of New York.”

A few facts to consider. The American Lawyer is published by ALM. It’s sold by monthly subscription for 445.00/year. It’s not sold on newsstands. Their circulation is 9600 with a readership of 89,000. Their average reader’s household net worth is 2.4 million dollars.

To some photographers, this fee and contract will sound like a pretty good deal. Others will think it’s a little stingy. For someone like me, it’s pretty much middle-of-the-road. Whether it works for you depends upon how busy you are and what fees and terms you’re accustomed to getting. I later asked Maggie how frequently she accepts revisions to the contract. She said, “Never. Unfortunately I was instructed that we cannot use photographers or illustrators who require revisions.” How frequently do you pay more than 500.00/day plus expenses? “500.00 is the fee for all of our shoots but allowed expenses within budget differ. We don’t have flexible budgets per issue so I am really straight, clear and fair upfront. I can’t afford surprises and I like clarity from the beginning.”

I chose to do the job. Here’s the call sheet:

The subjects were great. My dad grew up in Harrisburg, so I enjoyed poking around the city. I finally found a spot in a parking garage that framed them nicely and offered up a good view of the city. Here’s how it ended up in the magazine:

Here’s the invoice:

Months later, I got an additional payment for a reprint (turns out they’ve raised the reprint rates slightly since I signed the original contract):

And a few months after that, I got another:

In addition to her day job as photo editor at The American Lawyer, Maggie is the New York City chapter chief of Salaam Garage, a humanitarian media organization that works with non-profit organizations to support positive social change.Read more…

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

Pricing & Negotiating: Table-top Product Advertising Shoot

by Jess Dudley, Wonderful Machine Producer

In the interest of sharing Pricing & Negotiating articles at more frequent intervals, we’ve developed a more concise nuts-and-bolts format that covers the essential points of an estimate without a lengthy breakdown of every last detail. Here’s our first “abridged” review of an estimate:

Shoot Concept: table-top product shots of 4 product packages and 8 food ingredients on a white background to go into 4 finished ads

Photographer: still life specialist

Location: a New York City studio

Product: food

Agency: medium-sized New York agency

Client: well-known packaged food brand

Licensing: North American advertising and collateral Use, including print, web and out-of-home (billboards, transit, etc.), of 12 images for 1 year.

Shoot Days: 2

Here’s the estimate (click to view larger):

And here’s the breakdown:

Licensing: Though the photographer would be creating and licensing 12 images, they would only appear in 4 finished ads. The concepts could conceivably be captured entirely in-camera in just 4 shots. However, the agency and photographer agreed that it would be better to shoot each element separately to provide flexibility in composition, perspective and size in the post production process. So we calculated the licensing fee based on 4 images. Also, unlike most campaigns which focus on one product, each of these ads promoted a different variety of this particular brand’s product. For this reason we opted not to factor in any sort of volume discount for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th ads, as we would do if we were licensing different pictures of the same product. Additionally, the photographers level of experience was a consideration, he was relatively new to large advertising projects. Based on these factors and our experience with this particular agency and similar past projects, we decided to price the fee at 24,000.00. (We then checked our fee againstFotoquoteBlinkBid and two stock photo sites. Using the “all advertising pack” option, Fotoquote, Blinkbid and the stock sites suggested a price of about 12000.00 per image, or roughly double what we quoted. BlinkBid however, was in line with our numbers. It’s Bid Consultant calculator has an interesting feature that allows you to fine tune the price based on the photographer’s level of experience.  Using the appropriate “up and comer” multiplier brought the suggested rate down to 6000.00 per image, right in line with our initial pricing.

Producer: Producer rates tend to range between 750.00-1000.00/day. I normally budget at least one day of prep for a typical studio shoot, it’s a good to have a producer on set to make sure things run smoothly, and often will want to include a day to manage wrap, invoicing and crew payments.

First Assistant: I figured one per shoot day would be appropriate for this project. Rates can range from 250.00-400.00 depending on the location and amount of expertise required.

Second Assistant/Digital Tech: Normally, an experienced digital tech, complete with a large monitor, fast computer and all the appropriate software is going to run between 1000.00 and 1500.00 per day. In this case, the studio bundled the workstation in with the rental, so we hired a digital tech without the computer for 600.00/day.

Equipment and Studio: Priced at cost. Although the photographer has his own studio, we needed a larger, more polished space to accommodate this project.

