Shoot Concept: Still life images of ingredients on white
Licensing: Unlimited use of four images in perpetuity
Location: A studio in New York
Shoot Days: 1
Photographer: Food/still life specialist
Agency: Medium-sized, based in the Northeast
Client: Packaged food manufacturer
Here is the estimate:
Creative/Licensing: The agency kicked off the project by describing a need for isolated close-up ingredient shots with “high appetite appeal” based on new variations of their flagship product. They had four new products, each of which required a unique image featuring ingredients of the flavors. The ingredients would be shot on white, and they’d ultimately be composited together with a textured background and a few other design elements.
The intended use for these images would be for product packaging, and there was a very limited chance they would end up in advertisements, although the products themselves (with the images on the packaging) could end up being integrated into other marketing pieces. It was apparent that the shelf life of the images would likely be a year or so as they refresh their product’s packaging somewhat frequently, but despite the intended use, the agency/client requested unlimited use of the four images in perpetuity.
With the intended use in mind, I wanted to price each image between $1,500-$3,000 based on previous experience with similar projects/clients. In this instance, we were given a budget of around $13,000, and given the potential expenses, I knew that would force us to tighten up the creative/licensing fee. After fleshing out the rest of the estimate, we ended up coming in at $6,500, which based upon the straightforward nature of the project and the photographer’s experience level, still seemed appropriate.
Assistant and Digital Tech: We included the cost for one assistant to lend a hand with grip/lighting, and also added a digital tech to ingest and display the files for approval on-site. The digital tech’s rate included his time at $500 for the day, plus a workstation rental at $600/day.
Food Stylist and Assistant: In addition to the food stylist’s time on set, she would also need a day beforehand to shop for the ingredients, and she’d have an assistant with her on the shoot day to prepare and organize the food. We included a few hundred dollars to source plenty of options, and this included a bit of a buffer in case any items needed to be special ordered and/or shipped in.
Studio Rental and Equipment: This rate afforded a studio with a kitchen and plenty of space to prep and shoot the ingredients. The photographer would be using all of her own equipment, rather than renting gear, and was comfortable waiving any equipment fees in order to stay within the client’s budget.
Lunch Catering: We anticipated 2 client/agency representatives to be on set, as well as the 5 crew members, and included $50 per person for lunch catering.
Mileage, Parking, Meals, Misc.: The photographer would be traveling from a few hours away, and we wanted to make sure we included supplemental funds for transportation to/from the studio, as well as parking and unanticipated expenses that might arise.
Color Correction, File Cleanup, Clipping and Delivery of 4 Selects by FTP: The agency would be handling the compositing of the images with the other design elements and backgrounds, but they needed the photographer to do some basic processing and create the clipping paths for each shot. I felt $150/image would be appropriate for this work.
Results: The photographer was awarded the project. Right before the shoot, the scope of the project changed a bit, and there was a need to bring on a prop stylist (at $800/day) to source a few surfaces, plates, bowls and utensils. The agency also ended up needing more help with the post processing than originally anticipated, and the photographer hired a retoucher who worked through 4 rounds of processing, clipping and color alterations, which added about $3,000 to the final invoice.
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