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.

WaPo Must Transform To Survive

- - Blog News

Once you accept that all that free money from the middle of last decade is never coming back, you are left with two visions of newspapers’ future: diminution or re-invention. In the Post’s case, if you believe it can only be as good as it used to be by becoming as rich as it used to be, then you believe it will remain diminished, forever stuck doing less with less.

If, on the other hand, you imagine a Post that returns to, or even improves on, its best work, then by definition you are imagining it can somehow do more with less. This problem is not financial—it is foundational. It requires asking anew what good journalism looks like, in a world where the Internet exists.

Clay Shirky, via CJR.

The Daily Edit – Tuesday

- - The Daily Edit

(click images to make bigger)

Harper’s Bazaar

Creative Director: Stephen Gan
Design Director: Elizabeth Hummer
Photography + Bookings Editor: Zoe Bruns
Associate Art Director: Gary Ponzo
Senior Photo + Bookings Editor: Barbara Tomassi

Photographer:Terry Richardson

Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted

We Became More Focused On Liking Things

- - Blog News

Nowadays everything is accessible immediately. I can look at everything. I can look at everything which is being made right now and I can look at everything that has ever been made. The reason why critical writing and thinking is important is because otherwise all of this stuff will just float around, in the air. There is no more context. Things just become superficial and disconnected. People lose that connection between which is being made right now and which has ever been made. And they can’t realize that it totally comes from there!


The Daily Edit – Monday

- - The Daily Edit

(click images to make bigger)


Creative Director: Brandon Kavulla
Design Director: Leo Jung
Director of Photography: Zana Woods
Art Directors: Alice Cho, Bradley R. Hughes, Tim Leong
Senior Photo Editor: Carrie Levy 

Photographer: Brock Davis

Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted

This Week In Photography Books – Brian Ulrich

by Jonathan Blaustein

I feel bad for kids today. Teen-agers in particular. There is no privacy anymore. No secrets. It’s impossible to grow through one’s awkward moments out of the camera’s gaze. If I had to worry about my worst habits and styles living forever in a Facebook post, I’d probably move to Plum Village and become a monk.

Am I exaggerating? Not really. You see, I grew up in the 80’s, that famous decade now fetishized daily in the mainstream media. (Have you seen the trailer for that new Tom Cruise movie? Yes, people, we have a new definition of irony. The king of the 80’s, who actually managed to get it right back then, parodying the entire farce in a fake rocker outfit. Please.)

Back then, I actually sported a mullet and braces at the same time. Yes, photographic evidence exists, but I suspect my parents will set a high price. My style was so bad, I wore a day-glo ski jacket for two years. My first earring hole got infected, so I went back to the mall to have it punched again. That’s right, the mall.

Was there ever a more American invention than the shopping mall? I believe it sprung to life in Houston, which makes sense to me now that I’ve visited. Who wants to try on the new Tommy Hilfiger button-down when you’re covered in a sheen of humidity-induced sweat? Not me. Not anyone. So the air-conditioned, sequestered, shopping-only zone was born.

The mall used to be the coolest thing in the world. (Again, this is a world that approved of rat tails and shoulder pads.) My parents would drop me off for a few hours, and my friends and I would search out others of our own kind: with our own two eyes. Clearly, that youth-mating-ritual is obsolete. (OMG, u r @ the fuud kort? B rite ther.)

And what of malls? Do they still reign? Not exactly. I’m sure the Beverly Center in LA still has its swagger, and I’ve never seen the Mall of America, so I’ll reserve judgment there. But in general, I think the safe answer is no. They’re an anachronism, like the myth of American Exceptionalism.

In fact, I think Brian Ulrich’s “Dead Mall” photos are some of the most compelling documents of 21st C America that we have. Furthermore, I’ll go ahead and say that his “Dark Store” Circuit City photographs are the enduring images from the Great Recession. (The crumbled KFC sign picture is up there too.)
Seriously, what could say more about the fallacy of endless consumption than those eerie, empty boxes, glowing from within? Yes, the stores are vacant and worthless, but let’s keep that electricity running. (Pictures can indeed communicate better than words, sometimes.)