Background, Plexi: This covered the purchase and delivery of white seamless paper and plexiglass for the background.

Stylist, Food, Etc: We wanted a top notch stylist to handle the product. We estimated 1200.00 plus 20% agency fee per day (the stylist we worked with was repped), a stylist assistant to help with purchases and prep, and a food budget to cover the cost of the necessary ingredients.

Capture fee: This covered the time and equipment necessary for the photographer to do an initial process, edit, organize and back-up of the files and present them to the client.

Retouching: Since we were dealing with stripping, retouching and compositing, the photographer and I estimated 3 hours per final image.

Catering: Priced at cost. I usually estimate 40.00/person/day for light breakfast, a hot lunch, snacks and drinks.

Miles, Parking, Misc: We usually charge 100.00 for a certificate of insurance and the other 100.00 will cover odds and ends.

Advance: We normally get a deposit of 50% of the bottom line before the shoot. Consequently, we don’t charge a mark-up on any of the expenses.

Results: The photographer was awarded the job and Wonderful Machine handled the production.

*Hindsight: If I had to do it over again, I would have budgeted for a pre-light day. We didn’t have one on this project and we ended up wishing we did. Although the photographer is no stranger to this type of shoot, setting everything up and dialing in the lighting beforehand will save you precious time on the first shoot day. Of course, it would have also meant additional charges of studio (1500.00), assistants (850.00), equipment (1200.00) and possibly an additional photographer fee.

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 scale ad campaigns.

Pricing & Negotiating: Still Life Shoot for Clothing Retailer

By Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine Producer

I was contacted recently by an East Coast photographer to help quote on a project for a well-known clothing retailer. The retailer’s mid-sized ad agency had approached the photographer and shared layouts for a catalog promoting the following season’s clothing line. The catalog would feature a combination of fashion portraits and still life pictures on seamless backgrounds. Our photographer, a still life specialist, was asked to just quote on the still life portion of the project which consisted of 23 pictures. The comps showed shirts, pants, shoes and accessories shot from above, on a flat surface, arranged as an outfit. Along with the layouts, the agency provided a detailed shot list specifying 3 days of shooting at a local studio.

A few days later, the photographer and I dialed into a creative call with the agency to learn more about the project. As with all creative calls, this was a great opportunity for the photographer to show his enthusiasm for the assignment, share creative ideas and convey confidence to the agency. During the conversation, we learned that the catalog was part of a much larger rebranding effort for their client that would help the brand reach a younger demographic. This was our first hint that the project may be a larger production than your typical studio catalog shoot.

Here’s what we discussed on the creative call:

  • We talked about the possibility of shooting variations where the clothes were stacked or organized more abstractly rather than the paper-doll way shown in the comp. We spent a lot of time talking about the look of the pictures. Clearly the styling was very important to the client.
  • The licensing needed to include use of 23 images in the fall catalog and on the company’s website for a period of 3 months.
  • The agency wanted us to deliver the raw files from the shoot – organized, renamed and tweaked. Their in-house retoucher would finish them off.
  • We would plan on a pre-light day so that we could hit the ground running on the first shoot day.
  • Our wardrobe stylist would need to attend a “fit-day” to review the clothing with the client and agency. The stylist would also need a prep day to make any necessary alterations prior to the shoot.
  • The client would provide all of the clothing and accessories but we might need to provide some minor props.
  • They couldn’t tell us how big the press run would be but given the client, we knew it would be huge (>1m)

With this information, I could start to put together some numbers. For a typical national catalog shoot, we normally quote $4,000-$6,000 a day for the creative fee including licensing. Catalog use is certainly advertising use (which might otherwise command a higher fee), but unlike other advertising that might show up in magazines or on billboards, catalog use is normally limited to the actual printed piece.  And because of the nature of fashion, the images tend to have very short life spans and tend to require a lot of shoot days (both factors providing some downward pressure on the day rate). Some catalog work is so much about volume and so little about skill that rates can be as low as 1000.00 per day. In those cases, the work is usually done directly for the client (rather than through an ad agency)—and often using the client’s studio and equipment.

In the mean time, we got another call from the agency explaining that they would like us to quote on broader licensing. In addition to the catalog use, they needed 3 months of paid advertising use and print collateral use. A few hours after that, I received another email saying that they now were planning on a 2-day shoot with licensing for just 12 images and they’d like to make it happen for under $100k.

