Craig Oppenheimer, Wonderful Machine

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

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

Location: A studio in the Northeast

Shoot Days: 1

Photographer: Food and product still life specialist

Agency: Large, based in the Northeast

Client: Large Food/Beverage Company

Here is the estimate:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recommended Posts


  1. Never use the term “Out of Home” Out of Home (OOH)
    Here is how the Plus Glossary defines OOH in their licensing terminology. If you don’t know PLUS, Picture Licensing Universal System, please check them out at The use of OOH is much used by clients and ad agencies in their purchase orders: “Media that deliver advertising messages to consumer audiences outside of their home, whether delivered outdoors or indoors.”
    The Glossary further states (emphasis added by me): “Includes (but not limited to) billboards, transit advertising, movie theater advertising, and point of purchase.”
    PLUS also gives an example of typical use in a license: “The image will be used in an exclusive out of home campaign, targeting shoppers in that mall.”

    So what does the term mean in real life? Answer: The licensee can use the image for just about anything at all. There is virtually nothing that would prevent use of the image for just about any purpose except (arguably) packaging. The failure to use more specific usage terms such as “packaging” would not (arguably) prevent the licensee from using the image for packaging. The term is amorphous, non-specific and guaranteed to result in broad usage of your images by a client that you never contemplated in pricing the job. A dispute over exactly what the parties intended is thus both likely and avoidable.
    There is simply no language or grammar that serves to limit or restrict an image licensed for, “Out of Home”. A strict grammatical interpretation would yield the following: “Any use outside of a home is permitted”. That can be taken to mean, posters, billboards, pamphlets, POS (not what you think, it stands for Point Of Sale), POP (Point Of Purchase), magazines, newspapers, FSI (Free Standing Insert in a newspapers), in store videos and on and on.

    There are better, far more precise terns that should be used when specifying the licensing you are granting. If you see OOH inserted by your client think, “OOH NO” and cross it out or get it rewritten into specific language and uses.

    • Thanks for your comment Edward,

      We integrate a “Definitions” section into our our estimate terms that helps to define the language we use, including “Out of Home.” If you feel our definition or the PLUS Glossary’s definition of “Out of Home” is too vague, perhaps you can recommend language that will help to put a box around the common understanding of the term, rather than recommending that the term simply not be used.


  2. That’s for writing this, I find people need more nuts and bolts business education and coaching than all the many how-to, lighting and gear reviews out there. Few people seem to take the time to teach their fellow photographers how to run their business. Thanks for doing so with your quote process.

  3. I echo the comments of Michael Morgolies with the exception that photographers in this business need to be more concerned and focused on the business. While ones creativity will definitely attract clients, the lack of business acumen will slowly, if not quickly cause one to close their doors among other negative outcomes.

    Thanks for providing this type of content!! I have been a long-time reader, but haven’t been much into leaving comments. I am trying to change that bad habit.

Comments are closed for this article!