The images turn up at the end of “Is This Place Great Or What,” Mr. Ulrich’s new monograph, recently published by Aperture and the Cleveland Museum of Art. The book is blue, which seems a bit random, and opens with historical images of a bygone American era, which seems odder still. At the very least, it sets the scene.

The book covers Mr. Ulrich’s “Copia” series, which has taken up the last decade or so of his life, broken down into convenient sections: Retail, Thrift, and Dark Stores. Each investigates a different facet of America’s ubiquitous consumer culture. It’s the first book I’ve reviewed, I believe, where you can see the artist’s clear improvement as you turn the pages.

The initial series, from early in the last decade, depicts life inside the world of consumption, before the bubble burst. People push shopping carts through Costco, Target and Home Depot. We see crucifixes, big screen TVs, guns, and spilt milk. All smart, but slightly obvious symbols. The pictures feel grabbed, and a little naughty. The compositions are well done, but also a bit arbitrary. Good work, for sure, but it feels like he was just beginning to sort out his vision.

Next comes “Thrift,” which shows more of how the other half lives. There are some real gems here, true keepers. The room full of useless computers, the racks of empty plastic hangers, the barren garage with an asymmetrical Britney Spears poster. Sharply observed, and definitely more visceral than the first section. Mr. Ulrich was starting to hit his groove.

Finally, we come to “Dark Stores,” the project that rightfully made the artist’s career. Powerful stuff, this. The global economy almost broke completely during the creation of “Copia,” and it shows. Desolate parking lots, empty stores, and the sorriest looking abandoned Toys-R-Us I ever did see. These photos are as well crafted as they are well seen. The symbols resonate, the eye dances around the rectangle, and the physical impact of the disillusionment is palpable. These photographs will endure.

Bottom Line: An artist’s evolution, with some brilliant images

To purchase “Is This Place Great Or What” visit Photo-Eye

Full Disclosure: Books are provided by Photo-Eye in exchange for links back for purchase.

Books are found in the bookstore and submissions are not accepted.


ANSWER: So you are not a stupid, vapid photographic twit

- - Blog News

QUESTION: Why bother yourself about the archaic world of long-forgotten photographers when there is so much happening that is now? Why concern yourself with images that are so passé when there’s a new aesthetic that supplants those banal images of the chemical days? Why study outdated ideas when the world has moved on and left them in the fossil bin next to the dinosaur teeth?

via LensWork Daily.

The Daily Edit – Friday

- - The Daily Edit

(click images to make bigger)


Creative Director: David Curcurito
Director of Photography: Michael Norseng
Photo Editor: Alison Unterreiner
Art Director: Stravinski Pierre

Photographer: Phil Poynter

Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted

Still Images in great advertising- Joachim Ladefoged

Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

When I am looking for work for this column, I check out the blogs of various agents to see what they have done recently.  I went to the blog for Bernstein & Andriulli and saw this interactive website for A&E’s two-night movie “Bag of Bones, an adaptation of the best selling by Stephen King.  The dramatic black and white images shot by Joachim Ladefoged catch your eye and then you start to see them move.  You can check out more of these subtle but creepy images at

(click images to see gifs move)

Suzanne:  The subtleness of this campaign had to be a lot of fun to work on.  Did the creative group allow your input to the subtleness of the creepiness?

Joachim: Yes, the creative group wanted my input.  As every professional creative director and agency does they show up well prepared and with a clear idea about what they want, so it is a cooperation between me and the creative team.  It’s my job to provide creative solutions and to help make the best pictures for the client.  In the cinemagraph with the butcher and the knife blade reflecting the light, the creative director said to me that she was in tears because it was so much better then she had ever expected.  When that happens it is a lot of fun!

Suzanne:  How were these shot to get the animation of the subject’s movement?

Joachim: The moving images are cinemagraphs that were shot with video.  Since we worked with video, I was acting as a film director asking the people to do some very precise movements. The post production plays a big part in the final images.  The editing process is where the video is turned into a into a moving gif.