I checked to see what our pricing guides suggested:

Blinkbid: For catalog, web use and print advertising Blinkbid quoted $11,550-$16,500 per image per year or (arguably) $2,887-$4,125 for 3 months. So in the neighborhood $30k for 12 images (factoring in a bit of a quantity discount).

FotoQuote: Their advertising and marketing pack for 3 months suggested a range of 13,728 and 27,456 for one image.

Getty Images: Using their Flexible Licensing, an Advertising Pack of print, outdoor and web for three months in the U.S. would be $12k per image.

Given such a short licensing duration (3 months), I think it’s unlikely that the agency is going to make ads out of all 12 of those photos. So considering all that (not to mention the budget suggested by the client), I decided to price the first two images at 5,500 each and the remaining 10 at 2,000 each, which brought us to a total photography fee of $31,000.

We included the rates for an assistant and a digital tech for both shoot days as well as the pre-light day, and included a second assistant for just the shoot days. The photographer had a producer that he worked with regularly, and at his suggestion, we budgeted 7 days to account for his time to hire the crew, attend the shoot and manage all the post-shoot paperwork. (This seemed a little fat to me given the project.) I also included (at the request of the producer) a production assistant (also a little excessive). I budgeted 1200.00 for the photographer for the pre-light day (which in retrospect, might be a little thin.)

The stylist was just as important to the agency as the photographer, so we included rates for a seasoned soft goods stylist who would also be shopping for the supplemental props. The quote we received from the stylist broke out separate fees for their shoot days and prep days, and we included them as separate lines in the estimate. The stylist would be bringing their assistant and a tailor/seamstress to alter the clothing. We budgeted 4 prep days for the stylist – 2 to get props and 2 in the studio to prepare the clothes, make any necessary alterations, and set up at least the first couple of shots. The stylist assistant would handle the returns.

While the props were originally supposed to be minimal, the agency ended up sending over a few sample images of nice travel accessories and other items that they wanted to have on hand. For those props, we budgeted 2000.00. We included costs for seamless paper and foam core for the stylists to lay out the clothing on and pin it to if needed.

We would need the studio for the two shoot days, a pre-light day, and the additional wardrobe stylist prep day. The photographer also specified 5000.00/day for equipment rental. That might sound like a lot at first glance, but it would allow us to run 2 sets at a time so the stylists could be setting up one shot while we were shooting another.

I tend to include a nominal amount of crew overtime charges as a matter of course to avoid any surprises later. It also gives us some wiggle room in the budget in case other unexpected costs arise.

We also included a post-production day for the photographer to organize and do final tweaks, then deliver the raw files on a hard drive. (The ad agency would be handling the retouching themselves.)

I chose to add a line-item for insurance. It’s customary on motion picture projects and increasingly on bigger still projects to add 1-2% to cover the cost of equipment insurance, liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.

I budgeted 1250.00 for mileage, parking, messengers, etc. for all the little things that add up when running around town looking for props, picking up equipment, etc.

I always put “plus applicable sales tax.” That covers me in all cases and it doesn’t unnecessarily inflate my bottom line when we do have to charge it. I always spell out items that the client is going to provide (I forgot to mention that the client was going to do the retouching). And we normally expect to get at least half of the production expenses up front.

The whole project came in at $92k.

You can view the estimate here:

I heard a few days later that the client chose another photographer. But I wasn’t able to get any more information than that.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing one of your projects, contact Wonderful Machine.

Pricing & Negotiating: Spokesperson Advertising Shoot

By Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine Producer

One of our photographers recently contacted me to help him quote on some advertising photographs for a prominent international corportion. He had recently completed a self-assigned fashion shoot, and a promotional mailer from that project caught the attention of the client’s ad agency. Over the past few years, the ad agency had helped the client completely revamp their image, and in the process they had developed one of the most recognizable campaigns in recent years. The agency had now developed an updated concept (which happened to be very similar to the photographer’s promo) representing the next step in the evolution of the campaign, and they wanted  to consider our photographer for the shoot. After an initial phone call, the agency sent over a shot list and requested an estimate.

Here is what we knew: The project would involve 2 days of photographing a celebrity spokesperson interacting with various props and products in a West Coast studio. The agency was hoping to cover 5 situations per day, including very specific but subtle variations within each situation. These variations were intended to create a range of expressions and angles from which the agency and client would choose their final selects. The shot list for day 2 was almost identical to day 1, except it consisted of shooting against a different background (at the same studio), which was still to be determined based on further creative direction.