Suzanne:  Do you think your work “Albanians” was an influence to you getting this assignment?  Was that a personal project?

Joachim: The “Albanians” is a personal book project and I do think the body of work played a big factor for me getting this assignment.  The client was looking for a reportage photographer with black and white photojournalistic stories. However, it is always very important that you understand how to work with a crew on set and you know how to transfer the reportage experience into setup images to create pictures that look like they were shot as they happened.  So while I think my reportage work got the agency interested it may have been my commercial experience that ended up convincing them.

Suzanne:  You have a wide array of areas in which you shoot but do you feel as if your photojournalistic background and your Danish style help you secure assignments?

Joachim: At age 25 I was hired as a staff photographer on the best and most creative newspaper in Denmark. They gave me a lot of creative freedom to do what I wanted and this is where I explored different ways of approaching photojournalism.  Having a true photojournalistic background has given me access to a wide variety of subjects from sports to politics.  This opportunity combined with my internal desire to experiment with photography is what keeps me motivated.  I love shooting a wide array of assignments and I love trying out different styles and techniques.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

Joachim Ladefoged has worked as a professional photographer since 1991 and is a member of the international photo agency VII. Today he works for editorial clients such as The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, National Geographic, MARE, Newsweek, The Sunday Times magazine and TIME. He has received numerous awards for his work from institutions such as Visa D’Or, World Press Photo, POYi, Eissie, and Agfa, as well as Picture of the Year in Denmark. He has been named one of Photo District News’ 30 emerging photographers to watch and he has participated in the Joop Swart Master Class at World Press Photo.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.

Magazine Digital Readership Tiny but Growing

- - Blog News

Across the 190 magazines tracked by the survey, the total print audience declined by 1.7 percent in the past six months versus the prior six-month period. At the same time, digital readership (which could be digital-only or in combination with print readership) had increased by 24 percent on the same basis. However, digital-only reading added 1 percent to overall magazine readership. These digital readership figures include magazines’ digital reproductions and apps but not magazine websites.

via Adweek.

Sources for New Photography

Great story in PDN about sources for new photography:
Favorite Sources for New Photography: Part 1
Favorite Sources for New Photography: Part 2

Love to watch how it evolves past the mailers and sourcebooks to the curated lists, events, obscure magazines and blogs (APE even got mentioned). This is great news for everyone, because there are more places than ever to discover photographers and there are more outlets than ever where you can be found. Here are a few choice quotes:

Maggie Brett Kennedy
Photo director, Garden & Gun
“Look3 Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville, Virginia. It is an unbelievable weekend attracting anyone and everyone interested in photography.”

Kira Pollack
Director of photography, TIME
“I am always surprised and delighted by the photography showcased on Feature Shoot.”

Jessie Wender
Associate picture editor, The New Yorker
“Last year I participated as a reviewer at [Center’s] Review Santa Fe, and now work regularly with a photographer I met there.”

Stacey Baker
Associate photo editor, The New York Times Magazine
“I’m actually using Facebook more and more as a resource to discover new work. It’s such a terrific aggregator. In one place, I can look at pages for individual photographers”

The Daily Edit – Wednesday

- - The Daily Edit

(click images to make bigger)


Design Director: Fred Woodward
Creative Director: Jim Moore
Director of Photography: Dora Somosi
Senior Photo Editor: Krista Prestek
Art Director: Chelsea Cardinal

Photographer: Nadav Kander

Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted

Moral compromise is rife when it comes to war and photojournalism

- - Blog News

Frankly, it’s hard to see war photography these days as anything but a moral compromise across the board.

For example, how is the embedding program anything else but a moral compromise? How are those emotional bonds, and the natural empathy that develops between soldiers and photojournalists anything but a moral compromise? How is photo story after photo story of medevac missions — dramatic and heroic reportage facilitated in lieu of imagery that delineates an actual war front or the battle on the ground — something else beyond moral compromise?

Read more at: BagNews.