The agency would be coordinating and paying for the talent, hair/make-up, wardrobe stylists, wardrobe, props and a trailer for the talent. All we needed to account for was the photography fees, photo crew, equipment, studio and catering.

I wanted to start by determining the photographer’s fees, so my first question for the art buyer was about the usage and number of images. She replied that they needed licensing for all images captured, though they only wanted 10 selects retouched and delivered. The licensing language that she asked me to include in the estimate was:

All print media now known or hereafter invented (to include, but not limited to consumer newspaper, industrial, in-store, direct mail, brochures and any other collateral material, out-of-home (to include but not limited to billboards, bus shelters, wild postings, kiosks, wall murals, window signage and display work), electronic media (to include but not be limited to worldwide web and client brand portal archiving)

Even though the client intended to use up to 10 images in the campaign, they asked that the quote include licensing for all of the images created rather than just a limited number of selects. Naturally, licensing for more pictures is going to be worth more than licensing for fewer pictures. But if we’re shooting 10 situations with subtle variations of each, it’s not going to be worth much more than those first 10. We do our best to reconcile the discrepancy between what they’re asking for and what they’re likely to do with the images. The licensing needed to include advertising use in the U.S. and Puerto Ric o for 1 year from first insertion.

Digging through similar estimates that we’ve done recently and other pricing guides, here’s what we found:

BlinkBid: National advertising use in print publications, on websites, in collateral and on OOH (out of home/billboards) = a range between $9,450 and $13,500 per image, per year, though these rates didn’t quite cover the scope of the use.

fotoQuote: The new version of fotoQuote has “quote packs” that cover a wide range of usage in various media outlets. The most extensive pack is labeled “All Advertising & Marketing.” This pack includes print advertising in magazines, newspapers and directories, as well as web advertising, web collateral, use on mobile devices, promotional emails, direct mail, in store displays, billboards and transit ads along with a few additional items as well. For this use, their suggested range for 1 image is between $16,090 and $32,181 for 1-year use. This is more in line with our expectations.

Getty: They also offer “Flexible Licensing Packs” including one labeled  “All Advertising Pack.” This includes unlimited collateral, print advertising and web use, which is further detailed to include direct mail, electronic brochures, billboards, magazine/newspaper ads, freestanding inserts and directory advertising, web advertising, use on corporate websites as well as on mobile devices, and any indoor or outdoor display. Their price for 1 image in the  specific industry for 1 year is $18,790. Again, this is comparable to what we expect to see on projects of this scale with clients of this size and prominence.

Armed with this information along with past estimating experiences, I decided to price the 10 images at $110,000 for this use. Each of the images generated would be somewhat similar to the others. The photographer wasn’t shooting 10 different concepts, he was shooting 10 adaptations of the same concept. The greatest impact and greatest value comes with the first image. In situations like this we feel the first image is worth the full rate and each subsequent image has a lower value. By pricing the first image at 20,000, the high end of the range for this type of licensing, and the additional images at 10,000 each, the low end of the range, we came to rest on a fee of 110,000.00.

Here’s the first estimate we sent over.


In addition to the photographer, we accounted for two assistants and a digital tech. The agency wasn’t looking for any extraordinary retouching or compositing on set, so a basic digital tech was sufficient.

The production day accounted for time to arrange the assistants, equipment, catering, etc.

We included the photographer’s own studio at $2,000/day (the normal rental rate which includes a basic lighting setup and grip equipment) and equipment rental of 1600.00 for a camera system and supplemental lighting.

With a project of this scale, in addition to the work that the digital tech does to manage the files on the shoot day (helping the clients see the pictures and making sure the files are backed up), there will typically be additional time required afterwards to organize, edit and process the images, run web galleries, upload/deliver them to the client. I budgeted 2 digital processing days for that. Then we allotted 20 hours of retouching time to process and retouch the 10 selects.

For catering, we accounted for 15 people at $35 per day for 2 days.

Insurance and miscellaneous accounts for various items that may come up during the production and helps the photographer pay for his standard liability insurance.

We made sure to indicate what production elements the agency had committed to manage and pay for directly.

Still no word on the second day’s background, so we left that off this estimate.

Lastly we highlighted that an advance equal to 50% of the bottom line would be required to initiate production.

A few days after submitting the estimate I received a phone call from the art buyer. Our numbers landed in the middle of the two other estimates she’d received. She wouldn’t reveal names or exact numbers, but did share that the other photographers were not local, and they would be traveling from as far away as Europe. She then told me that all of the estimates would put them over budget, and asked for an estimate limiting the duration to 6 months.

So I had to figure out how cutting the licensing duration from 1 year to 6 months would affect the fee. Of course, I can’t just cut the fee in half. Most ad campaigns are going to have maximum value early on and then diminishing value over time. We generally figure that doubling the duration of use might increase the value by a factor of 1.5. Moving in reverse, if we’re cutting the duration in half, we could divide by 1.5 which would leave us at $73,333. However, at that point I was having second thoughts that my 1 year rate was too low to begin with. So I decided to divide by 1.25 instead which got me to $88,000, and submitted the following estimate:

After more waiting, our contact returned with some news. While they were still deciding on creative direction, she let us know that their budget for set construction for the background on the second day was $10,000. So we included it in the estimate and noted that it will ultimately be based on final creative direction. Also, she told us that instead of using the photographer’s studio, they had a specific LA studio in mind, for which I was able to find rates for.

The additional production coordination warranted bringing on a production coordinator so we added one to the estimate. The photographer had a inexpensive young producer he wanted to use. Also due to the studio change, we had to increase the studio fees and equipment rental fees. He was going to need a medium format camera with a digital back similar to the Phase One P65+ ($550/day) with an 80mm lens ($35/day) and a 120mm lens ($50/day). Also included in the rental would be 3 Profoto Pro7B Packs ($70/day each) with 4 PRO7 heads ($20/day each), as well as various stands, modifiers and accessories.

We then submitted the following revised estimates for 1 year and 6 month usage.

The AB came back and simply asked us to reduce the cost of the 1 year estimate by 8500.00. Remarkable considering the the bottom line. After carefully reviewing the estimate I found that the only thing I could really cut was the licensing fee. One of the most basic rules of negotiating is don’t give up something for nothing. But in this case, that’s what we did. Of course, there’s a range of what constitute a reasonable fee – especially on a large project like this one, and the photographer and I agreed that this one was still reasonable. Here was our revised 1 year estimate:

A few days later, an email popped up in my inbox with the subject line reading “Congratulations.” I was delighted to hear that they awarded the project to our photographer! In spite of our hand-wringing over the 1 year quote, in the end the client opted for the 6 month licensing for $88k.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing one of your projects, contact Wonderful Machine.

Pricing & Negotiating: Public Service Announcement

by Jess Dudley Wonderful Machine Producer

Public Service Announcements (PSAs) are advertisements intended to raise awareness of a topic and to change public attitudes (rather than sell a product), often advocating better health practices or safety. The typical patron of a PSA is a government agency or non-profit aimed at improving public welfare.

Recently, one of our photographers was asked to submit a cost estimate to produce some photographs for a PSA. Though the concept was simple and straight forward, the details were still a bit vague when the photographer contacted me for pricing help. Here’s what he knew:

  • He’d been contacted by the creative director of a mid-size East Coast ad agency.
  • The client was a large non-profit organization whose primary interest was in public education and health policy.
  • The PSA concept featured a close-up portrait of a woman in a light filled, airy environment. About half the frame was negative space for copy, and there was a “gritty” treatment layer overlaying the image.
  • The talent would be a real patient who had realized the benefits of the non-profit through improvements in health care practices.
  • The use was described as a PSA that will be distributed on the non-profit’s website, possibly in print publications and in the form of posters hung in airports and train stations.

After reviewing the details and discussing possible production approaches, the photographer and I developed a list of questions to ask the creative director and got the following responses:

Wonderful Machine: Would you like us to cast the talent or will the talent be provided?
Creative Director: We’ve already selected the talent and determined availability.

WM: The comp hints at more environment than a studio sweep, would a white daylight studio work as a background?
CD: We’re open to shooting at a daylight studio. We just don’t want flat seamless. We want some texture to the background. A window, horizon, clouds. Something to subtly break up the negative space.

WM: What duration of use will you need?
CD: 3 years.

WM: What is the geographic distribution?
CD: Southwestern United States.

WM: Do you have a budget in mind?
CD: Nothing set in stone, but we need to mind our “Ps and Qs.”

WM: We think this can be accomplished at a studio in a few hours, are you expecting to shoot for more than about half a day?
CD: We only have the talent for 3 hours in the early afternoon. So it will have to happen in half a day.

WM: Will anyone from the Agency and Client be attending the shoot?
CD: Yes. Two people from the agency and one from the client.

Although the PSA would be displayed like a typical commercial ad, it’s purpose was not to generate revenue, but rather to promote public awareness. So it’s not worth nearly as much as a regular ad shoot. Additionally, the concept was straight forward, the talent would be provided and the shoot wouldn’t take more than 6 hours including set-up and break down, which is a consideration. BlinkBid shows the fee for regional Collateral, Out Of Home and Print Use at 2800.00 – 4000.00/year. Additional years aren’t discounted in BlinkBid’s Bid Consultant. So for 3 years they price this use between 8400.00 and 12000.00. Also, there’s no specific selection for PSA use in BlinkBid. Corbis doesn’t provide regional pricing, only national. They price the OOH Use at 1170.00 for the first year, Print Use at 7815.00 and Collateral Use 2550.00. To extend the use to 3 years, Corbis multiplies each of those numbers by about 1.66 bringing the total for this use to 18,456.00. They also don’t have a specific selection for PSA use. Adjusting for regional rather than national use might bring it down to around $10k which is in line with BlinkBid. This is really the kind of project where the fee could be anything, depending on the cause and how the photographer felt about it. After discussing it with the photographer, we decided that we wanted to come in at about 1/2 of the normal advertising rate, so we settled on 4500.00 for the fee.

Since the lighting would consist entirely of natural light, the photographer only needed one assistant on set during the shoot. The digital tech would provide an extra set of hands to help load in, set up and break down. During the shoot, s/he would man the laptop, wrangle images and process galleries.

The photographer owned all of the equipment he needed for the shoot. He’d be using a camera body (@250.00/day), two fast lenses (2@75.00/day), and some miscellaneous items like a reflectors, flags, silks and stands (@200.00/day).

The photographer also had his own shooting space. He charges 500.00/day to rent the small studio which would be ideal for this shoot; white, with a couple nice big windows.

Since we were only shooting one subject from the shoulders up, we were comfortable working with a stylist capable of light wardrobe styling and hair & make-up. We budgeted a half day to buy 200.00 worth of wardrobe. We would ask the subject to bring some of her own clothes as well.

Since the crew and agency would be setting up for the shoot around lunchtime we included catering for the crew, talent, agency and client. Generally we’ll budget 35.00 per person for light breakfast and lunch but were able to trim it down to 25.00 per person since we wouldn’t be providing any breakfast.

Indexing is what that photographer likes to call it, but we normally call it Digital Capture and Delivery by Web Gallery for Editing.

Retouching hours to apply the gritty treatment layer to the image after basic processing.

Miles, parking, shipping, insurance and miscellaneous was pretty low since the shoot would take place at the photographer’s own studio.

Lastly, we made sure to clarify that the talent would be provided by the client or agency and that a 50% advance is required to initiate production. After attaching our standard terms and conditions we sent the estimate to the client.

Wouldn’t you know it, a budget materialized 10 minutes later.

WM: Just calling to follow-up on the estimate. Do you have any questions?
CD: What can we do to get this down to 7600.00?

WM: Right off the bat, one thing we might be able to do without is the additional wardrobe. Would you be comfortable relying entirely on the subject’s own wardrobe? (That would knock of 200.00 for the wardrobe and 325.00 for the stylist time.)
CD: Absolutely. I’ll ask her to bring a dozen tops.

WM: Are you comfortable reviewing images straight of the camera or do you need a separate display? (That would be 300.00 for a second assistant rather than 500.00 for a digital tech.)
CD: If it gets me closer to 7k, I’m cool with it.

WM: Aside from the licensing, there’s not much else than can be easily trimmed. Let me check in with the photographer to figure out a way to come shave off another 600.00.
CD: Great. Let me know what you can do. This is a hard 7600.00.

After contemplating the peculiar budget, we dialed down the use from 3 years to 30 months, reducing the fee and bottom line by an additional 500.00. The last hundred came out of the equipment rental line. Since he’d be using his own equipment he could bend a bit on the rates, particularly for the miscellaneous stands, reflectors, etc.

We submitted the revision, the creative director quickly approved it and the shoot went off without a hitch.

If you have any questions, or if you need help estimating or producing one of your projects, contact Wonderful Machine.